Type: Trad, 130 ft
FA: P1 Mastercharge: David Lovejoy,Dwight Bradley,Ray Crawford - Butterflies var.: Peter Ulrich, Mark Rechsteiner
Page Views: 2,145 total · 19/month
Shared By: Greg Kuchyt on Sep 2, 2009
Admins: Jim Lawyer

You & This Route

24 Opinions

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General: Butterflies are Free is a variation to the first pitch of Mastercharge (5.11b). Its quality, moderate grade, and popularity make it worth noting as a separate route. This route is a great alternate route to gain the 3rd-class ramp that splits the left end of the cliff as well as a great way to approach P2 of Partition.
Route Description: Climb easy rock at the base of the broad corner aiming for the small ledge below and to the left of a small cedar with fixed webbing half-way up the cliff. From here make your way to the obvious crack that starts small but expands to solid hand-size (crux, hard 5.8ish easy 5.9ish). Once you gain the ledge at the top of the hand crack, traverse right to the obvious large ledge and the broad corner. Work up the corner (easier than it looks) till you reach the 3rd class ramp. Either belay from the tree to your left or build a belay on the ramp.


Start: About 50 feet left of the Wiessner Route start. At the base of a broad corner system. Up on the left you can see a hand crack and above a finger crack.
Descent: Two ropes from the large cedar will get you to the ground, but please see the comments on the Upper Washbowl Cliff page regarding descent details for the cliff.


Gear: Stoppers, singles to C4 #2 size, doubles in C4 #1 to sew up the hand crack.
Anchors: Either belay off the large cedar on the 3rd-class ramp, belay on the cedar about 20ft climber's left of the Partition corner or belay in the Partition corner on a gear anchor.


Greg Kuchyt
Richmond, VT
Greg Kuchyt   Richmond, VT
The mentioned flake seems to now be residing in pieces at the base of the route and a fresh scar stands in its stead. This makes the first few moves off the ledge into the Butterflies corner a little spicy and leaves you without pro for a bit (though you have to ask how good your pro would be in a flake that is no longer there).

Edit (May 23 2016): Jim is correct, there is a good micro cam placement at the base of the Butterfly variation. I also updated the description to take into account the lack of the flake at the final corner.
I think it's been a couple years since I climbed this and there seems to be even newer rockfall as many fresh rock scars are visible. I feel like the rock quality has noticeably decreased on this since I first climbed it 7 or so years ago. Aug 7, 2010
Jim Lawyer    
I climbed this for the first time recently. I was able to get a good micro cam (#00 or #0 TCU) to protect the opening moves off the ledge.

Like Cannon, this place is falling apart. Oct 1, 2010
Nick W
Orford, NH
Nick W   Orford, NH
Nice crack climbing on this pitch. Great when combined with partition. Nov 11, 2011
San Pedro, California
Benjaminadk   San Pedro, California
SideNote: i made an attempt at the other variation to Mastercharge today. Now I'm Committed (5.8+ PG) is no good. Just right of the tree with tat is a small ledge with a pile of death blocks on it. Above that it appears there has been more rockfall. Tough to protect crumbly rock that looked pretty cruxy. I bailed and climbed the original first pitch of Partition. Sep 30, 2013
Did this recently — a fun climb, but the description for the final bit is very confusing now (I guess because the flake is gone, as mentioned in above comments?).

The reason is that when you step onto the ledge/corner, the most obvious flake is a big right-facing one on the right-hand face that begins off the ledge. Using it would involve a very committing step off the ledge without any protection, and climbing it looks definitely harder than 5.8, with bad pro.

The correction: after reaching the top of the crack and traversing over to the ledge with the corner, you head directly into the corner, stemming and using couple of small holds, until you can grab what is only now visible as a flake (huge jug) on the right-hand face. Like mr. Lawyer says, you can get a small wire or cam right off the ledge, which won't keep you from hitting the ledge, but will keep you from sliding off into a much worse fall. Jun 18, 2015