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Routes in West Buttress

Great Slab T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
West Buttress Eliminate T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
White Slab T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a A0 R
Type: Trad, 575 ft, 4 pitches
FA: B. Ingle, P. Crew, June 1962 (Walsh's Groove: P. Walsh, 1959)
Page Views: 420 total, 6/month
Shared By: Nick Russell on Jun 13, 2012
Admins: Chris Owen, Euan Cameron, Nick Russell

You & This Route

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Far from being a pointless eliminate (as the name may suggest) this is a fine expedition up the most direct line on the West Buttress. It consists of four varied, consistently brilliant pitches taking the main difficulties of the West Buttress head-on. The highlight of the route is Walsh's groove on pitch 3 - a mighty struggle for most, but one that will leave a tremendous feeling of satisfaction on reaching the top. This pitch was first climbed by a short-sighted Patsy Walsh, in mistake for a different route (Sheaf, takes a much easier groove to the right)

P1. Start at the base of the reddish groove, at the far left of the West Buttress. Steep moves gain the groove, which you then must exit almost immediately to the right via more steep climbing on good holds to land on grassy ledges at about half height. Proceed with difficulty up a slabby wall to gain a good ledge at the base of a left-facing corner. Protection is sparse on this pitch, with deck potential on the first half. However the crux moves on the slab are not too high above gear.

P2. Sustained, technical stemming/bridging up the corner above, sometimes making some thin moves on the left side slab. Protects better than the first pitch, but gear is sparse enough to add to the excitement. Belay a few metres below Walsh's groove at an uncomfortable stance on a large slung flake.

P3. Walsh's groove - this is what you've been waiting for! A fierce, narrow groove succumbs only to a variety of jamming, back-and-footing and swearing techniques, not to mention a good dose of persistence - don't expect this to be elegant! As you near the top of the groove, move out across the slab on the left at whatever point seems easiest. A good ledge, with brilliant exposure awaits, if you have the energy to reach it. Collapse and bring up your second.

P4. A few choices for this pitch. The most straightforward is to continue along the ledge, step down into a gully, and climb the easy slab (top of Longland's) opposite. Some 4th class terrain leads to the top of the cliff.


The start is the furthest left of the West buttress routes (other than those e.g. Longland's which traverse in from higher up on the left). Start at the base of a red groove, with some fierce overhangs just to the right.


Standard rack. Emphasis on 1-2" for Walsh's groove. Fixed pitons at the P1 belay seem to have rusted away long ago


Nick Russell
Bristol, UK
Nick Russell   Bristol, UK  
Yeah, it does look pretty similar in some respects. Perhaps HBR is less wet though! For aficionados of this style of climb, there's another one on Lundy, though I can't remember the name right now...
edit: it's called Sumo (E3 5c) and it looks disgusting! The top-out is meant to be a harrowing scramble up loose rocks and earth. Mar 1, 2013
Chris Owen
Big Bear Lake
Chris Owen   Big Bear Lake  
Thanks for posting Nick. Although I've never actually done the groove, it bears an uncanny resemblance to Hot Buttered Rump. Nov 2, 2012
Nick Russell
Bristol, UK
Nick Russell   Bristol, UK  
British trad grade E3 5c in the current comprehensive guide.

E2 5c in "100 Classic Climbs", 1988 (though this may just be a way of getting a fantastic route into a selective guidebook that has imposed an upper limit of E2) Jun 14, 2012