Type: Trad, Alpine, 1900 ft, 16 pitches, Grade IV
FA: Preston Rhea, Jayson Limnios - 9.19.2015
Page Views: 880 total · 18/month
Shared By: Preston Rhea on Sep 20, 2015
Admins: Chris Owen, Lurker, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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The North Buttress Direct is essentially a sit-start variation to the North Buttress. It takes the longest, straightest line up its namesake feature. If there was one route to do on the face, it would probably be this one. It runs the full course for classic Morrison climbing: run out face climbing, fun splitter cracks, steep jugs, knife edge ridge climbing, razor sharp flakes, and scree fields. Finding and following the route is easy: start at the very toe of the buttress and climb until you run out of rock.

Pitch 1 - Starting at the toe of the buttress, scramble up a hundred feet or so to a large ledge. An obvious right facing corner marks the start. Climb up this and the slab after to a right arching feature. Follow this to a short steep section which leads to a nice ledge. With a 60m rope, about 10' of easy simul-climbing is required to reach a good belay.

Pitch 2 - Climbing up and right from the ledge around the corner, leads to a dihedral with a wide crack where the left half is light colored rock and the right is dark. After climbing this for about forty feet, traverse left where possible across dark rock to the light colored rock. Climbing from here continues up obvious crack and corner systems. Set up the semi-hanging belay near the top of the crack system in a hand sized crack.

Pitch 3 - Stemming and a bit of traversing leads left from the crack across more dark rock into the light colored rock again. Follow this light rock up to a large obvious ledge. An old piton here and the surrounding cracks make a good place to belay.

Pitch 4 - A very short pitch of about 50' up to obvious double cracks. Belay on top of these at the ledge. This pitch could be eliminated with a 70m rope if the first three pitches were stretched. The belays would be just after the ledge on the first pitch, after the traverse out of the handcrack onto the light rock on the second pitch, and at the top of pitch 4.

Pitch 5 - This pitch is the crux of the route both physically and mentally and although the grade is not overwhelming should be taken seriously. Start by climbing a short pillar feature. The pillar flexes if cams are placed behind the upper half. Slab to an arete leads to a step left into a steep dihedral. Once in the dihedral, move right onto an airy arete for a couple moves before moving back into the security of the dihedral. The pitch finished off on a sloping ledge directly above that final dihedral.

Pitch 6 - Fun face climbing up a very featured slab with the same lichen. A pin will be passed about half way up the slab.

Pitch 7 - The crest of the buttress narrows dramatically to a knife edge. Continue along the crest.

Pitch 8 - Broken climbing along the crest of the buttress. At the end of the pitch, there is a ledge for two. It is the only comfortable bivy site on the route, though others may be found on nearly every pitch above this. If comfortable, it is advisable to simul-climb from the start of this pitch to the start of pitch 12.

Pitch 9 - Follow the crest of the buttress.

Pitch 10 - At a tower along the crest, traverse left into a fun crack in a shallow dihedral which leads back to the crest.

Pitch 11 - Another pitch along the crest of the buttress leads to the base of a short headwall.

Pitch 12 - Steep and exciting climbing up the right side of a reddish dihedral leads to another large ledge.

Pitch 13 - Easy climbing up another headwall towards the obvious red chimney. Belay just before the chimney to avoid rockfall on the next pitch.

Pitch 14 - Follow the red chimney to the notch on top. This pitch has a lot of large dangerous blocks. Caution is required. At the top of the this pitch it is possible to escape off the route. A short 40' rappel down the back side of the notch leads to easy 3rd class climbing for 400' to the summit.

Pitch 15 - From the top of the red chimney, climb a fun crack up the right face. Pass the large flake on the left into a an easy wide crack. Belay on ledge.

Pitch 16 - A short very easy pitch leads to the top of the buttress proper and probably one of the best "summits" on Morrison. By stretching a 60m rope to its very end, it is almost possible to link pitches 15 and 16. The result of linking them is finishing this pitch just short of the top and leaves a bit of exposed and loose 3rd class to go to where you can start to descend.

From the top of the buttress a short rappel or 4th class downclimbing leads to easier scrambling for 300' to the true summit.


The route starts at the very toe of the north buttress.

Descend via the east slopes from the summit. During the 3rd class scramble to the true summit from the top of the route, do not try to contour left towards the east slope until no more than 100' from the true summit. It crosses many ridges and does not save time or make things any easier.


The rack should consist of doubles in cams from 00-#2, single #3, single set of nuts (only the small half is all that useful), one each of the smaller lost arrow pins, 3-4 beaks of all sizes for a total of 9 to 12. If you are a confident free climber (and free about half of the aid pitch at 5.8ish), you could bring doubles in cams from .3-#2, single #3, 1 small beak, 3 medium sized beaks, and 1 large beak.