Type: Trad, Aid, 900 ft (273 m), 7 pitches, Grade IV
FA: ???
Page Views: 2,476 total · 25/month
Shared By: Kevin Kent on Sep 23, 2015
Admins: GRK, Zach Wahrer

You & This Route

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An absolutely excellent route, daresay the best I've done in Blodgett; I liked it more than Timebinder and My Mom's Muscle Shirt. This line combines pitches from a few different named routes(/pitches?) to take what's nearly a plumb line up the middle of the proudest face in the canyon, Flathead Buttress. When I did it we freed every pitch except for the 25' crux section of Space Cat. Doing it this way is very fun, still challenging, and clocks in at about 5.11 C1.

I climbed this a while back so the details here might not be perfect but the main points are definitely all there. I did not think routefinding was an issue at all.

If anyone has more information on the FA/FFA of the route/individual pitches or if this thing has a real name, I'd love to hear it. Here's what I've been able to figure out, Ballard-Everingham did the FA of the first 2 pitches during the FA of the South Face Route (1971) and Lowe-Ballard did the FFA of these two pitches (1979, I think this was when it was renamed My Mom's Muscle Shirt). The 1988 AAJ gives the details on the FA of the Pierce route, named after Richard Pierce of Missoula who died on Pumori in December 1984 at age 26, which was completed by Carville-Wallace in 1987 at 10 pitches, 5.11-. In the writeup they reference Afterburner so this pitch was likely done before 1987, and I have no idea on the details of the Space Cat pitch, but would assume it was established more recently.

P1 and P2: Start on the first 2 pitches of the classic My Mom's Muscle Shirt (aka South Face Route), belaying on the spacious Homestake Ledge at the 2 closely spaced bolts with old homemade hangers found at the top of pitch 2. 5.10a

P3: The Afterburner pitch. Climb the excellent right-facing Afterburner corner directly above the belay. A #4 is strongly advised; a #5 could be placed but is not mandatory. Ends at a bolted anchor on an excellent ledge. 5.10

P4: Space Cat. I think this has been freed at 5.13. The meat of this pitch is about 8 bolts in a row over techy face climbing. The bolts are good except for the last one which is sticking half way out. A few more cruxy moves on thin gear and then it eases back to 5.10 to finish the pitch. Even topstepping (in a sling) on some of the bolts I found it mandatory to be able to do 5.11 moves to go bolt to bolt, unless you use a cheat stick. The top of this pitch eases up and finishes at a bolted anchor on a small, sloping foot ledge. From here I believe it would be trivial to do a short traverse left and around a corner to the top of the offwidth pitch on My Mom's Muscle shirt (but I haven't done this). Need small gear for beginning and end of this pitch. 5.11 C1

P5. Join the upper part of the Pierce Memorial Route (the lower part of this route takes a right facing corner system just to the east of Afterburner/Space Cat, I know of no information about it but it looks good and it would probably be free climbable at a reasonable grade).The crux of this pitch comes early, difficult jamming on a quintessential Blodgett style slightly flaring finger crack. Getting situated in the crack is also hard and the protection at the start of the pitch is so-so, definitely not great, spicy! When you reach a black dike after about 100', the climbing eases a bit, traverse right to a bolted anchor. 5.11

P6. Continue up the Pierce Route. Start the pitch with a traverse right (higher is easier than lower) to an obvious left facing corner. Excellent crack climbing leads you up the corner. High on this pitch the crack pinches down and goes through a left leaning overhang. The pro here looked very thin so I opted to step right onto the arĂȘte and bypass the roof via some delicate face climbing, rejoining the corner higher up. The pitch is capped off by a devious slab move through some kitty litteresque rock to reach the bolted belay. 5.11.

P7. One last, easier pitch that goes basically straight up takes you to the top of the formation! 5.9

Descent: On the top find the rap anchor slightly below and to the east. Rappel the route with 2 ropes (80m might work?), utilizing all the belays from the route. I believe some of the rappels can be linked with 2 ropes, but we didn't do this except for from Homestake Ledge to the base.


Standard Flathead approach. Shares start with My Mom's Muscle Shirt.
Hike about 1.9 miles down the main trail from the parking lot. Cross the creek on 2 large trees that are visible from the trail, in front of Shoshone Buttress, where the main trail veers slightly left and starts going uphill. From here, hike up scree, past a waterfall, and traverse the base of Shoshone, passing directly underneath the start of the South Face of Shoshone route. Keep skirting the west face of Shoshone for another 100 yards and then cut left across the gully, and up a small talus field towards Flathead. Watch for a small cairn indicating the trail that goes left up the SE shoulder of Flathead, to the main ledge at the base. A small rock pile (hardly a cairn) marks the start of the route.


Gear: Double rack with maybe a few extra finger and finger+ sized pieces, RPs, and some bigger gear for P3. Many of the anchors have old webbing if you want to replace it, or better yet bring some quicklinks and chain!