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El Segundo Buttress
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Beckey Route 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

Type:  Trad, 5 pitches, 750'
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Fred Beckey and Mike Heath, March 1971, FFA Dean Hobbs, Will Crljenko, February 1977
Page Views: 8,903
Submitted By: Bruce Willey on Jul 2, 2009

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (39)
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Up in red, down and approach in blue. Becky Rout...

Portal Road Closure MORE INFO >>>


P-1 start at a left-leaning dihedral which gains a ledge. Negotiate some brush then head up a right-leaning layback, over a small roof (pretty stiff for .7) and to a tree belay stance, flake for anchor.

P-2 Climb up and right to an arete with nice jams and gear to a wild roof move (lieback) and another 20 or so feet to a belay.

P-3 Up and right to a stem/face. Crack comes and go and with it a little run-out. A welcome fixed piton and more moves leads to a bolted belay out right.

P-4 Follow fins up and right to a small bulge. (for some reason, someone put a bolt right where there's some good gear. Nice 3/4 placement) Follow up and right (more bolts?) to a belay at the bottom of a large flake. Fourth class leads to the summit.


Getting down is fine, but do it in the light. Your goal, once getting down sandy ledges and brushy slopes is to aim for a notch to the South. (Think Mountaineers route on Whitney but in reverse) Follow this along the base of the El Segundo Butt and back to your packs.


Gear to 3 1/2.

Photos of Beckey Route Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: The big corner on pitch 1.
The big corner on pitch 1.
Rock Climbing Photo: Summit shot with Will
Summit shot with Will
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 3
Pitch 3
Rock Climbing Photo: The start of the last real pitch.
BETA PHOTO: The start of the last real pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up to the roof on P2/3 (depending on how y...
BETA PHOTO: Looking up to the roof on P2/3 (depending on how y...
Rock Climbing Photo: The start or P2/3 (depending on how you do the sta...
BETA PHOTO: The start or P2/3 (depending on how you do the sta...
Rock Climbing Photo: The start of the route.
BETA PHOTO: The start of the route.
Rock Climbing Photo: El Segundo Buttress in the back.
El Segundo Buttress in the back.

Comments on Beckey Route Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 23, 2017
By Travis Madsen
From: Denver, CO
Oct 18, 2010

The bolted belay referred to in pitch three is left of the fixed piton, not right. There are two bolts above a sloping ledge.
By Richard Shore
May 14, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

P1, as described above and shown in the croft topo, took 2 pitches for us due to rope drag. Liebacking the corner will certainly make it feel harder than 5.7. Jamming it straight in was pretty cruiser. After the crux roof on P2, it is easy to get off-route by following the thin hollow flake up and left to a nice bolted belay. I believe this is part of the route Chortle, 5.10b. Decently protected knob and slab climbing (5.10a/b) leads up and left past 7? or more bolts (1/4" buttonheads, in good condition) to a bolted belay out left. Realizing I was in more difficult terrain, I was able to manage an escape right after 6? bolts to regain the bolted anchor atop P3 of the Beckey Route, on the sloping ledge as described above. The upper pitches have some spicy runouts on 5.8 ground with some route finding; I can't say I'd recommend this one for a noobie 5.9 leader.

All in all, a great outing, varied and classic at the grade. If you start by climbing the Premier Route on the Premier Buttress, it makes for an incredible full day of climbing (~11 pitches). Bring walk off shoes! We didn't, and it sucked bigtime.
By jeremy freeman
Sep 25, 2012

The "button head" on P 4 is a rivet.
By Tradiban
Jul 8, 2013

Good route, the slab 4th pitch was a nice cherry, save for the rivet! Replace all bolts, place one next to a crack but don't replace the rivet? I wonder the logic. Regardless, thanks for the new bolts, there's a few spicy moves.
By Souljah
From: Northern NM
Aug 16, 2013

Rock Climbing Photo: Nobody takes himself more seriously than Fred Beck...
Nobody takes himself more seriously than Fred Beckey.
By Todd Townsend
From: Bishop, CA
Oct 17, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Good route, here's some more info.

P1 - We split this into two pitches as suggested above, since the party before us had brutal rope drag and had to belay below the overhang. This worked fine, but I bet you could do it in one pitch, without too much drag, if you run the rope to the right of the big bushes on the ledge. Depending on your hand size, the corner may be easier to jam, layback, or even face climb to the left in places.

P2 - I thought that the moves around the arete into the small crack were harder/more committing than the roof, but it probably depends on your height and skill set. There is a fixed pin right before the roof and good pro in the roof itself. Make sure you have some finger sized gear for the belay at the end of the pitch.

P3 - Delicate climbing with intermittent pro.

P4 - Either some bolts have been chopped, or the above count is off. There are currently two bolts before the 5.8 bulge, not three. I was able to set a good, tiny brass offset about halfway before the first bolt, which made the runout less scary. After the bulge, there are three bolts and a rivet, not five bolts. I missed the rivet, which is between the first two bolts on this section, and almost blew it big time when a foothold broke right before the second bolt. I was on some flakey holds, a little off-route to the left of the line. You should go up and right from the first bolt to get to the rivet, even though it's steeper, less featured climbing. Hopefully, someone will replace the rivet with a real bolt in the future.

P5 - We came up a little short with a 60m rope and had to do a mini pitch to get to the summit ledge. A 70m would likely reach without any problem.

Descent - We traversed too far left (facing downhill) on the descent and ended coming down a gully between Premier Buttress and the Roadwork Wall. This worked out ok, but it probably would have been better if we had cut back right at some point and found the correct gully between Premier and El Segundo.

All in all, a good adventure and a worthy climb.
By outdooreric
From: Bishop, CA
May 28, 2014

Climbed this in 2005, before the new guide book. On pitch 2 we did the obvious corner to roof traverse that takes off straight above the belay. With micro nuts and nut tool to clean the placements, it takes just enough pro. Goes at about 5.9 PG with the roof being fairly committing.

On P3, we also followed the flake out left and joined the "obvious" line of off-route bolts. Not my best day of route finding. By staying on route next time, it will be like my first time!
By Randy in Ridgecrest
From: Inyokern, CA
Sep 20, 2014
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Just did the route - there are 5 real protection bolts total on pitch 4. And the one pretty useless and not necessary rivet.

The climbing is pretty mellow with nice rock. I liked the first pitch best as it actually makes you think in a few places. As mentioned above this pitch is perfectly reasonable as a long pitch to the tree if you don't put pro in way to the left on the ledge. The crack on the second pitch is pretty but over in like two moves of super positive liebacking. You can get small brass nuts in on the first part of the 4th. I think the "5.8" bulge on the 4th pitch is the crux of the climb.

If you get to a cliff on the descent you went down too soon - go back up a move east a little more.
By Ian McEleney
From: Mammoth Lakes, CA
Apr 17, 2015

A fun route with great climbing. We found the first pitch to start in a right facing corner, not the left leaning dihedral from the description. It was the flakiest rock of the route but the moves were fun and the pro was good. Like Todd, we broke it into two pitches. Also, as Travis noted, the third pitch belay bolts are to the left of the crack (not the right) a body length or two past the fixed pin.
By Raiden
From: Royal Oak, MI
Apr 23, 2015

What is the "new guidebook" referenced above? Does anyone have a link or even a title?

By Darrell Hensel
Apr 23, 2015

See the comments on the main Portal page. One of them mentions the guide and has a picture along with a link.

As always, the guide has become a little out of date. Pretty good none the less.
By Jeremy in Inyokern
From: Inyokern
May 4, 2015
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Did Beckey with a party of four (Alex Satonik, Nathan Simons, and Jay Beitnes) yesterday May 3, 2015. No other parties in front or behind. We had perfect conditions on this wonderful route. The upper pitches are shabby, if easy, face climbing but the first three/four are high quality and make the route well worth a trip. In fact I may do this once a year from now on. The route beta in the previous posts is spot on save that the bolted belay is out left not right and a 70 meter rope will also leave you just short of the summit. The "runouts" didn't seem that run out to me. If you are a solid 5.9 climber you will have no issues with them. The 5.7 section felt harder than east side 5.7 and gave the route a nice sustained feeling. If you are looking for moderate trad on the east side you cannot do much better than this unless you hike a lot longer. Bang for the buck this route rocks.

Jeremy Walker
By Jan Tarculas
From: Riverside, Ca
Jun 4, 2017
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a X

If you're a budding 5.9 climber I would stay away from this route. Long run outs especially top of pitch 2. You sling a knob and go about 30 ft till next pro. I sweated fear on some parts of this route.
By Drew L
From: Oceanside, Ca
Jun 19, 2017

Great route. Climbing gets nice and exciting for pitches 3 and 4.
By Matt N
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Jun 25, 2017
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c R

The bolt job on P4 was horrible.
Nothing to protect the belay, and you have to commit to some 5.8 with a sling on a "fin", not knob, and decently runout. Then there's a bolt next to perfect pro, and another bolt higher up AFTER harder climbing and before a very easy low-angle section.
Two of these bolts should be removed, one added lower down from the fin stance, and one to replace the rivet. But that would make sense, which the bolting does not, and we assume was not done for the FA/FFA, just a bad retro job.

Otherwise, fun - great route, and with the bad bolting its more 5.8R than 5.9.
By beantown
From: Big Bear City, CA
Jul 5, 2017
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

Climbed this route on 6/30/17

P1 I didn't place gear at the ledge and no rope drag issues. flipped the rope over right of the bush, and then just gave slack to the 2nd so she could get up the ledges left of the bush.
P2 Awesome roof move!
P3 nice crack. My partner called this pitch the scrotum of doom.
P4 I didn't have any issues with the 5 bolts nor run outs sections. I moved into 5.9 trad grades several months ago, but I've lead 5.10d sport slab routes so its no issue for me. I think this is a good route for a new 5.9 trad climber if your comfortable on slab. I'd agree with 5.8 PG and not R and defiantly not 5.10x. The bolts could have been better placed though. Also I ran out the 70 meter rope and we did a mini pitch at the end through mostly 4th class. descent was easy to follow.

Awesome climb non the less!
By walmongr
From: Gilbert AZ
Sep 23, 2017
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

Fun route in a great setting!!! Be solid on 5.7 slab 20-30ft above pro. The 2 hard parts 5.8 5.9ish are well protected with gear a little steep spot on pitch 2 and a little steep spot on pitch 4

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