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Dem Bones Buttress
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Dem Bones 

YDS: 5.10b/c French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII ZA: 20 British: E2 5b

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, 700', Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.10b/c French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII ZA: 20 British: E2 5b [details]
FA: Bill Alexander, Mason Reid
Page Views: 843
Submitted By: Nick Stayner on Jul 31, 2007

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The Dem Bones Buttress


An awesome route on some of the best Teton rock I've seen. A little much for a day (w/ the Avalanche approach), but perfect for a weekend combination with any of the other routes in the area (or possible new routes!). NOTE: We used a 70 meter rope (quickly becoming the new standard in the Tetons) and thus linked pitches and used different belay spots than described in the book.
P1- Start in flakes/cracks just left of the biggest roof system on the buttress. Continue up, traversing underneath a roof to the left and following a low-angle dihedral to the base of a perfect handcrack in a roof. Belay right underneath this. 5.8, 180'.
P2- Pull this roof on GREAT jams and continue up easier rock to a broad, talus covered ledge. Spot a pedestal with a left facing corner on its right side and set a belay beneath it. 5.9, 200'
P3- Climb the great 5.8 lieback crack to the top of the pedestal and set a belay. 5.8, 70'
p4- Continue up cracks to the large roof. Hand traverse underneath the roof, turn above it on its left side, and continue up the lefthand of two cracks that take off above. Set a belay beneath a wide flake/crack. 5.9+/.10a, 170'
P5- Climb up this wide crack and the faces on the outside, getting gear where you can. At a point where the rock becomes horizontally banded and fractured, look up and left at the headwall and spot the splitter crack. Angle hard left and slightly up to reach a spot beneath a left-trending ramp. Belay below the ramp. 5.7, 150'.
P6- Move up the ramp, getting great handjams in the back. Now comes the good stuff. Jam the hell out of the obvious short offset splitter! (not the corner to the right) Though it's short, it's one of the most splitter cracks in the range. Continue on easy ground to the top of the buttress. 5.10, 120'.


From Taminah Lake, locate the buttress on the west side of the broad, prominent gully. Spot a huge roof near the bottom. Dem Bones begins immediately left of this roof system.
Descent: Walk down slabs to the west to a point where a small snowpatch usually exists. It is easily rapped off of a fixed sling around a horn. No axe needed as of July 29 '07. Continue down the gully.


We took one set of nuts, a double set of cams from blue TCU-#2 camalot and one #3 camalot. Probably don't need the doubles in the blue/yellow TCU size, but they were nice. All natural belays.

Photos of Dem Bones Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking over Taminah Lake from the top of pitch 1.
Looking over Taminah Lake from the top of pitch 1.

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By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From: Bend, OR
Jul 21, 2008
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

Climbed this on 7/21/2008.... It was a fun adventure, but my partner and I felt the unsustained nature of the climbing didn't merit the approach and somewhat stressful descent. See notes below.

2.5 hours to the bivy spot at Lake Taminah. Beautiful spot, the highlight of the trip. We ended up getting a little lost looking for the Avalanche Canyon trail, and that may have saved us some time.... but I don't recommend it, the bushwack wasn't worth the time savings. Plan on 3 hours. Definitely a rugged trail with downed logs and lots of bogs. Expect to lose the trail a few times, but it will always reappear.

45 minutes from the bivy to the base of first pitch. I think the climb would be very difficult to locate with only the information in the Jackson/Ortengenberger book. The photos in that book really give no indication of where the route is located, as they appear to be aerial photographs. We had print outs from the Teton Rock CD and it make locating the route trivial.

The climb went very quickly. We did it in 5 long pitches, and I think it took a little over 3 hours. The buttress was much lower angle than it appeared, and it was basically 700 feet of 5.6-5.7ish climbing with a handful of 5.9 moves. Even the splitter crack at the end felt around 5.9 and was very short (like 20 feet!) The rock was excellent quality, but the climbing was much easier and less sustained than we anticipated. So in that regard it was a bit of a let down. Was it fun? Yes, but neither my partner nor I would do it again.

The descent was somewhat gripping. A big snow year left the slabs with plenty of snow. We were able to avoid the snow, but the hanging slabs (with cliffs below) were quite wet. Eventually we did a rising traverse to the end of the slabs, only to find the dismount to the snow rendered impossible by a yawning moat. Ug. We backtracked some, and found another way to go lower on the slab. We were about to downclimb (5'5ish?) to the snow when we noticed a rap anchor (nut+bush). We decided to rap... and good thing... the 5.5ish slab terminated in a 50-100' deep and 5' wide moat! Fortunately with the rap it was easy to swing out onto the snow.

We brought axes, and damn good thing. The first 300' of the snow was steep and firm. Axe mandatory. Eventually the angle lessened and we glissaded to the scree.

The descent took 2 hours from the top to the bivy spot. And then another 2 hours of stumbling down the unmaintined trail back to the car.

7 hours of hiking/approaching/descending in total. Lots of 5.6 climbing, a handful of 5.9 moves, and a non-trivial descent. You be the judge :)

On a positive note.. .the rock was great quality, the bivy rad, and the view tremendous - particularly from the summit into the South Teton / Cloudveil Dome cirque.

I plan to return to Avalanche Canyon. The spot is beautiful, and Blind Man's Bluff (5.8, about 30 minutes directly above the bivy spot) looks like a very enjoyable route to return for. But I won't be heading up for Dem Bones anytime soon, though it was a fun tick.

Rack - Nuts + Doubles TCUs to #3 camalot is plenty. We linked some pitches, so having the doubles was nice. Lots of long runners. Ice Axe, and consider crampons if firm snow is a possibility.
By Andrew Carson
From: Wilson, WY
Feb 17, 2012
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

We were actively looking for the finishing crux crack but still missed it... very typical Teton route finding issues. Many choices, not an obvious unmistakeable line. This is a good route well worth doing.

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