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No Escape Buttress, West Arete 

YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 10 pitches, 1000', Grade IV
Original:  YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: FA - Al Read, David Dornan FFA - Buck Tiley, Ivan Rezucha
Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Page Views: 1,982
Submitted By: Toby on Jul 16, 2008

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Pat Mac deals with the overhanging start to the se...


No Escape Buttress is the first rock wall in Leigh Canyon. The low elevation and south aspect make it good for climbing around the same time as Death Canyon.

The West Arete route has a variety of rock, and is an enjoyable alpine rock climb. The crux comes in the form of splitter cracks in the first real pitch of climbing.

P1 - Climb the arete and face under the nice looking handcrack and roof above to a big sloping ledge. Watch for some loose rock. 5.6 100'

P2 - Crank through the 5.10- roof and into the flared hand crack. Easier climbing leads to another 10- move left under a roof. Follow the crack up and right to a belay under a black roof. 5.10- 140'

P3 - Climb the intimidating black roof (5.8) and follow the right hand crack to another small roof. Step right and climb face and cracks to a small ledge in broken rock. Watch for loose blocks above the first roof 5.8 150'

P4 - The next lead goes around the corner under a small roof. Continue up to a wide crack with two fixed pins. Belay on a ledge at the start of 4th class terrain. 5.8 100'

P5 - Scramble up the ridge crest, or just left of it, to a large lunch ledge with a wide crack at it's east end. 4th 200'

P6 - Climb the face left of the wide crack on the ledge's right (east) side. After about 50 feet or so make a traverse right to the pedestal of the main face. Belay on the ledge under the left trending cracks of the next pitch. 5.7 100'

P7 - A great pitch on cool knobs. Work up and left in an awkward crack (5.9). Continue up in a crack to a horizontal traverse left on knobs and a hand rail. Follow the path of least resistance through large knobs on slightly runout terrain. Head for the wide crack above (5.8). Belay on a nice ledge above the wide crack near a ledge extending right on the face. 5.9 150'

P8 - Head right on the ledge (onto the s. face) to the base of wide cracks in the face. Climb the cracks and face to another ledge at the base of the chockstone chimney. Watch for loose rock near the top of the pitch. 5.7 100'

P9 - Climb through the chockstone chimney tunnel and cracks above (one move 5.8 at the top) to a broken belay ledge with a tree. 5.8 140'

P10 - One can make an exciting yet easy traverse right around the corner from the belay and onto the face and up to the ridge. 5.6 80'

Once on the ridge scramble(4th) for a few hundred feet to the top.

OR - One can scramble off left from here and follow the ridge crest for several hundred feet to the top of the buttress. 4th and easy 5th.


Approach -

From camp 14b in Leigh Lake follow a climbers trail west into Leigh Canyon. Once in a large scree slope at the base of the Buttress (0.5 mi) angle up and left (west) to toe of the West Arete. Follow a 3rd class gully west of the toe up for a few hundred feet to ledges below the splitter looking hand crack and roofs of the 2nd pitch.

Decent -

From the top of the Buttress head back into the woods (north) and follow a grassy drainage to the east towards Leigh Lake. When you get lower down head a bit right in thick vegetation back to campsite 14b. This is an easy decent and takes about 45 minutes back to camp 14b.


A standard Teton rock climbing rack will do. A single set from 0.4 - 3" with extras in the .75 - 2" and a 4" piece. A set of Stoppers and many long runners. One 60m rope will do, as there isn't really a rappel option. Roofs line the left side of the cliff lending to the buttresses name, No Escape. If one does want off route, after pitch 4 you can scramble left (north) into a gully and go up and over to the decent (bushwhacking 4th class?). No fixed anchors and very few old pins make this more of an adventure route.

Photos of No Escape Buttress, West Arete Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: The exposed ridge finish
The exposed ridge finish
Rock Climbing Photo: The very cool chockstone tunnel
The very cool chockstone tunnel
Rock Climbing Photo: Awkward moves start the 5.9 pitch 7
Awkward moves start the 5.9 pitch 7
Rock Climbing Photo: The start of pitch 6.
The start of pitch 6.
Rock Climbing Photo: The splitter second pitch.
The splitter second pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: No Escape Buttress.  The first 4 pitches follow th...
BETA PHOTO: No Escape Buttress. The first 4 pitches follow th...

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