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North Buttress 

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

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 9 pitches, 800', Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: John Fisher, Dennis Hennek, Jay Jensen, and T.M. Herbert - 1974
Season: Summer
Page Views: 8,240
Submitted By: Adam Kimmerly on Mar 13, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (32)
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BETA PHOTO: A topo of our route up the East Buttress of Mt Goo...


8-9 pitches in most guidebooks, this route can be done fairly easily in 7 pitches with a 60m rope. Here's how the pitches break down to do it in 7 pitches.

Approach the base of the climb, and scramble up and left on the 4th-class slab to a good ledge below an obvious corner system with a thin-hands crack on the right wall. Rope up there.

P1: 190' (5.8) Climb the open book with the thin-hands crack to a ledge, then up another open book with a fist crack in the corner.

P2: 185' (5.9) Traverse left across the face, looking for an old piton. Sparse gear protects the traverse, with the crux move of the pitch dropping down across the chimney. Cross the chimney and climb the face to the left (small pro).

P3: 70' Climb up loose, easy 5th class to the base of the steep corner.

P4: 185' (5.9) Head straight up the corner stemming and jamming in the finger cracks, then climb the hand crack/chimney above.

P5: 190' Easy 5th class up the ridge. Communication is difficult.

P6: 80' (5.7) Climb up and right to a 5.7 hand crack to a tight tunnel through to the South. Belay on ledge.

P7: 110' (5.8) Climb the short OW straight up the ridge and follow the ridge to the 5.8 mantel onto the summit block. Easy to bail out left from the start of this pitch.

Many bail slings exist on the route ranging in quality. Bring your own bail slings if the weather looks suspicious. DO NOT bail into the gully to the south as it is a bowling alley of rockfall. Rap directly down the route.


Once on top, the easiest descent is obvious - the talus slope to the South-East leading to scree slopes that drop you right next to Bishop Lake. Don't leave anything at the base of the route because the descent does not take you back to that location.


1 set of nuts, small cams (set of TCUs recommended), a few mid-sized cams to #3 Camalot, and a few hexes.

More Photos
Can be found here - thanks Murf.

Photos of North Buttress Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: A reflection of the North Buttress, Mt Goode in Ma...
A reflection of the North Buttress, Mt Goode in Ma...
Rock Climbing Photo: Approaching the route.
Approaching the route.
Rock Climbing Photo: Dan Rampe moving east - 7/8/13
Dan Rampe moving east - 7/8/13
Rock Climbing Photo: This might upset some people that think CA granite...
This might upset some people that think CA granite...
Rock Climbing Photo: Our approach to the North Buttress of Mt Goode is ...
BETA PHOTO: Our approach to the North Buttress of Mt Goode is ...
Rock Climbing Photo: First half of P1 per Adam's topo.
First half of P1 per Adam's topo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Approach to the base of the buttress, July 4th
Approach to the base of the buttress, July 4th
Rock Climbing Photo: A little practical joking at our last belay
A little practical joking at our last belay
Rock Climbing Photo: Mike leading up what was the crux for me (p4 of Ad...
BETA PHOTO: Mike leading up what was the crux for me (p4 of Ad...
Rock Climbing Photo: .
Rock Climbing Photo: First pitch
BETA PHOTO: First pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Tracy McDermott near the end of the last pitch.
Tracy McDermott near the end of the last pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down on the last pitch
Looking down on the last pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Beginning of last pitch
Beginning of last pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: .
Rock Climbing Photo: cool pinnacle at the top of p4.
cool pinnacle at the top of p4.
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 5 (per the route description on this page).
BETA PHOTO: Pitch 5 (per the route description on this page).
Rock Climbing Photo: Sept. 29, 2009
Sept. 29, 2009
Rock Climbing Photo: The hands-to-offwidth start of the last pitch.
BETA PHOTO: The hands-to-offwidth start of the last pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Rob Beno leading the 5.9 traverse (P2)
Rob Beno leading the 5.9 traverse (P2)

Comments on North Buttress Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 12, 2017
By climberz
Jul 30, 2007

Had a hard time finding the official start. The one we did felt 5.10. It was harder than any other pitch on the climb. Great sand descent. Very fun running down little sand chutes. The easiest descent I've done in the Sierras. Goode route to do in a day.
By David Shiembob
From: slc, ut
Aug 7, 2007

Did this route on 8/4, it's really good. On the traverse pitch, we went straight up after climbing around the first arete. This puts you at the bottom of the loose third class. Kind of a grunt with a .9+/.10- OW crux. We climbed out onto the talus covered ledge near the bottom of the 2nd to last pitch and got off-route again. This time we were rewarded with a fantastic zig-zag crack that goes up the clean face left of a pillar and right of a nasty looking OW splitter, right off the middle of the big ledge. Pull some overhanging .10 jug/crack moves to gain the crack/ramp directly or climb up the side of the lefthand pillar and step over to the ramp. Very fun diagonalling crack moves ensue, awkward but very fun at .9+ probably.
By markguycan
From: flagstaff, AZ
Jun 3, 2009

did a version in 1996 w/ Lane Taglio. missed the 4th class approach pitch and went straight up a dihedral from a pretty good bergschrund (below start of traverse)-this was the crux pitch. Had lunch on a sweet ledge in the sun above the (not too) ugly chimney. then on pitch 6 we climbed a nice hand crack hidden behind a huge flake, this took us to a final short blocky pitch and the summit. I remember sleeping the night before at Saddlebag lake and the mosquitos were horrible!
By Alan Nilsson
Feb 13, 2010

Helmet, helmet, helmet. I think even for an alpine route, this climb is fairly loose.

Well worth the effort though
By fossana
From: leeds, ut
Jun 28, 2010

People complain about the loose rock on Temple but this route was worse. Beautiful formation and great views but a ton of choss.
By x15x15
Jul 26, 2010

Hmmm, can’t disagree more with Fossana! This route has choss, but it’s a freak’n mountain. It also has some great climbing, but it is a mountain. And a comparison to Temple is silly.

Overall, this route rocks, even if it is just a short climb. Remember, this is a mountain, so treat accordingly...
By fossana
From: leeds, ut
Feb 24, 2011

I have quite a bit of experience on High Sierra routes and am not one to bitch unnecessarily about loose rock on alpine routes. That being said, unlike many other Sierra routes, there are sections on this route where it's difficult to avoid loose rocks (e.g. the chimney pitch and the loose blocks piled on top of snow-covered scree/sand pile on P2). I have soloed routes on Temple but wouldn't consider it on Goode.
By Richard Shore
Sep 20, 2011

A great adventure, and not quite the loose rock horror-show others are making it out to be. There are only a few sections where the choss is unavoidable (per the topo above) - the notch belay at the top of P3, and the belay at the top P4. Atop P4 you are basically standing on a pile of sand with loose blocks. Set a directional to one side to keep the rope from knocking blocks down on your follower.

Lightweight crampons or a small axe/adze for chopping steps in the hard ice on the final approach to the base of the route are nice in late season. The fixed pin that protects the crux traverse on P2 looked solid.
By Jonathan Howland
Jul 12, 2013

1. Of the topos/beta in circulation, MP is most reliable. 6 pitches w/ 60 m. rope.
2. Don't do this route with anyone above you. Even the most careful/alert climber is apt to dislodge material of size.
3. Stay alert on the traverse; the fixed pin (on the second of the two faces) marks the point at which you turn this second arete to gain the chimney and face.
By PumpkinEater
From: Sacramento
Jul 21, 2014

Great Sierra climb. Loose enough to make climbing below another party a bad idea but not "a ton of choss" by any means.
By mpech
Sep 8, 2014

didn't feel that chossy or loose/dangerous.
great climb with a moderate approach and descent.
Summit register suggests that a lot of new routing is going on in the area.
By jayhofman
From: Bishop
Jul 5, 2017
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Climbed NB on July 4th. My partner and I bivied at Margaret Lake the night before. Huge suncups on the snow field leading up to the base of the buttress, easy hiking. We did the climb in 6 pitches, leading in blocks. I led the first 3 and my partner the second 3. It took us 4 hours to reach the summit. Little pebbles here and there but no major choss. The route was dry, small patch of snow on top of pitch 3 gully.

There was snow covering the top third of the descent before you get to the sandy area. Snow was melted by the sun (by 11am) and made for some easy glissading. Awesome way to spend Independence Day!
By Tyler Logan
From: Mammoth Lakes, CA
Aug 12, 2017

I agree with fossana’s assessment above. This is a great line with amazing views. It is probably a must-do route for anyone who has already climbed a lot in the Sierra. That said, it is considerably looser than other classic lines in the Sierra, including all of the Celestial Aretes on Temple (I don’t see what’s “silly” about making a comparison as it helps people know what to expect; Temple Crag is a mountain, also, despite having a name that might mislead some people). I’m amazed by some of the above comments. This route’s reputation for being looser than the average high Sierra technical rock climb is well established, and for good reason.

One can avoid some of the loose rock and make this climb a little safer by being very careful about route-finding, which is fairly tricky on this climb. With this in mind, here’s some additional information to supplement the existing route description, with the assumption one will try to climb this in 7 pitches:

Approach start of the route from the right side of the buttress, traversing up and left on exposed 4th class terrain. Keep traversing until just before you reach the obvious drop-off. You will be on an excellent ledge.

Pitch 1 (200-220’): The first pitch begins by climbing the attractive fingers-to-thin-hands crack that is 5 feet left of a shallow corner formed by a flake (the “open book” referred to in the route description above). After 30 feet, step left a few feet and head toward a set of wider cracks, switching back and forth on these to keep things about 5.8 (albeit a bit strenuous). To get to the top of the traditional 2nd pitch (as per Supertopo and others), you will need more than a 60 meter rope (a 70 would easily work), or you will need to do some simul-climbing. Other options for setting up a belay at 200 or less feet exist, but these aren’t the greatest (very thin cracks and sketchy looking flakes).

Pitch 2 (170 to 190’): Depending upon where you have established your belay, you will either traverse left and possibly down as much as 15 feet, or directly left past the first arete where you should be able to spot a knifeblade piton on the face before the second arete (if you can't spot it, try looking down and left--you're likely too high). Other protection opportunities to this point are sparse. Once you have negotiated the step across to the chimney, you must decide to climb either the chimney or the face to the left. I took the latter option and found the climbing to be about 5.8 with a lot of suspect rock but good protection higher up. If I wasn’t wearing a pack, I would have taken the chimney, which looked very secure though not much fun. The rock deteriorates the higher you go on this pitch while the climbing gets much easier. An attractive ledge to the left with many anchoring options appears just as you get a good view of the nice looking 5.9 fourth pitch (right-facing corner on a steep, clean wall). You can expect some rope drag on this pitch.

Pitch 3 (110’): Trend up and right on easy 5th class but extremely loose terrain to the base of the right-facing corner, which takes small to medium sized gear.

Pitch 4 (190’): Climb the steep corner and cracks and enjoy some of the best quality rock on the route and definitely the hardest climbing at honest 5.9. Diverse protection opportunities exist, with an emphasis on smaller gear. This pitch can easily be sewed up during the hardest sections. As the corner turns into a chimney, abundant cracks and holds appear on the left, making the last 80 feet only about 5.6 and still enjoyable even with a pack on. As the chimney ends, exit to the left and negotiate some easy but loose terrain for about 20 feet to a sloping dirt ledge with ½” to 3” cracks for an anchor.

Pitch 5 (200+ feet): Go straight up cracks and broken and frequently loose terrain on the ridge, trending right at the top to reach a scree-covered ledge (plenty of anchoring options) from which you can see a striking chimney to the right formed by a giant leaning block (you won’t be climbing this). You can’t quite make it to this ledge with a 60 meter rope, so doing a bit of simul-climbing might be an attractive option as this pitch is low fifth class. Another option is to set the belay somewhere lower and before trending right (lots of stances and anchoring options exist), but this will result in poor communication for the next pitch. It would also make a lot of sense to simply break this pitch into two of about 110' each.

Pitch 6 (90’): Go more-or-less straight up for 70 feet, then head left and under an obvious chockstone (see one of the posted pics). There are several ways to go for the first 70 feet, from steep hand cracks on the right to an awkward-looking chimney on the left, depending on which cracks look most attractive and/or protectable to you. I opted for some steeper hand cracks on the right side and found well-protected 5.9 climbing (watch for rope drag if you do this). Belay just past the chockstone on the east side of the buttress at the base of a hand-sized crack that quickly turns into offwidth.

Pitch 7 (110’): Climb the hand-to-offwidth crack for 30’ then continue on to the summit up broken crack systems or blocks. The best-protected finish follows a short and steep section of crack that lands you just left of the summit block. You can also climb blocks directly to the summit by trending right.

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