|Type:||Trad, Alpine, 1500', Grade III|
|Original:||YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b [details]|
|Season:||Spring, Summer, Fall|
|Submitted By:||Vic Zeilman on Mar 12, 2012|
|Comments on North Buttress||Add Comment|
|Show which comments —
By Ray Hellinger
From: Around SW US
Jul 16, 2012
|Love this route. Have done it a couple of times. First time I ever attempted it, in mid July, I got caught in a major ice storm that covered the peak in and inch of ice. Had to downclimb 5.6 terrain. Was scary as hell!! Every other time, had perfect weather.....|
By Nic Harnish
From: Durango, CO
Jul 27, 2012
|Beware the snowfield. Did it in sneakers one time, that was dumb.|
By Steven VanSickle
From: Ouray, Co
Dec 7, 2012
|Has anyone ever heard of a winter ascent of the N. Buttress?|
By Bryan Gilmore
From: New England
Jul 10, 2013
|Steven, Kitty and Lyle Dean did that - maybe 10+ years ago.|
Aug 10, 2014
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R
Loose rock everywhere (it is the San Juans!). We used a 70m and roped the first pitch, I was able to with just a bit of simul'ing get to a large rock on a very large, flat area for the first belay. We solo'd after that.
As of a week ago, the snowfield was about 150' worth of approach. Did it it sneakers cutting steps with an ice ax.
By Ryan Marsters
Aug 15, 2016
Retreating from the route would be quite annoying, so an early start is highly recommended.
Approach (Blaine Basin Trail, ~5 mi): relatively flat for the first half, steep the second half. Trail, rock hop, and low angle snow for about 300 ft. Axe or aluminum crampons highly recommended. We grabbed a couple sharp rocks and burned a lot of time kicking with trail runners. A bit of rockfall - it's good to have mobility. Depending on snow extent, the final scramble to the base is quite loose.
Pitch 1 (5.6, ~150 ft): a bit alpine and loose but plenty of solid options. Start on the left side of the buttress with one piton buried in a crack and sheltered around a wall. The pitch is somewhat sustained and steep in shallow dihedrals/chimneys. Make your way up the most reasonable terrain. The crux involved an awkward move over a somewhat sketchy block. Once the angle and difficulty ease, there's a piton and solid anchor spot about 20 ft up and slightly right.
Pitch 2 (5.4, ~60 ft): can be combined with P1 with a bit of simul, but communication might be more difficult. Climb shallow but moderate angled chimneys up and slightly right via easiest path to an obvious open bench below the steep reddish wall. Depending on comfort, stash the rope.
Final ~900 ft (3rd-5.easy, choose your own adventure): scramble up and right, and bypass the steep wall via steep but JUGGY and obvious class 4 on right. Continue scrambling up the broad gully straight up, choosing your own path and difficulty. Eventually, top out on a ridge a hundred ft shy of the summit and move left, above the top of the Snake. The final 50 ft summit pitch is perhaps 4th-5.easy and can be bypassed left towards the standard route if desired.
Descent: a car shuttle to Yankee would be fantastic, but in lieu of that, either 1) descend the SW Ridge (class 3) to Blue Lakes Pass, and take the Blue Lakes trail back to the car, 2) descend the standard route around a thousand ft to Lavender Col (class 2 with one move of class 3). Scree ski and rock glacier talus hop left back to Blaine Basin or right down to Yankee, where one could catch the Blue Lakes trail or a shuttle, or 3) descend the Snake if it is in and you hauled skis up the route.