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Sentinel Buttress 

YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ ZA: 11 British: MS 4a

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 200'
Original:  YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ ZA: 11 British: MS 4a [details]
FA: Robert Mosely, M. Davis - 1963
Season: Spring & Fall
Page Views: 8,298
Submitted By: Allen Freeman on Jun 2, 2008

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (86)
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BETA PHOTO: P2 of Sentinel Buttress and rappel anchor location...


A fantastic introduction to leading trad in North Carolina.

Starts at the foot of the buttress and heads up to the Crow's Nest (many variations). Terrain is easier to the left side of the face but gear placements are more plentiful to the right. Choose your adventure.

Walk onto the big ledge on the west side of the buttress. Follow the obvious notch for 90' of cruiser climbing and good exposure, traverse right and up under the bulge to top out. Walk off or rap back to the Crow's Nest (a 60m barely makes it), and then to the ground.


The first pitch of this is actually on (below) the Circus Wall, and serves as the most common approach to Zoo View and Bimbo's Bulge. Start directly below the Crow's Nest.


Nuts, cams to #3, tricams for horizontals are nice but not required. Gear anchors for both pitches. Pack plenty of long slings and extend your placements, especially on the first pitch.

Photos of Sentinel Buttress Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: First pitch of Sentinel.
BETA PHOTO: First pitch of Sentinel.
Rock Climbing Photo: Walk right to the end of the Crow's Nest and route...
Walk right to the end of the Crow's Nest and route...
Rock Climbing Photo: 2nd pitch of Sentinel Buttress route.  Higher on t...
2nd pitch of Sentinel Buttress route. Higher on t...
Rock Climbing Photo: Rock that got pulled from the crows nest as part o...
Rock that got pulled from the crows nest as part o...
Rock Climbing Photo: First Pitch
First Pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down the 2nd pitch to the crows nest ledge
Looking down the 2nd pitch to the crows nest ledge

Comments on Sentinel Buttress Add Comment
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By Jake Jones
From: Richmond, VA
Nov 29, 2011

I slung the boulder next to the rap rings at the top of the first pitch. If you do it right, you can give descenders plenty of room and still have a nice comfy belay stance.
By Scott O
From: California
Nov 30, 2011

Personally, I won't sling that boulder. If you look underneath it, I don't think much is keeping it there. I doubt the body weight of your second could pull it off, but it's not the sort of thing I'd trust for an anchor.
By Ryan Williams
From: London (sort of)
Feb 29, 2012
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

FWIW, another large boulder that used to get slug was pulled off a few summers ago. The way I heard it, a leader took a fall on Zoo View and his belayer had slung a large boulder as his only anchor to the rock/ledge. When the leader fell, he picked up the belayer AND the boulder, and the boulder fell to the ground below. Glad no one was down there...
By Matt Westlake
Feb 29, 2012
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

I was at the Air Show belay level with the Crow's nest the moment that boulder got yanked up. Got a picture of the rock too that I'll post up for fun. Torso sized?

The belayer was anchored off the large boulder that has the rap slings under it but had also girth hitched a smaller boulder and clipped his harness into it - ostensibly to be "extra safe" and back up the usual big rock. The leader fell and the smaller boulder portion of the anchor took the load first, which caused it to get pulled out of it's little niche and left it dangling from the harness of the belayer, who was now fully weighting the bigger boulder. With some help he got it free and it tumbled down the face of Sentinel to land at the base, mostly intact. Me and my partner yelled for folks to clear out while they sorted out the dangling rock. No one was hurt but the main take away was be careful what you anchor into!
By wjmetcalf
Jul 21, 2012

Eric Metcalf was my son. He died 08JUL2012 at Sentinel Buttress. Investigation is still ongoing. Likely a rappelling mistake. Be careful out there. I was a Philmont rock climbing instructor. Eric was a very good climber. Mistakes can happen. Check everything. Verify everything. Trust nothing. Look up "basscausality" on Youtube or "Eric Metcalf" on Youtube. Thanks.
By Greg N
From: AZ
Dec 5, 2013

What is the descent off of zoo view? Sorry have never climbed in this area and not beta
By Jake Jones
From: Richmond, VA
Dec 6, 2013

Greg, take a look at Zoo View page under Circus Wall. The descent is described there. It is the same rappel station that you use to descend Sentinel Buttress.
By b.t.miller
From: Charlotte, NC
Mar 3, 2014

Brought my 11 year old son here yesterday so he could lead Sentinel. Overall, it really is a fun climb with great exposure. Spectacular view of the Piedmont/valley.

Gear placement is interesting though. P1- climbed more right at the start which is a touch more challenging but better protected. NOTE: long slings are critical (36"-48" are good choices) because the short pitch wanders. Belay - very surprised to see others NOT backing up the cabled anchors around the boulder of crows nest. There are plenty of natural placements available on the wall proper about 10' behind the anchored boulders. #4 nut in perfect directional slot near the ground and a #0.3 and #0.4 BD cam placed about 6' up in a horizontal (directly above small vertical seam that took the #4 nut). Equalized on long slings. P2- the crack system that you ascend is typical for Moore's-- sort of jagged crack system. Long slings are a must. #3 cam comes in big handy. Climb to the bulge at the top and move up and right. Top out and setup a natural anchor in horizontals. Tri-cams worked really well on the belay setup.. #1.5 and 2.0. Rappel anchors are hidden to climbers left and just below the rim... about 10' to climbers left of natural belay.
By fromtheestuary
Sep 24, 2015

As of 9/19/2015 the rap station for this route looks beyond bomber, two bolts/hangers in solid vertical placements, connected with swaged cable, with two burly quick links to run the rope through. 60m made it just barely to the crows nest, and plenty to spare back to the ground.
By Chris Funk
Apr 1, 2016

Super fun route for an introduction to multi-pitch & trad. Jugs throughout and great exposure!!

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