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South Buttress 

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

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 500'
Original:  YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Rick Piggot (solo!)
Page Views: 4,945
Submitted By: Adam Kimmerly on Nov 12, 2009

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (16)
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South Buttress P2

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  • Description 

    This is a gear-protected route with gear belays. Pitch breakdown is subjective. Here's how I would do it next time...

    P1 5.10a 120': Scramble up the ramp, carefully stemming past the yucca to the steep OW and squeeze chimney. A cruxy section of OW & lieback moves gets you to a rest, then more squeeze chimneying and stemming gets you through a second crux and up to a nice belay (med. gear) just above an old bolt.

    P2 5.9 190' (or 2 pitches): Lieback up the flake to a wide crack. Face climb and stem up to a rest midway up the crack, then either chimney in to place pro or lieback up the wide crack to the small roof where it pinches off to tight hands. Lieback up over the roof, then wander straight up thinning cracks and face climbing to a short splitter just right of a large bush. Belay at the large dirt-covered ledge.

    P3 5.8 120': Climb up the sparsely protected face directly below the roof and choose to pass the roof on the right (original route) or left (our choice). Passing the roof on the left involves some tricky liebacking and stemming around the corner of the roof to easier stemming in a wide crack. Belay somwhere above.

    P4 5.easy 100': Scramble up easier terrain to the top of the formation.


    Approach the base of Corte Madera via a variety of options (rap in from the top or hike or drive your 4x4 down the gnarly Espinosa Trail to the lower trailhead). Look for the obvious wide, right-facing crack system splitting the crag right at the toe of the buttress.


    A set of nuts and single cams up to BD #4 with doubles of #2, #3, and #4 being useful. We also brought a #5 which got used but wasn't a necessity.

    Photos of South Buttress Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: South Buttress Richard Shore heading up P3
    South Buttress Richard Shore heading up P3
    Rock Climbing Photo: South Buttress of Corte Madera
    BETA PHOTO: South Buttress of Corte Madera

    Comments on South Buttress Add Comment
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    By Andre Kovacs
    From: san diego, ca
    Jan 28, 2011

    If your into OW's and runout's this climbs for you. Can link 5 pitches into 3 with a 70 meter rope. Longest route at Corte Madera!
    Jul 22, 2012
    rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R

    This is an excellent route - can't think of another pure trad line in So Cal that is better.

    The second pitch squeeze was the business for me.
    No chance of falling out of it but it was a lot of work.

    offwidth and run out
    what more could ya ask for!!
    By saltlick
    Nov 3, 2013
    rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R

    An amazing line, to be sure. Some jerk/considerate person has stashed a machete at the yucca for those who don't wish to awkwardly stem around it...IMO if you're having issues with bypassing the yucca, you should probably walk 50 yds left and climb Sunset Streaks instead.

    The P1 stem-n'-squeeze was physical, but I'll agree with Riley and say that the last 10 ft of the p2 squeeze was the real hardness. I thought that the first bit of P3 deserved an R, considering the deck-potential, though I was able to get marginal pro before the roof. Speaking of the roof - GO LEFT. We followed Rick to the right and regretted it.
    By jeffblankman
    From: San Diego, Ca
    Nov 3, 2013

    Agreed. Pitch 1 is surely a physical grovel, but I found P2 to have "harder" moves and scarier pro (maybe because I was leading that one). Even the moves (lieback) off the belay up the initial wedged flake/crack of P2 were heady for me. Not great pro options (inless you want to place where the best hands are) and very awkward to place. My savior was a solid nut in a small constriction in the thin crack to the left about 2 feet or so up the first flake. The wideness above sux, too. I used some positive side-facing feet out right to press my back into the edge of the wide crack until those ran out. After that, I went into the crack--get your chicken wing on: no heel-toe unless your feet rival Shaq's.. There is also a crack a ways back in that you can use for side-pulls with your left. Crack in the roof above the wide took a #1 C4 and offers a good jam. Getting out and pulling the roof with poor feet was difficult. Got a less-than-secure jam above and plugged a #2 about 3 feet above. Climbing on P2 eases after that, tho depending on the way you choose, can be run out.

    Note that you can follow the ledge below the roof to climbers left about 60ish feet to link to the 2nd belay of Sunshine Streaks and rap down/climb up.

    S Butt, tho rated the same as Sunset is WAY more technical, more strenuous, and time-consuming. If you cruise SS, don't expect the same on the butt!
    By Richard Shore
    Dec 8, 2014
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

    Excellent line; felt more committing than say something at Tahquitz due to the remoteness and lack of other climbers and fixed gear. Never felt runout on P3 - I was able to place a handful of tiny cams and nuts with looong slings (think 6'+ to keep drag down) off to the right before traversing back left under the roof. #5 cam not necessary.
    By TactiCool
    From: Republic Of Korea
    Jul 2, 2015

    Did what Andre mentioned and linked 5 pitches into 3 with a 70 meter rope. Felt rating was spot on. Good challenging climb.

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