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Surprise Buttress 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c A1-2

Type:  Trad, Aid
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c A1-2 [details]
FA: Pat Leonard and Paul Wohlt
Page Views: 120
Submitted By: Marta Reece on Nov 24, 2013

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The description below, found in NMSU archives, was created by the legendary Southwest Mountaineers. It is at a minimum twenty years old, but likely dates as far back as 1970’s. The rock itself may have changed since that time. The rating system certainly has. For comparison, the Davis Route is listed in the same document as 5.3 and Boyer’s Chute as 5.2. So please treat what follows as a rough guide to an adventure, not as a solid and current info. If you do climb the route, sharing of what you learn would be appreciated.

Approach as for any northwest face route but branch right and go to the base of Surprise Buttress to a point where a crumbly little tower leans against the face. Mounting this tower seems a good idea, and two unused bolts above attest to our good intentions. Instead, start up a narrow, vanishing ramp down and to the left. Negotiate steep slabs and occasional vertical or overhanging bits (slings around knobs) until the Miracle Route traverse is reached about 300' above. According to Wohlt, "when in doubt, go left." The Surprise Buttress is a great deceiver about angle. From a distance, it appears to offer a staircase of good ledges separated by moderate angle rock. With your nose against it, the good ledges turn into slabs too steep to stand on, and the moderate angle rock pushes you off.


The original rating is listed as "5.8 and aid."

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