REI Community
El Capitan Base Routes
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Ahab T 
Bluffer, The T 
Captain Hook, Left T 
Captain Hook, Right T 
Delectable Pinnacle, Right  T 
El Cap Tree T 
Footstool, Right, The T 
Freeblast T 
Gollum T 
Hardly Pinnacle T 
Indubious Battle T 
La Arista T,S 
La Cosita, Left T 
La Cosita, Right T 
La Escuela T 
Little John, Left T 
Little John, Right T 
Mark of Art T 
Masquerade/Call Me Ishmael S 
Moby Dick T 
Moby Dick, Left T 
Party Mix T 
Peter Left T 
Peter Pan T 
Pine Line T 
Pterodactyl Terrace, Left T 
Pterodactyl Terrace, Right T 
Reeds Leads T 
Rock Neurotic S 
Sacherer Cracker T 
Salathe (pitch 1) T 
Seedy Leads T 
Short But Thin T 
Simulkrime T,TR 
Slack ( center), The T 
Slack, Left, The T 
Sparkling Give-away T,S 
West Buttress (pitch 1&2) T 

West Buttress (pitch 1&2) 

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

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 300'
Original:  YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Layton Kor, Steve Roper, 1963
Page Views: 1,991
Submitted By: Bryan G on Dec 26, 2011

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (3)
Your todo list:
Your stars:
Your rating: -none- [change]
Your ticklist: [add new tick]
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [0 people like this page.]

Closures for Peregrine Falcon Protection MORE INFO >>>


So the West Buttress obviously isn't a "base route", but the first two pitches make for excellent cragging if you're in the area for Peter Pan.

There are a couple variations on the first pitch. There is a 5.6 start to the left which hand traverses a juggy diagonal crack up and right.

The 5.9 start is what we did, which starts at almost the same spot as Peter Pan. Climb straight up the flake which varies from fists to fingers. Feels sort of stiff for 5.9, I thought it was harder than the 10a second pitch. Either start you end at a bolted belay off to the right of the crack.

The second pitch is long and spectacular. Climb a low angle 4" crack to a wider crack below a roof. From below this looks impossible but there's some good face holds out left. Stepping over to these is the crux (10a). Then climb up the delecate flake a short ways and move left again to the furthest left crack. (Don't miss this traverse or you'll end up in harder and scarrier terrain). Hand-jam up the awesome crack/flake to the anchor.

From here, make two double-rope rappels to the ground.

I think from here the West Buttress route climbs up to some old bolts and then swings over into the seam to the left which is filled with fixed hardware and bushes. There's also a sweet looking crack going through a bulge over to the right. I'm not sure if there is an anchor above the bulge however.


Doubles from fingers to 2". A 6" piece protects the crux step left below the roof. The 5.6 start looks like it protects with some 4.5" pieces.

Comments on West Buttress (pitch 1&2) Add Comment
Show which comments
By Rob Dillon
Dec 27, 2011

Well worth the walk, but you have to commit to this when you leave the road or else you'll just end up climbing the Sacherer Cracker again.
By Alexey
From: San Jose
May 1, 2012
rating: 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b

indeed very hard 5.9 first pitch. I added #3 and #4 to above gear recommendation .
Second pitch traverse can be protected by pin, #6 and red alien.
But topo is perplexing. From topo in Reid you think that you need to take the first vertical crack after traverse, but in fact you need to do one more traverse to second crack. If you believe topo and continue first crack as I did - you will find climbing harder and harder and find this crack almost diminishing and no bolts in the end. At this point you can not traverse free to left crack which has bolts in the end. But pendulum works.
My 80 m rope was not work for rappel on p2- it is about 45 m long.

By Rob Dillon
May 13, 2012

Glad to see the topo doesn't completely remove the adventure up here:)
By Lou Hibbard
From: Eagan, MN
Dec 4, 2012

When I did this climb in 2002 where you are supposed to cut left on the 2nd pitch I went right. I think there was at least one bolt that sucked me off route. Anyways - it got pretty hard and I took a nice fall onto a tiny nut that held.
Not paying enough attention to the topo. Came back and finished the pitch after the bad memories faded two years later.

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About