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BETA PHOTO: Awful Buttress topo
This route probably falls under the category of "Adventure Climbs". Route-finding for the first few pitches can be difficult, and the straightforward upper pitches involve grunting through chimneys, wrestling off-widths, clawing over bushes, delicately treading over balanced boulders, and some lichen covered rock. If all this hasn't sunk in yet, there's the name of the buttress itself...
Pitch 1-2, 250ft: Some variations, one of which is climbing 100 ft up a blackened corner to a nice ledge with a small tree. Off to the left of the ledge is a broad sloping ramp. From the ledge, angle up and right following mossy cracks, or traverse right for 50-100 ft and find a weakness in the rock above to gain the "Bivouac ledge", a large vegetated ledge. Many of the routes on the NE face start from this ledge and share the first few pitches with this route.
Pitch 3, 60ft: Take the large crack system at the back of the left (North) side of the Bivouac ledge which starts off chimney like up to a small chock-stone, at which point there are some good face holds off to the left which allow escape from the corner. Continue past an awkward bulge to a comfortable ledge off to the left. Build an anchor with small wires using a tiny seam at the back of the ledge.
Pitch 4, 60 ft: Probably the dirtiest pitch. Fight past vegetation over stacked flakes which are jammed into the crack-system. After 30 ft, choose between a squeeze chimney stright-up, or a crack system to the right. The crack on the right is dirty. It also is formed behind a pillar of rock which may not be that well attached to the cliff, although you don't realize this until you get to its top. At which point delicate face moves are required to regain the corner system.
Pitch 5, 120 ft: Crux pitch. Start up the chimney and gain the large chock-stone, then break onto the face on the right and up an off-width crack. A small seam to the right of the off-width offers some additional holds and protection (piton and old 1/4" bolt). After a rest-stance, the off-width continues up for another 40 ft to the top of the buttress.
The top of the buttress is a sharp ridge dropping down into Boyer's Chute to the south. 400 ft of 4rth class scrambling are required to gain the summit.
Awful buttress is located on the North West face of the NRE. Approach from Rabbit Ears canyons and take the first prominent gully which leads SE to the base of the NW face.
There are rappel anchors that can be found at the top of the route. These drop you into Boyer's Chute with a double-rope rappel.
Large cams (#3 camelot and bigger) are reassuring but not required if you're comfortable in large cracks. Aside from the piton and bolt on P5, no fixed gear is found on this climb.
BETA PHOTO: Looking up at Awful Buttress from the Bivouac ledg...
|Comments on Awful Buttress
|By Karl Kiser|
Sep 18, 2010
A common route in the 70s was the Pea Pod (5.8). It went up several chimney pitches to the left of the red line on the photo (first pitch probably the same). Then there is a belay on a steep ridge of rock near the top. The Pea Pod is a relatively short off width pitch to the left. The end of this pitch would place one a bit below the top of North Rabbit Ear.