Bastille Buttress - Beckey Route
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An awesome adventure on a beautiful 2,000' granite buttress on the North Ridge of Lone Pine Peak. A "sleeper" classic, until it gets published in Fred Beckey's new 100 Favorite Climbs book...
A good topo and approach information exists in the Bishop Area Rock Climbs guide by P. Croft. Depending on the time of year, you may have to traverse an ice, snow, or scree-filled gulley to get to the base of the route.
It has been awhile since I climbed it, so this is my best recollection of the route. Please add any comments or corrections.
P1) Just right of the toe of the buttress, simulclimb an obvious crack system that heads up and splits into two. We took the right crack, which proved to be a bit of a slimy, flaring squeeze. Belay at a large, boulder covered ledge at the base of a massive left-facing hollow arch. 5.7, 100m.
P2) Follow a LF corner and slab with sparse gear to a small stance at the base of a short, steep headwall with a bolt. Gear belay, 5.8R, 55m.
P3) Up a short steep face past a bolt, then follow obvious weaknesses leftward to a semi-hanging belay from gear. 5.8+, 40m.
P4) A crack leads up to a long, unprotected foot-traverse right across a horizontal seam that wraps around the buttress. A slabby move or two directly up from the seam leads to a huge black knob and a bolted belay. 5.7R, 40m.
P5) Some mandatory 5.9 slab past two or three bolts leads to the steep A0 bolt ladder. Aid your way up to a bolted hanging belay. Aiders and jumars are not necessary here, get creative and use some shoulder slings. 5.9 A0, 35m. This vertical pane of glass is rumored to have been freed at 5.13!
P6) "The Ultimate Finger Crack." If this thing were on ground level it would have a waiting line year-round. A clean splitter that varies from tips to thin-hands with nary a foothold in sight. Small cams (up to .75 camalot) and nuts will fit just about anywhere on this one. Originally rated A1. If you cant free 5.10c, don't bother doing the route, this is as good as it gets. Gear belay at a stance atop a horizontal dike. 5.10c, 30m.
P7) Continue up the awesome crack (albeit at a lower angle) as it turns the corner and widens into a grain-silo squeeze chimney. Gear belay at a small stance at the base of a steep LF dihedral. 5.8, 30m.
P8) The Crux. A steep LF dihedral with a crack that varies from fingers to fists. Ideal belay is at a poor stance after turning a small roof towards the end of the steep section. If you're like me, you may only have one cam and a few nuts left after leading this beast and may have to belay wherever possible. Rated 5.10d in the Croft guide, Beckey and I are more keen to a 5.11 grade. 40m.
P9) A grainy, possibly hollow LF flake in the corner leads up to a funky mantle move right on a ledge around the arete. An easy corner goes up to a nice gear/sling belay in a notch. 5.10a, 40m.
P10) Up an easy section of slab to a large triangular roof. Place a piece in the roof with a long sling, then step down a few feet until your hands can reach the lip on the left side. Crank over the lip and up towards a stance belay with small gear and a fixed pin or two. A short pitch, 5.6/7, 20?m.
P11&12) I linked these two (accidentally) with a 60m rope. A few thin moves off the belay leads to fun and juggy 5.6 face climbing left around the arete. I found an ancient 1/4" bolt here sticking 3/4" out of the rock! Climb past a small ledge (possible belay) and choose between a short squeeze on the left or unprotected 5.5ish face just to the right. Gear belay from a comfy ledge. 5.8/9, 50+m.
P13) Up and left across a short slab past two bolts (1 hangerless) to a shallow groove that leads up and left to a short chimney. Finish up the chimeny to a bolted belay atop a big ledge. 5.7, 40m.
P14) An A0 move off the belay (or 5.11+) leads to a knobby 5.7 face with two bolts. Above this, easy terrain leads to the "Shark's Fin", a wildly exposed perched boulder on the narrow ridgeline. Climb up and over the fin to a massive ledge and belay from boulders.
P15) I was unsure where this final pitch went. Supposed to check in at 5.9. There is a steep block above the belay ledge, and the line may have gone somewhere near the right side of it, but there was a large snow bank blocking our way in April. I opted for a line on the left that was like 5.9R/X with a bone crushing landing in a gulley. My only pro was a slung horn about 40' up, well after the difficult sections were over. From here, easy blocky terrain leads to the top.
Descent beta: The "standard" descent heads up the ridge (climber's left) to a long scree-filled gully along the left side of the buttress. In April, this gulley was alive with avalanches throughout the day, so we opted to take a long descent down the north ridge, eventually contouring back south into the main drainage.
Gear: Double rack from #0 TCU to #3 camalot, set of nuts. A #4 camalot was handy on the P8 crux. Many long slings. Nearly all of the protection bolts on this route have been replaced by the ASCA. The last two bolts on the A0 ladder (P5) are 1970 originals! One buttonhead with leeper hanger, and another 1/4" stud with homemade aluminum hanger and square nut!
|Photos of Bastille Buttress - Beckey Route Slideshow
looking down at the ultimate 10c finger crack
Erik Harz starting up the 5.11 crux Pitch 8
Erik Harz on the Shark Fin, Pitch 14
Lone Pine Peak on the left, the Bastille Buttress ...
Richard Shore following the beautiful P6 10c split...
Richard Shore on the 5.9R/X final pitch (variation...
|Comments on Bastille Buttress - Beckey Route
|By Richard Shore|
Dec 7, 2011
Original grade 5.8 A2. The crux pitches are well protected, and can easily be pulled through on gear if necessary (but why cheat yourself?). The rest of pitches are NOT well protected. Expect lots of heads-up slabbiness. The runouts are long enough to keep your head in check while on the easier terrain.
May 3, 2012
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b
Great route. The cruxes protect well, on clean rock.
We found the approach was best by staying high on the east side of Inyo Creek until directly across from the toe of the buttress. The creek crossing is easy and gear could be left there and then picked up again after the descent.