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Central Buttress 

YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b A0+

   
Type:  Trad, Aid, 10 pitches, 1200', Grade IV
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b A0+ [details]
FA: Ken Trout, Scott Visscher, September, 1979
Season: Summer
Page Views: 2,981
Submitted By: Ken Trout on Jan 16, 2011

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BETA PHOTO: Central Buttress.

Introduction, Description, & Equipment 

INTRODUCTION
For climbers who like long routes, wild places, good granite, and for whom a little A0+ is acceptable, this could be the best 5.9+/5.10- trad route in the San Juan Mountains.

On the other hand, none of the pitches are as beautiful as Honey Pot on Ophir Wall (or as hard). Even worse, the short stretch of A0+ on funky bolts is in serious need of re-drilling. Morning shade can make for a chilly start too.

ROUTE DESCRIPTION
The route climbs the left side of a Yosemite style pinnacle on the central buttress. Above the block that forms the summit of the pinnacle there is only a little A-zeroing needed to connect with the next crack. That bit should go free and will be much harder than the rest of the route.

Photo by Mountainproject contributor SamP.
Photo by Mountainproject contributor SamP.


This is a very rough route description. There are no fixed belays and no consensus yet on where to belay, so please be ready to make adjustments.

Pitch one: Start a bit left of the toe of the buttress in a short chimney (5.7 or worse). There is a bigger chimney/crack to the left to avoid. The short chimney leads to face climbing past some horizontal seams. The pitch can be stretched with more crack climbing up to good ledges.

Pitch two: Aim for the easiest way to connect with the left side of the Pinnacle. A moderate pitch that can be ended before the climbing increases in difficulty (5.6?).

Pitch three: I trust SamP's photo below more than my memory (5.8?).
Pitch three photo by Mountainproject contributor SamP.
Pitch three photo by Mountainproject contributor SamP.


Pitch four A quality crack pitch that may not be obvious, aim left. It starts steep and beautiful and gains entry to the main corner (5.9).
Pitch four.
Pitch four.


Pitch five: From the sloping stance, climb the excellent corner (5.9 or maybe 5.10). This pitch may stretch all the way to the belay below the A0 bolts (or not!).
Trout Man belays pitch five. <br />Photo by Mountain Project contributor SamP.
Trout Man belays pitch five.
Photo by Mountain Project contributor SamP.

The leader may be about where SamP took his downward shot of Trout Man.
The leader may be about where SamP took his downward shot of Trout Man.


Pitch six: Continue up the corner and belay as close as you dare to the top of the pinnacle (5.9+). The best stance for good anchors may be uncomfortable.

Pitch seven Balance up onto the top of the pinnacle and aid past two bolts. A hard moves off the high bolt gains a crack. At the top of the crack a short traverse left ends on a ledge (5.9?, A0+).
Trout Man. <br />By Mountainproject contributor SamP.
Trout Man.
By Mountainproject contributor SamP.


Pitch eight: An obvious crack leads to the big horizontal crack that cuts across the top left side of the Pope's Nose (5.7).

Pitch nine: A long crack that starts nice and then get wide at the top (maybe 5.7). The Pope's Nose page has some beta for the hideous descent.

1985 ROUTE TOPO
I added in some red "corrections". If anyone has better beta, then please clue me in to my errors.
From <em>Southwest Rock</em> by David Kozak, 1985.
From Southwest Rock by David Kozak, 1985.


EQUIPMENT
I barely managed to drill the holes deep enough to hold body weight with our funky drill. Maybe bring the heavy tools until someone comments that better hardware is in place. Alpine aiders help a lot on the A0+. Bring full rack of gear up to a #5 Camalot, not more than doubles of each size for most of us.



Photos of Central Buttress Slideshow Add Photo
Looking down pitch 5, climbing the left side of the Pillar.
Looking down pitch 5, climbing the left side of th...
Trout Man, in the aider, climbing off the Pillar.
Trout Man, in the aider, climbing off the Pillar.
One of the first good views coming up Flint Creek.
One of the first good views coming up Flint Creek.
The PN in good evening light.
The PN in good evening light.
Trout Man on pitch 3.
Trout Man on pitch 3.
Trout Man on the summit with rain and hail minutes away.
Trout Man on the summit with rain and hail minutes...
Comments on Central Buttress Add Comment
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By SamP
Jul 8, 2011

The Central Buttress is an all time classic up a wilderness dome with an alpine feel. Straightforward route finding via a natural line easily spied from the Fish Camp below. The first bolt in the last section of aid is the worst bolt either of us had seen. Bent and hanging mostly out of the rock, this bolt desperately needs to be replaced.
Props to Ken Trout for the first ascent of this visionary line.

By Badger Mitchell
Sep 5, 2011

Did this route in 7/11 and found it to be half excellent (splitter dihedrals) and half terrible (big, loose blocks I wish we had kicked off/bushes and grass). We did it in 6 pitches and went off route on our pitch 4 (the right side of the dihedral - don't do it - it was very scary, wet, loose, 5.8 climbing with some 5.10 moves and a 5.12- crack we aided). I presumed there was going to be a 5.10 OW but the only offwidth section we found was more like 5.8 and no problem unless the OW section is on the "5.8" pitch above the stellar 5.9 roof crack that is pictured here. We brought doubles from blue TCU's up to new C4 #3s and a #4 and #5. Both of the big one's came in handy on pitches 1 and 4 (for the OW). This was a big adventure and fun, but brutal to do in 3 days. If I knew anything about replacing bolts, I would have replaced "the worst looking bolt in the world." I remember it being a Star drive an inch and a half out of the rock. It held me stepping onto it and needed to aid up to it and through it to the next bolt (pretty airy!). The walk off was brutal and we could not walk down to the bottom - we made it within 20 feet and left a sling and biner - wet, tall bushes, rocky - we were spent at the end of the day and did not enjoy the flat hike out. I will rent horses the next time I go out there...but it was a great adventure.

By Andy F
From: Fort Collins, CO
Aug 20, 2013

Awesome adventure climbing!! We had the intention of replacing the "worst bolt in the world", but lightning and rain made us bail on day one of climbing. Day two we just wanted to get to the top of the route and descend before it got dark. We cleaned some huge loose blocks off the route, but more still needs to be done. I thought the pitch off the pedestal was kinda hard. Props to the FA party on an awesome line.

By eggman
Jul 18, 2014

Word is the sketchy bolt is now replaced.