Direct South Face
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From the ledge at the top of the gully, climb the right facing dihedral for 4 pitches. This section takes you through several unpleasant squeeze chimneys with scarce protection. Climb flakes and cracks on the right side of the main corner, and at the top of pitch 5, walk through the tunnel on the left side of the gully. Once through this, continue climbing for one more pitch to the first bivy ledge. Pitches 6-10 stay to the right of the prominent gully, moving over easy terrain and knobby climbing. After pitch 10 you are forced left across the top of the gully. Pitch 11 climbs a left facing corner to a bolt below the roofs. You then traverse left into a large gully and scramble 500' up and left across third class terrain, up a narrow, loose gully and through the "eye". At the second bivy ledges, move right about 200' and start just left of the wide chimney, climbing up and using boulders for a belay. Continue climbing up and right until you are on the left edge of a gully. Tension traverse or face climb (5.9) into the gully and belay at the arete on top. A large chasm drops away on the other side. Face climb up and right over easy ground to the top of the climb. Descend the East Slabs back to the road (see below).
If you plan on climbing this in more than one day, you will need a backcountry permit for the Tuttle Creek Trailhead from the Forest Service.
Getting There: From Lone Pine, head west on Whitney Portal Road. Turn left at Horseshoe Meadows road and follow to Granite View Drive. Turn right on Granite View Drive, past a house and right at the fork past the house. Take the dirt road up at far as you can get (depending on clearance). The trail begins at the end of the road. Follow the trail one mile to the Stonehouse, and then follow the use trail just below the Stonehouse up the valley, staying high until you reach the steeper moraine. Follow cairns through the boulder field until you are straight across from the start of the climb, and traverse across to the base of the approach gully. Climb the gully for almost 1,000 ft to the start of the climb (there is a 4-5 person bivy on the left side of the gully near the top).
Water: The last water is available when you cross the creek before the 3rd class gully approach.
Descent: From the top of the climb, head east towards a large knob. Pass this on the left, and head towards the sharp East Ridge of Lone Pine Peak. Stay to the left at possible junctions and navigate through the sand and shrubs. Below the steep section, trend right down the main gully until you see an obvious saddle on the left (Stonehouse Buttress is on the right of the saddle). Climb up to the saddle and enjoy the open, sandy slopes that you can run down. You will hit the road and walk on the other side of Tuttle creek from your car. Walk until you see a trail on the other side of the creek and find the trail on your side. Follow this and you will locate a footbridge across the river. Hike up the road and back to your car.
60m rope(s), and a light alpine rack with pieces up to 3". Lots of natural protection/anchors available. The tension traverse may have fixed sings or gear, but you should be prepared to improvise in case you are off route or the gear is unreliable. Backpacks are preferred to hauling gear because of the low angle and roughness of the rock, but leading some of the chimney's with a pack on can be quite challenging. Plan accordingly.
BETA PHOTO: Starting up pitch 13. The tension traverse is a f...
BETA PHOTO: Starting Pitch 1 in the large right facing corner ...
BETA PHOTO: Second to last belay after the traverse pitch.
Pitch 11 (topo) - about to clip the bolt and do th...
|Comments on Direct South Face
From: Lyons, CO
Jun 5, 2009
I think the FA information is for Bastille Buttress; I'm not sure who did the FA of this climb, however.
|By J Smith|
Sep 5, 2011
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c
Mediocre climbing but a fun adventure none the less. The historical grade/rating of this route makes it sound bigger than it is. I would say it is grade IV at most. We did the 5.8 variation straight up instead of the pendulum into the gully, seems like the most direct line with only a few moves of 5.8 and no aid necessary.
The summit post topo linked above indicates 16 pitches but we easily did it in 9 pitches with a 60m rope and 30 or so feet of simul climbing on p1 and p9. The topo is pretty accurate and the Summit Post Approach info is spot on, we were able to do it in the dark with headlamps. 3h45m approach to top of 3rd class gully, 6h20m climbing, 3h descent. All in all with rests it was CTC in 13h50m. You may be faster or slower, but overall this seems comparable if not easier than doing Venusian Blind, the East Face/Buttress of Whitney, or something similar in a day.