No Escape Buttress Smoke & Mirrors
||Trad, Aid, Alpine, 7 pitches, 900', Grade V
|Consensus: || YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b C2 [details]|
|FA: ||Sept. 23, 2008 Aaron Gams, Toby Stegman|
|New Route: ||Yes|
|Page Views: ||963|
|Submitted By: ||Gams on Nov 26, 2008|
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This route follows an unlikely line through the steepest terrain of the No Escape Buttress, following the prominent white dikes above the enormous arching roof left of center. After the P2 aid, five pitches of primarily face climbing lead up through (more) steep, intimidating terrain. Cruxes on P5 are pretty well protected with high-tech small cams.
P1 Start about 250' left (west) of the "pedestal" start to the Direct South Face route. The enormous P2 stepped roof is directly overhead, and the left-leaning crack visible. Some loose rock leads to a small left-facing dihedral/LB (5.7). Traverse right on the broken ledge to the good, slightly tilted ledge. Belay from a couple small nuts. 35m.
P2 Step right and up over a couple blocks, then up on improving rock quality (5.7) to the base of the roof. This C2 awkward roof crack leans left and overhangs nearly 40'. Three fixed pins are located for the best lowering-out for the second. Some mandatory 5.7 near the end of the pitch. Belay at the bolt and pin anchor. 55m.
P3 Climb the dihedral to the roof (5.8). Do not undercling right; instead, traverse left past a pin and out onto the exposed face (5.8). Reach through a big move (5.9), find good gear, then step right into the white dike, go up, then step back left to good gear. Go over the bulge (5.10-), then tension right from a fixed nut across the white dike. Climb up on steep buckets (5.6R) to a shallow pin, then traverse right to the tree ledge. 50+m.
P4 Straight up from right of the tree to a short, shallow right-facing dihedral. Continue straight up on superb stone through a 5.9 bulge. Good directional gear for the second. Traverse right on a 3rd class ledge to a short 5.7 dihedral to the Pedestal belay. Belay takes Yellow Alien and .75 Camalot. 45m.
P5 Climb the left of two micro-cracks (5.6R) just left of the white dike above the belay to a bolt. The 5.9 double-mantle leads to a cool LB move to the right through the white dike to a bold 5.10- bulge into dark rock. Stem through steep terrain (5.9) on tiny gear past the "stink-finger," a large loose block. Step right to a sloping belay ledge. 35m.
P6 Climb the face (5.9) straight up from the belay to an easy traverse left across the white dike. Go up the left margin of the dike through a jam/LB bulge (5.10), step left on a thin ramp, then (5.8) up to a pin. A 5.7 hand traverse leads right across the white dike to a short hand crack. Scramble up to the buttress-wide ledge system and belay. 35m.
P7 The last pitch continues straight up the left side of the tapering white dike (5.8) into a wide (5.7) constriction, then 5.7 stemming straight up for over 100' to end on the sharp, exposed ridge of the buttress. 58m.
4th class scramble for around 300' to the summit.
A backpack might be handy for the second to carry the jumars, aiders, etc. that are not needed past P2. Jugging the severely overhanging P2 with a pack (with water) may be a bit tiring; since P2 is a pretty clear (overhanging) haul, consider hauling the pack. Do not underestimate the time-sucking nature of P2. Consider fixing to P2, and returning to jug the free-hanging rope the next morning to free-send.
Retreat can be made via a diagonal rappel from the P3 tree (40m), then from the P2 anchor (60m). A loose, easy 5th class ramp at the beginning of P5 goes left to join the West ArÍte route. A similar, but larger ramp connects the belay for P7 to the chockstone pitch of the West ArÍte route (but why bail now?).
Two 60m ropes are necessary for rappelling from P2 or P3. A large-diameter rope (10mm) for leading the P2 roof is recommended, due to some sharp edges there. We used a thin set of regular nuts, and a set of offset nuts. Double sets of cams from gold camalots down to C3 #0's (black alien), with singles of C3 #00, #000, and one blue (#3) and one gray (#4) camalot. All the regular clean aid gear: aiders, jumars, grigri, fifi hook, etc. No hooks necessary.
Getting into it on pitch 5!
BETA PHOTO: Smoke & Mirrors
Good face climbing on pitch 4
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