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The South Ridge of the 1st Middle Buttress ascends the arete, as closely as possible, of the four pinnacles comprising the 1st Middle Buttress of North Cheyenne Canyon. Though lots of loose climbing is encountered, it is a very long climb, probably close to 2000 feet of vertical elevation gain. Being so close to Colorado Springs, this is a wonderful scrambling route to catch on a summer evening after work and damn good training. If you don't mind a little choss, this route gets three stars for the length and nice perches found on the 2nd pinnacle.
From the parking lot, head uphill, on the same side of the road, northeast to gain a talus gully. Go up the gully until the bottom of the first pinnacle is visible on the right. While climbing the talus gully, a small pinnacle is passed on the right and a short wall on the left. Cut through Scrub Oak to the right to reach the bottom of the climb.
1st Pinnacle - Scramble up slabs to the base of a headwall. A good path up the slabs is to traverse up and left, following the contour of the gully and climb the side of an arÍte to a stance with a fair sized pine tree and a big block. Go right along a big, loose ledge to a corner system on the right side of the pinnacle. Climb up the corner system, changing sides a couple of times. The last corner will come out on the loose summit of the 1st pinnacle. Descend to the west by down-climbing easy terrain. Walk a short ways uphill to the 2nd pinnacle. 5.6
2nd Pinnacle - Climb a slab into a groove just left and downhill of the apex of the ridge of the pinnacle. Work right to face climb up blocky stuff to a loose gully. Climb the loose gully a few feet and get back on the more solid arete to the right. Go up to a nice perch. Climb up the apex of the ridge a few feet until an easy crack system leads out to the left. Gain the apex of the ridge again and follow it to the summit of the 2nd pinnacle. Down-climb the backside of the pinnacle to the east. Walk uphill to the base of the third pinnacle. 5.6
3rd Pinnacle - Attack the 3rd pinnacle straight on, climbing cracks and blocks. Traverse across the arete of the pinnacle and summit from the left side. Go across the summit of the pinnacle to the east and down-climb the backside. Walk uphill to the 4th pinnacle. 5.5
4th Pinnacle - Start climbing up loose rock on the left side of a bump in the lower section of the pinnacle. Switch sides, left to right and back left again. Reach the base of a slab and pull through on good in-cut holds. Scramble over the summit and descend to the east, down a gully. Down-climb rock to the west side of a detached section. 5.6
Descend to either side of the pinnacles. The parking lot and the same talus gully encountered on the approach are found to the west side of the pinnacles. To descend to the east, work east into a broad talus gully and descend to the Graduation Boulder.
A standard rack and a single rope would more than suffice for this route. No big stuff is needed.
BETA PHOTO: Lower Part of Buttress
BETA PHOTO: Upper South Buttress
Attempt at showing line of lower part of route.
|By Ben Glover|
Jun 10, 2003
Does anyone know if the picture below is of the 1st middle buttress? I want to say that this shot was looking south by south-west from the top of the 2nd pitch of the Army route on the pinnacle (I think I"m one buttress off because its a touch west, but thought I'd ask before going on an epic)
|By Ben Glover|
Jun 10, 2003
Blame the lack of sleep or the crack. I meant that this is looking north-by-northwest (from the south-east side of the pinnacle)
|By Julian Smith|
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Oct 2, 2003
Yes, turn the pircture right side up and this is the route. Thanks for posting the pic.
|By Nathan Hoobler|
Oct 22, 2007
We climbed this route on Saturday and I figured I'd add some beta, based on what we found.
1st Pinnacle: We found the base of this one pretty easily. We soloed up the fourth class slab for 60 feet or so and set up a belay. I led up to the right into what I assume is the corner system Julian describes. The crack/corner split further up. I took the right crack system, which appeared to be a little more exposed, but had better gear placement. I used several cams, 1 stopper (a Black Diamond #11, I believe), and one old piton about halfway up. This pitch was long and our favorite of the day. I'd say 5.5-5.6. The downclimb off this Pinnacle was easy.
2nd Pinnacle: We climbed a scree gully past a large tree to a cul-de-sac near the ridge. Just to the right of the cul-de-sac, there was a small gap where you could see through to the east. Following the beta above, I started climbing what I assumed was the route, but immediately ran into very crumbly rotten rock. It was too loose to place gear and too loose for my feeble skills to climb confidently. I looked around for awhile and didn't see a safe way up. I descended back down and we went down the scree gully (past the tree again) to find some easy slabs (probably 4th class to 5.1 or 5.2) to the west. I soloed up and set an anchor so my partner could climb a nice 5.6ish crack. We then scrambled up easy 2+ stuff to the summit of the 2nd Pinnacle. I'm not sure if we missed the route up the 2nd Pinnacle or if I was just too iffy about climbing the loose stuff. The only easy downclimb that we could find off the 2nd Pinnacle was to the northwest, rather than east.
3rd Pinnacle: This bit was very short (maybe 30 or 40 feet?), but fun. Easy gear placements (two medium-sized cams) and a great airy summit on top. With the wind picking up, we didn't feel confident downclimbing the backside, so we left a sling and rapped off the back. I didn't see a way to get down without some low 5th class climbing.
4th Pinnacle: This was also a short pitch, but the short slabby section in the middle is cool. Nothing else on this four pitch climb has such thin, slabby holds, so it made me think for quite a while before going for it. The increasing wind and my lack of experience at leading trad slab probably contributed to my indecision. The summit was great, though, despite winds picking up to probably 40 mph!
The downclimb off the back of the 4th Pinnacle was probably the worst part of the climb. Nasty, broken rock with plenty of loose stuff on all the ledges. It's only about 30-40 feet down, but still plenty of distance to break a leg. There's also plenty of broken glass from people who use this rock for their parties. I might rap this section if we did it again.
To get back to the parking lot, we descended the west side. This was fairly straightforward and didn't have much bad scree.
Overall, this was a fun climb, especially so close to the Springs. We watched several parties climb Crack Parallel as we ascended and the view of their climbs was almost as fun as our climb.
Thanks for posting this info and alerting us to the climb, Julian!
|By D Condit|
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Oct 25, 2011
The 3rd pinnacle may not be worth it. I climbed up and down again on the south side and then walked around it to get the fourth pinnacle. Most people probably would not need pro on the 3rd pinnacle. Downclimbing the 3rd and 4th pinnacles were probably the most enjoyable parts, and I hate down climbing. For the descent, definitely take the scree slope to the right (east) of the climb. It's one long gully that you can safely run-hop-ski down in about 5 minutes. Overall, I did not think this route was as good as some of the comments led me to believe. There are few good moves. If you want a view, there are much better options in the area.