ApproachThis climb can be seen from the Whitney Portal road as the sweeping 2000' buttress on the east side of the north ridge of Lone Pine Peak. The approach is best accomplished as follows - from the summer cabins at Whitney Portal, follow the Meysan Lakes trail until the trail levels out at about 8400'. Cross the creek at a giant boulder and contour around the North Ridge into Inyo Creek. Sketchy intermittent game trails ( if you're game, they're trails ) lead to Inyo Creek, from which the buttress is apparent. Directly below the buttress is an excellent camp site on a flat slab next to the creek. Map needed - USGS Lone Pine Quadrangle.
Route DescriptionFrom directly below the buttress, head up a gully which leads to the right side of the buttress. Climb up and left to a ledge 50' above the toe of the buttress. Pitch 1 - climb a crack past a small tree to a large belay tree, 5.6. Pitch 2 - 40' of 4th class leads to a large ledge ( the last real ledge until the end of the 16th pitch ). Pitch 3 - climb a face left of a left facing corner past a flake to a belay flake below a roof, 5.7. Pitch 4- climb up and right, pass a roof on its right side, and follow easier face climbing up and left to a belay stance below a large black knob, 5.8. Pitch 5 - face climb up and right to a crack which is jammed up and left. When the crack ends, face climb up then right to a crack which leads to a belay, 5.7. Pitch 6 - traverse a " face crack ' up and right to a belay below a large black knob, 5.7. Pitch 7 - using bolts, bathooks and cliffhangers, climb up and left to a crack below a small bush, A2. Pitches 8 & 9 follow a solitary 175' crack to a belay stance below a chimney, A1 or 5.10+. Pitch 10 - a chimney and corner lead to a belay flake, 5.7. Pitches 11 & 12 - mixed free and aid ( 5.8, A2+ ) or difficult free climbing ( 5.11 +? ) lead up a flared left facing corner to a small ledge on top of a narrow ridge. Pitch 13 - face climb up a narrow ridge to double overhanging flakes, tension traverse left to a corner and climb to a stance, 5.6, A1. Pitch 14 - climb to a fixed piton, traverse left to a bolt on a sharp ridge, then climb to a belay at the base of a chimney, 5.7. Pitch 15 - climb the chimney, then climb a face past 2 bolts to a friction groove. Belay at a tree above a short easy crack, 5.7. Pitch 16 is 4th class and leads thru a tunnel to a large ledge. Pitch 17 - aid from a bolt gives access to face climbing up and left past several bolts until it is possible to drop down to a large ledge, 5.6, A1. 3rd class leads to the base of a crack. Pitch 18 - climb the crack ( 5.5 ) to easy scrambling and the crest of the North Ridge of Lone Pine Peak.
Descend either the gully to the north of Bastille Buttress or traverse south on the North Ridge and rappel and down climb a large bowl to the Meysan lakes trail.
Essential Gear165' ropes ( 200' better ), 2 sets cams ( large cams needed - # 4 Friend or equal ), a few thin pins, hooks including bathooks. Hammocks may be handy as there aren't many ledges if you plan on bivouacing.
Note: the original rating on this climb was 5.8, A2+. The route can be done " almost free " at 5.11+ as far as I know.
Get a Wilderness Permit! When we did this route in 1981, some one saw our headlamps at night and a rescue chopper showed up the next day ( which wasn't fun for my buddy Gary - prop wash while leading on bathooks!!!)!
Miscellaneous Info" It's fun to scare yourself, isn't it? " - Fred Beckey ( as told to Craig Peer when I told him I climbed this thing )
Note: if anyone would like a free " mini - guide " to this climb, email me at [email protected] and I'll send you one ( this is a limited time offer - subject to availablity )!