In early July of 1996, Miguel Carmona, Jim Mathews and I (Alois Smrz) hiked up the South side of Tuttle Creek from the Stonehouse to retrieve a whole lot of gear left at the base of "Land of Little Rain" which we climbed just two weeks prior. Returning to the base of the wall, Jim noticed a somewhat large buttress on the opposite, south side of the canyon facing north toward the "Land of Little Rain". We had a whole day off before returning to Los Angeles, so we decided to give this good looking formation a try. It took us a little over 6 hours to climb ten pitches of 5.7 to 5.10 crack and face. The route more or less follows the left edge of the buttress (see photos). For some 11 years, we collectively forgot about this climb, until I visited the place again last week (March 15,16,17, 2007) and suddenly remembered this little gem. We never gave the route a name, but considering that Jim Mathews instigated the whole thing, naming the route "Jim's Buttress" is appropriate. Brother Jim, if you ever read this, thanks for all the great times we had in the mountains!
From the town of Lone Pine, follow the road toward Whitney Portal. Make a left turn onto Horseshoe Meadow Road and follow it past Tuttle Creek Campground. Make a right on the next road, Granite View Road. The road soon changes to dirt road (passable by cars). Just before you reach the second dwelling, somewhat indistinct path branches off to the right and slightly up hill. This road (in some 2.5-3.0 miles) ends at the trail head to the Stonehouse (see Lone Pine Peak, the Ashrama). About an hour hike gets you to the structure. The trail ends at the Stonehouse but an indistinct path leads up the cannyon about level with the Stonehouse. If you are observant, a line of cairns can be followed all the way up the canyon. When about even with the "Land of Little Rain", you will find a steep, rather massive buttress on the South Side of the canyon. "JIM'S BUTTRESS" follows the left edge of the buttress for ten pitches.
The route is very easy to follow. From the base of the buttress, climb the steep face and occasional crack just left of the edge of the buttress. The climbing never strays more than 10-20 feet away from the edge. We encountered at least two harder pitches (10) and several 5.7 and 5.8 pitches. We climbed the route using natural protection, there were NO bolts drilled. Unfortunately, the rock on this north facing buttress is more alpine and NOT as solid as that found on the LPP's Land Of Little Rain (for example). There are two sections on this buttress that have some loose rock and overall the rock quality is just average. The buttress is pretty wide though, and there is a space for more exploration.
Single 50 or 60 meter rope, set of SLCDs (we carried Friends), set of wires and slings is all that's needed. Descend the right side (facing up) slopes back to the approach path. See the photo with descent line shown.
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"There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing."
--Sir Rannulph Fiennes