Gracing the front page of Miramontes 2011 Joshua Tree climbing guide book is an incredible image of Firewater Chimney. He and Wolverine Publishing thought the route to be so aesthetic; they included yet another full page photo of Firewater Chimney on page 417. On our return down Rattlesnake Canyon after climbing Firewater and a few other spectacular routes in Valley of the Kings, we took a quick detour to Rattlesnake Buttress. It is rare to find multiple three star routes on one wall in Miramontes guide, but Rattlesnake Buttress offers up several excellent 100’ pitches.
Taken for Granite (5.8) and 200 Motels (5.8) share the same start and both routes offer fun and sustained (at the grade) hand and finger jamming via excellent splitters in good rock for over 100’. Climbing Taken for Granite (140’) first, allows you to rap with a single rope, set up a gear rap, and then subsequently clean it when climbing 200 Motels which is considerably shorter allowing you to make the ground with a 70m rope via a slung boulder at its top. Two other routes that caught my eye on Rattlesnake Buttress were Pictures of Home (5.11a) and Test Pilot (5.10b). Both look to be stellar splitters that intersect on a much shorter wall to the south (right) of the main buttress. Eureka (5.12a) is a recommended sport pitch on the north side (left) of the main buttress.
Park at the Rattlesnake Canyon trailhead (east of Indian Cove). Hike up canyon on the left side of the waterfall/drainage on the whitewashed granite. Follow the canyon as it bends right (southwest). Before you exit the canyon and scramble up the left side, the total hike from the trailhead might be 30 minutes +/-. Rattlesnake Buttress is high up on the left ridge and be identified with an obvious dark colored slabby ramp on its right side. Stay in the wash, base of the canyon, until you pass under this feature, scrambling up a gully to the south of it. Cut back north to the base of the climbs at the top of the gully.