Bilbo Buttress, 5.6-5.12a

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 34.09336°N / 116.15572°W
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Fall, Winter
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El Chivo, 5.8*
El Chivo, 5.8*

Many routes in Indian Cove originate right out of campsites and are usually lathered with humans compared to Rattlesnake Canyon or many upper portions of the park.  Bilbo Buttress is one of those.  It is comprised of a left wall and right (shorter) wall (two separate formations).   Both are located behind and to the east of the more popular Billboard Buttress.  In Miramontes 3rd edition (latest as of 2019) only three of the established routes listed below are published. 

In the center of the left wall, varnished scoops identify a bolted route named El Chivo, 5.8*, a decent sport climb for the grade.  White Trash, 5.8, is a double crack trad line on the right arete of the same wall.   Val di Mello, 5.10d*, is a sandbagged bolted climb that starts on the left arete of the smaller wall to the right.   Sean Penn, 5.11a*, despite the grade, is an easier bolted line right up the center of the same formation.  El Chapo, 5.7*, is a relatively easy bolted slab climb up the right arete to its own fixed anchor.

Bilbo Buttress originates out of several different campsites at Indian Cove.  When you enter the cove, turn left and park in the day use area in front of Billboard Buttress.  Walk from there to the east and the very next feature, located behind Billboard, is Bilbo Buttress.  One campsite is in front of the main wall (left) and one is in front of the shorter wall (right).  If someone is present in the camp sites, it is typical to ask permission to climb behind them.

Routes Listed Left to Right on the South Facing Walls

El Chivo- 55’-5.8*/ Fun sport climb on good rock.  Climb through steep patina jugs to a fixed anchor.  This route faces southwest and gets morning shade. Dow

White Trash- 80’-5.8/ Taller than the guide suggests.  Twin diagonal, right to left, cracks on the right side of this face (arete).  A bit chossy.  Shared fixed anchor at the top.  Single rack to C4 #2.  Dow

Val di Mello- 40’-5.10d*/ This route is included in the guide on Bilbo Buttress but is located on a short south facing wall to the right.  There is a bolted route to the right at the same grade that is a better climb but not listed in the local guide as of 2019 (Sean Penn).  Fully bolted, the route is not as tall as the guide has it listed.  Four bolts through 40’.  Start up the slanting, right to left, seam.  Intriguing balance moves with no hands at the crux.  Two fixed anchors atop this formation as of 2019.  Dow

Sean Penn- 35’-5.11a*/ This well bolted route is just to the right of Val di Mello. It is actually easier than Val even though graded higher by the FAers.  It is not listed in the modern guide books as of 2019 (FA is 2016). This is the easiest 5.11a I have climbed at Jtree whereas Val is one of the more sandbagged 5.10d's. Mostly slab, but decent rock with a fun mantel problem.  Two fixed anchors atop. South facing.  Dow

El Chapo- 40’-5.7*/ Same as Sean Penn, not listed in the guides as of 2019 and established 2016.  And again, soft for the grade.  Climb the bolted right side arete of this sub formation to the main Bilbo Buttress.  Shares fixed rap anchor with Sean Penn.  Dow



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