Castle Rock (Shock) Buttress, 5.6-5.12c

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Idaho, United States, North America
Trad Climbing
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
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Castle Rock (Shock) Buttress, 5.6-5.12c
Created On: Jul 3, 2016
Last Edited On: Jul 4, 2016


Olympus Wrecks or Advance to Idaho 2nd pitch, 5.10
Dow leading Olympus Wrecks

There is a feature (buttress) just to the northwest of the Castle Rock massive they have named “Castle Rock West Summit” in the guide. Its southeast face marks the left side of Hostess Gully as you ascend the gully from the west. This wall is named Shock Buttress. On the northwest side of this same feature is a wall named in the guide as the “West Side of the West Summit”. These two walls represent two different sections in the guide but are combined here and are located on the same extended buttress, but on opposite sides.
Cacti Bloom

The most popular route on this rock is a bolted three star 5.10a route named Shock and Awe and it is located on the sunny side. There is also a worthy starred two pitch 5.10a (I lead it as one pitch) on the northwest side named Sword in the Stone. Excalibur, 5.11b, is another three starred route in the guide located on the shady side next to the Sword. An ignored but stellar trad lead (dirty but worthy) is the second pitch of Olympus Wrecks (5.11c) that goes in the 5.10 range. It offers a beautiful (photo) slanting hand and finger crack with little to no feet which leads to a fun mantle and eventually leads to the top of the feature.

Approach as you would for the west side of Castle Rock. From the trail head, circumvent the main Castle Rock massive to the south and west and enter Hostess Gully for southeast facing routes (Shock Buttress) or continue to circumvent (do not go up Hostess Gully) to the northwest and find shade on the northwest side of the feature. Sword in the Stone and Excalibur are fairly immediate after you pass the very west corner. If you trek up Hostess Gully in search of Shock and Awe, the bolted lines can be hard to locate. There is a scramble up a break in this whole west summit. The Shock Buttress routes start on the right side of this gully. Scramble up two tiers to a flat rock ledge and you will find the bolts for the first couple routes.

Route Description(s)

Located to the left before Shock Buttress Starts
  • Squench- 5.12b-c***/
Shock Buttress, Routes Listed Left to Right as you face the Wall
  • Claim Jumper- 5.11a-c**/

  • Shock and Awe- 100’-5.10a***/A bad topo pic in the guide makes this route look short when in reality it is full value. From the marked route sign (2016), scramble 4th class up left or 5th class straight up large huecos to the upper ledge system below the steep bolted face. Enjoy very positive holds up steep ground to another break and then another nice positive steep section. A worthy route for sure. Dow

  • Enemy Combatant- 5.11b**/ (top rope)

  • Advance to Idaho- 2 Pitches-5.10*/ The guide calls this 5.9, but offers that you can extend it to a 2nd 5.10 trad pitch which is part of the 5.11c to the right, which is what I did. The crux of the first pitch is off the deck through bolts straight up on reachy huecos next to a tree.  My 2nd that day could not get up this section and she normally would have no problem with 5.9, so beware of the heady start.  Make an easy traverse right clipping bolts and up an easy corner to a fixed station on the the right wall.  I chose to pass this station (which offers a hanging belay) and continued on to the base of the “zig zag” cracks.  If you are bringing up a 2nd, I advise building a gear belay here.   The right to left leaning diagonal hand/finger crack is the crux of this 2nd pitch (5.10). Some hands and fingers protect well, but your feet are on manky peeling face. Reprieve comes as you mantel up a horn feature out left. Then up an easier crack system to the top via several corners. There are two raps. One on the very summit and one lower down climbers right. Neither will reach the mid station with a single 70m rope. I had to clean the entire two pitches because my 2nd could not make the top, in fact I had to solo the last few meters because the two pitches combined are longer than 70m. My advice is to rap down climbers left to another anchor not very far down and explore that line if you are rapping with a single 70m.  Gear from C4#.3 through #3.  Dow

  • Olympus Wrecks- 5.11c**/

  • Tiers of Joy- 5.10c**/

  • Bone Crack- 5.9/

  • Drew’s Dihedral- 5.9*/

  • Poking Holes in the Firmament- 5.6**/

  • Scorpio Rising- 5.8**/

  • Old Way- 5.9/
Northwest Face, Routes Listed Left to Right as you face the Wall
  • New Arrival- 5.10a*/

  • Sword in the Stone-2 Pitches-5.10a**/This pitch is easily done in one pitch on lead and accepts two single rope fixed raps as opposed to recommended doubles in the guide (2015).  A fun pitch and one that includes a bit of everything, smear and edging, hands as well as a short amount of off-width. The only 5.10a moves are through the initial five bolts that land you on the ledge above (rap station). This section of climbing is thoughtful and precise. Off the deck offers cool stemming to a crack. After you vacate the crack, you hit a face section with bolts through a seam. Five bolts and options for gear. The 2nd pitch which I combined with a 70m, starts out with good hands and goes to off-width, but nothing harder than 5.8+. Plenty of feet as you twist and turn through the wide section. Fixed rap on top and another on the ledge below for two single rope rappels. Single rack to #3, draws and slings. Mixed. Dow

  • Excalibur- 5.11b***/

  • Shifting Gears- 5.10d/

  • Shifting Granite Blocks- 5.10dR/