In August, 2015, I traveled up to Lovers Leap to avoid fires and smoke in the eastern Sierra. We climbed 10 multi-pitch routes in five days. Most included the lessor climbed, more adventurous routes in the 5.10 range. Eagle Buttress Right is an oft overlooked route at the Leap if for no other reason than peregrine falcon closures.
The majority of the beta I found on Eagle Buttress Right as of 2015 included summit log postings on Supertopo (ST). That collection included several who got off route; several others who did not like the route at all and a small minority who did
. Lover's Leap offers easy urban California access. In other words, if you are leading 5.10 trad proficiently, wide, thin or otherwise, you will have most of the routes at that grade or above to yourself whenever you visit the Leap and many folks who do find their way onto them are in over there head and thus don’t have kind words to say about the experience. In other words, take their opinion with a grain of salt. Eagle Buttress Right is quite the entertaining route in regard to its unique cruxes. “This route has more dikes and face holds than the East Wall and hits you with incredible exposure for the first 300 feet,”
Supertopo. However, it is not sustained at the grade nor is it the cleanest rock at the Leap
. Supertopo shows two 5.10 pitches, but I thought only the 2nd pitch had any 5.10 moves on it. Herbert and Webster established Eagle Buttress Right, in 1966
and it appears a few of the existing pins (2015) might be from that FA.
Does not see much traffic
The first and third pitches are relatively uneventful (the forth pitch is just scrambling) but offer decent climbing and movement at their respective grade (5.9). The short second pitch has two unique crux sections
. Off the deck (large ledge at the top of pitch 1) is unprotected climbing to a huge horn. However it was easy to “lasso” this horn with the rope itself. After getting to and slinging the horn, you traverse right into an overhanging roof. The poorly written beta we had from ST insinuated that you traverse the roof into the corner, but that is not what you do. Instead, you stop at the left end of the roof and do a balanced mantel (crux #2) and then traverse above the roof, left to right.
There is a fixed belay up and right from there. This route does have a bit of loose rock on it and does not see near the traffic as most routes at the Leap.
Central wall is the wall between The East Wall and The Main Wall. Our pairing with Eagle Buttress Right was Surrealistic Pillar Direct (5.10b) on the lower buttress which I led in one long pitch with some simul climbing. That lands you at the upper buttress. From there hike up and right to circumvent a feature. The Main and Central walls come into view on the left. Drop down and traverse along the main wall all the way over to the obvious buttress, right side. You are looking for a series of seams that trend up and left on horizontal dikes to a crack (beta photo included).
Start just left of a significant moss covered roof.
Route DescriptionEagle Buttress, Right Side, 450+/-, 5.10
1st Pitch- 100’- 5.9/
This pitch jugs up and left through a series of horizontal dikes, flakes and cracks. I recall one flake that was precarious to say the least. Tread softly and follow 5.9 ground (or easier) to stay out of trouble as you traverse up and left into a crack. You land on a large ledge.
2nd Pitch- 60’- 5.10/
This is a stout pitch. “Lasso” the obvious large knob above for a short top rope to avoid an “X” rating off the deck. Climb up and clove hitch the knob with a sling and follow dikes right to the significant roof. Clip the old piton and place a solid C4#2 in the horizontal and do a balanced mantel (by far the crux of the entire route) to the dikes above. Do not hand traverse under the roof right as Supertopo might lead you to believe. There is a hand crack that goes right under the roof and the ST beta implies a full on traverse when in reality you might make one traverse move if even, before you should mantle and then traverse right over the roof. Continue up and right to a fixed station on a small ledge.
3rd Pitch- 200’- 5.9/
Supertopo shows this pitch to have several 5.10 moves, but I did not find any. It is a nice pitch. Move left into the corner and jam and stem up until you can see it terminating above. Traverse left on dikes into a wider corner and continue through two easy roofs on some fun moves. Set up a belay on a large ledge next to a gully.
4th Pitch- 100’- 5th/
Solo or rope up to the top. The only real 5th class might be at the end, even then it involves mild exposure. Supertopo states this needs to be done in two pitches when in reality it is not even a full rope length.
Catch the top rim trail down the east side all the way back to the main trail that heads to camp. This is an up and over route with no return to the base.
Bring more 60cm slings than draws. This route gets good shade most of the day, dress accordingly. 70m rope helps with ending the 3rd pitch where you want. The 3rd pitch was not very sustained in my opinion meaning a more experienced leader could do this pitch with a single rack to #3.
You could place wide gear at the roofs on pitch 3, but they are relatively easy roof pulls. Offset cams and nuts
are helpful on the first pitch as the pro is kind of intricate starting out.