East Buttress IV or IV+, 5.9-

Page Type
California, United States, North America
Route Type:
Trad Climbing
Time Required:
A long day
Grade IV or IV+,
Rock Difficulty:
5.9 (YDS)
Number of Pitches:

Route Quality: 3 Votes

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East Buttress IV or IV+, 5.9-
Created On: Nov 20, 2002
Last Edited On: Aug 30, 2013


Take the Meysan Lakes Trail to the highest Meysan Lake. Camp below the buttress.

Route Description

This route was first climbed on September 4-5, 1971 by Bill Stronge and Arold Greene and rated III, 5.7. Gerry Cox and I climbed the route in August 1997 and found it long (17 pitches plus 500+ feet of scrambling), and climbing more difficult than 5.7. Also the description in the 1st Edition of RJ Secor's High Sierra Guide was confusing to us. I rewrote the decription and send it to RJ for possible inclusion in his 2nd Edition. RJ included this version in his 2nd Edition of "Peaks Passes and Trails" Guide.

This is how we saw the route:

This seventeen pitch route starts in the orange/brown colored chimney just to the right of the toe of the buttress. Bypass the towers on the buttress mostly on their right side untill confronted by a wall after 10 pitches. Downclimb or rappel 40' to a bowling pin like blade of a rock (5.7) and a ledge on the right. Climb the crack at the left end of this ledge. It consists of thirty feet of 5.9 in the corner, followed by a rising traverse to the right (5.8 face). The next two pitches also feature a few 5.9 moves followed by a pitch that ends on the left side of the buttress with a bivouac spot nearby. Above the bivy, sixty feet of 5.8 crack followed by left trending face climbing leads to a notch in the buttress and easier climbing over blocks and short traverses. The final tower is climbed on the right side. Several hundred feet of 4th class are followed by a long scramble to the distant summit. We took 14 hours to climb it, 3 hours to descend. Very long,striking arete when viewed from the Upper Meysan Lake, the scenery and solitude you get in the Meysan Lakes drainage cannot be beat.
Take the the North gully back down to Meysan Lake.

Essential Gear

Two 8.5 mm, 50m ropes, Set of SLCDs (we carried Friends), set of wires, Many slings, three small TCUs (Metolius), water, food, bivi sacks.

Had some problems downclimbing the snowed-in N.Gully in rock shoes. We both used cleaning tool as an ice axe. Freaky and not recommended, bring approach shoes/hikers and ice axe if N.Gully has snow in it.

My old friend Miguel Carmona told me in 2013, that the descend from the summit DOES NOT need to be via the N Gully. Apparently, there is a broken ridge further to the right (looking up) that can be descended in rock shoes. I have not tried it, but Miguel is sure that the axe and hiking shoes can be left at the camp!!!

Miscellaneous Info

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