Manure Pile Buttress/Ranger Rock

Manure Pile Buttress/Ranger Rock

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 37.72995°N / 119.61895°W
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 4200 ft / 1280 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Manure Pile ButtressManure Pile Buttress/Ranger Rock
After Six...Jump for Joy is the face to the left of the dihedral. After Six climbs the right facing dihedral.
The first pitch of After Seven...After seven is just to the right of After Six and climbs the crack in the middle of the face.

Manure Pile Buttress is a seven hundred foot rock formation on the “Lower Brother” area of Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California.

Manure Pile Buttress was a nick name that stuck to this beautiful and extremely popular rock formation. The real name is “Ranger Rock,” and it received its name bacause park rangers used to practice rescue operations on this rock. As the story goes; in the old times, when traveling on horse back was still the only means of traveling into the park, the park service used to bring all the horse manure to the base of this rock for disposal. My first experience with this area was in 1969 and I saw no sign of manure anywhere near it. Needless to mention, I arrived in a car, not on a horse.

The days of pulling your car onto a patch of dirt by the side of the road to make the three minute approach are long gone. There is a beautiful paved parking lot with a bathroom that gets serviced on regular bases. Few formations in Yosemite Valley have such a short and easy approach to the crag as Manure Pile Buttress. Bring the family and teach them how to climb. You will be in good company.

Besides the ease of approach, it must be the nature of the rock that makes Manure Pile Buttress extremely popular. The entire formation is moderately angled and except for a few steeper sections it offers easy to moderate climbing. You belay from the shade of huge pine trees, at least for the first pitch, and sit on soft flat ground. At the end of a long climbing day, you can walk a few yards for a dip in the Merced River.

History of two of the most popular routes

The Nutcracker...
Merced RiverThe Merced River in winter
Camp 4...Camp 4 has had a number of secondary names through the years, but it has always been Camp 4.
Packing My Haul Bag in Yosemite, early 1970sPacking my haul bag in Camp 4. Early 1970s.

Getting to the top of the left side routes is quite easy. This ease of approach and having smooth faces were a good combination for the park rangers to iron out their skills on rescue techniques. It was in the mid 1960s that this rock formation came to the attention of the most active figures of the period such as Yvon Chouinard and Royal Robbins amongst others. These two legendary figures established two routes that have become the mainstay of easy to moderate multi-pitch climbing in Yosemite Valley.

As you approach the buttress the first route you come to is “After Six,” rated 5.6. The right facing dihedral, which is the first pitch, is unmistakable. This six pitch climb takes you to the top of the formation with the crux on the first pitch. For those who don’t care to climb to the very top, there are at least two escape routes to the left and down the west gully.

Another extremely popular route on Manure Pile Buttress is “The Nutcracker,” rated 5.8/5.9 depending on different variations to the first pitch. This beautiful and enjoyable route was established by another Yosemite Valley’s legendary figure, Royal Robbins, in the latter part of the 1960s. Eventhough forty years of climbing on this route has cleaned up most of the lose rocks, it is a still a good idea to do this climb with a helmet. Be on the lookout for the parties above and below you and you will have a great time.

List of select climbs

Select climbs of Manure Pile Buttress
AJump For Joy, 5.8
BAfter Six, 5.6/5.7 depending on how the first pitch is done. If you finish on the face moves, it's 5.6. If you finish by continuing on the crack to the ledge, it's 5.7.
CAfter Seven, 5.7
DC.S.Concerto, 5.8
EThe Nutcracker, 5.8, left most variation is climbing the crack/chimney in the right facing dihedral
FThe Nutcracker, 5.8, variation 2 is to climb the lie back crack in the left facing dihedral
GThe Nutcracker, 5.9, variation 3 is to climb the thin crack on the face to the right of the the other two variations

How to get there/camping/permits...

El CapitanEl Cap at sunset
El Cap MeadowEl Cap Meadow
Middle Cathedral Rock gone swimming in Merced RiverMiddle Cathedral gone swimming in the Merced River.
Yosemite Valley FloorYosemite Valley floor

Find Yosemite Lodge. Camp 4, also known as “Walk In/Sunnyside Campground” is a few hundred yards to the west of Yosemite Lodge, on the same side of the Merced River. Drive just over 1.5 miles west from “Camp 4” toward the exit to the valley. You will see the picnic/day use area to your right. If you go as far as El Cap Meadow, you have gone too far. Drive into this picnic area and park. Walk on a trail leading back toward the valley for a few hundred yards. Head for the rocks to your left. The first route you come to is a right facing dihedral. This is “After Six.” Most of the routes are to the right of this dihedral.

There is an incredible page by Tarol on Yosemite National Park. She has included just about any kind of information you may need to get around in Yosemite. Here's the link: Yosemite National Park

External Links

Yosemite National Park

Winter In Yosemite



Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.