South Mount Klieforth is a formation in The Buttermilks
area of the Sierra Nevada Range
As has been written in the past, the Buttermilks area is famous for its world class bouldering. During the peak seasons of Spring and Fall, you see dozens of cars parked by the side of the dirt road, and crash-pad bearing boulderers moving between boulders like ants. It's common place to see two dozen people around the famous boulders such as the Ironman Traverse boulder
, or the Peabody boulders
. This area, however, offers more than quality bouldering opportunity; it offers rock climbing on solid granite formations, such as South Mount Klieforth.
Hiking up the frontside trail past the huge Buttermilks boulder, the view of the eastern Sierras will open up before you. The views of Mount Tom, Basin Mountain and Mount Humphreys will please your eyes. your destination, however, is a wide corridor known as Picnic Valley
. Picnic Valley is a sandy area that is flanked by rock formations such as The Slab
on the west and The Owl
to the south.
Looking southwest from Picnic Valley Mount Tom
Crowd gathered in front of Ironman Traverse
South Mount Kieforth is not a very tall formation but it's well-featured west face offers a number of climbing possibilities that make this formation well worth a visit. You will find two crack routes in the low to mid 5.10s on the extreme ends, as well as a 10d thin crack in the middle of the face. This route, Dreamland, 10d is a great candidate for top roping. If you are in the mood for a route in the 5.11 range, it's worth giving the route # 2 a try. This is Dean's Dream, 11a, utilizes the face features past some horizontal cracks to an anchor inside a pod.
There are also route possibilities for at least one 5.12 to the left of route #4.
There are two cracks that run horizontally between routes #1 and #3. You will find a great deal of chalk caked into the rock due to many climbers traversing the cracks and face features. the rock is nearly overhanging and will give you a good workout.
List of the routes
Select routes of South Mount Klieforth
|1||Day Dream, 10a, Standard Rack, pro to 3.5"|
|2||Dean's Dream, 11a, Face and horizontals, pro to 3.5|
|3||Dreamland, 10d, TR|
|4||Dream World, 10b, Standard Rack, pro to 2.5"|
Basin Mountain on the left and Mount Tom on the right
From the town of Bishop California drive seven miles on Highway 168, also known as Line Street, to its intersection with Buttermilk Road. Take this dirt road for 3.5 miles to where you begin to see many large boulders to your right. There is a large dirt clearing here. This is the Frontside Parking.
Park in the Frontside Parking area. Looking up toward the crags, you can easily pick out The Owl. The Owl is in between Skin Diver and Wrangler Rock. A steep jeep trail heads straight up the hill. Take this trail to the top of the hill. At one point you will see another smaller trail heading to the right and toward The Owl. The Owl is located at the enterance to a narrow gully known as “Picnic Valley.” South Mount Klieforth is just to the north of The Owl and across from The Slab.
Mount Humphreys, another beautiful mountain view from The Buttermilks camping in bad style
With a huge flux of climbers from out of town, I have noticed many tents and unsightly campsites in the parking areas. This practice has been tolerated by locals and authorities, so far. These climbers use the surounding areas, and sometimes the base of boulder problems, for going to the bathroom. I am afraid this kind of abuse will eventually impact this beautiful area. In addition, it may result in restriction on access.
There are many campgrounds nearby that can be used. Do your best to use the campgrounds, at least for extended stays. In addition to the nearby campgrounds, there are many unofficial campsites just a little distance down the road, some near running creeks. In any event, camping in the parking areas is the worst option, and please do your best to limit that to only one night. Thank you.
The following links should help finding a good campsite
Horton Creek Campground
Rock Creek Canyon
Inyo National Forest
Bishop Creek and vicinity camping