Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 37.33468°N / 118.57595°W
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing, Toprope
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 6560 ft / 1999 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Basin Mountain seen from near WavelengthBasin Mountain seen from Wavelength

Wavelength is a rock formation located in The Buttermilks region of the Eastern Sierras to the west of the town of Bishop.

Much has been said and written about the Buttermilks as a premier and internationally renowned bouldering area. The sport of bouldering at the Buttermilks, affectionately known as “The Milks,” has a long and detailed history that could become the subject of another page all by itself. What seems to get ignored and neglected, to a great degree, is the great potential for rock climbing on larger formations that exist at the Buttermilks. Wavelength, like its neighbors Skin Diver, The Owl, Windy Wall, Wrangler Rock and The Slab is a good place for a hard day of workout.

Wavelength is actually the south face of Windy Wall and it cannot be any more different from it. The north face of this dark colored granite rock formation that we know as Windy Wall is steep, well featured with cracks, huacos and sharp edges. In contrast to the north side, Wavelength is south facing, slabby, seemingly featureless and very light colored. But the best advantage of climbing on Wavelength is its grand views of the Sierras and the seclusion it provides.

Basin Mountain seen from near Wavelength
Mount Humphreys seen from near Wavelength
Basin Mountain seen from near Wavelength
Basin Mountain seen from near Wavelength

Routes of Wavelength

Routes on Wavelength
At first look, Wavelength seems to be a featureless rock formation with no climbing potential. But, as you get closer you will see small crystals and flakes on a less than vertical face. Because there are very few large holds, there are not not very many routes on Wavelength, but it’s a great place for more accomplished climbers who are comfortable on 5.11 and 5.12 range. In the old times, climbers had to throw a rope over the top of Wavelength to the opposite side and anchor it to the base of Windy Wall. Nowadays, however, there is an anchor on the top of one of the two bolted routes that can be used for rapping off.
Eastern Sierras seen from Wavelength

A personal note: Of the dozen times that I have climbed on Windy Wall, I was completely ignorant to the existence of Wavelength. I stumbled upon Wavelength completely by accident in the winter of 2008. It appears that I was not the only one not aware of this wonderful little formation. It seems to be comfortably tucked back inside a corridor along with many other small and large boulders.

Climbs of Wavelength
1If I Wanted Any Sh@t From You..., 12a, bolts
2Wavelength, 11c, gear to 2.5 inches, there is one bolt half way up
3Project, has one bolt

Although the bottom half of Wavelength seems to be featureless, the top half actually has cracks leading all the way to the top. The blankest face on the left has one bolted climb called “If I Wanted Any Sh@t From You..., 12a” with an anchor on top. To the right of that climb you will find the original route on this wall. It’s named “Wavelength, 11c,” established in the early 1980’s. It’s a thin crack and hard to protect. There is one bolt two thirds of the way up it.
There is a project to the right of those climbs with one bolt. To the right of all of those you will find a crack that seems not that hard. Unfortunately, I do not have any more information about that climb.


Mount Humphreys at dawnMount Humphreys, another beautiful mountain view from The Buttermilks
camping at 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, some near running creeks, that can be used. In any event, camping in the parking areas is the worst to choose.

The following links should help finding a good campsite

Horton Creek Campground

Rock Creek Canyon

Inyo National Forest

Bishop Creek and vicinity camping

How to get there

On the way to Windy WallThe small triangular rock is your landmark for the approach.

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 a broken gate. To your right you will see many boulders of all sizes. These are the famous Buttermilks Boulders. Turn right after the gate and soon you will see a large clearing to your right. This is known as the “Back Parking.” Park your car here.

To get to Wavelength walk down the road you were on and walk for .2 miles to its intersection with a steep dirt road on your right. Hike up this steep dirt road to a wide clearing in the brush. Continue walking past this clearing for another two hundred yards to a point where you can see a gabled rock formation to your left. The small gable-shaped rock in the middle is your landmark {refer to the photo}. There is a narrow trail leading to an obvious corridor and Windy Wall itself. You can walk past the Windy Wall corridor and find the south face of the same formation. You are at Wavelength. Walking time is about five minutes.

External Links

Skin Diver, The Owl, Windy Wall, Wrangler Rock
The Slab



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.