Much has been said and written about the Buttermilks area of the Eastern Sierras. This area is known for its countless boulders and bouldering test pieces. What seems to have gone to the wayside is all the cragging that has existed there for many years. Looking back at the history of rock climbing, the sport of bouldering was invented to prepare climbers for bigger rocks. If you feel like getting away from crash pads and abundantly chalk-soaked holds, get onto any one of the crags here like Wrangler Rock. Climbing a pitch or two could be the diversion you are looking for.
A very rare moment in time captured when the clouds stay where you want them and your camera isn't acting up. Sunrise on Mt.Tom
Another reason for stepping away from bouldering for a short time is to explore the beautiful formations that make the skyline of The Buttermilks. You will be surprised at the variety and majesty of the bigger rocks on the top of the hills. The trails could be a little steep, but the rewards are great. The views of the Sierras are much more awesome from higher up.
Mount Humphreys seen from The Buttermilks.
Wrangler Rock, like its neighbors Skin Diver
and Windy Wall
is a rock formation that has much to offer. It has a number of fun routes from face, huecos to cracks with more possibilities for future route development. Half of the fun of climbing Wrangler Rock is in the approach to the base. You scramble on low angle slabs coming from right and left which make the approach gully narrower and narrower as you get close to the base. One section before the base is actually a third class climb, and it’s even more fun coming down on it.
Routes of Wrangler Rock
There are four documented climbs on Wrangler Rock ranging from 5.6 to 10a. But when you get to the base and see all the features and possibilities you want to go back and get your bolt kit.
|Climbs of Wrangler Rock|
|A||Lisa's Crack, 5.8 |
|B||The Spittoon, 5.6|
|C||Buttermilks Pancakes, 5.9|
|D1||Not sure, but according to the guide book, also Granola, 10a|
Wrangler Rock like all other rock formation in the Buttermilks is granite and very similar to Joshua Tree rock. The surface of the rock, however, is much rougher. Most new areas and routes need to be cleaned of loose grainy surfaces. Care should be taken on routes that don’t get much traffic. Make sure to tape your hand for climbing any of the cracks, and you will be in for a lot of fun. Enjoy.
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.
Inyo National Forest
Bishop Creek and vicinity camping
How to Get There
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 Wrangler Rock on the left, The Owl in the middle and Skin Diver on the right. Using the trail, as much as possible, make your way toward Wrangler Rock. The gully leading to the base is made of low angle slabs coming down from both sides. The base is small and will give a cozy feeling.
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