Patterson Bluff - online guide


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Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 3, 2013 - 07:10pm PT
Here's an attempt to collect info on all the routes mentioned in the several Patterson Bluff threads: most recent thread bits of info Rene's earlier thread Jaybro's photos and driving directions, March 2010 trail work to Balch Camp Flake from road on right AAJ descriptions from Ed Jaybro's magazine article on JCA's Wide World of Sport w/ action photo another photo topos on Rene's site,+CA&gl=us&ei=1XokS_HeApDssQObjMHgDg&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=title&resnum=1&ved=0CAgQ8gEwAA google map for Balch Camp, CA NWS weather/temperature forecast (Balch Camp Flake, 4200')
I moved it here so that I can continue to edit it beyond the usual 10 day limit.
I'll update it if people have corrections/additions.
[Update #16: 5/08/2017]

Patterson Bluff rock climbing

Near Balch Camp, 4000-6000' elevation, poison oak, ticks, mountain lions.
Rappel approaches from top.
Info from,, AAJs.

Shorter crags below Patterson Bluff

Road Gold (right by the road, 2000' elevation)

1. Pay at the Pump 5.12b, off-fist inversion roof crack, 2 bolt anchor
FA: Jay Anderson

slab up road from Road Gold (1/4 mile up road from Road Gold)

2. One Way or Another, 2p, traverse under big roof
FA: Paul Martzen, Mike Borrelli

Antenna Rock (above the road on a sharp corner, directly above Balch Camp, rappel from antenna base)

3. Antenna Rock Headwall, open project, flaring crack to overhanging ow
4. approach crack, to set up toprope on Crescent Arch
FA: Mike Borrelli, Paul Martzen
5. Crescent Arch 5.10d TR, thin hands, possible start from ground looks hard and has poison oak
FA(toprope): Mike Borrelli

Rebar Pillars (steel rebars on top, poison oak at base)

6. Left Rebar Pillar 5.9, 100', several old hangerless bolts
7. Right Side of Left 5.10a/b TR, 100', crack to thin face
FA(TR): Paul Amico, David Fries, 4/2017
8. Right Rebar Pillar 5.10a, 100', 4x, old bolts

Patterson Left

google map version of Dave's map - from Shaver Lake to top of Patterson Left
Google avoids one section south of "(B)", and Dave's map is 10 years old, so road maintenance might be an issue?

Patterson Left - Back Wall (left of gully and Sunset Buttress, 5000-6000')

9. The Way of the Dragon 5.11 A0, 10p, aid is short bolt ladder, AAJ 2002, p.207, beta, topo
FA: Brandon Thau, Joe Reichert, Dave Nettle, 10/2001

Patterson Left (Indian Point, Ross Crossing Road to top closed in winter, can rappel or descend gully, 5000-5800')

10. escape route, 3-4p, just left of Sunset Buttress, right of gully between Back Wall and main bluff
FA: Paul Martzen, Richard Leversee, 1985
11. Sunset Buttress 5.10 A2, 9p, prow, AAJ 1986, p.156, partial topo
FA: Paul Marzen, Richard Leversee, 3/1985
12. The Sun Also Rises 5.12c, 10p, free version of Sunset Buttress, AAJ 1995, p.156, topo
FA: Scott Cosgrove, Jim Zellers, Richard Leversee, 9/1994
13. Raptors of the Steep 5.9 A2+, 8p, topo
FA: Scott Thelen, Brandon Thau, Richard Leversee, Mark Leffler, 11/1999
14. Some Assembly Required 5.11, 9p, topo
FA: Dave Nettle, John Fehrman, 9/2000
15. Under the Gun 5.11 A1, 8p, joins last pitch of Under the Knife, topo
FA: Richard Leversee, Dave Nettle, Brandon Thau, 8/1999
16. Under the Knife 5.12b, 9p, mostly bolted, 2 5.12 pitches, ends at Knife Flake, 2x gear to 2", 1x #5 cam, 15 draws
FA: Scott Thelen, Richard Leversee
17. 50 lbs of Crack 5.12a/b, 8p, topo1 topo2
FA: John Wason?, Ron Felton, 10/1996
FFA: ?
18. Some Restrictions Apply 5.10+, 7p, topo
FA: Richard Leversee, Dave Nettle, Brandon Thau, 8/1999
19. The Face that Launched 1000 Clips 5.12c/d, 11p topo
FA: Herb Laeger, Eric Brand, Richard Leversee
20. La Cara Perfecta (Ten) 5.10c, 14p, topo, messier topo which includes lines for 1000 Clips and Eleven
FA: Herb Laeger, Richard Leversee, 6/1998
21. Eleven 5.11b/c
22. Millenium Falcon 5.12 A0

left of Wedding Wall

23. Dimaxicon, 1p
FA: Herb Laeger, Kris Solem, late 1980s or early 90s
24. Horrendicon, 1p, fairly hard, high first bolt
FA: Herb Laeger, Kris Solem, late 1980s or early 90s

Wedding Wall (central slab/apron, above creek, right side of Patterson Left, 4600-5200')

25. In Slickness and in Stealth 5.11a/b, 4p, low angle and looks easy but is not, made aluminum hook for lead drilling on this route
FA: Herb Laeger, Kris Solem, Julie Lazar, late 1980s or early 90s
26. another WW route 5.11a/b, 3p or 4p, Herb and Kris did about 15 new routes at Patterson
FA: Herb Laeger, Kris Solem, Julie Lazar, late 1980s or early 90s
27. just left of WWW, w/ Bosch
FA: Herb Laeger, Eric Brand, 4/1992
28. Welcome to Wedding Wall 5.8, 4p, crux at bulge on p1, upper pitches 5.7 R/X
FA: Kevin Ludwig, Leni Reeves, Barry Chambers, 4/1992

unsure location

29. Wrecked 'Em and Eject 'Em, ow
FA: Herb Laeger, Kris Solem, Tom Marshall, late 1980s or early 90s
30. Digital Exam 5.11, fingerlock splitter to right
FA: Herb Laeger, Kris Solem, Tom Marshall, late 1980s or early 90s

Patterson Right

Patterson Falls Apron (far left side of Patterson Right, apron right of the falls, obvious "upside down leg/boot" pillar with long LFC on L side, in 1970 a trail with built up switchbacks existed from the base back to within 100 feet of the road, 3800-4600')

31. Victory at Sea 5.8 A2, 3p, up path of dry Patterson Falls
FA: Larry Zulim, Bob Simmons, by 1987
32. middle pillar 5.8, 5p or 6p, 2-3p up middle of "upside down leg/boot" pillar with 5.8 move at top, 3p slabs above with no anchors
FA: John Eleazarian, Tim Schiller, Mike Althouse, 12/1970
FFA: John Eleazarian (free solo), 1972
33. middle black intrusion, middle arching black intrusion, one bolt at headwall and thin cracks above, could use some bolts
FA: Paul Martzen

Balch Camp Flake (4200', a trail with green flagging from road from the southwest was cleared in March 2010, and becomes overgrown, poison oak and ticks. It may be better to make multiple raps from top of cliff after 60 minute hike on old road)

34. A Side of Wide 5.10d, bolt protected chimney start, left of Balch Camp Flake
FP(bolted by): Richard Leversee
FA: Jay Anderson, Ann Yeagle, David Cotter, Richard Leversee, 2/1997

35. TPL var. start 5.12a, thin hand crack, front side of Dracula
FA(aid): Paul Martzen
FFA: Jaybro?
36. The Passionate Life 5.11c, 2p, ow and squeeze, camalots 4x4 2x4.5 2x5, AAJ 1998, p.190
FA: Jay Anderson, Ann Yeagle, 2/1997
37. JCA's Wide World of Sport 5.12b, 2p, ow and squeeze, 16x + gear, topo
FP(bolted by): Richard Leversee
FA: Jay Anderson, Brad Jarrett, 3/1995
38. Balch Camp Flake - Original Route, right edge of the flake, bolt ladder to horn lasso, then more bolts, AAJ
FA: George Sessions, Merle Alley, Rich Calderwood, Mark Powell, 1954
39. Flicker of Time Arete 5.9 A0, starts on Original Route bolt ladder,
then free climbs arete above, AAJ 1998, p.190
FA: David Cotter, Richard Leversee, 2/1997

Balch Camp Flake - inside face

40. backside of JCA WWS 5.11a?
FA: Richard Leversee
41. backside of The Passionate Life 5.11c
FA: Richard Leversee
42. Dracula Crack 5.9, backside of TPL 5.12a var. start, hand and fist crack
FA: Dwight Kroll, Ryan?, 1981

43. big seam just right of Balch Camp Flake, protected by line of bolts

Three Pillars (just right of Balch Camp Flake, R/3rd pillar is tallest, 2-3 raps from reflectors to top of 3rd pillar, 4200-4700')

44. Pablo's Cruise 5.7/5.8, 3p, gulley on L side of 1st pillar to top of 3rd pillar, then left to black dike and up 3p of slabs
FA: Paul Martzen
45. face above Pablo's Cruise, toproped, person-sized scallops, very unnerving friction mantles
46. Sex and Drugs 5.9, crack between 1st and 2nd pillars
47. Oroborus Crack 5.10c A2?, S-shaped crack on 2nd pillar, aid seam (might go free at 5.12) to 5.10c fingers past roof, then 5.9 hands to ledge, and lieback to top
FA: Paul Martzen
48. Storm Drain 5.8, gully between 2nd and 3rd pillars, to bushy tree at top
49. right LFC 5.10c/d, right of 2 LFCs on lower half of 3rd pillar
FA: Paul Martzen

The Blob (right of 3 Pillars, blobish rock with 3 cracks)

50. Crescent Crack, left crack, arches to right, goes halfway up Blob, rope cut on FA by loose block
FA: Mike Borrelli, Paul Martzen
51. Scary Monsters 5.10b, left leaning hand and fist, center crack
FA: Paul Martzen, Mike Borrelli, 1981

Down Under Dome (below Black Rock Road, before Black Rock Reservoir, 3800-4000')

52. Safe to Dance 5.10b, 1p, 3x, 70', far L side ("Safety Dance"?)
FA: Paul Martzen, Bob Simmons
53. No Oakey 5.10b, 2p, 1: 5.10b 90', 2: 5.8 110', L of middle pillar/book
FA: Danny Grey, Matt Shutz, David Fries, 3/2013
54. Sunday Funday 5.7, 105', 3x gear to 3"
FA: David Fries, Paul Amico, 3/2016
55. Tickle My Tick Head 5.8, 105' & shares anchor with Funday, 4x and knob sling
FA: Paul Amico, David Fries, 3/2016

Up Over Boulder (above turnout for Down Under Dome)

56. toprope routes, 2 bolts on top

Big Schwaaa Gorge (below Down Under Dome, flat bench of pine trees on top, 3600')

57. The Big Schwaaa 5.11d, thin hands
FA(toprope): Jorge (Tuckess) Menchu
FL: Mike Latendresse
58. really thin crack, tried by Larry Zulim
59. wide corner crack

Power Line Crag or One Pitch Wonder (just past reservoir, west of Black Rock Road, behind the power lines, 4500')

60. Probably Did 5.9, 180' crack, rap from manzanita or walk off west down small gully
FA: Sam Gitchel, Dennis Morgan, 5/1992
61. Knobblely Dogs 5.10b/c, 1/4" bolts w/ SS SMC hangers to chains, chickenheads, 40-45m
FA: Barry Chambers, Leni Reeves, Kevin Ludwig, 4/1992
62. Ludwig Rising 5.6?, central chimney
FA: Kevin Ludwig, 4/1992
63. Knobbles and Bits 5.11a/b, lieback 15-20' to first bolt, 45-50m
FA: Barry Chambers, Leni Reeves, Kevin Ludwig, 4/1992
64. Downward-Dog Ludwig 5.6?, right side chimney, was downclimbed
FD: Kevin Ludwig, 4/1992
65. The Price is Right 5.9/5.10, rating guess, several cracks to anchors 25m up, then continue to top
FA: Barry Chambers, Bruce Price, 5/1992

Black Rock Dome (north and slightly west of Power Line Crag, gnarly bushwhack approach from NW, 6400-7000')

66. Bad Day at Black Rock 5.10+, 4p, in center, 1: knobs and bolted face, then cracks and face climbing next to chimney, AAJ 1997
FA: Jim Zellers, Pete Taylor, Richard Leversee, 8/1996

Trad climber
SeKi, California
Apr 3, 2013 - 11:42pm PT
Hey Clint, Great and thorough job as usual! I talked to Larry Zulim tonite and he told me about a climb not on the list. Its all the way over on the left side, up the waterfall that was dry at the time. "Victory at Sea" 5.8 A2 3 pitches, done by Larry Zulim and Bob Simmons. Not sure of the date.
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Apr 4, 2013 - 12:23am PT
Thanks, Clint. On my tick list of places I have never climbed and need to, this is at the top.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 4, 2013 - 12:46am PT
Thanks to your site, for making this type of project possible!
I hope you get a chance to check it out and dodge the poison oak as well.

Thanks - I added "Victory at Sea". The date is somewhat bounded by Bob's passing.
And thanks for your efforts in posting the topos and descriptions from Paul that started this.

Trad climber
Apr 4, 2013 - 01:21am PT
Radish, thanks for the update. I get pumped hearing about all the routes people have done. I am sure there is a lot more..... just hoping not all the lines I have picked out....hahaha

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Apr 4, 2013 - 12:12pm PT
Nice work Clint, & all!

A side of wide, Leversee put in The initial bolts, then I led the FA/FFA (same ascent) followed by Anne Yeagle, Cotter, & Mr Big(?)

Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Apr 4, 2013 - 12:23pm PT
Oh Randisi, there's still plenty of adventure left out there.

heck even this thread will probably drop below the radar at some point.


Trad climber
the middle of CA
Apr 4, 2013 - 12:27pm PT
Threads like this are one of the great things about supertopo. Thank you guys for pooling the resources!

I think showing what's already been done encourages adventure. Kinda like how I get guidebooks to see what's NOT in them. You can't go into the unknown without knowing what's known, if that makes sense. Well, you could purposely ignore info to make things more difficult for yourself, but that's not what I think of as adventure.


Trad climber
Apr 4, 2013 - 06:27pm PT
Dito Crab. Although you could be one that shares nothing and then when someone puts up an FA, you can pop their balloon by then coming out with the original FA. "Sorry, already been done"

Trad climber
Apr 6, 2013 - 02:09am PT
TR: Just got back from Patterson with Chris Rocca and will post pics as I go through them. Headed to D.U. Dome to work a few lines. Decided to warm up on a short rock above the turn out on top of dome. Found anchors on top and TR a bit.

I got a headache and felt sick and realised I hadn't eaten. I ate and scratched the D.U. plans. Went up to the one pitch rocks above BR turn. Until someone has a better name.I'm calling '1-pitch wonder'.

Chris and I both climbed a bit on the left most, heavily chicken headed, bolted rout(3 total). One oneach of the separate rocks. The left is about .10b/c. Middle prob easy to mid .11 and right looked about .9-.10.

I started feeling better and decided to head up a crack to the left of the bolted chicken route. A bit dirty at the bottom and pulled loose a few small rocks. Upper half was cleaner. Went up 180' and gave it .9 and rapped back down on two 70m ropes off a manzanita. We are calling it "Probably Did" as a PFA (Possible FA) since someone 'probably did' it already.

Once again a great day in an amazing place. More pics to follow.

Pics one, three and four are sideways. Stupid smart phone

Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Apr 6, 2013 - 02:33am PT

Trad climber
Apr 6, 2013 - 03:14am PT

Trad climber
Apr 6, 2013 - 03:26am PT

Trad climber
Apr 6, 2013 - 03:37am PT
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 6, 2013 - 04:23am PT
Thanks, Davey.
I updated the list using your new photos (rotated as needed).

Trad climber
Apr 6, 2013 - 04:38am PT

Trad climber
Apr 6, 2013 - 04:54am PT
Clint, it's looking good!

For 1-Pitch Wonder
Probably Did, 180' crack left of white rock
(Left?), 40-45m starts on left side below crack in pic by dead oak then up to chains
(Middle?), 45-50m starts w/lie back to 1st bolt 15-20' up
(Right), Anchors 25m up w/various cracks leading to them. Continue to top.

Can walk off at west end down small gully. (Left?) bolts are 1/4 smashers w/ SMC SS hangers. Look solid but they are 1/4"
Captain...or Skully

Apr 6, 2013 - 08:19am PT
Man, you're one organized monkey, Clint. Woot!
Cool lookin' crags.

Trad climber
Apr 6, 2013 - 11:14am PT
The 100' road route is up road from Antenna after a bridge and on a turn where the road swings back N/E toward PB. Easily visible on G/earth.

Trad climber
Apr 6, 2013 - 11:28am PT
BR Dome is just west and north of 1-Pitch Wonder

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