Iron Butte, Dayton Nev, complete history


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Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 29, 2014 - 02:34pm PT
Iron butte had been totally ignored by climbers passing by it in plain view forever. From highway 50 what one sees the most is a jumble of blocky looking stuff, but its an illusion..If you drive off the highway a half mile or so it would have been obvious of some very good stuff.

Even the noted Alvin McLane (RIP) , the Norman Clyde/ Fred Beckey of Nevada told me he couldnt believe he had driven past Iron Butte ten thousand times and never even given it a thought lol!

So for centuries upon decades, it just sat there all lonely and dejected that its wares weren't drawing the flies. Till a chukar hunter decided to check it out.. Yup, me and Hershey jumped some birds off the top and they landed at the bottom of the butte so we sent around in a chase. Upon getting to the bottom, i stood gawking at a plethora of virgin obvious routes and nary of a sign of any climber ever being there. It was MINE ALL MINE! LOL! Twas the winter of 1990.

Within weeks, Steve Yasmer, Tim Windsor, Glen Wungnema and Myself headed out to the butte to start plucking.

We did "Red Beard" the 140 crack climb as the inaugural and named it for another buddy of ours who was filming it, Dave ( Redbeard) Mathiesen.

Next was Wild women of planet platex as we scanned that face from Red beard. It went in ground up in fine style. Then Jim Arnold got in the action and we put up some of the harder lines there. In a couple of months we had 16 routes-- sport climbs to pure cracks and faces of naturally protected climbs..
Steve Glotsfelty also put in a route there, and then later John Jackson did some more - all quality routes mind you.

There are now 22 routes there, ranging from 5.4 to 5.11

Order of routes:

Wild women of planet playtex
Eagles Nest Dihederal
No Stick-um
The Wall
Baboon safari
Grip Master
Rolling Crow
Locally owned
Local crowmotion
Binkys Revenge
Au Natural
Beholders Eye
Hans solo

Refer to John Jacksons N Tahoe Guide for details of the newer routes He put up..

One evening around 92 or 93, i showed it to Dano, who promptly on sight soloed the wall-5.9, Red beard-5.7, and Baboon Safari 10D/11A in about an hour flat, As the sun was fading, Dano was topping out on Baboon Safari, a hand crack over a roof up a slightly overhanging headwall.

Credit: Ron Anderson

DanO and "Baboon Safari" Onsight solo^^^^^^^^93

Iron Butte was named by me- for its hard as iron rock.

Rolling crow was an ode to an airshow by said critters that day as was local Crowmotion. The Wall- pink Floyd tribute- what else?

Wild women- because that cracked us up.

Baboon Safari- the nature of the roof during the fa attempts.

eagles nest dihederal for the ancient remains of an eagles nest at the top

RedBeard for our crew filmer that day.

Locally owned- cus we were locals eh..

Hans solo- because it was a solo by Jim Arnold who we were calling Hans that day...Psyche!

Spuds- the nature of the holds on the runout 5.6 face climb

Gripmaster- cus the gripmaster was the rage then. duh..

No stick-um--- when you see the polished corner - youll know...

Credit: Ron Anderson

DanO onsight solo- "The Wall" 93^^^^^^^^^

L- Steve Yasmer on "the wall",,M-Steve and Tim on "wild women of plane...
L- Steve Yasmer on "the wall",,M-Steve and Tim on "wild women of planet playtex", and R- Jim Arnold leading "gripmaster"- iron butte 91

RedBeard is the obvious crack to the left, which you take the crux of to get to the start of "gripmanster".
Credit: Ron Anderson

Edge of the Electric Ocean Beneath Red Rock
Jul 29, 2014 - 02:51pm PT
Thanks for posting, Ron!
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Maestro, Ecosystem Ministry, Fatcrackistan
Jul 29, 2014 - 02:54pm PT
Sweet post Ron!


Jul 29, 2014 - 03:05pm PT
Looks great Ron, ashamed to say I haven't been there...have heard good things about that spot. DanK
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 29, 2014 - 04:15pm PT
Its hard to drive though Woodfords to head to the Butte Chim..;-)

It has bee said by some, there are many rattle snakes around, yet ive always climbed there in the fall winter early spring, and ive yet to run into one.

Jim Arnold leading the FA of locally owned..91
Jim Arnold leading the FA of locally owned..91
Credit: Ron Anderson

Steve Yasmer and RDA Fa of Eagles nest
Steve Yasmer and RDA Fa of Eagles nest
Credit: Ron Anderson


Trad climber
Auburn, CA
Jul 29, 2014 - 05:34pm PT
Thanks for posting Ron! Could this be cross posted in trip reports so it would be easier to find?


in the face of the fury of the funk
Jul 29, 2014 - 05:37pm PT
hard as iron rock
. Que tipo de roc?

Thanks for sharing something awesome.
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Jul 29, 2014 - 06:02pm PT
Way cool share Ron!
Points for the painters pants and bandana doo rag.
BTW, how did the hunt end? ;-)
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 29, 2014 - 06:09pm PT
Erik, a simple "iron butte" search in the box brings this right up. No sense having two identical threads. Ive never used the (TR) feature even on my tr's..?

Just thought id toss this up- as my infrequent on topic stuff..And mention the buds that were around then. It was so cool to have this new wonderland all to ourselves. The winter was the perfect time for the developement and some days were absolutely gorgeous there in the clouds light and atmosphere of the place- it has a very welcoming juju to it. The climbs are anywhere from 35' to 150' in length and there are 4 pure bolted sport routes, 1 with four bolts and 1 placement to anchors at 70 plus feet to double bolts for a one pitch climb or belay and do the second pitch the same length to the top with natural pro. (WWOPP). The rest are protect-able faces and crack routes.

edit: Tad, Hershey and i scored- chukar and a couple of mtn quail. ;-)

Trad climber
Nevada City
Jul 29, 2014 - 06:10pm PT
sweeeeeeeet! thanks for sharing the history, some pretty cool pics too.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Jul 29, 2014 - 09:07pm PT
Posting a good looking cliff on the interwebs = epic fail. Soon all the cracks will have shiny perma draws next to them and it will turn into a local gumbie gym climber hang out.

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Jul 29, 2014 - 10:18pm PT
Nice posts Ron, thx!

Cool features on that formation. May have to check it out.

lost, far away from Poland
Jul 29, 2014 - 11:02pm PT
Very cool!

I love reading those old stories, and you are a very good story teller, Ron.

Greetings from Poland.

rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Jul 29, 2014 - 11:38pm PT
I love this crags sunny aspect, which makes for comfortable climbing even on a subfreezing winter day. Been there many times and enjoyed Red Beard, Planet Playtex, Grip Master, The Wall, Eagles dihedral and more of which im not sure of their names. I only found it because of Ron's guidebook, otherwise I would have passed with nary a glance as other cragsmen had for generations. Bullet hard rock in the central area and still new routes to unearth. Thanks Ron .

Jul 30, 2014 - 05:49am PT
Good place for a double day!! In the spring when the days get longer, ski in the morning then crag here til sunset!

Feels good to be barefoot in the dirt after having boots on all morning.

Jul 30, 2014 - 06:14am PT
Here is a little Iron Butte history for you Ron:

All through the 90's I worked for a program called Right of Passage. A placement facility for troubled teens. Mostly gangbangers from all over California and a few other states. I ran a group home and we would ski in the winter and climb in the summer. (Dano use to work here as well. We would tell old "war stories" about the place when ever we saw each other)

Iron Butte was a popular spot for us as you rarely see other parties and considering our group consisted of 13 students and two staff I liked spots like this.

Anyways we head up there one spring day and get two ropes set up. In the program you have to be a part of the team and try everything. One of the toughest and most intimidating kids that I worked with was with us this day. Thompson was his name and he was a crip from South Central and this was his first day climbing. Great athlete, was a star running back for ROP when he was at the Yerington facility for awhile. Well after a bit it is his turn to climb. Before we arrived he was talking smack about how easy this was going to be.

So he makes about two moves up the beginning of "Red Beard" and freezes! Solid like an iceberg! Can't go up, can't go down! We literally had to hold him pluck him off the starting holds and bring him down!!

He was terrified the rest of the day. Could not even walk. Slid on his butt on the ground all the way to the car. Took over an hour.

This had a huge impact on the kid. Afterwards his behavior started improving. He was humble and respectful with other kids that earlier before this experience he was "punking" them.

He became a great belayer!!


Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Jul 30, 2014 - 07:08am PT
Great stories Ron and others!

Had a fun day up there with Rick a while back. It is a surprisingly good crag. One of the few good winter crags nearby.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 30, 2014 - 07:35am PT
Damm Dave!---"He was terrified the rest of the day. Could not even walk. Slid on his butt on the ground all the way to the car. Took over an hour."

talk about a dose of humble pie lol!

Climbski- Rick and i have also been out there - And ive still yet to see a snake. Winter time they all seem to be hibernating even though it can be somewhat mild there all winter long. I know Rick passed it up countless times too as he mentioned, on drives to the vast central Nevada basin turf to explore the ten bazillion other crags out there. And you look squarely at it from just past Dayton for like six miles. Twas the optical illusion turned gift from the Chukar Gods. Had it not been for one group of birds, that crag may very well have still been a virgin, all lonely and dejected.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jul 30, 2014 - 07:40am PT
Thanks....nice to get beta on an area you had never heard of.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 30, 2014 - 07:59am PT
Credit: Ron Anderson

RA - the Wall, 1991

JD- the place has many face climbs like the above,,"The Wall". You can lead this on a set of ANYTHING. Stoppers, rocks, hexes or cams. There isnt one loose piece of rock on the face. Just polished hard volcanic. Its no "destination spot" for sure, but for round here its a unique and enjoyable locale.

But BEWARE JD! Ive assigned the protection of the crag to my "nephews" , Otis and Grunk, aka Otter- hes the good looking one.... Concerning Vittles comment about gleaming hangars from cracks,, it aint gonna happen with them two about the place..;-D

we live at the bottom of duh Butte..... <br/>
And Unc Ron gave us permi...
we live at the bottom of duh Butte.....

And Unc Ron gave us permission to EAT anyone caught retro boltin roots der...
Credit: Ron Anderson

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