Name this Central Sierra Crag....

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Radish

Trad climber
SeKi, California
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 29, 2009 - 04:56pm PT
Thought I'd post one before the year ended to pay for all my lurking. Its kind of a quiz I guess, This crag has lots of hard climbs and some of the best stuff is out of the picture, which I took a long time ago. Climbs with names like "Raptors of the Steep" and "Some Assembly Required" may give away this frontcountry crag. "Its hard to get to" is the first reply you usually get when asking anyone who knows. I'd like to hear some stories too if
Credit: Radish
anyone has any..............................
aldude

climber
Monument Manor
Dec 29, 2009 - 05:04pm PT
Patterson Bluffs.....?
G_Gnome

Trad climber
In the mountains... somewhere...
Dec 29, 2009 - 05:33pm PT
That would be my guess too Al.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Dec 29, 2009 - 05:43pm PT
That was what jumped into my mind.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Dec 29, 2009 - 05:48pm PT
That's what it is. I've been climbing on the cliff on the lower right hand side, but not on the upper left, whose approach deterred me. I can see the farther left portion of the cliff from my house many days.

John
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Dec 29, 2009 - 05:53pm PT
So, you guys that have been there wanna cut in a new trail to PB, right, to the flake for some frolic in February?
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Dec 29, 2009 - 05:56pm PT
I could certainly be talked into it, Jaybro. By the way, there is a trail, complete with built-up switchbacks, on the left side of the lower cliff, but the lower 100 feet or so are obscured by vegetation. i assume PG&E/Southern Cal Edison had something to do with its construction, probably in the 1920's when my father was working up there.

John
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Dec 29, 2009 - 06:06pm PT
This is worth talking further about..

Check your Email, John
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Dec 29, 2009 - 07:25pm PT
I did a bunch of routes there late 80's with Herb Laeger. There had been a fire, and the approach was clear. Herb went on to establish several remarkable long routes on the main face in the 5.10-5.12 range by approaching from the top and rapping in. One of these routes is ten pitches of 5.10 and is named, simply, "Ten."

Radish

Trad climber
SeKi, California
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 29, 2009 - 07:35pm PT
This Topo was originally made by Richard Leversee and I got it via Paul Martzen. I'm sure more routes have been added...........


Credit: Radish
ec

climber
ca
Dec 29, 2009 - 09:03pm PT
Jaybro,
Let's see the 'money shot' from JA's Wide World (forgot the exact name, sorry) that Leversee took.

 ec
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Dec 29, 2009 - 09:14pm PT
Credit: Jaybro

I met Brutus because of this photo.
mojede

Trad climber
Butte, America
Dec 29, 2009 - 09:44pm PT
Never been to Patterson Bluffs, but I always wondered where Jaybro's WWOS was located--looks like a cool place!
Levy

Big Wall climber
So Cal
Dec 29, 2009 - 09:58pm PT
Hey Jaybro-

I have seen that photo before but I thought it was the Balch Camp OW thingy. Am I wrong?

That looks gorgeous, sure like to get on that someday.

Patterson Bluffs looks like a terrific area for those who can climb hard stuff.
I've heard things about the place for many years and wanted to check it out, but the Sierra's have so much great rock that it's hard to head off to the relatively unknown when you have such godly attractions nearby.

Anyone got any additional pictures?
Radish

Trad climber
SeKi, California
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 29, 2009 - 10:09pm PT
I got these pictures from Paul....Don't know who took them..........

Patterson Left.......
Patterson Left.......
Credit: Radish
Far Right...........
Far Right...........
Credit: Radish
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
Sprocketville
Dec 29, 2009 - 11:42pm PT
that first pic is a mirror image,

if this is the same patterson bluffs on the kings, near garlic falls,

looks like balch camp in the right rear but i lost my contacts in the soup.

thats a kodachrome slide in backwards, or i'm a hippo on crack.


Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
Sprocketville
Dec 29, 2009 - 11:57pm PT
yeah, no, i'm rite on top of the PG now, see here>

you park under the penstock and hope no smartass trundles your car into the N. Fk. Kings.

great cayonerring down there,

Slater

Trad climber
Central Coast
Dec 30, 2009 - 12:16am PT
bump... interesting
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Dec 30, 2009 - 12:46am PT
Dr. Spock, those pics from Radish are correctly oriented. I can see most of the top picture from my bedroom window on a clear day. I've always assumed that the big flake in the second picture is the Balch Camp Flake that Mark Powell climbed in the mid-1950's. Those cracks on it always intrigued me, but with binoculars, they looked more like very wide chimneys (which might explain why the first ascent involved some rope throws).

I've done several chimneys and offwidths on the lower, Eastern bluff over the years.

Jaybro,

I'm certainly interested, although I will be in the process of moving in early February, Lord and lender willing. Email me if you need info, a partner, or a place to stay.

John
Radish

Trad climber
SeKi, California
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 30, 2009 - 01:07am PT
Credit: Radish
ec

climber
ca
Dec 30, 2009 - 01:15am PT
Thx, Jaybro!

'for those who may have 'seen it somewhere,' Patagonia made a hang tag and a poster of that shot.

Richard had some really great shots looking from the other side (inside out) too, as the crack splits the whole flake...

 ec
mojede

Trad climber
Butte, America
Dec 30, 2009 - 01:41am PT
There was an article in R&I/Climbing that did a small blurb about Patterson Bluffs (where I heard of it/them)--mostly about a long free line, and was included with other crags that had long, good free lines on them.

I have the issue, but pretty sure that I can't find the article--unless I become obsessed and look through most all of them:-)
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Dec 30, 2009 - 02:37am PT
Levy, it's Balch Camp flake on Patterson Bluff right.

'Wide world' is the prominent wyde crack on the right side of the flake in Radish's second Photo. The crack to the left is the somewhat easier route 'The Passionate Life' 5.11 wyde, full value, hanging belay on wyde pro. Both are awaiting second ascents as far as I know. TPL has a .12a hand variation.

There is a thread on the Wide Fetish Forum that has a bunch of related info, maps, etc. I nabbed the two best plums on the flake there is plenty of stuff to do, as soon as someone builds a new trail!

http://widefetish.com/simplemachinesforum/index.php?topic=478.msg5022#msg5022
also
http://widefetish.com/features/jays_wws/jays_wws.html
and
http://widefetish.com/simplemachinesforum/index.php?topic=108.msg790#msg790

ec, all of my relatives have that poster, framed, in their abodes!

John, I will be in touch, good luck with the real estate merry-go-round, been through it three times, always worth it, but always seems insufferable at the time, chin up!
T H

climber
. . . not !
Dec 30, 2009 - 04:59am PT
The boulders peppering the scree-field even look majestic . Woah .
NoRushNoMore

climber
Dec 30, 2009 - 05:55am PT
Yeah, a few high rez pix, sorry if you are on the slow connection:







And if you keep going for another 1.5 hours:



hooblie

climber
from where the anecdotes roam
Dec 30, 2009 - 06:28am PT
now that's why i got this hot rod unit outfitted with scrolls bars!
Radish

Trad climber
SeKi, California
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 30, 2009 - 10:30am PT
I think this is what you guys are talking about.........

Credit: Radish
Levy

Big Wall climber
So Cal
Dec 30, 2009 - 02:04pm PT
Bump for the proudness of wide.

All hail the glory of wide crack fun.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Dec 30, 2009 - 02:22pm PT
A little ungainly, but very cool, No Rush! what might might not be clear is what a dense jungle (50% Poison Oak) that underbrush is.

is that Leversee's Topo? (Interesting if so) or did someone else do it?
mostly accurate, though don't count on those "face holds" they are down-sloping mumps with no lips, on an overhanging wall. again, thatline in the drawing is what became, 'The Passionate Life'

I think Brad and I thought the second pitch was .11c ( he fell on both piches) but that was a long time ago.

ec, the only hang tag i saw of that was on Capilene underwear, seemed sort of a mixed compliment ;-)....
aldude

climber
Monument Manor
Dec 30, 2009 - 04:11pm PT
Jay.....please tell me you didn't rap bolt that crack...
Queener

Mountain climber
Fresno / Monterey/Reedley, CA
Dec 30, 2009 - 04:26pm PT
Wow! I have been looking at this wall from Pine Flat lake since I was a nio pequeo. Now climbing for six years I return home to see this wall lurking behind Pine Flat Damn. I'm so stoked just to see photos of this place. I will have to check this place out next time I'm in the 'No!
ec

climber
ca
Dec 30, 2009 - 04:29pm PT
definitely a Leversee topo.

No worry Jaybro, your legacy was spread throughout the Patagonia line; not limited to the undies...LOL. There were jkts and such that had them too...

 ec

Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Dec 30, 2009 - 05:14pm PT
Here's a few shots of the bluffs there.
Patterson Bluffs
Patterson Bluffs
Credit: Ksolem

In this one you can see the Balch Flake leaning against the wall down right
Patterson Bluffs
Patterson Bluffs
Credit: Ksolem

Herb Laeger and I did some routes on the water streaked slab which is the central tier, just right of center in this pic.
For some reason we called it the Wedding Wall, and one of the routes is "In Slickness and in Stealth."
Depending on where you are that slab is 3 or 4 pitches high.
Patterson Bluffs
Patterson Bluffs
Credit: Ksolem
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Dec 30, 2009 - 05:21pm PT
Yes Aldude, most of it was rap bolted by Richard, I put the first one in on lead. At the time there was no pro that would fit. We had prototype #5 camalots (they were not availible, comercially at the time) and one that was bigger that never went into product. There are some placements below the first bolt.
Nowadays it could be lead on valley giants, or if you're bold bigbros.

i have stated for years that anyone who wants to lead it that way has my blessings on chopping the bolts Afterward, there have so far been no takers. I made a point of mentioning it to Leubben and he passed on the project. I just ask that you lead it before chopping the route and fukking it up for further parties in the interim. Might want to leave the belay bolts.
Though you might want to ask Leversee since he placed, em. Mostly in a one night effort.
Paul Martzen

Trad climber
Fresno
Dec 8, 2010 - 03:11pm PT
The first ascent route of the Balch Camp Flake at Patterson is a remarkable and fear inducing aid line, involving lassoing a horn. The story I heard was that they took advantage of a fire or perhaps encouraged one? It was easy to hike up from the road through the ash, but afterwards they all got the worst cases of poison oak they had ever suffered.

Both Patterson left and right are most easily accessed from the top. The road at the top of Patterson left comes from Shaver Lake area via Dinkey Creek. It comes within a hundred yards or so of the left end of the Patterson left bluff. Then there is fair bit of bushwacking at the top of the bluff to access the various rappel routes. Much nicer bushwacking than at the base of the bluffs though. I explored the earliest descent routes at the left end but was not involved with the later rappel routes. Unfortunately this upper road is closed during the winter. Summer temps are pretty hot, so access is best in the fall.

There is potential access from below via the road to the top of the penstocks. A gully route leads to the very top of the bluff. Looks like you could also traverse over to the top of the wedding slabs from halfway up. I don't recall it being a difficult route, but time consuming. I think Leager had a key to the gate for awhile till PG&E folks caught him up there. It is a steep bicycle ride.

Patterson right is accessible all year round via Black Rock Road. An unmaintained access road goes to the top from behind. Its a 40 to 60 minute walk to the top, as I recall. There is a rappel route from below the reflectors to the top of a buttress and then on down. Leversee established a bolted rap route down to the Balch Camp Flake. The easiest exit is to leave fixed lines and jug out. There is also a pretty easy climb out, up the left side of the prominent buttresses, then traversing out the black dike. It would not be terribly hard to cut a trail in from the shoulder, but it would require annual maintenance. Mike Borrelli cut a trail one year, but it got overgrown by the time jaybro got up there.

My one adventure with Jaybro was watching him climb the first of the 4 offwidths on Balch Camp Flake. I don't think I could get off the ground. Then he, Leversee and I had a fun adventure crawling under the brush for the rest of the night to get out. For some reason they thought that would be easier and more fun than climbing a 3 pitch 5.6 - 5.7 route to get out. They were right of course. The moonlight was beautiful when we finally emerged from crawling under the manzanita and buckbrush at 2 am. Good times, but I suspect they left fixed lines for jugging after that.

It is worth hiking up Patterson Creek to the base of the waterfall, just for the ambience. From near there you can bushwack right to the obvious apron area with the upside down boot rock. Fairly moderate but very interesting climbing in that area.

There are a lot of very high quality cracks and dihedrals to the right of the Balch Camp Flake. They always seemed more difficult than the looked to me. The friction divots I talked about in the slab thread are below and to the side of the reflectors and above the black dike. For about a pitch below the summit, the rock was cleanly scalloped with body sized divots. As I recall, I had to mantle from one divot to the next with nothing but pure friction. I just top roped it.

Love the high res photos. Been meaning to try and take some giga rez pics.

Tuckes Menchu climbed an 11d thin hands crack in the river gorge, The Big Schwa. It was a popular hang out for awhile as it is fairly easy access in a spectacular setting, especially if the river is flowing big. It is near the end of the Upper Jump Trip and fairly obvious, if inaccessible from below.

You have to be willing to spend a few days at time in the Patterson area to make the drive and the exploration worthwhile.
tiki-jer

Trad climber
fresno/clovis
Dec 8, 2010 - 04:16pm PT
Hey thanks for the historical info Paul;)
And for the other thread too.

tiki-jer/jerry jessurun
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Dec 8, 2010 - 04:29pm PT
Nice, Paul!
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Dec 8, 2010 - 04:39pm PT
Hey Paul when we did that midnight crawl, did you suffer from poison oak later?
Every time I've gone in from the bottom, at least one person in the party has had a bad PO reaction. Some still carry the scars. I don't remember any of that on the upper escape crawl. Is that a big enough altitude difference that it doesn't grow there?
Paul Martzen

Trad climber
Fresno
Dec 8, 2010 - 06:14pm PT
That is a good question about the elevation and poison oak, Jay. I assume that I probably got some, but don't remember, so it was not a memorable case.

I think we had to avoid a fair bit of it near the base, but maybe by the time it was really dark we were above most of it? I suspect by the time we were actually crawling under the bushes we were out of the poison oak zone and just in the scratchy, thorny, impenetrable bush zone.

Rereading your posts it sounds like you did not complete the climb that day, but came back after Richard bolted the route. I seem to remember you getting very high though, maybe 1 pitch?

Sounds like the wide climbs on the inside of the Balch Camp Flake have not been done? I remember them being waterpolished at the bottom. Dracula Crack is a satellite hand and fist crack on the inside that was only 5.9 and got about a third of the way up. Dwight Kroll and partner got that FA. It looked like chimney action above, but I never attempted the chimney. Might be the easiest route to the top. Needs bolts, I think.

Scott Thelen

Trad climber
Truckee, Ca
Dec 8, 2010 - 06:31pm PT
My favorite thing about Patterson Bluffs is the trundling.During the FA of Under the Knife we pulled a car sized block off that went half way down talus field below. I haven't been to the bluffs in 12 years and would love to go back. So does my 36 volt power drill.
tseaney

Trad climber
Fresno, Ca
May 12, 2011 - 07:27pm PT
Did anyone ever get around to making a trail in and around the bluffs? Its one place I'd like to check out a little closer. If anyone is interested I have a chainsaw and free weekends. It might be a better project for the winter though as far as poison oak and temps go.
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