this the "right" way at the top of NE Buttress?


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Social climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 21, 2007 - 11:14pm PT
Random question...I am wondering if someone can tell me if this is the "normal" way most people finish NE Buttress of Higher Cathedral. I've done it several times, and always this way, but last time I was on it, a climber I've seen in the magazines shouted over from the 5.hard roof to the right 'hey you guys aren't going the right way...'.

From above the top climber we go over the awkward crack above and right, and then up an unprotected 5.6 gully, cross left to a tree and then up a 20 foot OW. I like this way fine but I am curious is there another fun way I should try?


Trad climber
Mar 21, 2007 - 11:29pm PT
I did the route in like '88/'89 and recall a fairly sustained hand/wide hand crack that abruptly ended on a flat summit ledge w/ a good horizontal anchor crack. The above hand crack was in a r-facing corner.

Social climber
the dirty south
Mar 21, 2007 - 11:43pm PT
I took the same route you describe, but linked the pitches differently. I wonder if the other way is better?

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Mar 21, 2007 - 11:44pm PT
The only way I've finished it is up a long pitch that goes chimney to a slabby step over to a steep hand/fist crack. You're pretty much done there except for a couple 5th class moves over some bulges/boulders to get to the shoe down spot. I don't recognize that bush.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Mar 21, 2007 - 11:55pm PT
There are at least 3 fun ways to go there. 3 are shown in the Reid topo. One way is shown in the supertopo.

1. If you stay left in the corner, you do the 5.9 wide hands crack which ends abruptly at the ledge Ray described.

2. If you follow the straight crack on the right wall when it diverges from the corner, that becomes a 5.10? ow which nobody does.

3. Instead, when it goes wide you can climb up over a 4' block and down the other side to a belay ledge. Here you can climb a 5.10a finger crack to a dead tree and then a short wide crack above. Or you can go right from the dead tree into the 5.6 corner/gully, with a short squeeze (not ow) near the its top. It sounds like you traversed right from the ledge to the corner/gully, if you don't remember the 5.10a finger crack. I can put up a photo of my partner on this ledge if you think it will help.

Trad climber
Mar 22, 2007 - 12:00am PT
Clint I think a photo would be cool..

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 22, 2007 - 12:18am PT
Thanks for the responses and I am trying to make the three options Clint describes jibe with my memory of the pitch. So the point I am at when taking the photo is (for those with access to the supertopo) at what I think maybe around the alternate belay between belay stations 9 and 10 or maybe at 10.

Perhaps I don't go as far to the left on the previous traverse pitch and miss another corner system farther that way. I don't know but there is definitely not a 10a finger crack and I think it is an OW and not a squeeze but my memory could be faulty. Hmm maybe I will have to do it again and try a new finish, usually by that point I am like a horse to water though and go the route I know.

Trad climber
Mar 22, 2007 - 12:28am PT
All I can recall is a winding mostly horizontal lead from the top of the main dihedral circuitously left, until I looked up and saw a clear way to the top. I recall a tiny 5.8 finger crack move to get to the belay stance - through trees to a cozy spot - for the final pitch.

That was a good day.

Trad climber
Mar 22, 2007 - 12:41am PT

"Anybody who ain't done it ain't no real Valley climber."

there ya have it.

Mar 22, 2007 - 01:23am PT
I wanna do it sometime.
Mike Dahlquist

Trad climber
Berkeley, CA
Mar 22, 2007 - 01:39am PT
"You guys aren't going the right way"....priceless.

Oakland: what's not to love?
Mar 22, 2007 - 02:21am PT

Rick - we did it exactly as you describe. What a route, men, what a route.

Clint, I'd like to see that photo as well, for next time.

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Mar 22, 2007 - 02:25am PT
pretty cool on that route how every time you get to wondering how a section is gonna unfold for you, it turns out there is a(nother) glory jug
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Mar 22, 2007 - 04:49am PT
I believe Rick's photo shows the belay at a bush partway up pitch 11, before the finish variations diverge. But it might be the corner with ow above (9), which Kelly and others have gone up. I don't recall if there was a small bush or not above (10), but probably there is not a bush above (10) if Melissa doesn't remember it either. (all pitch numbers relative to the topo below)

full topo

finish options

photos from November 18, 2006
This time we belayed at (8), (9A) and (11) right. Previously I've belayed at (10) and (11) left.

morning sun, p3

p5 traverse

downward section of p5

starting the main corner, p6

belay (6), halfway up the V-slot

escape from the squeeze, p7

steep 5.9+ moves starting p8

message partway up p8

starting the traverse to exit cracks, p9

Darko leading 5.8 section above (9A)

belay ledge at (11), right side finish variation

Mountain climber
Dak side
Mar 22, 2007 - 08:44am PT

How does the guy in the climbing photos like his climbing shoes? looks like the 5.10 pitons.

Sport climber
Buzzard Point, TN
Mar 22, 2007 - 09:32am PT
That '10a thin' felt pretty bouldery when we did it...prolly just tired...I think our topo had the middle "OW" listed at 5.8, too.

East Kootenays B.C.
Mar 22, 2007 - 10:48am PT
Not sure about the right way, but photos brought back terrific memories.
My girlfriend (now wife ) and I were on that ledge heading towards the slot when Derek Hersey (sp)
passed us grinning, hair all over, super tight Fire's (he must have had narrow feet). I remember asking him for beta on where to go and he shrugged and said it was his first time on the route.
From the the OW thing he yelled down 'bloody brilliant!', then climbed out of sight.

He was right.

This musta been around 1988.

Gym climber
Mar 22, 2007 - 10:55am PT
Referencing the topos above, I once went straight up the corner
above P9.

It didn't turn out so good...

Trad climber
Mar 22, 2007 - 11:06am PT
That looks like the finish we climbed. Nice pictures Clint.

Also, if you think pitch 6 is 5.9, you really are a Valley climber.


B loop site 15
Mar 22, 2007 - 11:10am PT

Lets put together a big ole' pin rack and do some training. I think we can do it with 2 bivies. I am up to the challenge.

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