After Six, Manure Pile Buttress 5.7

   
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Yosemite Valley, California USA

  • Currently 4.0/5
Avg time to climb route: 2-4 hours
Approach time: 5 minutes
Descent time: 25 minutes
Number of pitches: 6
Height of route: 600'
Overview
With six pitches of moderate cracks and a short approach, After Six is the most popular 5.7 route in Yosemite. A step up in difficulty from Munginella, After Six is varied, fun, and amazingly consistent in difficulty throughout the route. It has a little bit of everything but is not overwhelming.
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History
The first ascent of the most popular Valley climb ever was an historic breakthrough, for it was one of the first routes done solely with nuts. Even though Royal Robbins had climbed twice in England by 1966, he hadn’t fully embraced nut use for Yosemite. Royal wrote in June 1966: “I think we can learn a lot from the British, and I see a place in the U. S. for the concept that placing a lot of pitons is not good style and also for the use of nuts at places like Tahquitz, where years of placing and removing pitons have worn the cracks so much as to change the routes.” In 1967 Robbins found a magnificent climb at Manure Pile Buttress to test his idea that nuts might be appropriate for Yosemite after all. He named his new route, in his usual punning mode, Nutcracker Sweet. Within months, those ignorant of Tchaikovsky had shortened the name simply to its first word, which is how it has remained for three decades. An unwritten rule, obeyed by virtually everyone, was that no piton should ever be driven into this route. Many a Valley climber learned how effective nuts could be (this was long before camming devices were available) and left pitons and hammers in camp. Robbins, the king of the big walls, had once again proved that he was the guiding light of 1960s Valley climbing.

Climbers soon swarmed up other routes and variations on Manure Pile Buttress, and the place became a mandatory stop on everyone’s itinerary. Even today, you’ll see few piton scars, those dreadful excavations still so visible on the popular routes of the early 1960s. Thanks Royal!
– Steve Roper

Strategy
Begin early as this route is extremely popular. There are a number of starting variations but after two pitches there are few ways to pass slower parties. Note that in the winter Pitches 1 and 3 are usually wet. All belays require gear.

The first crux involves friction climbing down low and insecure jamming higher up through the bulge on Pitch 4. The second crux is the exposed 5.8 mantel on the final pitch. Some climbers use small holds above and to the left to avoid the direct mantel move. Take time to find the tricky micro cam and nut placements. Keep a close belay—falls from this move have resulted in broken ankles.

If you arrive at the base and find a long line to start, consider climbing the first pitch of C. S. Concerto (5.6) and toproping Fecophilia (5.9 R). Or if there are way too many people, ­­­climb C.S. Concerto in its entirety (see After Six topo).

Retreat
Carry two 50m or 60m ropes to retreat. From the second belay, rappel either the 5.9 variation or the rappel route on the face. Above the second belay, retreat requires leaving gear.
Approach
From Camp 4, drive west 1.6 miles and park in the paved picnic area lot. From the northeast end of the parking lot, just behind the bathroom, follow a well-traveled trail northeast for a few hundred yards to the base of Manure Pile Buttress. After Six is the 150-foot right-facing corner seen immediately upon reaching the rock face. Nutcracker begins 200 feet to the right (east).

Descent
From the top of the climbs, move northwest on a worn trail up a short distance then down and northwest to 200 feet of unobvious 3rd and 4th class which leads to a climbers’ trail. Follow this trail as it switchbacks to the base of After Six.37.728077, -119.62031
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Source: SuperTopo Guidebook Staff Last update: November 4, 2013
Manure Pile Buttress - After Six 5.7 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
After Six is the left start.
Photo: Todd Snyder
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Manure Pile Buttress - Nutcracker 5.8 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
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Nutcracker offers six pitches of clean and aesthetic jams.
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After Seven is the starting variation on the right.
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Manure Pile Buttress - Fecophilia 5.9 R - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
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