Nutcracker, Manure Pile Buttress 5.8

   
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Yosemite Valley, California USA

  • Currently 5.0/5
Avg time to climb route: 2-4 hours
Approach time: 5 minutes
Descent time: 25 minutes
Number of pitches: 5
Height of route: 600'
Overview
Nutcracker is a classic due to its interesting history, very easy approach, and five great pitches of perfect Yosemite granite. While climbing the route one will encounter liebacking, hand jamming, finger jamming, delicate smearing and an exposed mantle crux. Nutcracker is a good increase in challenge following After Six and After Seven.
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History
It seems likely that we’ll never know who discovered Manure Pile Buttress as a climbing objective. Back in the mid-1960s a dirt track led directly to its base from the main Valley road below the Lower Brother, but this side trail seemed to lead only to a gigantic pile of horseshit, for this is where flunkies from the Valley stables deposited it, far from tourists with sensitive noses. Manure Pile Buttress was also known as Ranger Rock, and Camp 4 climbers in the 1960s knew that rangers often practiced their rescue techniques there. What with the stench and the possibility of encountering authority, local Valley hotshots stayed far away. Yet it’s likely that weekenders played around on the lower section, a non-threatening beginners’ area.

The first complete route, as far as is known, was the brainchild of Yvon Chouinard, who in June 1965 took a beautiful eastern climber, Ruth Schneider, up the most obvious line, named After Six since that’s when they started (six in the evening, one might add, not morning). This climb attracted immediate attention for two reasons: it was fun, and it was one of the few Valley climbs where the belayer could sit in the front seat of a car. After Six soon became the most sociable of climbs; beer-guzzling spectators could hurl insults upward without even shouting.

Chouinard returned in 1967 and did a much harder route, just left of After Six. This he accomplished with a handsome Scottish lass, Joy Herron. Chouinard named the route Jump for Joy, a nice pun made even nicer by the rumor—neither confirmed nor denied—that a breathtaking sexual act had occurred on the first big ledge.
– Steve Roper

Strategy
Start early to beat the crowds. The first pitch is the crux and has sustained, awkward jamming with slick footholds and good protection.

Higher on the route, the moves are easier but occasionally not as well-protected. On Pitch 3, the psychological crux, the leader must face climb on the left aręte of an exposed wide crack with poor protection. On Pitches 4-6 there are numerous variations and optional belay locations for passing slower parties.

If the climb is crowded and you are comfortable leading 5.8, consider climbing C.S. Concerto or After Seven.

Retreat
Carry two 50m or 60m ropes to retreat. From the first and second belays it is possible to scramble off west on 4th class. There is also an escape at the 4th belay.
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.
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Source: SuperTopo Guidebook Staff Last update: March 30, 2015
Manure Pile Buttress - Nutcracker 5.8 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
Nutcracker offers six pitches of clean and aesthetic jams.
Photo: Todd Snyder
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