East Buttress, El Capitan 5.10b

 
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Yosemite Valley, California USA

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Summary of All Ratings

SuperTopo Rating:   
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  • 5
 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (4.3)
Your Rating:     (none)
Rating Distribution
20 Total Ratings
5 star: 35%  (7)
4 star: 55%  (11)
3 star: 10%  (2)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 5, 2009 - 12:06am
 
El Capitan - East Ledges Descent options
El Capitan - East Ledges Descent options
Credit: Clint Cummins
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Michael

Intermediate climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 6, 2001 - 03:26am
 
EB of El Cap is an elegant line with a good bit of moderate, but nonetheless fantastic, climbing. Don't kid yourself though -- there's quite a few pitches of stouter .8 and .9 too, and they can be more taxing than you might think.
You can set up a solid belay right before the techincal crux of the route, and then move on from there. Up higher, the off-width crack (for many, the mental crux of the climb) can be by-passed by taking the 5.9(+ ?) face to the left, but the protection there is a bit for sparce.
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summerprophet

Mountain climber
Cali Via Canada
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   Aug 7, 2007 - 03:34pm
We climbed the East Butress August 4th 2007.

We followed the fishtopo (available for free from his website), with the only exception being the linking of pitch 4 with the lower half of pitch 5 to belay under a large roof.

Overall, the anchors are not the best as they are frequently behind fractured rock, or large (suspect) blocks. Be prepared to build 4 (or 5) piece anchors.

Pitch breakdown
1. {5.9} Climb the chimney, not to bad as far as valley chimneys go. Lots of small and midsize gear, face holds, and hand/fist cracks make for a pleasant jaunt. The crux of the pitch is actually more of a stemming problem right below the anchor, don't let the chimney scare you off. If you solo the 5.6 section to a treed ledge, you can pull enough rope to drop both ends to the belayer and haul the packs while he/she climbs.
2. {5.10b} From the piton anchor, you are immediately into the crux. This is more problem solving then stamina, scratch your head for a while and figure out the moves. (hint: go high with feet on crimpers) From there an awkward shuffle up a groove. Fingerlocks and sidepulls are available, climb to a large comfortable ledge at the second tree. (early morning shade)
3. {5.6} Traverse out right then down, then right to easy face climbing on a beautiful wall. After encountering a fixed pin, continue right, and stay on the spectacular arete until easier ground, and a huge ledge with a tree. (20 ft of simul climbing required)
4. {5.8} Climb up the path of least resistance. A few variations on this, and a few epics have been told of this pitch. I headed up the cracks on the left to about a height of 25m before traversing across the slab rightward to attain another crack system. Continue up the 5.8 hand cracks to a spectacular (yet uncomfortable) sling belay under a roof.(shaded)
5. {5.5} Climb hand and fist cracks to a large ledge below the headwall. When in doubt go right. (short pitch)
6. {5.9} Personal crux. Start up a sustained arcing finger and hand crack/lip to the base of the chimney. The gear is better than it looks from the belay. Scramble up easy ground to the chimney. Continue up the chimney until a solid fist jam brings your feet to small edges heading left. Go left, and pull some difficult face/crack climbing up past a few pins. You will end up back in the chimney on easier ground (avoiding the offwidth)and then climb up to a small ledge under a broken headwall.
7. {5.5} Climb left under the headwall, trending upwards on easy ground. Build anchor at the large ledge with spectacular views.
8. {5.7} Head right across the first pillar, then up, over and down the second. Knobs, scallops and cracks on incredible exposed ground take you to some broken ledges. Keep going to the very large ledge with lots of loose rock and blissful afternoon shade.
9. {5.7} Climb upward and to the right of the large block/pillar hanging above you. A small chimney leads to mixed face and crack moves to the top.

Rack-
set and a half of nuts.
two smallest C3's very useful for pitches 2 and 3
doubles from #1 TCU to #2 camalot
single #3 camalot
60 meter rope
long runners
lots and lots of water
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Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Nov 5, 2009 - 12:34pm
 
Not beta but I did in back in 1976 and I rate in five stars (4-1/2 at least)
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PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
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   Apr 20, 2012 - 12:08pm
Last Monday afternoon Horsetail Falls was flowing strong and spraying water all over the route.

[Edit: The area looked pretty dry as of April 22]
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Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 8, 2012 - 11:09pm
 
as of Sunday May 6th 2012 it looked dry enough to climb

but it depends on what you consider "dry enough"

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Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
May 9, 2012 - 10:16am
 
Just finishing a book with Peter Croft (The Trad Climber's Bible) and this is a story (unedited, 1st draft) from that book (due out in 2013.


East Buttress, El Capitan

The East Buttress of El Capitan ascends the far right margin of the monolith. The real business is out left – home of the most celebrated big wall climbs on earth. An ascent of the East Buttress cannot earn you bragging rights to having climbed El Cap; but you do mount some 1,200 feet up the Big Stone, top out and descend via the fabled East Ledges, the very same as if you were climbing the Captain for real. So in a kind of flanking maneuver, you do in fact climb El Capitan.

The East Buttress was a likely challenge early on in my Yosemite career. I had done a handful of longer free routes but had yet to climb the Nose or Salathe or any of the proper trade routes up 3,000 foot-high El Cap. Like many before and after, the East Buttress was a stepping stone to the big time looming, I hoped, in my future. But looking past those stepping stones is a sure way to fall off them, as I would soon discover - the hard way.

One of the boons of trad routes is learning how your ascent fits into the continuum. Once you’ve scaled a legendary climb, you do a virtual lap every time you remember or read your notes afterwards – and the notes of others as well. In this regard the history of the East Buttress is rich and worth mentioning.

As it happened, Yosemite pioneer Al Steck, emboldened by his victories on Sentinel (1950) and Yosemite Point Buttress (1952), quite naturally looked to El Cap. In 1952, the main face out left was far too huge and steep for the gear and mentality of the time. But according to 60s Yosemite climber/historian Steve Roper, “the beautiful black-and-gold buttress on the far eastern flank showed distinct cracks and chimneys on its lower section. Higher, the prospective route blended smoothly into the wall, but here also the rock looked broken and perhaps climbable.”

Steck’s initial effort with Bill Dunmire, Bill and Dick Long, ended when Dunmire took a “zipper” fall on the first pitch, ripping out a string of pitons, nearly hitting the ground and ending up in the Yosemite hospital minus a few quarts of blood, with a bad concussion and a bruised shoulder. Steck returned with Willi Unsoeld (of future Everest fame). The pair battled half way up the wall before rain and waterfalls drove them off. Steck returned a third time, with Unsold, Bill Long and Will Siri. Bivouacking twice on the route, and using lots of aid, they reached the summit on June 1, 1953. Eleven years later, Frank Sacherer, “Father of modern free climbing,” along with Wally Reed, “freed the entire route with hardly a pause.” Ever since, the East Buttress of El Capitan, Grade 4, 5.10, was a Yosemite free climb’s on every hardman’s tic list.

I snagged my Idylwild friend Dean Fidelman (aka, Bullwinkle) and we hitchhiked down to El Cap and marched up to the Nose and another twenty minutes out right along the base, quickly gaining altitude on a narrowing ramp ending at “The Edge of the World." From there, the East Buttress ascends directly up a prominent, symmetrical bombay chimney. Go twenty feet past this start and you pitch off a 1,000ft cliff.

Back then the Yosemite ethic was safety and efficacy, which some of us interpreted as, "Use the least amount of gear humanly possible and climb just as fast as you can." Fools considered this the boldest strategy, and for a time, we tried to outdo each other. Dean and I brought one rope, several slings, about eight assorted nuts and no pack, no water and no food. Aside from swami belts and chalk bags, we had nothing else whatsoever. I didn’t even wear a shirt, nor drag along sneakers for the long hike down.

I shot up the first pitch and stemmed right over the 5.10 at the start of pitch two, not bothering to place protection. Up above the route wandered from crack to flake to shallow corner. I was counting on a load of fixed pins; there were none and the few nuts I brought along were mostly the wrong size so the pro was thin to lacking – two or three pieces for 150 foot pitches. I got eaten alive by piss ants at the belay tree atop pitch two, and never found those hoped-for fixed pins till pitch 6.

But this was great climbing for sure, way out there on that face and so high off the deck and pretty continuous. We could never rap off the thing with one rope and eight nuts, half of them wires, which added excitement to the effort.

In a couple hours we were nearing the top. Right around pitch 9 or 10, we ran into the famous “Knobby Wall.” I had grown up looking at Himalayan hero Willi Unsold pulling up this steep dark face with the great sweep of the Southwest buttress of El Cap towering behind him, and I was onto those knobs like all get out. It was glorious, and I thought it all wrong and cowardly that, evidenced by a string of rusty ring angle pitons, the route veered off right when the knobs kept on straight above. I took the direct line, of course, feeling like Hermes, loving life and climbing and all of creation when all at once the knobs ran out, and there was no crack and no pro, and I was out maybe forty feet off a fixed ring angle peg from old Willie Unsold’s very rack, and down below Bullwinkle was belaying off a bunk wired nut and antediluvian soft iron peg that would probably blow if I took the big one.

If this were a narrative, I could write five pages about our close call, and the ghastly experience of down-climbing to slightly better holds, finally pulling a sketchy traverse, by the skin of my teeth, to escape off the holdless wall and back onto the normal route. I had made a jackass, rookie error way off the ground, and I knew it.

Thankfully, while rapping down the east ledges to the valley floor, I understood in a flash that there was no crime in making a mistake so long as I immediately course-corrected. And if this trip report illustrates nothing more, it underscores the danger of going off half-cocked, mistaking raw climbing ability for mastery. Probably because I had the daylights scared out of me, I came to immediately appreciate that long, trad rock climbs of any grade or angle are deadly serious affairs. Route finding, placing adequate protection, building bomber anchors, minimizing risks and managing time and enthusiasm are much more the marks of mastery than running the rope into a dead end and having to perform last ditch heroics to save the team.

I wouldn’t have been the first to die for such impudence.

That day on the East Buttress was when I started to grow all the way up as a rock climber, where my cockiness, another word for recklessness, ran its natural course and my childish gusto blossomed into respect. I would go onto climb El Capitan many times after that first foray on the East Buttress, but I never came so close to disaster as on that Knobby Wall. And I would never again underestimated the seriousness of a big rock climb, or assume that if holds were there I could simply pull on through, no problem.
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briham89

Big Wall climber
san jose and south lake tahoe, ca
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   Mar 2, 2013 - 03:46pm
Climbed this yesterday (3/1/2013) and it was enjoyable with the mild winter we have been having. However, around 12:30pm the wind picked up and blew horsetail fall over on to us. At this point we had just finished the seventh pitch. I got soaked at the belay while my partner linked the next two pitches. Luckily, above seven there wasn't much water hitting the route so it really wasn't a big deal, but pitch seven looked soaked as I was leaving the belay. Also, at the start of pitch 6 don't move too far left. You climb the right side of the gully. I ended up off route to the left and followed a pretty good 5.7 hand crack. Luckily there was a spot for a decent belay and we were able to climb up a bit and then traverse back on route. Overall, a good route, with varied rock type and climbing techniques.
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lasher

Trad climber
CA
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   Jul 25, 2001 - 06:17pm
The bolt at the crux is still gone. I recommend protecting the lower pin scars with a small TCU (0 Metolious). You will need the upper pin scar to help with the move to the crack. Follow the topo carefully. At the top of the third class section on pitch 5 you need move left to the base of the unremarkable gully, even though its a much prettier line going straight up the arete. Don't be dismayed, the climbing is quite good up the broken gully.

We also took the 5.9 crack to the left of the off-width. It was a fun variation that included delicate face moves to gain the crack. Be prepard for one ugly bolt when you get there! I recommend skipping it and placing a bomber #2 Camalot just inches above.
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Tom Bruskotter

Advanced climber
CA
May 30, 2001 - 12:51pm
 
The bolt at the crux is gone but you can protect it with Aliens(green and yellow)in pin scars. The route is dry. Route-finding was interesting at times. Some topos indicate "many fixed pitons" on the 5.9 crack (pitch 6 or 7?). There was only one. Not that you need the pitons - just don't rely on this for routefinding. When given the choice of climbing the 5.9 OW or the face left of it, we said "yes" and climbed the crack and the face right next to it. We did not face climb as far left as the (bad?) bolt.
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
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   May 15, 2001 - 05:19pm
Horsetail Falls is dry or nearly dry bringing this route into prime condition.
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oldrick

Trad climber
Mill Valley, CA
Apr 12, 2004 - 11:00am
 
Climbing the East Buttress Route on El Capitan has problems with water blowing on the route from Horse Tail Falls. On April 10 Alexey Zelditch and I climbed this route and ran into water on pitch 7. Pitch 6 was more or less dry but pitch 7 above was totally soaked. The belay at the end of pitch 6 was getting some water but not a lot. Faced with either rappelling off the route or climbing through a waterfall, we decided to head out to the right (east) on the arete and see if that could be used to get around pitch 7. This was successful. Since Alexey lead out this section I am calling it the "Zelditch Escape". In any case, go straight to the right about 10 feet out to the arete. This has a tricky move, about 5.8. Around the corner there is a crack system that goes up about 60 to 70 feet with a tricky move up about 50 feet. This is about 5.9. The crack peters out into a thin crack which was totally soaked. At this point escape even further to the right on good face holds. This goes around another corner to a crack which is really airy. Pretty neat! Anyway this ends in a crack system near the start of pitch 8, the layback pitch on pin scars. This was pretty wet also but the finger and hand jams are so solid that it can be lead out even with the feet skating some on the wet rock. The "Zelditch Escape" protects well with stoppers and small to medium cams. The recommended rack for the route is adequate.

The description of the option D descent down the East Ledges Descent was not what we expected based on the description in SuperTopo. What we found was this: After hiking down the gully with the steep wall to the left we eventually encountered a tree with a pretty heavy duty rope anchor around it equipped with two rappel rings. The rappel from this anchor was about 150 feet most of it in the air! This brought us to a cold shut anchor which was equipped with a rappel rope which was connected to the shuts and backed up by a bolt about 20 feet higher. From here it was about another 150 feet down to another anchor (two ASCA bomber bolts) at a small ledge. This was also equipped with a fixed rope. This rappel dropped about 100 feet to a pretty good ledge system with some manzanita and oak trees. At the right end of this ledge (facing the rock) is another cold shut rappel anchor with another fixed rope. This last rap is a whopper and goes about 200 feet. This dropped us into the main gully and the hiking trail. For reasons unclear to us this does not match the option D descent published in SuperTopo.

Rick Booth
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George Patterson

Intermediate climber
Mill Valley, CA
Sep 20, 2001 - 07:38pm
 
Up at 4:30am from Camp 4 with rack and two 10.2mm ropes. After a brief breakfast and sandwiches prepared for lunch Todd Stevens and I were off for the base of Shultz's Ridge. We also had two quarts of water each, just enough for a long day. The wash up the west side of Shultz's ridge is the start of the 55 minute scramble up many large boulders. At 6:30am we were at the start of the first pitch with just enough daylight to launch off. The chimney pitch was dry, straight forward but a bit of a long stem ending at the belay where four old pins form the anchor. Todd led out the flairing groove pitch in grand style while making the 5.10b entry move look easy. We protected that move with a black/blue alien in the lowest pin scar. The 65ft. pitch 8 proved to be solid 5.9 and a little ackward. We had been joined by another party of two on the way up, Paul and Cauleen Brunner who were celebrating their second wedding anniversary! We all had a great day on quality rock finishing with the East Ledges rapel/walk off and were back to the car by 6:00pm, a fun filled day. Leave plenty of time for this climb. The days are getting shorter and a headlamp walk off would be difficult. With 60m ropes we ran several pitches together allowing us to finish in 10 pitches. There is a lot of exposure on the 11th pitch although only 5.7 face. It may be the most fun pitch on the entire climb!
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Matt

Intermediate climber
Mill Valley, CA
Apr 2, 2002 - 04:47pm
 
It's very easy to protect the technical crux @ the start of the 2nd pitch: Just chimney up from the anchor & set a (ridiculously solid) nut in the right hand crack, just as it dies out- then go back down & figure out the move to the right. You are essentially on toprope & will not fall right on the anchor. This is especially nice if you are short, as the move is maybe a bit height dependent.

It is also possible to run those two pitches together w/ a 60m rope & enough gear- but that crux may feel less secure (& you will need to solo the 4th class start- as most parties do anyway).

Watch out for fire ants (seasonal) on the tree @ the end of the 2nd pitch- easy gear anchor 5'-10' to the left.

If you are comfortable enough to continue up from the 3rd class ledges above the arete pitch (a few extra feet of easy 5th class), it's easy to run the next 2 pitches together w/ a 60m rope.

We took the face rather than the offwidth, but were still happy to have a #3-1/2 cam.

That's a good line-
I can't believe the car to car record is ~2hrs!
("ES-CRAASSIIEES!!!")

-Matt
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Riley Wyna

Trad climber
A crack near you
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   May 6, 2002 - 11:41am
Route was still very wet on Friday(3 days ago). Had to bail after the 7th pitch. Horse tail falls was sailing over us in a perfect horizontal water display. Really beautiful, until it dumped on our heads. It was still pretty cool though.
Some valley Gurus' gave us the beta on the wind shifts on EL cap at this time of year. I guess we should have climbed earlier and we would have missed the easterly wind.Westerly in the morning and Easterly at noon. Made us feel good as they said we were definitely not the first to have to bail off this route.
Loved the 5.6 Arete pitch and the 10b sequence was fascinatingly tricky and I almost fell.....bring you offset aliens,they work perfectly on this move.
I was surprised how loose it is up there.
radical
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bill

Novice climber
A crack near you
May 6, 2002 - 11:49am
 
Yeah, we climbed the route Saturday. Got an early start, and got through the middle 5.9 pitches just as the wind picked up. Looking down from the next pitch, those piches were running with water. If we had stayed in bed another half hour we would have had to bail too.
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chris mcnamara

Advanced climber
A crack near you
May 24, 2002 - 12:17pm
 
heard there were 3 parties on East Butt El Cap last sunday, I think the falls are basically dry
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RB

Intermediate climber
A crack near you
Sep 5, 2002 - 05:10am
 
Is this super topo available in print and if so can it be found in Yosemite? Thanks
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Other Greg

Novice climber
A crack near you
Jun 12, 2002 - 09:42am
 
Climbed the East Buttress last Wednesday (June 5th). The falls are still spitting a bit of water onto the middle of the East Butt (while we were doing the upper 5.9 pitches), but with the heat, it sure felt great!

Great route. Allen...you da man!

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Novice climber
A crack near you
Sep 2, 2002 - 02:08am
 
I would strongly recommend investing in the Supertopo guide as it will answer all your questions and more. The East Ledges descent does not take you anywhere near the base of the route. Awesome route, lots of history. Enjoy.
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RB

Intermediate climber
A crack near you
Sep 1, 2002 - 08:04am
 
I am planning to do the route in about two weeks. we were wondering if the hike out after the rap goes past the start of the route. Also if doing it in 11 pitches instead of the 13 described in the Don Reid book wich pitches are most commonly combined and is a sixty meter rope needed? Thanks
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Andrew

Novice climber
A crack near you
Sep 10, 2002 - 01:10am
 
A laminated pocket sized Supertopo was available at the Mountain Shop when I was last in the Valley (Oct 01)
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Andrew

Novice climber
A crack near you
Sep 10, 2002 - 01:17am
 
A laminated pocket sized Supertopo was available at the Mountain Shop when I was last in the Valley (Oct 01). It cost something like 3-4 dollars and had the topo for the East Ledges descent on the back. The online version (Supertopo Classics?) is a far better deal as you get topos for a number of routes as well as lots of general Valley information. The historical commentary written by Roper is worth the price alone.
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Steve

Intermediate climber
A crack near you
Nov 20, 2002 - 03:48pm
 
Is it too late to climb this route (wet, too cold, etc)? Are there any ledges to bivy on if it gets dark? Would anyone recommend hiking down the Yosemite Falls trail instead of the east ledges descent? Thanks for your help!
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rob

Novice climber
A crack near you
Nov 23, 2002 - 07:17am
 
If you wanted to ensure a bivy, I'd take the Falls Trail, sure. "Good" places to sleep are near the top, but close enough that you'd probably want to just go for it and get off the 5th-class terrain. I think this route may not be as long as you think- the middle third goes really quickly, esp. if you don't mind simul-climbing. A bit route-findy towards the top, but it's easier, and it all goes.
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eman

Big Wall climber
Okinawa Japan
Mar 6, 2003 - 09:27pm
 
My wife and I will be climbing in Yosemite this summer. I climb the east Buttress in 1989 and would like some beta on its current condition.
Is the water fall (horsetail) going to be a problem in July. What is the highest pitch you can bail from if a problem arises. (Without losing gear. When I climbed it all I had was hexes, and I remember the offwith being horrifying, what size cmas will I need to protect it.
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dufas

Trad climber
CA/NV
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   Sep 22, 2003 - 10:31am
This is one of the best routes I've ever done. The chimney/stem is a rude wake up, but it just goes and goes after that. I couldn't really say that there was a major difference in difficulty between the 5.5 and the "poor pro" 5.8, which did not seem to be a "mental crux". If you're up to leading on this route, you'll be fine.
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Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
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   Apr 12, 2004 - 04:15pm
The variation sound interesting. I wonder about a great deal of unclimbed rock just right of the East Butt.

You were almost certainly on variation A or B in the Supertopo. You didn't descend far enough to get to variation D

Peace

karl
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
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   Jun 8, 2004 - 12:23pm
did this yesterday. route is now totally dry. no waterfall.
here is a photo i took: http://www.supertopo.com/rockclimbing/gallery.html?r=yoeleast&n=7
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moabbeth

Trad climber
Los Angeles/Moab
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   Jun 9, 2004 - 05:32pm
Interesting route. It's got a little of everything on it.

The chimney on the first pitch isn't bad at all, the crux move is after you clear the chimney...between the chimney and the belay. Several ways to go but staying right then doing a stem move seemed to work best.

If you're looking to save time, going straight up the crack over the tree on P3 is fast. But then you miss the gorgeous photo op that is the pitch 3 arete/face. Did that once and second time went up the crack instead for time's sake.

No water on the route at all right now. But pitch 6 is still the most polished rock on the route so just be prepared. However, the roof at the top is barely a roof, I think I mantled over it.

Pitches 7-8 can be linked with a 60M rope. But beware of rope drag. Make sure to have lots of long slings on you if you link these pitches. Even though the alleged crux pitches are 1 and 2, those just had one or two hard moves on them. Linking 7-8 together was most sustained and difficult than anything below, at least for my skill.

FYI as of last Saturday a crap bag came flying off the area around Zodiac, bounced off pitch 9 belay so when you get up there, careful of the brown mushy stuff. Some on the belay for P10 too, not a lot but just beware of where your rope is.

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vegastradguy

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV
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   Jun 13, 2004 - 06:32pm
excellent route. very heady for the grade. one of the best topouts i've had the pleasure of being on. definitely makes you want to do one of the routes down the way...

we climbed this route on June 1st and got a little love from Horsetail falls, but not that much.

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Claude

climber
where I'll end up
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   Jul 6, 2004 - 08:11am
Did it over the weekend. Pretty funny. We were completely way too geared and psyched for this thing. Slept at Miami trailhead, at the meadow by 4:00, at the chimney by 5:00. Noone on el cap at all, a few on the trip, but not much else happening on the captian. if it wasn't for the arete pitch, the 5.9 lieback pitch into the face or offwidth pitch, or the views of el cap, the route owuld be pretty dang un-fun. Just get it done. Thanks ASCA for the bolts on the east ledges, the ropes are in okay condition, which we used. In hindsight, would have slept until 10:00, brought 3 cams, four nuts, and more food.
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poop_tube

Trad climber
where I'll end up
Aug 22, 2004 - 07:18pm
 
My friend and I climbed the route in July of 2004. There was some tricky routefinding or perhaps it was simply our lack of experience. Most notibly p8 contains a ton of off route gear and slings to the right of the arete. Be sure to look at the topo and stay left here. My friend ended up having to jump off when he ran out of cracks to place pro, and by the looks of it he was not the first one to do that.

One of the fixed lines on the East Ledges was in poor condition and I had wished that we brought 2 ropes. This was the last rap that was closest to the wall you hike by and I believe it is 70m long and as with any fixed line, be prepared to rap past knots.

In all, sweet route and a great adventure.
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malabarista

Trad climber
where I'll end up
Sep 19, 2004 - 05:32pm
 
The 10b crux is only about 2 or 3 moves and I was able to get a solid nut placement to the left above the belay. For me the crux was definitely the 5.9 offwidth. I used handstacks in the crack, some funky stemming, and edges on the face for my left foot. It seemed like there was about a 10 foot section in the OW where there was no possibility for me to place any pro (only carrying up to 3.5" cams). The climb has some less than stellar pitches, but the good ones more than make up for this.
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George Bell

Trad climber
Colorado
May 2, 2005 - 08:24am
 
Be wary on this route in the spring. Even if the waterfall seems to be missing it in the early morning, and it is dry, the wind can shift and hose the route! This happened to us once in April, and this seemed to be a daily pattern to the winds.
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luca

Trad climber
milano italy
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   Sep 15, 2005 - 03:26pm
I climbed the route on the 1 september with my young daughter marta aged 12. it went a big adventure, 14 ours from car to car!
we enjoied a lot the beautiful and committing climbing (we aren't used to crack climbing...). We aided the 5.10 crux, but it is very well safe with a fixed nut high on the left crack so you can try free without problem. on belay 11 the two piton are missing and you cannot put good pro.
great route, good steck and company, great sacherer FFA 1965
rappelling D we found fixed ropes but we preferred ours 60 meters.
the topo is very good and clear, you cannot miss the route.
beautiful day
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Grahm Doe

Sport climber
Just South Of Heaven
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   Nov 12, 2005 - 08:55pm
If you can bring a 70 meter rope and refrence super topo you can link belay station 1 to 3, 3 to 5, 5 to 7 with a little easy simal climbing, 8 to 10, 11 to 13, for a total of 8 mega pitches. 1st timers can expect a 12 hour day car to car. It was bone dry today with perfect temps...
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Duke-

Trad climber
SF, aka: Dirkastan
Dec 13, 2006 - 08:12pm
 
Dave G. and I were rained off of this climb a couple of years ago (Pt7 ?). We had to leave a few nuts, but it was still a great day.
-D
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lizard fiasco

Trad climber
Berkeley, CA
Mar 16, 2007 - 12:35am
 
I notice there aren't many March TR's. Has anyone climbed this recently or in early spring of past years? Any beta on route moisture is much appreciated...
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Alexey

climber
San Jose, CA
Mar 16, 2007 - 01:39pm
 
in march you'll be scrued by Horse Tail Falls on this route
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Fingerlocks

Trad climber
where the climbin's good
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   Jun 2, 2007 - 10:42am
The ants at the top of pitch two are plentiful and active right now. I wouldn’t advise belaying anywhere near them, instead it would be better to go ahead and do the short easy pitch three and belay there. No ants seem to live at that belay, but you will probably drag some up there on your rope, and legs, and arms....

The water fall is nothing more than a drip now. During the afternoon a few drops would blow over. These would glint in the sunlight which was cool to watch, but the rock stayed dry.

A yellow/green and a green/blue offset Alien would be quite useful.
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Oscar

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Aug 27, 2007 - 12:50pm
 
I'm planning to do the E buttress in October, do any body knows if there is still a plague of ants by the second pitch?.
Thank you
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
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   Oct 17, 2008 - 01:38pm
Great photo trip report here:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=696807
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Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Oct 19, 2008 - 08:34pm
 
here's a TR from Gary and my trip up EBEC
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=406258
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BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
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   Nov 6, 2009 - 06:33am
I also did this route back in the dark ages..1986. Other than that one move right off of the belay on pitch 2, I never thought that there was any 5.9 above, and I basically soloed it with a partner that I had just taught how to belay.

It is a beautiful climb all the way, and that section climbing those huge dinner plate jugs might be the funnest thing ever.

I think that it is totally doable for the masses. Just grab a piece of gear on that single crux move and enjoy the rest.

I think that there are two long old routes in the valley to aspire to. The East Buttress and the Steck-Salathe, which are both unreal fun. Of the two, the East Buttress is far less sustained and pretty much a beauty the whole way. Easier than the Steck Salathe in my opinion.

Go do it! You will be happy you did.
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Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 7, 2009 - 05:59pm
 
The normal semi-hanging belay station for the Nose pitch is tucked under the diorite bulge at the bottom of the obvious crack.
I took the time to excavate a much more comfortable belay stance on a footledge about twenty feet down and left of the normal spot.
This alternative allows you to climb one of the best pitches without mucking around with an awkward belay. Much mo betta!
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budmiller

Trad climber
California
May 15, 2010 - 12:08pm
 
Route is completely soaked after the first 5 pitches.
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Fishy

climber
Zurich, Switzerland
Aug 3, 2010 - 04:36am
 
Climbed it last week of June. Brilliant route, with a bit of everything - somehow felt like the essence of what long Yos moderates are all about.

Several pitches in the middle were getting some light spray from the falls when the wind picked up late morning, but not enough to stop yoou.

Biggest issue was the ant tree!!! In actual fact, it was not actually a tree, but an entire ant continent - the little blighters were swarming over every surface for 5 yards in every direction from the tree itself.

They also covered the next short section of crack above the tree, and of course the rope runs through them, and so as the second comes up you continually schlepp ants up to you - there is no escaping them! Took us 20 mins just to get the worst of them off bodies/ropes/camelbacks - we weren't finally rid of them for another 2 pitches.

Good luck - climb fast through the ants - great route!
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jfailing

Trad climber
PDX, North Slope, The Open Road
Oct 13, 2011 - 03:11pm
 
Anyone know if this route is dry right now?
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karodrinker

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Oct 13, 2011 - 10:19pm
 
I'm sure it would be, get on it! Such a fun climb up old featured rock
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cedric

Trad climber
LOS ALTOS
Apr 2, 2012 - 06:14pm
 
Anyone knows if the waterfall is still running?

Thanks !
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tornado

climber
lawrence kansas
Apr 2, 2012 - 07:42pm
 
all dry. I bet you'll have the route all to yourself this coming weekend.
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Sonic

Trad climber
Boulder, Co
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   Apr 3, 2012 - 10:59am
Do it!! Awesome route. Cant wait till I can link this with the mort!
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anilk

Trad climber
Santa Barbara, CA
Apr 18, 2012 - 03:24pm
 
Has anyone climbed this recently? I was told of rock-fall last year in this area, is the approach still the same?

Thanks!
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Falcon16

Trad climber
Kingsburg, ca
Apr 20, 2012 - 10:30am
 
Anyone know if its dry right now?
Thanks!
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RMLeahy

Trad climber
Yosemite
Apr 20, 2012 - 10:39am
 
Probably the wettest route in the Valley right now.
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cencalclimber

climber
May 8, 2012 - 06:43pm
 
Ok, so it was wet last month. Any know if it has dried out by now? Was hoping to get up there this next weekend!
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TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
May 9, 2012 - 12:33am
 
did this wonderful route several times in the early 60s

once with Chris Frederics

returned with Frank Sacherer to try and free it...we didn't quite

(Frank was encouraging me to do all the East Ridges in one week...but i never went up to do the East Ridge of Higher Cathedral Rock)

while i was in the Tetons, Frank managed the FFA

shortly afterwards Royal and Liz and I did the 2nd FA
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guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
May 9, 2012 - 01:04pm
 
Nice write up John on the East Buttress John.

Here is a bit I wrote when Jeff Foott and I climbed it in 1961, quite an early ascent I believe. I remember vividly the descent down the East Ledges in the dark so we could make it to a Camp 4 party. Foot's current squeeze was waiting at the road for us. Priorities mate!

"By the summer of 1960 we had already climbed a number of routes in the Valley. I always figured that since Jeff was two years older than me, 16, he must be wiser and the go-to guy if we got in a jam. Always worked! The following year we climbed the East Buttress of El Cap together, and felt an attempt of Fairview was in order. I remember the night before we climbed the East Buttress. Kamps came over and gave us a small pep talk. I think he was trying to assure us that we would have no problems but to be careful with a big C. Uncle Bob keeping watch over the newbies. Much appreciated to this day."
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icaro

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
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   May 11, 2012 - 08:22pm
I climbed this lovely route last week (i think 5/4) and about 4 or 5 (6, 7, 8, 9, 10) of the pitches in the middle of the route were soaking wet from thick showers blown from horsetail falls... pretty much all the water on route was due to the breezy conditions though, so it should be getting drier, if not totally dry if the wind isn't blowing very much. The conditions on route made it considerably more spicy and cold on an otherwise relatively hot day... those wet pitches made the 10b section on pitch 2 seem like a total cakewalk!!
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PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
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   Oct 29, 2012 - 04:27pm
On P9 I climbed the OW variation last weekend. For those curious to try it, it's pretty fun, and requires more mixed techniques of liebacking, stemming, and reaching in deep for jams and hidden holds rather than doing that much real OW technique.

If you want to try this variation, bring 2 #4 C4 Camalots for pro. Bring a #5 C4 Camalot to move along with you on the middle part if you want to sew it up.
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Paul B

Big Wall climber
Sheffield, UK
May 23, 2013 - 02:12pm
 
At the top of P5 the gully seems a lot closer than 50ft, it's literally just around the corner from the tree and it seems unnecessary to belay then move. Instead just go straight here and belay off good cams (gold + blue BDs C4s).
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El Capitan - East Buttress 5.10b - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
East Buttress with top of The Nose on left.
Photo: Mark Kroese
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*What is "Route Beta"?
It's climber slang for information or tips on a route as in, "what's the beta on that route?" As a service to fellow climbers we ask SuperTopo guidebook users to post tips and updates to this website if they have relevant information to share after a climb.