Trip Report
Bastille buttress!
Sunday October 27, 2013 7:57pm
Credit: Amy Ness
It had been months since our last adventure together. Many obstacles this summer kept us away from our usual escapades, mostly the fault of the 2 plates and 22 screws that were used to stabilize my wrist after a winger in July. We were yearning for it. The first snow that covered our mountains and brought bone-chilling temps up high, had almost disappeared, but we knew it wouldn't be long before the next one.

We had already climbed Bastille Buttress once a few years back, and truthfully, I was a little intimidated to return; I remembered it being difficult and exposed. But, after months of recovery during the Sierra's prime rock-climbing season, I was craving 15 pitches on white granite with my favorite partner.
Credit: Amy Ness
We left the car at first light, after noticing fthat one of our headlamps(with brand new batteries) was faulty. "We'll just have to make it back before dark" Myles encouraged me. Being the end of Oct. when daylight ends around 6:30 pm, it seemed like a tall order...especially since it was the longest climb I had attempted since my injury. The approach was covered in snow, which added to my apprehension as I trudged onward in my wet 5 tennies.
We got to the base and began climbing around 9 am. Myles took the first few leads to get us into the sunlight, dancing up the rock. The climbing was surprisingly easy, and the granite amazing! A few years of running-out easy terrain gave me a confidence I didn't have when we last climbed the route. One, two, three pitches were done...we were flying. Then, it was my turn: a 5.7 traverse with zero gear took us to the bolt ladder. Myles followed me up the ladder trying to free it on TR...for the first attempt, he got pretty close. Finally, we had arrived at what I had been waiting for: the 10c " killer finger crack". Myles had led it last time, but I was feeling it! Slick orange rock forced me to keep my toes in the crack most the way, it was euphoric.
Credit: Amy Ness
Myles took the next pitch which was a continuation of the crack, same great quality, just a little more mellow, then took us to the 10d crux. While belaying, I suddenly had a sneezing attack. He yelled down asking if he was on belay, apparently he was worried I had passed out from the continuous fits. He styled the crux, as usual.
Credit: Amy Ness
My sneezing persisted. A few more pitches blazed by, while I continued to saturate the wet, snotty rags in my pockets and blow snot-rockets into the abyss. Luckily, the climbing was too good and too varied to worry about anything else; we were focused on getting off while there was still light. Finally, we arrived at the 5.11 or A0 pitch near the end of he climb, which neither of us had freed previously. Myles gave it one shot, and then fired it. I couldn't see him make the move, and when I approached the mini boulder problem, I stared with disbelief: 1 bolt protected an overhanging, strenuous move after stepping off a block. I didn't want to ruin my chance at a free ascent (other than the bolt ladder, that is), so I studied and groped the tiny, orange pinches that served as hand holds. Finally, I went for it. On TR, I called for Myles to take up rope...if I popped off with slack I would crash down on the block below. Big weenie! I somehow hand/heel matched and pulled it more pitch and we were sitting on top eating the last of our provisions before looking at the task ahead of us, the most dangerous part of climbing... the descent.
Credit: Amy Ness

Snowy slabs made up the western side of the north ridge which we had descended with ease before, but with one working headlamp, tennies, and approaching darkness we were convinced to try something new.
We began rappelling trees down a gully on the east side of the buttress. We were moving as quickly as we could, but soon blackness overcame us. I hooked a few slings together to attach myself to the ropes while Myles descended with the was the only way I could find them once he disappeared.
Bivying wasn't an option, as I had to teach in Bishop at 8am the following day. Anyway, we knew it was too early to give up hope of reaching the comforts of beer and a warm bed!
We got to the ground after something like 10 we thought. After running in sand, thinking it was over, the cliffs showed up. Myles tossed a rock down in order to hear where it found it's rest- a ways, for sure! Luckily, we heard the creek and knew we were close. A little zigging and zagging the hillside and we found our old trail, heading back on familiar territory. We reached the car at around 9 pm...four hours after topping out.

Lessons learned: always bring a back-up headlamp ( duh?), always carry more toilet paper than you think you need, and always give a route another go every few years, just to stay on your toes:)
Credit: Amy Ness
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Credit: Amy Ness
Credit: Amy Ness
Credit: Amy Ness
Credit: Amy Ness
Credit: Amy Ness
Credit: Amy Ness
Credit: Amy Ness
Credit: Amy Ness
Credit: Amy Ness

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Amy Ness
About the Author
Amy Ness is a climber from Lone Pine

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beneath the valley of ultravegans
  Oct 27, 2013 - 08:09pm PT

Big Wall climber
santa cruz, ca
  Oct 27, 2013 - 08:52pm PT

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Oct 27, 2013 - 09:21pm PT
Four stars for speed, persistence and burliness! Way to go. Thanks for a great little write up.

  Oct 27, 2013 - 09:46pm PT

Oakland, CA
  Oct 27, 2013 - 10:25pm PT
That fingercrack though...

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Oct 27, 2013 - 10:48pm PT

Yeah. Thanks for posting, said with a big grin.



Trad climber
part Texas, part Oman
  Oct 27, 2013 - 11:40pm PT
Woo! Great TR! You two are just adorable, ya know that??

Social climber
Lida Junction
  Oct 28, 2013 - 12:03am PT
TFPU. I always enjoy your trip reports.

Just livin' the dream
  Oct 28, 2013 - 10:17am PT
"... and blow snot-rockets into the abyss..."

You had me at that line...all the rest of this fab TR was just icing on the cake.

Mucho gracias!

Social climber
  Oct 28, 2013 - 01:40pm PT
Well I'm glad you all didn't run off the cliff there at the end. Looking good.

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
  Oct 28, 2013 - 01:44pm PT
Upward, Ho and DOwnward, Ho!!!

A little snot and a little dark build fabulous characters and adventures. Nice.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Oct 28, 2013 - 01:55pm PT
Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

Trad climber
  Oct 28, 2013 - 01:58pm PT
Thanks nice post.

Trad climber
  Oct 28, 2013 - 03:26pm PT
Like the photos

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Oct 28, 2013 - 03:30pm PT
Nice work, and fine TR. Thank you very much for sharing this.

McHale's Navy

Trad climber
From Panorama City, CA
  Oct 28, 2013 - 05:10pm PT
Looks so clean!

4 Corners Area
  Oct 28, 2013 - 06:06pm PT

I gotta do that route!
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
  Oct 28, 2013 - 06:13pm PT

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Oct 28, 2013 - 06:45pm PT
wonderful photos by the way. A couple of those are pure money.

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Oct 28, 2013 - 06:50pm PT
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Oct 28, 2013 - 08:09pm PT
Love the black and white photos Amy, thanks!!!

Cardiff by the sea
  Oct 28, 2013 - 08:57pm PT
I did this route back in 2011. Thanks for a cool right up and reminding me what a great adventure that buttress is.

Fred Beckey is the MAN!!

Trad climber
Oaksterdam, CA
  Oct 28, 2013 - 10:39pm PT
rad gnarled tree!
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Oct 28, 2013 - 11:10pm PT
Wanted to climb that route for a while now. Still have not, but love the photos! Thank you for posting, would love to see more TRs from you guys! Good stuff!
Amy Ness

Author's Reply  Oct 29, 2013 - 08:55pm PT
I would get back on it any time Vitality! Prob spring at the soonest though;)
Larry Nelson

Social climber
  Oct 30, 2013 - 12:06am PT
Love your trip report, thanks
Myles Moser

Lone Pine, Ca
  Oct 30, 2013 - 03:49pm PT
This was the first time that Amy and I had roped up together since her accident this summer. She had been repeating Skid Marks IV, 5.11A0 in the Whitney Portal that a friend and I established a few years back, when a 35 to 40ft fall left her with a broken wrist and for sure a sore spirit. She worked hard and pushed herself even harder to regain what she felt like she had lost. Being on the wall with Ames once again, was incredible, our rhyme and rhythm seem to always be in sequence in the vertical world. Being a couple and climbing the high/ wild terrain that we enjoy, sometimes I can't help, but feel a "worry" or a "fear" for my Bug that is climbing above.... Yet on this one, the time that we had spent not tied in together created a pure Ecstasy once the line was between Amy and I. We "blocked" out our climb in groups of 3 pitches each... it was awesome to watch Amy cruise with a solid confidence and fire her crux pitches with nothin', but stylie!

Woooo... been a while since I have Posted. Hope everyone is good.
Amy Ness

Author's Reply  Oct 31, 2013 - 09:34am PT

Just livin' the dream
  Oct 31, 2013 - 09:50am PT
"Yet on this one, the time that we had spent not tied in together created a pure Ecstasy once the line was between Amy and I."

You two are AWESOME!!!

Keep climbing and keep posting please!
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