North Buttress 5.10b/c

  • Currently 3.0/5

Merriam Peak

High Sierra, California USA

Trip Report
Merriam's Longest Approach
Monday August 5, 2013 7:19pm
This section of the Sierra is almost perfectly set up for hike-a-day-climb-a-day backpack adventuring. Scope the Moynier/Fiddler guide with a map in hand and three formations jump out. Each about a day's walk apart. If 20 miles is in your definition of a "day's walk". I'm not sure its in mine, at least not anymore...

We set out over Mono Pass out of Rock Creek, bound for the NE Buttress of 3rd Recess Peak. Sickter. No fixed gear, no chalk, no footprints on ledges, no summit register. Like when 'they' found it, like it should be.

Pitch 2, high above 3rd Recess Lake.
Pitch 2, high above 3rd Recess Lake.
Credit: jedster

Day 3 proved to be the foot-pounding, flower-riddled crux. We walked about 20 miles with rock gear and comfy-tasty camping kit. Brutal. Down Mono Creek, on the JMT to Bear Creek, and up Bear Creek's East fork to below the North side of Seven Gables.

Splitterville.  Horizontal.
Splitterville. Horizontal.
Credit: jedster

Day 4 we wandered as much as a plumb line can wander. I broke it down better here:

Up where it was pleasant and sunny.
Up where it was pleasant and sunny.
Credit: jedster

Day 5, more wilderness walking. This time, cross-country over to Royce Lakes.
Bear Lakes, High Sierra.  Boom.
Bear Lakes, High Sierra. Boom.
Credit: jedster

With 20-something pitches of traceless rock behind us, the crossing of Royce Col to camp near the neo-trendy North Buttress of Merriam seemed like entering civilization. I guess it's all relative. But one couldn't help but notice the scrubbed cracks, rock-walled bivy platforms, tick marks (!), and summit-register-fixed-rope bickering. In the end, Merriam's worth the attention it gets. And, in my reluctant and humble opinion, Lakey's fitness/scrubbing efforts in 06 have proven worthwhile. This thing's groomed like Sons of Yesterday.

Alex channeling her inner Harrington
Alex channeling her inner Harrington
Credit: jedster

We left the mountains, and a week of wild and stormy weather moved in.
We left the mountains, and a week of wild and stormy weather moved in.
Credit: jedster

And, finally, if your attention span exceeds a minute or two (don't sweat it, mine doesn't), we cooked up a little video of our time out there. Enjoy!

[Click to View YouTube Video]

  Trip Report Views: 3,911
About the Author
jedster is a climber from Bishop, CA.


  Aug 6, 2013 - 09:10pm PT
Well that did not suck! I liked the video, and the timelapse and cross country segments too. Nice pika.

Social climber
Lida Junction
  Aug 6, 2013 - 09:46pm PT
I agree with Ekat, very, very nice. Man, I miss the Sierra.
Some Random Guy

  Aug 6, 2013 - 10:12pm PT
nice walkabout! you guys chillax in that sweet little tub at 1:50 in the vid?

Social climber
somewhere that doesnt have anything over 90'
  Aug 6, 2013 - 11:01pm PT
very nice! thanks for the great TR

Trad climber
Montuckyian Via Canada Eh!
  Aug 6, 2013 - 11:34pm PT
Another VERY NICE..........Thanx for sharing.....


Gym climber
sawatch choss
  Aug 7, 2013 - 10:57am PT
God's country. Thanks! Love the pika.

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Aug 7, 2013 - 01:37pm PT
Excellent! Thank you very much for posting this.


  Aug 7, 2013 - 05:22pm PT
That was an awesome TR, cool little vid too!

Seven gables is such a pretty peak. Nice job. I bet those switchbacks down pine creek felt awesome :-)

Trad climber
Can't get here from there
  Aug 7, 2013 - 06:37pm PT
Well done, and well appreciated.

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
  Aug 8, 2013 - 02:45am PT
Nice, can't wait to get back out there!
Merriam Peak - North Buttress 5.10b/c - High Sierra, California USA. Click to Enlarge
The prominent North Buttress of Merriam Peak
Photo: Ryan Crochiere