North Buttress 5.10b/c
Trip ReportMerriam's Longest Approach
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.
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.
Day 4 we wandered as much as a plumb line can wander. I broke it down better here: http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=650014&tn=20
Day 5, more wilderness walking. This time, cross-country over to Royce Lakes.
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.
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]
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