Trip Report
O'Neill Butte, North Face 5.0
Monday June 9, 2014 10:23pm
O'Neill Butte lies a couple of miles down the South Kaibab trail just off the South Rim of Grand Canyon. The following is a May 5th, 2014 trip report of the three pitch North Face route, which I've seen listed as fourth class, but felt easy fifth class to me.
Credit: Osprey

My journey began with a bike ride along the paved South Rim trail from Grand Canyon Village to the South Kaibab trailhead at sunrise. While I did not time the approach to be started in the dark this time, I always recommend an alpine start while attempting anything in the canyon due to the high daytime temps. In the picture below, the top of the ridgline is the start of the S. Kaibab trail. Thor Temple is in the background.
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Missing photo ID#361704
Credit: Osprey

On the S. Kaibab trail now. Looking west along the canyon, Ooh - ahh Point can be seen in the bottom right of the picture.
Credit: Osprey

From Ooh - ahh Point, O'Neill Butte (south butt and east side) can now be seen.
Credit: Osprey

Between Ooh - aah Point and Cedar Ridge the trail lit up nicely in the morning sun. With the objective standing tall straight ahead.
Credit: Osprey

Quickly reaching Cedar Ridge, which is a good place to stash water for the return hike out of the canyon.
Credit: Osprey

After Cedar Ridge, descend until the trail meets up with the saddle between the ridge and O'Neill Butte. And the mandatory early morning selfie.
Credit: Osprey
Credit: Osprey

To reach the North Face, you will want to traverse the east side of O'Neill Butte. And cross by several short crack pitches along the way. By the way, the eastern side of O'Neill Butte has some of the better cragging I've seen at Grand Canyon.
Credit: Osprey
Credit: Osprey
Credit: Osprey
Credit: Osprey
Credit: Osprey

You will want to turn the corner to the north side of the Butte and aim for the middle of the North Face. Climbing a tree, traversing layers, following a distinct footpath all the way until the curving crack that starts pitch one is found. The Graffiti and an old pair of underware mark the start of the climb.
Credit: Osprey

Pitch one is fourth class and I solo climbed it to make up some time.
Credit: Osprey

Once at the top of the first pitch, traverse a large ledge to the right, looking for a two tiered corner system. If you round the toe of the northwest side, you have gone too far. This is a picture of pitch two, the hole which begins the second tier will need to be tunnelled up into (5.0). Which is awesome and memorable climbing.
Credit: Osprey

At the top of pitch two, traverse left to a sloping chimney with a chockstone on top of it, blocking the exit. The chimney increases with difficulty and the chockstone is traversed on hand jams out right without much for feet (5.0), and mantled.
Credit: Osprey

Traverse the caprock on the eastern side.
Credit: Osprey

I finished off the ascent with a couple more selfies.
Credit: Osprey
Credit: Osprey

I took one half a set of cams to 4" (one set minus every other piece), no stoppers, some long runners, and one 70m rope.

Rappel from a bush at the top of pitch three to the top of pitch one (100').
I down climbed pitch one.

Enjoy,
MV

  Trip Report Views: 647
Osprey
About the Author
Osprey is a climber from .

Comments
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crunch

Social climber
CO
  Jun 9, 2014 - 10:37pm PT
Sounds like a great adventure! Cool photos!
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jun 10, 2014 - 04:07am PT
Nice. Would the down climb have been bad???
Osprey

climber
Author's Reply  Jun 10, 2014 - 05:14am PT
Reversing the moves at the top of pitch 3 would be the crux of the down climb. I don't think I would, but I'm sure others do it.
clinker

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, California
  Jun 10, 2014 - 06:23am PT
Nice one.
lars johansen

Trad climber
West Marin, CA
  Jun 10, 2014 - 06:48am PT
Great report on a unique area. TFPU
lars
Paul Martzen

Trad climber
Fresno
  Jun 10, 2014 - 04:48pm PT
Neat adventure. Nice story and great photos. The tunnel on pitch two sounds interesting.
Todd Gordon

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, Cal
  Jun 10, 2014 - 08:42pm PT
We did a two pitch 5.9 route on the "front" face back in the early 1980s...it was fun.........
Good for you;...out getting some adventure...
Edge

Trad climber
Boulder, CO
  Jun 10, 2014 - 08:47pm PT
I visited the Grand Canyon for the first time last summer. I wondered what some of the features would be like to climb, and now I know. TFPU!

Cheers.
thebravecowboy

climber
in the face of the fury of the funk
  Jun 10, 2014 - 08:54pm PT
cool feature and a nice outing!
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
  Jun 11, 2014 - 07:16am PT
Nice solo adventure!
Floridaputz

Trad climber
Oakland Park Florida
  Jun 13, 2014 - 12:57pm PT
Me on the East face route in 1982.  So cool to see someone else climb ...
Me on the East face route in 1982. So cool to see someone else climb this thing. This is the first time i've seen anyone else do it. Long hike.
Credit: Floridaputz

Me on the East Face in 1982. Good job man. Can't be afraid of a little hiking to climb O'Neil butte.
clarkolator

climber
  Jun 13, 2014 - 03:25pm PT
Way to take some time and enjoy!

I always wanted to go play on that butte, but there was always someplace else to go at the time. Great report!
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Jun 13, 2014 - 03:30pm PT
That cap stone capped chimney looks harder than 5.0. woot!
Floridaputz

Trad climber
Oakland Park Florida
  Jun 16, 2014 - 11:29am PT
East face goes at 5.8 but I bypassed the overhang...chossy
Osprey

climber
Author's Reply  Jun 16, 2014 - 09:02pm PT
I intended to climb pitch 3 ropeless. However, after reaching the bottom of the chockstone I opted to throw in a couple of pieces and give myself a belay. I'm glad I did but the jams topping out the chimney are secure.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
  Jun 16, 2014 - 09:35pm PT
Thanks, great adventure. South Kaibab is my favorite corridor trail, I risk walking off the trail when I pass O'Neil because I am looking up too much. Some good looking rock.
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