Trip Report
Samurai Warrior on Bubbs Creek Wall
Monday July 14, 2014 5:21pm
As I trolled the internet for a topo I came across an old post of mine from three years earlier. Had I really been wondering about this route for that long? Luckily Iíve come a long way since then and now readily recognize the yellow lined paper that provides †a background for most if not all of Dave Nettleís topos. Iíve never met Dave but I keep seeking out his routes. Between him, his partner Brandon Thau and Peter Croft it seems like there is an endless list of huge routes to do in the mountains.

Iíd been in Yosemite the weekend prior over Memorial Day, and was in desperate need of solitude and less heat. Ben was willing to follow one of my hair brained schemes and so started another trip of the Stefurak and Steel Hiking Academy

Ben on one of the early pitches.

This time a big influence had come from lizzy. There are so many routes to do and it is often hard to figure out which should come first. The weekend was supposed to be cool, with possible freezing overnight lows. Lizzy had just been to Kings Canyon for some recon on the Rae Lakes Loop, but fell ill and never made it off trail. We determined that a join hiking and climbing trip would be a good adventure and give Lizzy much needed company in the SEKI backcountry.

Lizzy on the hike in to Charlotte Creek Camp

Ben leads the crazy pitch 4 corner on Samurai Warrior

As we started figuring out logistics a friend came through with a topo for Samurai Warrior, a route put up by Dave Nettle and Brandon Thau in 1997 and finally freed by Dave Nettle and Peter Croft in 2005.† A few friends had climbed the route but I didnít hear many more details than ďAwesomeĒ; ďBest Backcountry RouteĒ and some advice about how not to get lost on the leg pounding descent.

Ben crushes the first 5.11 face crux.

Ben, Lizzy and I had a flexible schedule so we drove out mid-week and hiked in on the first day from Road's End to the Charlotte Creek Camp. There is a very small bear box here, plentiful access to water and a 20 minute stroll to†the Bubbís Creek Wall. The topography of Kings Canyon on the drive in was crazy and I am still blown away by how much backcountry granite exists in California. Iíve been living in the state for almost seven years and Iíve only been to the more accessible locals.

As the canyon opens up on the hike in you really marvel about all of the formations, most which I had never heard of, or †seen mentioned. The height of Bubbís Creek wall is remarkable and shoots right up from the bottom of the drainage.

The spectacular Bubbs Creek Wall <br/>
The spectacular Bubbs Creek Wall

Credit: cultureshock

Ben on the steeeeeep Brown Headwall

The theme of Samurai Warrior is slab and face climbing on bullet white granite. Many features of the route show the lack of ascents, from crispy crimps to loose chalkstones and occasional flakey rock. This is not your standard crack route, but the quality of the climbing is phenomenal. We swung leads up the route, both of us sharing in the exciting run-outs, thought provoking scoops and plentiful knobs.

Attempted Pullharder pose... Not quite.

As an arm-chair first ascentionist I was impressed that the whole route linked togeather. Midway up after fighting through a tough layback Ben shouted down he was going to dyno. Standing on a huge knob with no hand holds he leaped through the air to a higher knob the size of a large pizza. His legs windshield wipered across the rock as he stuck the move and kept going up the pitch.

Many of the pitches weaved around the face linking subtle features that let the route go free.† The pitches below the crux followed dikes and knobs up the smooth face, nothing but bolts for pro. After Ben had onsighted the crux it was up to me to keep the send train going. With the moves firmly imprinted in my mind I mimicked Ben, best I could, and smeared my way through the 12 feet of blank rock.

Chillaxing up high on the Bubbs Creek Wall

A few pitches from the end Ben and I splayed out on a comfortable ledge. The weather had been perfect and we had lots of food and water but our feet were destroyed from so much technical footwork.† So in heroic fashion Ben set off to link the last two pitches which would take us to the top of the route. The final pitch, a bolted tips layback, ended up being one of the hardest pitches of the route. Three well-spaced ľĒ bolts protect solid 5.11 climbing and not many other opportunities for pro. I barely followed the pitch, multiple times breaking foot holds or small hand holds. Often I couldnít even crimp the crack and would end up slab climbing and pressing up the wall desperately.

Ben getting ready to gun it on the final pitch to the summit.

It was a fitting pitch to end an amazing day of climbing and the most pitches Ben had ever climbed. Itís a full package on a badass backcountry wall. If you are into face climbing and donít mind a bit of hiking I highly recommend it.


Thereís pitch by pitch†beta on Mountain Project



  Trip Report Views: 4,319
About the Author
Luke is a trad climber and occasional runner from Sunnyvale, CA.

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Social climber
San Francisco
  Jul 14, 2014 - 05:32pm PT
Awesome! Can't wait to get on it once you finish you other project there!
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jul 14, 2014 - 06:08pm PT
Nice job, freed by the peter croft, cool!!!

Trad climber
Oaksterdam, CA
  Jul 14, 2014 - 06:23pm PT
muchas gracias

Edge of the Electric Ocean Beneath Red Rock
  Jul 14, 2014 - 07:29pm PT
Awesome TR man! Thanks for posting this up!

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Jul 14, 2014 - 07:34pm PT
Yo! Good effort....sounds spicy!
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
  Jul 14, 2014 - 07:44pm PT
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Jul 14, 2014 - 10:05pm PT
You are a little more than "arm chair first ascentionist!" :) well done, and good luck on the other line!

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Jul 14, 2014 - 11:13pm PT
The topography of Kings Canyon on the drive in was crazy and I am still blown away by how much backcountry granite exists in California. Iíve been living in the state for almost seven years and Iíve only been to the more accessible locals.

I'm still trying to take in all the climbing in Fresno County, where I've lived for most of my 63 years. Thanks for a wonderful and inspiring trip report and photos.


Oakland, CA
  Jul 14, 2014 - 11:29pm PT

Really love this pic. What an incredible valley...

Thanks for postin'!

  Jul 15, 2014 - 12:00am PT
Looks pretty good...glad you didn't do the "pull harder" pose because I immediately check out when I see it.
Larry Nelson

Social climber
  Jul 15, 2014 - 06:43am PT
Great trip reports like this are what make Super Topo. Great effort, photos and text. Thank you.

  Jul 15, 2014 - 07:33am PT
Kiwi dude,

shouldn't you be off stalking burchey?
Have you ever posted anything positive/not mental on this or any forum?
Amy Ness

  Jul 15, 2014 - 09:36pm PT
So inspiring team ! We've been talking about that one for awhile.. Way to get it!!

  Jul 16, 2014 - 04:29am PT
wow that looks cool! Never even heard of this. If you ignore the lack of proper sport climbing, the Sierra+Yosemite must be the world best overall climbing destination. the falls wall will change the fact that you have to ignore the lack of sport climbing sooner or later as well.

thanks for the TR!


Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  Jul 16, 2014 - 06:35am PT

YES! this TR man was coffee for my eyes!!

& that shot of the valley is indeed amazing


Big Wall climber
Twain Harte
  Jul 16, 2014 - 07:47am PT
Amazing efforts! Your enthusiasm is contagious.

Trad climber
Mountain View
Author's Reply  Jul 17, 2014 - 05:38pm PT
The Stoke is HIGH! I can't believe more people don't go out to the Bubbs Creek wall.

Sure the approach is 8 miles, but it should take you less than 3 hours. Comparable to the hike to the Incredible Hulk. The main difference is to get to Bubbs there is a kick ass hiker trail the whole way and even a BEAR BOX at the camping spot! LUXURY!

Bubbs Creek Wall - Samurai Warrior
Bubbs Creek Wall - Samurai Warrior
Credit: cultureshock
Bubbs is so tall! Another great shot of the Brown Headwall. 5.8 jugs and roofs!

The rock is spectacular and the face features are astounding. The brown headwall and a few others on Samurai Warrior are 5 star pitches. It even provides solid mental challenge on the slabs! ;)

Go for it! The route would still be amazing at 11b or 11c A0.

Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Jul 17, 2014 - 05:39pm PT
What is the permit situation like? Isn't that same trailhead as Rae lakes loop, which is always checked out?

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Jul 17, 2014 - 05:42pm PT
Dunno, we got a permit easily enough on the 4th weekend to go up to Charlotte/Bubb's creek camp.

Would like to try the Becky route on Bubb's creek wall just for the hell of it.

Trad climber
Mountain View
Author's Reply  Jul 17, 2014 - 06:03pm PT
The quota is way larger compared to hulk. Also people do the Rae lakes loops both directions which means two quotas.

I think that most of the permits get reserved in advance, but don't always get picked up.

For Bubbs Creek trail there are 25 entry permits. 20 are reservable, 5 are first come first serve.

The FCFS are given away at 1pm the day before you want to enter. The same is true of all of the reserved ones. So if you don't pickup your permit, or make an arrangment to pick it up late, the reserved permit becomes available for first come first serve users.

I've now been in May, June and July. I've done both same day and day before pickup. I've had no problem getting a permit. One bummer is that they cost $15. It is good to support the park!

The ranger station at road's end opens at 7am and close at 4pm. The people who work there are really nice.

The Becky route looks interesting and at least the first half probably will go free. It's a big gash in the middle of Bubbs.

I replaced most of the bolts on pitch one of the Becky route and the anchor with the support of the ASCA. Originally it was a 4-5 bolt ladder, but we were able to free climb the pitch by going below the bolts across the face.

You clip the first bolt, down climb about 6 feet and do a few moves of 10+/11- slab and then work up a sick dike until you can clip the last bolt of the Becky bolt ladder. These two bolts are new and shiny now!


Trad climber
the middle of CA
  Jul 22, 2014 - 03:23pm PT
Sweeeeeet! Thanks for posting and making me jealous! Your right about so much rock, it still surprises me every time. I'll be in Kings the next ten days and it still feels like so little time!

I think the permit station at roads end closes at 3:45. Small difference but it screwed me over once.

Thanks again for sharing, you've got skillz!

Trad climber
  Aug 20, 2014 - 10:20pm PT
Is there any other beta, topos, or Pictures for the becky route!? i've been interested in it but have yet to find much info on it.

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
  Aug 21, 2014 - 10:22am PT
Gnarly with a capital gee. Beautiful place, and skeery hard climbin' !

  Aug 21, 2014 - 10:43am PT
Fantastic! Gorgeous photos and looks like some seriously great climbing! TFPU!

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Aug 21, 2014 - 02:44pm PT
Waaaaay cool!

Way to WRAP IT UP!!!

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
  Aug 21, 2014 - 05:28pm PT
Thanks for the quality of your images and report . . . such beautiful stone.

  Aug 21, 2014 - 06:40pm PT
NIce. Thanks for this. What a place to check out.

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  Aug 21, 2014 - 07:47pm PT

Hells Yeah!!

like it was said of another Luke...

"the Force is strong in that one"

T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
  Aug 21, 2014 - 08:23pm PT

Trad climber
Mountain View
Author's Reply  May 9, 2015 - 06:45pm PT
Bubbs season is soon! Bump!

Trad climber
  May 9, 2015 - 09:13pm PT
I missed this first time around. Great TR, sounds like one heck of a route.
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

Out Of Bed
  May 10, 2015 - 07:41am PT
What is the pitch by pitch for bad ankles, approach?
Any possibility of air dropping in?
Or two wheeled motorized Dirt bike style or full truck load?
A Hikers trail ?
You say?
Could it /Is it my ATV/mule,buggy convoy carrying
Way In?

So cool to see all the rock I missed . . . . NOT!
Thanx for the share now off to Mother's Day!
To All you
Happy Mothers!

Trad climber
the middle of CA
  May 10, 2015 - 03:43pm PT
Soon!? Bubbs season is now! It was perfect in the canyon of the Kings today. Happy Mother's Day y'all!

Credit: limpingcrab

Trad climber
Mountain View
Author's Reply  Sep 3, 2015 - 09:49pm PT
Another Bubbs bump for the front page!

The Good Places
  Sep 3, 2015 - 09:52pm PT
en otra vez, muchas gracias!

  Sep 4, 2015 - 12:50am PT
Thanks for the bumps. I think I have already read this before, but it was good the 2nd time. That photo 3 posts up looks a lot like someone put El Cap in the dryer.
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