American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, California—Sierra Nevada, The Sphinx, North Butttress

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1972

The Sphinx, North Buttress. From the roadhead near Cedar Grove on the south fork of the Kings River, it is a long uphill hike to the tree-crowned, semi-alpine ridge south of the Sphinx. The Sphinx is an impressive tower near the highest point of a massive rock wedge that has its footings low on the slabs and canyons near the confluence of the Kings River and Bubbs Creek. Though the tower had been climbed, the long smooth buttress above the northern slabs had not. On October 18, 1970, Greg Donaldson, Walt Vennum, and I descended west of the buttress to a point where we could begin a worthy climb. Finding a reasonable entry to the buttress provided two interesting fifth-class pitches. On the crest the dubious places (F6) provided little leeway, but there was always a route. A number of interesting pitches led to the base of the curious summit tower. There we turned to the north flank and worked out a new route to the top. After this enjoyable climb came the drag, walking back uphill to camp. NCCS II, F7.


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