American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, California—Sierra Nevada, Whitney Portal Buttress, Clouds

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1984

Whitney Portal Buttress, Clouds. Seen from below, Whitney Portal Buttress is a large slab divided into two halves by a deep chimney descending from the top. Three routes already ascended the left half, the first done by Fred Bee key in 1967. In November, Bob Harrington and I climbed the first route on the right half. It starts from a ledge several hundred feet up and right from Wonderwall (A.A.J., 1980). Climb left into a dirty flake system. Two unenjoyable pitches lead to a huge ledge with a tall tree. From near the right side of the ledge, climb a block, then tension to a left-facing flake system. From a sling belay near its top, climb past three bolts (5.10+) to an aid bolt on a headwall, then up to a sloping belay. Climb past two bolts to a 5.10 flake. From its top, a long pendulum left takes one to a sling belay. The next pitch has three bolts, with a tension move at the second one. Another bolted pitch, back up and right, leads to the base of a prominent crack, easily visible from the parking area. Three easier pitches follow. Four points of aid were used on the route, one aid bolt and three tension maneuvers, all on different pitches. Sixteen bolts were placed, none at belays. The bolt on the first pitch (no hanger) indicated that the route had previously been attempted. Several pitons, from a knifeblade or two to a thick horizontal, might be useful. IV, F10 +A1.

Alan Bartlett, Buff Alpine Club

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