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North America, United States, California—Sierra Nevada, North Palisade, Southwest Buttress

North Palisade, Southwest Buttress. On June 29, Steve Porcella and I returned to the west face of North Palisade and made the first ascent of the southwest buttress, the massive buttress rising just north of the U-notch. Our route ascended the prow of the middle white cliff at the base of the west face for several pitches and then climbed the center of the southwest buttress itself. Above the buttress, we ascended a prominent rib almost the entire way to the summit. The crux was an absolutely digusting, slightly overhanging, off-width crack at the start of the second pitch. I had to make several attempts before I could lead past Steve’s high point. I managed to climb the entire pitch free at 5.11c during my yoyo. Off-width gear would have been a real plus on this route, but, as usual, we had none. (IV, 5.11c, 16 pitches.)

Cameron Burns, Los Alamos Climbing Club