American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, California, Sierra Nevada, Patterson Bluff, Western Slope, Various Activity

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2001

Patterson Bluff, Western Slope, Various Activity. Located just down the road from the Courtright Reservoir area, Patterson has long been considered a hidden jewel, with a hot, brushy, snake-infested approach to the base from below far too heinous for all but the most seasoned masochist. With access now from the Ross Crossing Road to the top of the bluff, the approach is a scenic 20-minute walk from a dreamy car-camping spot to the rim, where established rappel routes lead to the base. Of course, if one does not climb out as planned, a walk back to the car would be a character-building event for sure!

New route activity has increased over the past several years, largely spearheaded by the likes of Richard Leversee, Herb Laeger, Scott Thelen, and Dave Nettle. The emphasis has been on ferreting out all free lines, but several mixed routes with occasional aid take on the more imposing features of the face. To date, there are over ten independent routes, ranging from eight to 14 pitches long. It is still a place for the adventurous spirit, since it usually takes a trip or two just to figure out the location of the rappel anchors and routes. Many of the routes are bolt-intensive, though definitely sporty, so an adjustable crescent wrench would be handy to snug up hangers if needed. There is a basic rule of thumb about climbing temperatures: if it is 90 degrees or hotter in Fresno, you’ll be better off heading up to the high country, as the cliff faces right into the sun.

Looking up from the base, an overview of routes from left (Sunset Buttress) to right on the main face follows. The Sun Also Rises (5.12+), Raptors of the Steep (5.10 A3), Some Assembly Required (5.11), Under The Gun (5.11 A1), Under the Knife (5.12b), 50 pounds of Crack (5.11 + A0), Some Restrictions Apply (5.11), The Face that Launched a Thousand Clips (5.12c), La Cara Perfecta (a.k.a. Ten, 5.10c), Eleven (5.11c), The Millennium Falcon (5.11c A1).

Dave Nettle, unaffiliated

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