American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Wyoming, Bitterroot Mountains, Blodgett Canyon, Various Routes, Previously Unreported

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

Considered too blank and featureless for climbing, the massive south face of the Drip Buttress remained untouched for years. Bruce Anderson and I took it to task over a three-day extended push in the early summer of 1992, establishing Degrees of Freedom (V A4 5.10, 6 pitches). Only two bolts were placed, one for a belay and one in the middle of the long A4 pitch that Bruce led.

The Epitaph (IV 5.9+, 8 pitches), first climbed in May, 1993, by Bruce Anderson and me, begins 30 feet north of the beginning of the classic Marvin’s Wall route (the prominent dihedral on the west face of Nez Perce). The route meanders back and forth, moving north and south on the west face. Many possible variations exist. On many of the pitches, the crux move (old school 5.8 or 5.9) was 20 to 30 feet out from a single piece. The route tops out at the prominent notch in the skyline just 30 feet north of the south summit. No fixed gear was placed during this ascent.

On Flathead Buttress, Every Mind is an Island (V 5.10 A4/5) is arguably the hardest, most severe route on Flathead (or in Blodgett Canyon, for that matter). The route, established in the summer of 1994, begins by following the first two pitches of the South Face route with a traverse on Homestake Ledge to the right (east) to obvious cracks and flakes. These cracks mark the start of the first pitch. Sustained A4/5 climbing vaulted Bruce into legendary status. The route was named for the realization that whether you are on a heinous lead or just dealing with life, every mind is still an island.

Steve Porcella, The Access Fund

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