American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fred Burr Buttress, The Chimney, New Route, Previously Unreported

Montana, Bitterroot Mountains, Fred Burr Canyon

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Steve Porcella
  • Climb Year: 1993
  • Publication Year: 2001

Bruce Anderson and I climbed this route, The Chimney (IV 5.10+, 8 pitches), in a one-day push in mid-summer 1993. The route, on the north side of the creek, lies on the largest, most prominent buttress in the first three miles of the canyon. This buttress is quite striking when viewed from the west or east in the canyon. The route begins in a large, broken corner that lies 50 feet up slope on the southwest corner of the buttress. The climbing is fairly easy to begin with, until the corner steepens and the crack pinches down. A traverse right leads to a thin crack that gains broken ledges and easier rock. The next pitch is the great chimney. Easily visible from the trail, this is the most classic pitch (5.9) on the route, and was led by Bruce in typically good style. The pitch exits the chimney with easier climbing leading right and onto the buttress’s south face. Another five to six pitches, varying in length but comprised of short sustained cruxes (5.8 to 5.10+), constitute the rest of the climb, as it meanders up the south face. No bolts, pitons, or heads were placed. Take a good supply of water, as we shared only a quart between us that day, turning our bodies into hallucinating raisins.

Steve Porcella, The Access Fund

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