Waterfall Buttress, East Red (5.6+, R)

This is my name for the imposing rock buttress about 1/3 mile N of the Gore Trail where the trail flattens out above S Willow Falls. I have climbed it three times: the first time, with Jim Koegel, we went left of the prominent overhang that guards the top. The second time, with Jonathan Kriegel, we went to the right. In both cases the hardest pitch is the final pitch. On Sept. 15, 2016, a beautiful fall-like day with new snow on the north faces, Katie Larson and I did the route. I led all six pitches. On the last pitch (right of overhang), it took me a while to realize I must leave the dihedral and make progress out on the face to the right. Going right was no problem on great footholds. Coming back left was a bit thin with little for the hands, but adequate depressions for the feet. Protection is generally poor throughout; just barely adequate.

Waterfall Buttress on East Red. The start angles from right to left (3 pitches). Then straight up to the trees (2 pitches and some walking). The finish has a short easy pitch, and then the final pitch (the crux) is just right of the dark alcove. One can also finish well to the left of the alcove, and I think it is harder (5.7). The first photo is a view from the slopes of Buffalo across the valley. The easiest start is at the right, under the pink rock. Second photo by Katie Larson.



The rock was beautiful, but cracks were rare. This route faces south and east so the overnight snow (see Buffalo on left) had melted for our climb. Photo by Katie Larson.


Stan on the crux, at the very end of the climb. I had to get some protection in the crack and a small bomber nut worked here. Then, a little higher, I had to work hard to get a good large cam placement. And I got distracted trying to pull straight up in the dihedral, but that did not work. Finally I spotted the good footholds out to the right onto the face, where there were some thin but solid (if unprotected) moves back to easier ground near the dihedral. A solid cam there and some easy moves to the trees and that wonderful topping-out feeling hit me hard! This is steeper than it looks in the picture and definitely got my attention. Photo by Katie Larson.


This shot from across the valley shows the finish of the climb. Our finish was via the whitish rock below and right of the large shadowed alcove. An alternative is to go under the overhand to the left and up.


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