Sunday, July 10, 2016

Rock Springs Buttress

Alli and I explored a new climbing area (for us) this past Saturday: Rock Springs Buttress. The crag is just out of of the south boundary of Jackson Hole Mountain resort and features very good multi-pitch, traditional or sport climbing. Approaching the climbs is a bit of a hump, but the pre-Cambrian rock classic to the Tetons is worth the effort.

We went into the day eying several 5.8 grade climbs with the first choice being the Guide's Route. However, it was occupied by the time we arrived and we settled on Chuck's Road to Thailand, which crosses the upper reaches of the Exum Arrete. The guide book lays out the climb in 6 pitches, the first of which is a 5.6 approach to a large belay bench. The second pitch (5.8) follows the left side of a chimney with some tricky sequences to a good belay ledge with a bolted anchor. Pitch three starts off with a airy step across the chimney to 5.7 face climbing.

A couple bolts and an old piton (yes I clipped it, why not?) took us around to a crack system, past a belay station (we climbed pitch 3 and 4 together) and up a chimney with comfortable stemming moves to the upper belay station. Our perch felt like an eagles nest! I watched a cow moose and a calf frolic through the valley bottom while Alli followed up the pitch easily.

Above, pitch 5 looked like great sport climbing but we were eyeing clouds building to the south and decided to cap our climbing adventure here for the day rather than risk the "epic" on the first multi-pitch outing of the year.

A few raps later, we were reunited with our gear and got ready for the hike out. We opted to go up rather than down and just over an hour later topped out at 10,450 feet at the top of the Tram. Before our free ride down, we took advantage of a delicious waffle in Corbet's cabin.

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