Tag Archives: Drip Buttress

Unseasonable

Suffice to say, the weather has been entirely unseasonable. While my wonderful parents face record cold temperatures in Chicago, I’ve been about as disappointed as I can possibly be with 3 weeks of sunny, 50F temperatures in February in Montana.

There is no decent snow for skiing. It is far too warm for ice climbing. My body is seriously confused about what it is supposed to be doing. To make the best of it (and the fact that our respective sweethearts were both out of town), I spent Valentine’s Day on a man-date with one of my favorite mentors and friends.

It's never bad to climb with Michael.

It’s never a bad day to climb with Michael.

While it felt out of season, Blodgett Canyon offers spectacular winter rock climbing when the weather is good. The Drip Buttress is an excellent and varied 5.9 that shoots 500′ straight up. We were just rusty enough that it felt more exciting than sport climbing, but relaxed enough to be a whole lot of fun.

New rope for new adventures.

New rope for new adventures.

Mr. Moore leads P.2

Mr. Moore leads p2

We did the climb as 4 pitches instead of 5. You can also do it in 3 long pitches, but the pitch 1.5 belay is not a great ledge, and it adds a lot of rope drag to the route when you want it least. Pitches 1 & 2 are very straightforwards. Pitch 3 wanders up a funky gully feature that was harder than I remembered. Pitch 4 takes large gear, or not much gear (Michael’s preference), leading to an excellent hand crack at the top of the feature. I had only done it once before, and we had a blast doing it again.

Pulling in to the top of Pitch 3. "It was interesting..."

Pulling in to the top of Pitch 3. “It was interesting…”

Glad to have this shot on the records.

Glad to have this shot on the records.

"So where does the gear go?" ... "It's 5.8, there isn't any."

“So where does the gear go?” … “It’s 5.8, there isn’t any.”

I highly recommend the Drip Buttress as a regular climb for anyone- and it’s particularly good training for more serious alpine climbing objectives. It has fun climbing that demands some thought for protection, rope drag, and moving efficiently. Just another Bitterroot gem that probably doesn’t get as much traffic as it deserves.

Plus- how many other routes feature a 100' free hanging rappel?

Plus- how many other routes feature a 100′ free hanging rappel?

Gear: single master cams 0-3, doubles #0.4-#2, (1) 3, (1) 4. We took a set of nuts, but the only one I placed fell out (dang… rusty). 6 slings, 6 draws, cordalette. You might want an extra #3 for p.4. Most of the climbing is legit 5.9.

Descent: from the top of the climb, look downslope and left to a large evergreen just before the exposed granite slabs (lots of old tat). (1) double rope rappel (~140′ ish) to find a tiny ledge with good quality red tat, (1) 105′ rappel (a single 70m is perfect) to the ground.

Pro Tip: check for ticks. No really, check again.

June

I haven’t been going this hard in a long time. June was gone before I blinked.

Thankfully, between moving house, playing a lot of cello, and two amazing weddings, I actually got in a lot of great climbing.

Up and away.

Up and away.

The first weekend of June I knew that Blodgett Canyon was dry, and I’ve been eager to get after the big granite crack there since I first moved here. Mel, Simon, and I racked up and had a beautiful day on the Drip Buttress (5p, 5.9+) route. It was a perfect start to crack climbing season, as well as a beautiful day out. Tech notes: do it in 3 pitches instead of 5, and there is a really well set rappel before you cross the death slabs into the descent gully- taking it makes the descent much nicer. Look for the red slings on the second rap station. 2 ropes required.

Changeover with two incredible partners.

Changeover with two incredible partners.

Winning.

Winning.

The next weekend was Simon’s birthday, and the only thing he wanted was Lost Horse… well and BBQ ribs. We did both in good style despite a little rain.

Jack gets the high step.

Jack gets the high step.

The first time Simon and I climbed together was in Lost Horse, and we discovered that the bouldering is actually just as good as the route climbing. We rallied a crew and some pads, and made a party of it.

Evan, jamming.

Evan, jamming.

Simon might be one of the most joyful people I know, and being around him always picks me up.

Crank! (on the problem we never did stick)

We never did stick this one… but Simon sure looks good, damn!

The third weekend I headed to Moab for the wedding of two dear friends from Alaska. They rented a house in the foothills of the La Sal mountains and filled it with hilarious, wonderful people. While I was honestly most excited to see Drew & Lindzey get hitched, I wasn’t about to drive 800 miles into Red Rock country without a rope and a rack.

Nate puts it up like a BOSS.

Nate puts it up like a BOSS.

Shoving your digits into a sharp sandstone crack a few hours before playing cello for a wedding might not actually be the best idea, but I’m really glad I got to meet Nate and send a few cool pitches on Wall Street before the festivities.

IMG_1346

Sand stone stoke.

I also got out for a good bit of mountain running in the La Sals. I was here 3 years ago and promised I would come back to explore. I wasn’t disappointed.

Aspen.

Aspen.

After a healthy party, I headed back to Missoula, jumped into work, and jumped into another wedding for two other wonderful people. Steph and Noah invited everyone to Glacier for their big deal, and I was more than happy to bring a cello again. The weather didn’t exactly cooperate, but we had a grand time anyways. Again on wedding morning I snuck out for a run up Oussle Peak, but instead of beautiful vistas, I quickly found myself in the clouds.

My favorite running conditions.

My favorite running conditions.

After more responsible festivities than the previous weekend, I made it home for a few pitches in Lolo with Tess, Michael, Sarah, and my new roommate Cristine.

It's official, we're a climber house now.

It’s official, we’re a climber house now. Cristine pulls on the “old school” 5.10…

If you’re climbing at Braxton Rock, know that there are bolts, and a few pieces of gear really go a long way…

Tess pulls the roof bulge.

Tess pulls the roof bulge.

Well. Dang. That’s a lot of climbing pictures. It was a good month and July already looks just as good. Email me for beta or route specific information. Climb safe.