Pear Buttress -8

Pear Buttress is perhaps the best 5.8 at Lumpy Ridge and combined with a finish on the Exit Wall such as Cheap Date (10b) or the twister, Cave Exit (5.8) or my favorite alternative, the Hurley Variation (5.9) which climbs straight-up flakes on the right wall of the cave.

Pear Buttress  II 5.8+ R (start)

Book Formation, Lumpy Ridge

First Ascent: Layton Kor and partner, 1963. 

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                                The Pear Buttress in blue with the Cave Exit (8) finish

Description: 

One of the all-time classic granite routes in the Front Range when combined with any number of exit pitches which reach the top of the Book Formation.

Getting off of the ground can be one of the cruxes to this route as the traditional start is somewhat insecure (5.8) face climbing with the often wet direct start (9) still having a ground-fall potential.  Although the face start is highly recommended, both can be avoided by climbing around to the left up an easy slab and making a traverse in across the ledge which runs 50' above the ground where the thin-crack (protectable) crux 5.8+ move starts.

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                            A topo of the Book with the first 350' of the Pear Buttress outlined in green

Approach:  

From the Lumpy Ridge parking lot, follow the new trail west over the small pass then down to the original parking lot which has been replanted and for a total of 2 miles total to the turn-off which is well signed for the Book, Bookend, and Bookmark formations up the hill.

After about 100 yards up the hill, another trail junction will be encountered, right to the Book and left to the Bookmark, Left Book and Bookend.  Take the RIGHT turn here and continue up to the base of the cliff which has a small break right when the rock is first reached. There is an obvious slab at the far left of the cliff with a small cave under it.  Pear Buttress is the first corner/crack to the right of this cave with a usual water streak running down the thin crack at it's start.

Pitch 1

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The bouldery 5.8 start to reach the flake- with my 6'1" height I can make the stem and place a #3 camalot from a stable position.  Above there a #2 fits and then the crack widens so that you need another #3 or #4 camalot to reduce the runout on whe upper part of this dihedral.

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From this hand position I shuffle my feet up and left to gain a stem on the wall of the dihedral.  You certainly have to trust the rubber in this precarious position as the talus is 30# below and even the best spotter is only going to reduce the injury.  Dale Remsberg demonstrates smooth movement pictured here in another day at the office.

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The alternative start from the base of the flake takes advantage of a#1 C3 and a .3 camalot to protect the first 5.9 moves into the flake on what is usually wet rock.  Above here, layback to the top of the flake.

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                            Getting established in the layback with protection at one's feet 

The crux move is stepping right at the top of the flake into a thin finger crack which is well protected (small nuts and cam #1 C3) and after a few strenuous moves becomes a series of laybacks and jams up a series of flakes and cracks which if taken for a long traverse left after the crux then up below the Loose Ends second pitch and passing that on the left to reach in 57meters the ledge at the base of the splitter crack.

If not climbed in one pitch, it is recommended to break this rope stretcher into two- 30 meter pitches and stop at the same good ledge at the base of the splitter.

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A view from the base of the first pitch of Pear Buttress.  The alternative belay stance is directly above the crux thin crack section, 20' higher at a decent pod ledge.

Pitch 2

This is the "money pitch" of the route and from the moment you step off the ledge until you pull over onto the next ledge at 150' above, you will be engaged in an excellent crack that provides the spectrum of jamming and stemming possibilities.  After the difficulties are finished, a nice ledge with ample cracks exists, or if you are trying to stretch out the pitches, another 50' of 5.4 climbing right then left then right up to the base of the Exit Wall, below the Cheap Date where there is a sandy ledge.

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                The crack sews up with large nuts, and cams from .4 camalot to #3 camalot.

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     There are ample rests along the length of this "enduro" pitch and it is overall a bit easier than the first pitch.

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The top of the Pear Buttress route at approx. 110m is where the alternative finishing pitches include the Hurley Exit (5), Cave Exit (8), Hurley Variation (9), Cheap Date (10b) or Final Chapter (11a) and a couple of final pitches that could include the Outlander (10c).

Descent

The walk-off descent which takes about 15 minutes and is really mellow with just a few feet of 3rd class is best done in sneakers.  In rock shoes only, the more direct and exposed "climber's descent" is the favored way down.

Gear Beta:

At least one #3 camalot is necessary if not two and a #4, depending on your runout tolerance.  To protect the direct start, a #5 camalot might be appreciated.  Plenty of shoulder-length runners, up to 15 for a 60 meter pitch and doubles in all cam sizes.  The more you place the less you carry!

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