The Lower Buttress has one of the shortest approach at the Leap and a few good climbs. Starting on the Lower Buttress, then continuing with a route on the Main or West Wall would also give you the most climbing mileage at the Leap.
Surrealistic Pillar Direct (5.10b, 3 pitches) - May 26, 2004
The first pitch is a direct variation to the "traversy" Surrealistic Pillar (the regular route goes at 5.7). It goes up a striking, wide corner crack to a slight overhang then up a straight-in tight hand crack to a belay spot at a horizontal crack about 140 ft up. The first 50 ft climb the wide crack with a combination of stemming and jamming; not particularly hard but strenuous, especially as a warm up. At the top of the wide crack is a bulge, just left of a small roof. There are several ways to handle this section, all of which are 5.10b. I chose to continue straight up the thinning crack. This involves a hard and steep 5.10b lieback move. Above the crux, you continue up a few feet, then traverse right (5.10a) into the obvious tight hand crack. Another 30 ft up the sustained crack leads to easier terrain and eventually the belay spot at the bottom of the wide (6-7") arching crack/flake. This belay takes a variety of gear but a #2 Camalot is useful in the horizontal crack. A #4.5 Camalot can also be used in the wide crack. Large nuts and medium cams can be placed in the crack/seam just left of the arch. A sustained, draining pitch.
The next pitch is a bit weird, at least as described in SuperTopo. It goes left several feet and up a few on unprotected dikes to reach a flake to the left of the main arch. The easiest way to the flake is not obvious at all as the dikes are widely spaced in a few spots. I ended up going up near the arch for a couple of moves then traversing sharply left to a decent chickenhead, then up again to the flake. The flake eventually leads back to the end of the arch, just before it turns right. Place a good piece here, then traverse sharply left again (huge dike for feet, no hands) and around the arete to a runout but easy (5.5) face. After 40 ft or so, the face leads into a crack, which you follow to its end at a slightly rotten white ledge. The best belay is actually 10 ft below the ledge (wide crack). Otherwise there are decent anchor options just below the ledge, at the very end of a 165 ft rope.
The nest pitch is a simple, unprotected dike hike straight up the face to a large tree 10 ft back from the edge.
Weird climb with a great first pitch. In retrospect, for a more natural line on the second pitch, I would probably rather follow the wide curving arch instead of traversing left to the flake. The arch could be well protected with a #5 (green) Camalot. Better line, more logical. I would still traverse left and around the arete at the end of the wide arch.
The Groove (5.8, 2 pitches) - June 3, 2004
The crux move (5.8) on the first pitch is right off the deck - be careful. The rest of the pitch is sustained 5.7 and involves a long series of awkward mantle moves in - what else - a wide and shallow groove! The second pitch has long runouts. It starts at 5.7 with a particularly heady mantle move. The top of the pitch is 5.4 runout dike hiking. Be sure you're comfortable at the grade for this one.
Sinbad-Herbert (5.10b, 1st pitch only) - May 30, 2004
Another good climb to finish off your day (and your forearms). The first pitch is a slanting, overhanging hand crack (5.10b) four feet left of a corner. Interesting climbing and good jams lead to a bolted anchor 60 ft up. A bit easier than other 5.10b's in this area, we thought.
We did not do the second pitch, but it is 5.10d and bolt protected. It looks worthwhile. Both pitches could be combined with a 60 meter rope (per SuperTopo). You'll need two 60 meter ropes to rap from the top anchor (although it looks like you could also rap with two 50m ropes back to the first anchor and then from there to the ground).
Lower Buttress, Lover's Leap, CA
|SURREALISTIC PILLAR DIRECT|
|"Surrealistic Pillar Direct" follows the worn crack, then traverses onto the low angle slabs with plentiful dikes.|
|Eric starting the first pitch (5.10b).|
|Just past the crux on the first pitch.|
|The runout, but easy traverse on the second pitch (5.7).|
|Higher on the 2nd pitch, just before traversing left again and onto the slab.|
|Eric on the runout last pitch (5.5).|
|Looking west from the top of the Lower Buttress.|
|Lucie leading the first pitch of "The Groove" (5.8).|
|Eric on the short but sweet first pitch of "Sinbad-Herbert" (10b).|