A day after returning from Europe, I was eager to get out climbing. I wasn’t too psyched on waking up early, but for the right adventure, I made an exception. After perusing various pictures of rocks in RMNP, we settled on an attractive looking buttress on Otis Peak. We have no idea what the buttress is called, or if it has ever been climbed before. We certainly didnt see any evidence on route.
The buttress is located in the center of this photo, just right of Otis Flower Tower
After the short approach, we broke out the binoculars to look for a climbable line
From there an only slightly unpleasant scramble up the gully led to the buttress
The climbing started at an obvious ledge, where Joe took the first pitch. The rock was occasionally loose, but still fun. It started out nondescript before entering a nice right facing corner (5.6).
I took the next pitch, moving left from the belay, then back right to the obvious ledge below the roof. Generally solid rock, and easy enough to outweigh any spice factor. (mid 5th)
Chris took the next pitch, which even from below was obviously going to be the crux. Initially we thought the line might go directly through the roof. Chris started from the right side of the ledge, with just enough pro to keep things reasonable. After sussing out the direct roof, he instead opted for an awesome, airy underclinging traverse to the right. It took some pressing from me and Joe, but eventually he committed to the moves. After the traverse the climb entered a great right facing corner, reminiscent of the upper pitch on the SE corner of the Saber. One more spicy move, and Chris found a decent belay to bring us up. Even on TR, the climbing was quite exciting. Definitely a great lead by Chris! (5.9)
From the belay, it looked like a cruise to the top. Joe took over, and was immediately stumped by the 5′ headwall in front of him. It turned out to be some fairly tenuous 5.8 climbing that then broke way to much easier terrain above.
From there we hiked up to the most logical high point where it took us about 10 tries to get our jumping high-5 summit shot.
To descent we hiked south along the ridge top, passing the true summit of Otis Peak before descending a gully to Andrew’s tarn.