Sierra Buttes

Around 3am on Sunday, I woke up to a horn honking continuously, then loud footsteps followed by the front door slamming. I tip-toed down the stairs, soon learning that a bear had somehow managed to break into Eric’s vehicle, only to lock itself in and freak out (that’s what the honking was). Somehow Eric had to open a door to let this uninvited guest out, while also staying far enough away that he was not mauled in the process. Then he yelled at the bear to “GIT, GIT ON OUTTA HEERRE!”  and brandished a small stick. Somehow, that worked. The bear waddled off, leaving behind a torn up door and pee all over the seats. So… I guess this is bear country. I’m glad we decided to sleep inside a house instead of the minivan, or maybe we’d have been the appetizer.

I didn’t take this photo, but this is probably similar to what happened. Imagine seeing this when you walk out to your car.

But. There was no time to stress about that, because we had to get a good night’s sleep in anticipation of climbing the next day. Some French Toast and a cup of coffee later, we headed out to explore the gorgeous and highly elevated (around 8600′) Sierra Buttes. This was a little over an hour drive from Incline Village, but the scenery was worth it. Even the straight up hiking for 30-45 minutes wasn’t so awful if you stopped to look around for a moment.

Beauty as far as the eye can see (click to enlarge).

sierra buttes
I took a million photos of this place, and not a single one captures the feeling of being completely surrounded by endless trees and mountains and rock.

Supposedly there are something like 150+ boulders at the Buttes, each with at least two boulder problems. We didn’t hike around too much though, choosing to warm-up and project on the first two prominent boulders. One of these boulders is featured in a really great video featuring Kyle O’Meara and Max Zolotukhin  (small world). Flannery and Drexel spent a lot of time working on The Lumberjack V10 while I devoted most of my energies to a V8 on the lower boulder that we named Pflancake.

tick mark
The perfect tick mark, painstakingly created by the great artist formerly known as Flexel Jr.
Figuring out the beginning moves on Lumberjack V10
Strong climbers don’t need feet.
I was likin’ the lichen.
Drexel on an awesome yet awkward V7 arete (name?).

All in all, it was a rather stupendous day. Eric instructed me on proper injury-prevention taping (wrist, A2 & A4 of the injured finger) and my finger barely hurt as I climbed. Everyone seemed to have a great time climbing, and even Flan came out of her retirement to send a highball v5. We got to meet Sweeney, one of the original developers of the Buttes, and his fluffy puppy.

I can’t begin to imagine the ridiculous amount of time and effort that goes into developing an area: getting lucky enough to even finding boulders, creating a path, building landings, cleaning the rock, etc). I’m so accustomed to showing up at a bouldering area with a guidebook and just following instructions, so I have a lot of respect and gratitude to the folks who spend just as much time developing as they do climbing.

The downclimb was 10000 times faster, just picking up your feet and letting gravity take over. We retired with a delicious dinner and some Game of Thrones (of course), and then slept the magical sleep that only comes from a completely physically exhausting day.

fresh toast
The breakfast of champions that started off our awesome day.

Aside from climbing, Lake Tahoe has been quite amiable. I can’t believe how beautiful everything is. We’ve applied to jobs and found a place to stay for at least a month. I’m excited to see what else Tahoe has to offer (besides what we’ve already experienced thus far!):

Hidden Beach
Hiking down to the Hidden Beach, which probably isn’t so hidden if it’s been named…
clear blue water
The water in Lake Tahoe is crystal clear.
If you cannot tell, this water is very very cold.
Drexel and Eric make a very cute acroyoga couple.
another casino
Free drinks and free money. Thanks casino!
colorful rock
The rock here is so different than the sandstone in Joe’s Valley, or anywhere else we’ve climbed.
This wasn’t very soft…
The snow may have kept us from climbing, but it didn’t stop us from exploring.
picturesque view
A well-earned view from the top (click to enlarge).
salt fields
On the drive from Joe’s Valley to Tahoe, we were flanked by fields of salt.

2 thoughts on “Sierra Buttes”

  1. Love all the pictures. What a gorgeous place…..the rock is really unique. Drex, your haircut and shave look awesome…hardly recognized you! Love you both.


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