Tenaya Peak
(Northwest Buttress)

22 Jun 2002 - by Roy Lambertson

The day before we did Matterhorn Peak, Steve Cochran and I climbed Tenaya Peak as a warm-up. I don't get out as much as I once did, so this was a good way for me to get my head together for climbing.

Reid and Falkenstein, as well as the advertising at TopoZone, describe this climb as the "Northwest Buttress," but I think Northeast Buttress is a more accurate description.

The climb starts at the East end of Tenaya Lake, going straight up the buttress to the right of the big cirque on the North side of the peak.

There are already some excellent descriptions of this climb at climber.org, so I can't contribute much additional here. Except perhaps some dramatic license.

Darkness was falling on the small tent, high in the Kashmiri frontier not far from the Line of Control. The muffled explosions of distant mortar fire could be heard. On a small carpet lay a tall, bearded man of around fifty. His turbaned head was supported by a small embroidered pillow, and a makeshift, battery-powered dialysis machine hummed nearby. Another robed man also in the tent spoke softly into a sattelite phone. Then he put down the phone and knelt next to the sick man. "Your excellency," he said, "Doctor Zahiri tells me that the device has been prepared. It is time."

Steve and I walked from the Tenaya Lake parking lot across the meadow. "What time is it?" he asked.

"Where, here or in Kashmir?" I replied, slapping a mosquito. It was about 8:15 a.m. PDT.

We walked unroped as far as was safe, going left to get around some wet slabs. At an elevation near the floor of the big cirque (but on the face to the right of it) we roped up and simulclimbed, the leader placing protection and the follower retrieving it. There are multiple possible routes on the face.

Near the top we belayed each other for three pitches or so. The hardest move was about 5.7, on a dihedral near the top, but this section could have been avoided by skirting left around it. We topped out on the ridge about 200 feet east of the summit (10,300') at half past noon.

We had a leisurely lunch at the summit. Then we made an easy descent down the back side, down the Mildred Lake drainage, hitting the Sunrise trail near the West end of the lake. This route, and the walk back around the lake, took a while; we got back to the car at 3:15 p.m. Overall, it was a fun, moderate climb with great views.

Jim Curl adds:

> Reid and Falkenstein, as well as the advertising at TopoZone, describe this
> climb as the "Northwest Buttress," but I think Northeast Buttress is a more
> accurate description.

Nah, take a look at the map. The road runs northeast past Tenaya. The buttress is actually facing NNW, but calling it the "North-Northwest Buttress" probably wouldn't catch on.


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