Back on the Horse | Climbing Billy's Pillar

Billy's Pillar
After 11 days of sitting around and doing a lot of nothing - except watch TV, read books, and take vicodin and flexeril - and I was ready to crush.  Yeah, right.  My back is still complaining as I write this, but I managed to convince myself a week ago that I needed to go climb something.  Jed and Chris were cool enough to let me be the third for an adventure climb on Billy's Pillar.

If you were to drive to South Lake outside of Bishop, a triangle-shaped orange wall rises up from above the dam, split by a series of cracks.  If you're a climber, you'll immediately wonder who's climbed it already.  Its that obvious.  But you'll also notice that there isn't a trail leading up from the lake to the base 600 feet above.  So nobody goes up there that often - why should you?

Sometimes its just cool to go out and look for the obscurities, and this wall is certainly one of them.  Mentioned only in a 1980's climbing guide, Billy's Pillar climbs up the right side of the wall and was described as the best route on the wall.  An hour of hiking lead us to the base.  What the 25 year-old topo said was 4 pitches was accomplished in 3, but on top of the 5th class we discovered another 400+ feet of 4th class scrambling across a sharp ridge before we could start looking for a descent.  It didn't take long - the gully we had spied on the way in was easy to reach.

Jed and Chris on the ridge summit.
Summary | Billy's Pillar (II 5.8, 3 pitches) on the South Lake Wall, 20 July 2010, with Jed Porter and Chris Werner.  Thanks for letting me follow!