After having such a great time on the Incredible Hulk, Nic, Steph and I were ready for more quality granite in the High Sierra. The North Buttress of Merriam has been on my 'must-do' list for a while, and I easily convinced the others that it would be a perfect final alpine outing for Steph before she drove back to Seattle. It was just easy and short enough (III, 5.10b) for us to climb it as a team of 3. However, it is a ways in (about 9 miles, one way) and in a beautiful location, so we decided to break up the climb, with an easy approach day and camp by the Royce Lakes (where I tagged Spire Peak), and then doing the climb and hike out the following day. This would also make the outing easier on my knee, Steph's ankle, and Nic's lungs (he is at a disadvantage compared to us in terms of cardio & altitude effects).The climb wasn't as hard as expected (we all thought it felt like 5.9), but the rock was as great as rumored. This is definitely one of the best rock climbs in the High Sierra!