In the last few years I have done climbs in the NW that make me wonder why I travel far to find quality rock climbs. Yes it is fun to travel and visit these great places, but why go hundreds/thousands of mile when we have some of the best routes in the world right here?
Der Sportsman is one of those routes that I would put up against any other in terms of quality, setting, and pure excitement. Be drawn up this amazing route, and puzzled by the difficult sequences it requires. It is, for sure, one of the top 10 climbs in the Northwest. Sustained, strenuous, and tricky, it remains wonderful the whole way once you get 40 feet off the ground. Enjoy amazing Washington State.
Labor Day ’15 had all the trappings of an anguishing weekend. Bailing partners, and worsening weather forecasts sent me in a tizzy to find a new plan. The internet helped me to find a couple of good people and new plans were made last minute. A bright young man named Matt, from Marysville/Dartmouth, met up with me to crag at the very fun Ozone Crag in Leavenworth on Thursday, and we did Orbit on Friday. I had wanted to repeat this classic climb for some time, and it was a nice conditioner for what was to come…
I had a back up plan of climbing with friends at Tieton, but as I complained to the internet:” I want to climb bigger routes”, Laurel( my Alpine Mentors compatriot) asked me if I thought Der Sportsman was big enough? I was hooked immediately to the idea, but concerns about the weather and pushing the route in a day seemed like a lot to ask of my knee.
It was. We had to though because the weather hit hard on Sunday and pushed our schedule to do it all on Monday. 6 new inches of snow was still there in the high country when we came over Aasgard Pass on our way to Prussik Peak. The South face was just getting into the sun when we arrived, but it was seriously cold. With numb fingers. We did the first of many amazing sections. Laurel and I felt lucky to have Zac along. He just destroyed the first 2 pitches in freezing wind-chills, while we belayed in partial sun. Clouds sent us into our puffies at every belay too. Laurel did the middle 2 money pitches, and then I was the finisher, getting the very strenuous 5.11 flared hand crack. The glow from this route will not wear off any time soon. Neither will the pain from the long loop we finished going down the trail to Snow Creek parking, 21 hours, and 80,000 steps later.
Beta and Pictures follow:
click to enlarge images..