Index 4-16: Big weekend, and close call

4-15-16: Little Fire, and partner takes a huge fall on Law and Order, walks away with sprained wrist.

4-16-16: Solitude, and And Say.

Getting my first 2 day weekend in months had me amped to go big at Index. I had Paul lined up for plan of doing a wild route called Little Fire on Duck Wall. A fairly new route, the first ascentsionist  pulled the 5 hangers from the crux pitch bolts last season. There are thin gear placements to be had, but it makes for a bold, testy route that only a few elite climbers could onsite. I can understand why the fa team made the decision to do that, but it will keep me from repeating it unless it is restored. It was a very fun route to climb except for a couple of dirty pitches. The p2 hand crack is stellar, and the crux is just wild. I really hope to get a good shot at freeing it, but took aid for safety when we did the climb today.

After the spanking we received on that, I thought we should bring down the ambitions, and I suggested that we do Law and Order. Paul was hot to try it for his first 5.10 lead of the season. He did great getting through the crux thin crack, but came off while trying to clip a bomber .4 camalot. As the belayer, I instinctively reeled in an arm length of rope, locked off hard, and waited to see if his gear was going to hold. When I heard the first(of 2) C3 pop, I jumped off the dirt ledge and careened towards Private Idaho cliff top below. I fell 6 feet when the bolt finally caught him, his force pulled me halfway back up. He ended up taking a 40-50 foot fall and came down head first inches from a ledge.  We both had some bumps and scrapes. We called it a day, grateful that worse things hadn’t happened. When I retrieved the gear I noticed it was damp and dirtier than when I did it 2 weeks earlier. I had never used the jump-down belay save that I did. I know it puts extra shock on the system, but I knew the bolts would hold. I also knew he was 20+ feet above them. I think it was a good move at the time.

 

Well, I was not expecting to climb Sunday, but Jeremy was trolling, and I couldn’t resist another sunny day out. We started by repeating Solitude. It was as good as I remember, but dirty from the early season too. I got to lead the only pitch I had not yet led: the last pitch=such a money machine- and a bit edgy too. Jeremy had a bone to pick with And Say an “under construction” route that currently has 3 pitches. 2 of which are very good. The crux is so rad yet doable for the grade. Quite a weekend. I just checked in with Paul, he is doing great with a sprained wrist being the worst of it, phew. Live and learn.

Little Fire p2

Little Fire p2

Little Fire crux p4

Little Fire crux p4

Law and Order from about where partner fell.

Law and Order from about where partner fell.

Jeremy on p2, Solitude

Jeremy on p2, Solitude

Solitude p4

Solitude p4

And Say crux p2

And Say crux p2

 

4-4-16 index 6 p to 10d w sean

Running journal entry:   4-4-16 index 6 p to 10d w sean

Those words would ordinarily just blend in with my running climbing journal. But not this time. Due to my job schedule, I had not rock climbed for the past 4+ months. If you view my running journal, I wouldn’t expect any sympathy, however. I had lots of time to think about what my ideal first day at the crags would be. The best trip to Index would always include: Accommodating my partners ideas, doing a pitch or 2 that I have never done before, and repeating some of my favorites. Also not climbing for so long led me to be a little out of shape. So I would have to moderate the burning desire once I returned. The plan we came up with involved six amazing pitches on 3 crags:

Princely- Dr. Sniff– Beak, Beak- link up on LTW. Felt great for my first lead of the season being Dr. Sniff! It was so tough to leave the pull of the LTW. ” We must stay true to The Plan!”

Law and Order on Lookout Point. Great, long pitch that raps to 2 more classics: Baby Tapir, Strange Boar, for some shameless top roping!

The Snake. One of the most fantastic leads on Rattletale Wall. Small gear and dicey moves go on, on, and on .

It was Sean’s first time to Index. He did so well, I had to ask him if Index seems easy for him. He said it was not. Now its back to work 6 days a week again until September. Cant wait for my next mini vacation to Index for another day of magic!

Act of a Strange Boar

Act of a Strange Boar

 

Squamish 15.3

I am very excited to have gone to Squamish 3 different times this year!! What a great venue for long routes with low commitment. I can see why so many people are flocking there to climb and live. I hope the town and area handle the growing pains ahead.

I just finished 3 weeks off from work and was frustrated by the weather and lack of partners. I was able to get a great trip to Leavenworth, and finally a great trip with Lane to Squamish right at the end of it.

At the top of the list was Life on Earth on the SW Face of Mt Habrich. We took the Sea-to-Sky Tram which takes you just over half way up the mountain. A few easy miles, then long steep up-hill trail, leads to the split heading to the right in the trail, then the base of the route. Look for a red rope heading up to the base of the climb. The first pitch is very fun with cracks and face moves. The rest of the route has an occasional hard face moves with decent rock the whole way. We were surprised to see many parties up there even on a Friday, but we never were slowed down. We teamed up with the party behind us to double up our collective ropes and rappel the route. Much better option than going down the other way in rock shoes. Thanks to Gary and Elise for the option. Great day in the mountains.

Next up on Saturday was the big prize: Milk Road and its legendary 4th pitch endurance corner. It was wet at the start of the route, but still fun going up the 2nd pitch with its arch and face moves.. but before we knew it, I was headed up one of the best pitches in Squamish determined to on-site it. It got to where it seemed silly to do it in the best style because I got very tired, and the lead took a long time. I should have just hung on a piece of gear, but I was not giving in, and got to the top under what was left of my own power.. The rest of the route was pretty forgettable except for the super crazy 8th pitch. What a wild ride it is, with delicate foot mantles and insane exposure. Once again I was determined to get it clean, and thanks to a great climbing season, I did!!

We topped the long weekend off with Bulletheads East, a 4 pitch romp that has great fingers and hands the whole way up on good rock. I am very grateful to have had such good weather and climb 3 long routes as I am headed back to a work project that will last 12 months with no more breaks. (regular) Life goes on.

Habrich Beta Mt. Project.  cc.com report

Milk Road beta

Bulletheads East mt proj

click images to enlarge…

 

Der Sportsman, Prussik Peak

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:

Sols amazing 2nd ascent report

Mt Project page

Jens’ early trips

Ultimate link-up Alpinist

Audrey Sniezek 

click to enlarge images..

Labor Pains, NEWSpire

So lets just say that your to-do list at Washington Pass is getting low. (It could happen!) I have a great, unheralded climb for you! The Labor Pains route on NEWS is an engaging, fun, and spicy outing for sure. I just kept imagining the FA party squeaking their way up this discontinuous line. Not quite the spook-fest that the guide book suggests, it does take tiny cams and stoppers quite well. It doesn’t have an “enduro” section, or big run-outs either. It does have tricky moves that require a bit of “go-for-it”. I absolutely loved the quality of climbing, position, and atmosphere of the 3 tough pitches of the route. Adventure calls! Add it to your dwindling list of outstanding climbs there.

 

I started a Mt. Proj Page 

We enjoyed the new Matrix Crag in Mazama too. Beta at http://www.goatsbeardmountainsupplies.com/ or at their gear shop in Mazama.

Squamish ’15

I wasn’t even thinking about going climbing last weekend with the hot temperatures here in the NW. It was a tough week at work in 90+ degree temps every day. Doug called me though looking for a partner. I do enjoy climbing with him as he is willing to swap leads and always has fun projects in mind. First up was to get up to shady higher altitude climbing at Fluffy Kitten Wall, near Mt. Habrich. After going up the sensitive watershed road for a few miles(FWD, and clearance), it is only about 45 minutes to the base. The wall goes into the shade around 10 am, which is when we started up the 6 pitch 5.11a gem of a route. The pitches were not strenuous or stressful, just long and enjoyable. Lots of foot jamming, you dont need 4 of any cam either.

Jesse’s Blog trip report

Fluffy Kitten Wall from RC

Double TR on CC

Next up was Sunset Strip, a newer link up in the Western Dihedrals -that also stays shady for the first half of the day-. It is a 12 pitch classic that I hear can get quite crowded, but not for us. we started at 630 am and it took a long time still to get through all the tough pitches. What a package that climb is all the way to the end! I ran out of gas on the last crux.

One of my favorite weekends ever! Thanks Doug for rolling out for this great trip!

Mt Proj. beta

Squam. source

 

 

 

Index top 50. (5.10+ to 5.11-)

My top 50 routes at Index for the 10+ to 11- climber, by Wayne Wallace

Need a new ticklist? Compiled in order of the Sky Valley rock guide, going from left to right. I will be mixing things up as I work on a trilogy of the 3 levels of difficulty I want to do.

Racer X 10b, 3p

First Offense 10c

Even Steven 5.11b

Troubled Water 11a

Dr. Sniff, and Tunaboaters 10d, 1+p

Saggitarius 10b

1st pitch of Batskins 11a

KVB 10c+, pg 13 1+p

Sloe Children 10d, 1+p

Godzilla and Leaping Lizards 10c, 1+p

NAD p2,3, 10d, 2+p

Thin Fingers 11a

Tatoosh 10b

Apologies to Walter B. 11b

Zoom 10c

Leave My Face Alone 11a, 1+p

Hairway to Stephan 11a-A0 1+p

Tunnel Vision to Angora Grotto 11a, 2p

Cunning Stunt 10d

GM-HOC 10c, 2p

Phone Calls Dead, 11a 1+p

Folsom Blues 10b

Rattletale 10b 3p

The Snake 1+p 10b/c pg 13

Sideshow 10d

Heavens Gate 11a, 4p

Wildest Dreams 11-/A0 4p

Davis/Holland-Loving Arms 11b, 4p

The Zipper 10c

Centerfold 11a-A0 4p

Solitude 11b-C1, 4p

Strange Boar-Black Rock 11a, 3p

Baby Tapir 11a

Law and Order 10c, 2p

Steel Pulse 10+, 3p

Spineless 11a

Sweets for Manuel 10b

 

Routes that I have not yet done.

Marginal Karma 11b, 1+p

Death to Zeke 11b, 1+p

Wipe 11a, 1+p

D is for Dictory 11b, 1+p

Accidental Discharge 11a

Beat Box p1

Amphibian 10d

Up’er Zipper 11b, 1+p

Danas Arch 11a

Pressure Drop 11a

 

Unknown/ no feed back List

Free Range Chook 10b

Bravo Jean Marc 11a

It Just isn’t done 11a

Apes and Ballerinas 10b

 

The door to Index swings wide open at this level of difficulty. Some of my favorite pitches I have ever done are on this list. My friend Alex suggested that I call this list the new “ 50 Classic Climbs of North America”. There could easily be another list this awesome at the next level of difficulty (11+,12-) . One of the things I like about the area is that it pushes me to do harder and harder climbs. So lucky to have this crag close by. This list is a work-in-progress and I welcome your feedback.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best climbing areas close to Seattle.

  1. Index.
  2. Squamish.
  3. Washington Pass.
  4. Exit 38 (the Shangri-la Crag).
  5. Tieton.
  6. Leavenworth

  1. I have always been driven to pursue climbs of quality. Recently the inspiration in the resource for this has been the climbing I have enjoyed at Index, but like all resources it is a limited resource. It may take me several more years to complete the list of routes I want to do at index. In the meantime I have enjoyed other areas such as Washington Pass, Squamish and yes, exit 38. The Shangri-La area reminds me a lot of the type of routes that you would find at Index, but with out the pains of Highway 2 that you would find this time of year. My friend Rad took me out there again, this time during our recent heat wave. We left at 5 am to get as many pitches in as possible before it got too hot. The climbs he showed me were just terrific. Very much like Index type climbing, completely fun as well. There is a possibility that the climbs will go back to nature unless they catch on with the community. Please consider going out there and checking it out for yourself. Its so close to Seattle and traffic is so much easier than going to any other area!

Shanrgi-la Mt Project beta:

Squamish is another area that I try to get to as often as I can. I spent 3 days there with my friend Pat and the Mountaineers Adventure Club. The MAC is youth driven affiliate of the Mountaineers. I enjoyed leading 2 groups up 2 great multi- pitch routes. Skywalker is a classic 5p route next to Shannon Falls. It was fun to top out on that and see the pools at the top of the falls. The bouts with rain came in time for us to finish and get back to the hot tub at the rec center. Next up was getting up an 8p outing up the left side of the Apron on a climb started by Calculus Crack.. It was another stunning crack route that we had to ourselves due to occasional showers. Its turning out to be a great summer in spite of working more than full-time at the job. Now for some pictures!!

Southern Man, SEWS

I find that if I spend ALL day Saturday in bed, resting, I can do something amazing on Sunday. I know everybody thinks their respective job is tough. As a Union Carpenter- Local #30, I am no exception. We are hustling through a mega- project in Bellevue. $1.5 billion will buy you 2 million square feet, and with today’s engineering, it will not come easy.

Not having to work last Saturday, I rested, then headed up to Washington Pass once again for its amazing, and long climbs. Having checked off Supercave, the next on the list was an obscure yet very wild route up the sunny side of South Early Winter Spire with Steph. Named Southern Man in by 2 acquaintance’s of mine on their ’08 FA of the climb, It was later cleaned, and freed by a later party. I was amped to try to free the 5. 11d/12a route, but my physical-state demanded that I take an etrier, and a fifi hook or “old man gear” as I call it. To my utter satisfaction, I freed all but 10 feet of the route, and what a great route it is. It is steep, and exposed for several hundred feet with jagged, sharp thin crack climbing the whole way. Whoever thinks the feet are bad needs to climb at Index more. The feet and locks are good, just a few are reachy. We did combine a couple of pitches, since the belays are not fixed yet and all. The guide book raves about the quality of it, but really it is a knotch below a Passenger or Supercave type outing. It is still a very rewarding and exiting climb.

Steph’s amazing report

Supertopo

Original TR

Blake

Ian

 

Click images to enlarge.

 

Supercave! Ellen Pea Route, M+M Wall

In my typical bungling-along style, Jon and I eventually succeeded in climbing most(6p) of the amazing Supercave/ Ellen Pea route, Located on an obscure 1000 ft. wall near Washington Pass, there is a growing chorus of climbers that say it is the finest climb in the state. Yes, the whole climbing package is astounding, but how often do we get to try a tough climb that has an enormous cave in the middle of it?

Beta page, squamish climbs

Beta page, Blake

Ellen Pea, and Tiger route, Blake

Mt Project 

sc9

1st  attempt was last year with Paul. after mistakenly going way past the start of the route up the approach gully, we bailed disgusted with how involved and somewhat dangerous the approach appeared. 2nd attempt was done early in the snow year to try to avoid the bad slabs by walking atop the snowpack instead. The only problem with that notion was that Jon and I found the upper part of the route to be very wet- april 19th , lesson learned.

Attempt# 3 just happened June 7 of 2015, and it was just dry enough to climb it. We knew heat was going to be an issue on the South-facing wall so we left the car at 4am! We swapped the lead order and that left me leading the money pitch (p2) which is quite a pitch.   The pitches(2-5) are strenuous and make tough onsights.  Pitch 3: The Arch is amazing, P4 the crux was 1 of 2 pitches that we couldn’t get clean. The cave of course is just crazy, as is the pitch to get out of it! I’m pretty sure a pterodactyl used to live in that cave.  Bring long runners, patience, and fitness, Know that there are stances between tough moves and fair grades. Have a blast on Supercave, it lives up to the hype!

click image to enlarge.