April 12, 2010

Teriyaki Now: Climbing in Leavenworth

"What do we want?  Teriyaki!  When do we want it?  Now!" we chanted shortly after we drove past the perpetually closed restaurant, Teriyaki Now, in Sultan, WA on our way to Leavenworth for a weekend of climbing.

Ava and I, along with the world's best third wheel, Evan, opted for a weekend of rock climbing to avoid escalating avalanche conditions once again.  Leavenworth is famous for having an eerie and very much out-of-place Bavarian style to the entire town.  I'll spare my readers visual images of the downtown.  Suffice it to say that attending Octoberfest there is now on my bucket list.

Ava on the upper stretches of The Fault, directly above Highway 2

The climbing around Leavenworth is much more spread out than I had anticipated, so it was great having Evan as our acting guide.  We spent Saturday climbing at Castle Rock in Tumwater Canyon.  I led a 3-pitch climb on Lower Castle Rock starting with The Fault (5.6) and finishing with Catapult (5.8) to gain Loggers Ledge, where a slew of climbs begin on Upper Castle Rock.  Evan then led Canary (5.8) and Angel (5.10b), both of which were 3 pitches on Upper Castle Rock.  The rock quality was incredible and everything we did was great fun!

Evan leading the first pitch of Canary

Ava at the amazing finger crack and crux of Angel

That night, as we poached a campsite at a closed campground, it started to snow.  There was only about a half inch on the ground when we got up, but I figured that would be enough to make the rock too wet to be suitable for climbing.  We went exploring on Sunday anyway, half-assed trying to find some other people we knew who were also associated with the UW Climbing Club.  In the process we found ourselves at Clamshell Cave and climbed an aesthetic and unknown single-pitch route (5.7ish) there, on which Ava got to practice leading on gear.

Me leading the unknown climb on Clamshell Cave

After this we backtracked to The Cube, which is a 20-foot high boulder near the base of Clamshell Cave with a beautiful 5.7 hand crack among other bouldering problems.  Evan did this first and made it look relatively easy.  I decided to give it a go next, and although 5.7 is not particularly difficult, the exposure at the top of the boulder combined with my novice crack climbing skills made the finish quite exciting.

Evan's local area knowledge then led us on a side-hill bushwhack for a half hour until we arrived at Givler's Dome.  The super classic climb on this dome is the two-pitch Givler's Crack (5.8) and was one I had randomly picked out of the guidebook as a "must do" based on it's description.  Evan had climbed this crack once before but never led it.  I was happy to give him the lead this time as I felt pretty worked over by all the climbing done thus far, and he was happy to have it.  Givler's Crack was as amazing as I had hoped and made for a great finish to a great weekend!

Givler's Crack

Evan leading the sweetest stretch of Givler's Crack

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