Devo's Climbs

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Rock Climb: Bathtub Dome

With another warm and dry weekend forecasted, I went climbing in Leavenworth again - this time with Dallas Jacobs and Jason Gunderson. After a stiff approach gaining some 1,100 feet, we arrived at the base of Bathub Dome: a distinctive, bullet-shaped granite promontory comprised of 3 tiers.

We began the day climbing New Fixtures (5.7) on the lowest tier of Bathtub. Jason led the first pitch: a funky start gaining a nice hand crack to a large ledge at the base of the middle tier. I led the second pitch, which involved ascending a wide crack (a #4 Camalot would have been handy!) to the top of a pillar, transitioning to a 2" hand crack to the finish. The combination of excellent holds, dynamic moves and good protection made this pitch very enjoyable. There is a bolted anchor at the top, but if you plan to continue to the upper tier of Bathtub, it is better to skip the anchor and scramble the remaining twenty feet to a large ledge at the base of the 3rd tier for a belay.

JASON AND DEVIN RACK GEAR ON NEW FIXTURES (5.7)


DEVIN LEADING SECOND PITCH OF NEW FIXTURES


From here, Jason led The Drain, (5.9) to the top of Bathtub Dome. A stellar and challenging route, the start of The Drain is sketchy and placing protection is a challenge. (I'd never seen Jason make so many placements before!) A single bolt protects the crux face move, but it's at least 30 feet off the deck. Jason managed to get several nuts placed in a small crack about 15 feet up (small CU's would work too), and sunk a cam under a hollow-sounding flake before finally clipping the bolt. Passing the crux, the route climbs over a series of overlapping horizontal folds and pockets (perfect for TCU's or tri-cam's) and then jams a bomber 5.7 hand crack to the finish. Jason topped out just as the sun set behind the southern ridge of Icicle Canyon. The wind had picked up, and with the weather cooling, I followed quickly to minimize a chilly belay for Jason.

JASON LEADING THE DRAIN (5.9)


DEVIN BELAYING JASON, THE DRAIN


JASON ROUTE FINDING, THE DRAIN


DEVIN FOLLOWS, THE DRAIN


The Drain is a full 150 feet in length, so two ropes are necessary to rappel. A rappel station is located to the right of the bolted anchors at the top of the climb. After rapping The Drain, an easy walk-off took us back to our packs at the base of New Fixtures.

We made the car before dark and headed into town for groceries, Dallas and Jason having both planned to camp overnight. With grub and refreshments purchased, an eventful search in the dark for a snow-free campsite ensued. We eventually settled on Bridge Creek campground, lot #3. After setting up camp, Jason fixed a tasty Asian-inspired meal over the campfire. Nothing like finishing up an excellent day of climbing with good food, a couple beers and friendly conversation over a fire! I bid farewell to my compadres around 11 p.m. and departed for home. Along the way I got an attack of the sleepies and took a car nap in Skykomish for about an hour, eventually arriving in Everett at 2:30 a.m. Needless to say, my bed felt wonderful!

All photos by Dallas Jacobs

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