Devo's Climbs

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Rock Climb: Careno Crag & Castle Rock

On Saturday, July 9, David and I spent the day in Leavenworth again. In the morning we climbed the Regular Route (5.10a) at Careno Crags. The first pitch was the crux, and it whooped me something fierce! After several falls on gear I made the move, but I was weary and I couldn't control the resulting Elvis leg. I eventually resorted to a bit of aid to clip the final bolt and finish it. After that, the grade eased into 5.7 - 5.8 crack. The base of the fourth pitch looked sketchy, so we skipped it and I led Pocketmeister (5.10a) instead.

After lunch, we decided to go to Castle Rock and climb Canary (5.8). This was the first time either of us had done the route. Even though it is the second pitch that gets all the attention, I found the first pitch to be the most challenging. It started with some tricky and unprotected face climbing and moved into a dihedral with a plethora of bomber looking cracks to choose from. Then I discovered the cracks had a thick slime of chalk all over them and weren't quite as bomber as they looked. I managed to work myself up under the roof near Saber Ledge without too much problem. That's where things got tricky. Wanting to put a piece in, I looked for something I trusted to hold, but to no avail. As I tired and a fall appeared imminent, I quickly clipped a draw into a nest of ratty bail sling fixed under the roof. I rested and eventually placed a tri-cam in a small crack nearby. Then I traversed left onto Saber Ledge with nothing but tiny hands, smearing on the featureless wall with my feet. After a couple weary lunges, blindly groping for jugs, and a graceless belly flop, I was safe. Even the exposed step across at the start of the second pitch was nothing compared to that finish! The rest was pure enjoyment. A perfect climb to wind up a perfect day.

We bandit camped along the river that night and drove to Tall Timbers Sunday morning and rendezvoused with the Rock & Ice Caravan to spend ten days climbing at Smith Rock and Mt. Adams. Does it get any better than that?


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