Devo's Climbs

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Rock Climb: Memorial Day Weekend in Leavenworth

Spent Saturday, Monday and Tuesday climbing in the Icicle and Tumwater Canyons with several friends. Saturday was spent with Mike M. at 8-Mile Buttress - see previous climbing post. I drove back to L-worth after work Sunday eve and camped with David & Ike Bonnell. We spent Mon morning on the Tree Route (5.6) at Lower 8-Mile. When we finished, Ike said it was one of his favorite climbs of all time. That afternoon we went to J-Y Crag and played around on a couple single pitch mixed routes: Janitors of Justice (5.8+) and Ragweed (5.9). The start on JJ was stiff - small crimps on smooth slab - I'd rate it more like 5.9-5.9+. The crack above was solid 5.8 with some wonderful exposure - very enjoyable. Ragweed also belied the grade - crystalline slab and sharp crimps - painful on the fingers and wearing on the shoes: I blew out both the toes on my Tradmasters. Protection was tricky and 4 of the 5 bolts were older button-heads. This lead was a test of my mettle, requiring an innordinate amount of concentration and chutzpah. Though I did work myself into a dead end at one point and needed to rest and reset, I was glad to finish without a fall.

Tuesday morning Paul G. met me and I led him up the Tree Route - my fourth time in 3 weeks. I've said I'd climb this route a hundred times - only 96 more to go. :) Then we went over to Castle and climbed Midway Direct (5.6). I found a better way to navigate the upper chimney on Jello Tower - I turned around with my back to the main face. That eliminated much of the "pucker factor" from my previous ascents. Then in one long pitch to the top I managed to stay on the direct route - in the past I always ended up going too far right and finishing on the original Midway route (5.5). The direct way - a test in route finding and gear placement - follows a series of discontinuous cracks and weaknesses to the summit with an abundance of good holds along with a good dollop of exposure, runout and traverses. One inevitably battles rope drag for the last 30 feet or so too. I guess you can do it in 3 pitches instead of 2, but I never have.

PAUL ON MIDWAY DIRECT, CASTLE ROCK
Paul climbing Midway Direct, Castle Rock

More pictures: Memorial Day weekend in Leavenworth photo set on Flickr

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