Devo's Climbs

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Rock Climb: Castle Rock complete

Kurt and I were planning on climbing some slab in Darrington, but today was the ONE day it rained and we went to Leavenworth instead. Originally we were thinking we'd hike up to Pearly Gates, but strange enough the parking lot at Castle was virtually empty. When Kurt mentioned he'd never climbed on Castle that clinched it - this was the perfect chance to bag the crag from parking lot to summit, both my prior attempts having been cut short by weather.

We climbed Lower Castle via The Fault (5.6 chimney) and Catapult (5.8 crack in a dihedral) - my third time on this combo. The Fault is straightforward. Catapult looks intimidating from below, but there's a bomber jug every time you need one and stemming on the dihedral helps keep the pump out of your arms. This climb was my best so far - relaxed and almost leisurely.

Castle Rock  7/30/06

After gaining Logger's Ledge we mosied on over to Canary. There was only one other group around and they were climbing Saber. Getting Canary to oneself is nigh impossible - couldn't figure out where everybody was this weekend but we weren't complaining.

I managed to climb the first pitch, including the strenuous 5.9 traverse/bellyflop onto Saber Ledge, without a fall or rest - a first for me. It was still nervy. Kurt did well too - took a short rest at the crux before joining me on the ledge. The exposed 5.7 step-across starting the second pitch is a hoot. Love it! I didn't remember the bolted face climbing following it being 5.8 though - tricksy rock it is. Although guidebooks recommend belaying on a ledge at the top of the 5.8 section, I've always gone all the way to the top from Saber Ledge. Works fine if you use a 60-meter rope and are careful about rope drag. Means you have to run it out on the easy stuff at the top - no worries. ;)



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