March in Leavenworth has been a great month!
|My wife Allison crushing at the Tieton River|
We've had some huge powder days and great backcountry skiing, yet the bouldering and cragging close to town has been idyllic. A few updates -
- Unless you want to ski or hike your way 3000+ feet up into the mountains for a pitch or two, all water-ice cragging is done. We had a pathetic ice season this year. I never heard of Drury Falls getting climbed, but there were a few days that it would have been in, and not very avy-threatened.
- The higher-up bouldering zones (Pretty Girl, Airfield) on the south-facing hillside of Icicle Canyon dry fast and are basically snow-free. Lower areas like The Fridge, and Barney's Rubble need a bit more time after a storm, but are still getting climbed.
- Castle Rock, Midnight Rock, and Rattlesnake Rock receive sun most of the day. There's a stellar pitch on the right side of upper castle called Hangdog. It's an old-school 5.11- with decent-enough gear and really excellent climbing. The full-value version starts at the lowest point on the wall, and begins through a V1 boulder cave to some techy 5.11+ stemming and crimping - We didn't lead this version, just TRed to maximize the time climbing. I also ticked off a short-term goal by sending No Such Thing as a Free Lunge on my first lead go. This 5.11+ all-gear route on the overhanging north face of Jello Tower is seldom climbed and one of the area's best pitches.
- Vantage is almost getting TOO hot to climb at, but is still a reliable place to bask in the sun. It's unfortunate that there isn't a little more steep rock on the south-facing walls, but ticking a ton of routes at the Powerhouse, M&M, and Jigsaw walls is a fun way to get pumped silly. Thanks to the Washington Climbers Coalition for the new outhouse, and thanks to the State of WA for seemingly never enforcing the posted signs calling for a mandatory parking pass.
- I made my first visit to Tieton, specifically the Royal Columns crag. We only saw one rattle snake, so I guess it is still early season there. The bolted arete "Morning After" was definitely my favorite route there, the cracks were all covered in horizontal face holds, and I like my crack pure.
- Comment on the BLM's Trout Creek Policy before March 30!! This is the NW's premiere crack-climbing area.
I just replaced my marmot-gnoshed CanonS90 with the newest iteration in their line of world's-lightest-RAW-Compatible models - the S100. This one takes much better video, has fancy trick modes to make me think I'm improving, and features a new lens and sensor. Look for more sandwich-related videos coming soon, now in HD for your drooling pleasure.
Now I'm off to Alaska for work, then on to Red Rock and Zion to do some climbing!