Sunday, September 20, 2009

A week at Washington Pass

Sorry for no updates in a while, I have been busy traveling and climbing. After leaving Squamish I met Will at Washington Pass for a week of Alpine Climbing. It rained all weekend and when we arrived on Labor Day Monday it continued to rain. The rain stopped Monday night and the temperatures dropped. We opted for a late start on Tuesday with our abjective being the West Face of North Early Winter Spire (5 pitches 11A). We wanted to give the rock time to dry and we wanted to be in the sun on the route, so we did not start climbing til noon. The route went fast and it was not too cold in the sun as long as you did not have to hang at the belay too long. With the cold temps our climbing rubber did not stick as well as normal and I struggled a bit leading the 11A crux pitch which is really thin fingers for about 25 feet. We had the summit all to ourselves as I think we were the only ones climbing up at the pass that day. Wednesday brought more rain.........and more rain. Thursday we attempted Rebel Yell on Chianiti Spire after the long approach wich gains 4000' "efficiently" as in steep we were shut down on the glacier approach to the base. The glacier was coated in a thick layer of water ice that my crampons would not penetrate. All the rain and freezing temps made for conditions we could not safely climb without ice axes. Bummer we hiked a long ways for nothing and had a painful steep decent for extra measure. Friday we climbed the East Face of Lexington Tower (8 pitches 5.9), which was a great route with long pitches, good rock, and some memorable pitches. We had the route to ourselves and enjoyed a quick decent down the west side. On Saturday we climbed the Direct East Buttress on South Early Winter Spire (9pitches 5.10Ao). The route had some good pitches but also lots of rotton rock that detracted from the route. I felt like the East Face of Lexington was a better route. However this route is great way to the top of SEWS and we had perfect weather. Sunday was a travel day to Leavenworth ending a good week of Alpine Rock climbing.

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