The Week in Rock

I spent more of last week in Leavenworth, Washington, than at home in West Seattle.  Its been a fun week ducking the weather, enjoying the rock, and re-acquainting myself with a lifetime of climbing in the Enchantments, Icicle Canyon, and Tumwater Canyon.

First I met John on 24 May.  John was looking for an intensive gear placement, anchor building, and rescue skills clinic from the Northwest Mountain School.  So we went to the Mountaineer Buttress and stayed on the ground, going through what works, what doesn't, and why, until he cried uncle.  To reward ourselves, we did a quick "alpine" ascent of the second pitch of the Buttress (you can traverse into it easily), intentionally leaving our rock shoes and belay devices in our packs.

On the second day John needed to leave town at noon, and the weather forecast called for rain after 11am.  So we met an hour early and rushed into the Icicle to get a jump on R&D.  This is a classic 5.6 that I climb a little bit differently - I start lower on the buttress to add a pitch, split the second pitch into two to make communication easier, and climb the direct finish crack on Pitch 4 (my Pitch 6) that kicks the difficulty up a grade.  In 2:30 we made the short approach, 210m+, and hiked off the top and back down to the truck.  We were having a celebratory beer when the skies opened up at 11:30am.

John topping out on R & D.  My variations make this a
classic 7-pitch 5.7.

Statistics:  24-25 May.  Mountaineers Buttress Pitch 2, 5.3, 40m.  R&D with variations, 5.7, 7 pitches / 210 m, 2:30 car-to-car.