Yes, folks – we’re back from yet another heavenly climbing trip. Leavenworth has officially become my favorite place to climb in Washington. That is Shawn on something hard at Alphabet Wall, in Icicle Canyon. Just out of frame are Chris and I watching in awe.
It’s late, and we have lots of ticks to wash out of our clothing and sleeping bags (none of them have sunk in, so far, though! How lucky!) so I’ll have to keep this one brief. We spent Friday just the two of us at Bruce’s Boulder, playing on topropes and discovering that I can be rather stubborn on toprope. Who knew? Saturday we were lucky enough to have the perfect company of Shawn and Ken at Trundle Dome, home of the world’s most frustrating (and perfect) 5.9s. I do not believe I have ever taken so many falls in one day… but it was a fantastic learning experience, and really fun to get to get on stuff that we’re close to being able to lead but don’t have the guts to just yet (thank you, Shawn!). Plus, the place is just lovely and scenic, and we had it all to ourselves all day, which was a huge bonus. That afternoon we went to Alphabet Wall where Shawn lead, and Chris (and Ken, right?) toproped the hardest 5.8 in the world (then again, I was so tired by the time I got on it my eyes watered so I didn’t have the stubborn for that particular one that particular day). Once Chris and I were too tired to do anything other than take pictures, Shawn got on the one pictured above.
Sunday took us to Roto Wall for a gear practice fest… I lead my first trad climb (a super fun little 5.5), as did many in our party, and others did their first outdoor leads and/or first crack climbing there. It was a perfect starter/practice wall, and was a nice way to spend the morning. Unfortunately, most of the day I was in a sportsbra (I forgot my tank top at the campsite) so pictures from that day will all have to be burned. Or at least deleted. Pretty please. I swear, I don’t have that gut in real life, it just magically appears in pictures. Tell me I’m right about that, Kari, please.
That afternoon we went out to Clamshell Cave for toproping an ok 5.6 and a SUPER fun 5.8 on the right hand side of the wall. Since I don’t have a guidebook I can’t provide more detailed beta – but this was an area we’ll definitely go back to.
This morning took Kari, Chris and I on our second attempt to try to find climbs on Domestic Dome… we had an unsuccessful attempt a few weeks ago, and a nearly equally unsuccessful attempt this time. But, as chance has it, Domestic Dome is just a few steps from Roto Wall, so we abandoned our Domestic routefinding attempts and went back to familiar ground at Roto wall. I lead, Chris lead, and Kari mock-lead a fantastic 5.6 on gear, and we each got gear placement feedback (except Chris, who checked his on his rappel to clean) which was really encouraging. I felt solid at the grade, and confident with my choices in gear placements, so now I’m super excited to try some longer easy trad routes. The climbing at Leavenworth is hard, but incredibly fun, so we’ll definitely be back soon.
Unfortunately, the camping at Leavenworth is, like most climbing areas, hygenically challenged. We came back filthy and thankfully not tick-infested, and after attending to a few necessities around the house ran for the nearest shower. I can’t wash my own hair right when we get back from trips because my cuticles are shredded and they catch on my hair, which makes the shredded cuticles even worse… so Chris kindly helped me. Once my hair was wet, and he started scrubbing in the shampoo, he let loose with,
“You smell like a dirty dog!”
Now, that may offend some women, but I found it hysterical. He went on,
“You know, when you get ’em wet, and they smell like a wet dirty dog, and then you put the shampoo on, and then they smell like a wet dirty dog and soap?”
Yup, I know. And that’s me. I smell like a wet dirty dog and soap. I’m also bruised quite well and rather battered, a little bit sun-kissed and pretty much sore all over. These things are all sure signs of a perfect long weekend.
P.S. No, I didn’t get any good climbing pictures of Chris. Why? Because I’m typically belaying him when he climbs, and for some reason he doesn’t want me taking pictures and belaying at the same time. If any of our travel companions managed to snap some pictures of Chris climbing, can you please let us know? Thank you…
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