Skip to content

Northwest Profile # 60: Blue Tarp Camper. aka, prelude to a Leavenworth Trip Report.

Sara Lingafelter
Sara Lingafelter
2 min read

So, I’ve listened with half-interest to the Pemco radio ads revolving around Northwest Profiles… they’re funny, but never hit home until this weekend. KT, Kari, Don and I all headed for Leavenworth… we packed light, since we thought we may end up with five in my Volkswagen Jetta. We ran late the whole trip up… by the time we got to Leavenworth all of the campgrounds were full, so we had to “make do.” Long story short, we wound up in a beautiful spot by the river (familiar to most of my climbing partners) spread out on a tarp rather than pitching a full camp, so that we could make an early escape the next morning. Sometime during the middle of the night, I woke up to drizzle. We spread Victoria’s abandoned blue tarp (still in my roof box from the Tuolumne trip) over us and snuggled in… not noticing that the blue tarp was moldy and disintegrating until the rain actually started to drip through the tarp. KT and Don were on the ends, and apparently Kari and I spent the night pulling the disintegrating blue tarp over the climbing partner on either side of us, exposing the other fully to the elements. KT, on occasion, decided that Don was dry enough and pulled the tarp back to her side. I guess, nobody really slept except for me… I apparently have become a more hardy sleeper than I used to be. None of us was willing to get up to pitch KT’s two-person tent (thrown in as an afterthought) or my bivy… getting soaked just seemed a more appropriate way to go than actually getting up. Luckily, temps were plenty warm (muggy, actually) so survival wasn’t an issue… sleep deprivation was more the concern because of the occasional deluge that flowed down from a tarp shift, or, through a hole in the blue tarp during an especially strong period of rain.

We got up in the morning to break “camp” and head for climbing… and noticed… we were all covered (COVERED) in teeny, tiny bits of blue tarp. We looked like the victors in a smurf massacre. I am still (three days later) picking blue tarp out of my hair, ears and belly button.

Pemco, you hit the nail on the head with Northwest Profile #60. We joined the club of Blue Tarp Campers, this weekend at Leavenworth.

The upside… four climbers, no campsite, soaked bags, pillows and bodies, covered in bits of smurf massacre, operating on little to no sleep… and not a single complaint or gripe from anyone. I knew we’d put together a good climbing party, looking around at my blue-speckled friends on Saturday morning.

More details on the climbing later, when I hopefully have some photos to share from Kari and KT’s cameras… we had a great weekend. Climbed Saturday near Fourth of July Rock, then to Roto Wall for some gear placement practice. Sunday we started late for Pearly Gates, which was fantastic (I can’t believe I hadn’t climbed there before). My vocal cords are a bit tired from all of the girl talk (poor Don, good sport) and my knees a bit tired from the Pearly Gates approach… but overall, we made a great climbing team and had a lot of fun. Stay tuned for more…

Sara Lingafelter

Sara (Grace) Lingafelter takes steps forward and backward toward a right-sized life on a daily basis.