Monday, September 1, 2008

Snow Creek Wall - Outer Space - 08.30.08

After alpine plans fell through due to weather conditions Ian asked if I wanted to climb the Washington State classic Outer Space with him. I agreed. We left Seattle at 7am on Saturday and headed toward Leavenworth. We started hiking to the route from the Snow Creek parking lot around 9:30am. On our way up, we saw only one party on the route, but as we got closer, we noticed more parties arriving at the base. This should have been our indication to climb Orbit instead, but we stuck with the original plan.

Since the standard start was open and a party was just starting the remorse start, we opted for the standard start. Ian wanted to lead a 'warm-up' pitch before setting off on the crux 3rd pitch. He led the low 5.6 first pitch and then I led the 5.0 second pitch. We arrived at 2-tree ledge with two parties ahead of us and a third on the pitch. It was just after noon, so we sat down to have lunch. We chatted with Jen and BJ who I had met previously through Jennifer. After well over an hour, it was finally our turn. Ian led right up and past the crux to the next belay. I followed. The third pitch is the crux with some strenuous lie back moves at the start (5.6), and a strenuous 5.9 traverse with some exposure to finish. When I arrived at the next belay, Ian took off on the 4th pitch. This pitch did not offer too much protection, which made me glad to follow. It was face climbing on knobs up to a wonderful corner that got us on top of a pedestal. Now only a over 300' crack lay between us and the top.

There were some interesting moves from the pedestal to gain the crack and some monster holds. From that point it was feet on knobs and hands in crack. Delightful climbing. There were a few stretches over the last two pitches where the knobs ran out and you had to put your feet in the crack, or smear on the face. These sequences also seemed to be the steepest of the crack, but it may have just felt that way because they were more strenuous. Also, at the beginning of the 6th pitch, there was about 15' of 5.9 finger crack which was more difficult than the hand crack. Ian topped out of the crack (after two pitches) and I led out from there on low 5th/4th class terrain to a tree, greeted by goats. Then we had to hustle down the sandy nasty gully to get back to our packs before we were benighted.

Night came after we got our packs and scrambled toward the trail. The hike out was uneventful, and we were able to get food at South in Leavenworth.

Pictures are located here.

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