Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mt Erie - 01.26.09

Steve and I decided on doing some rock climbing at Mt. Erie on Monday. Skies were to be clear, and temps around 40° up in Anacortes. This was our choice after being somewhat tired from our Saturday climb, and not thinking the skiing was going to be all that great.

We had a leisurely start to the day, and left Edmonds around 8:30am. Our intention was to climb in the Snag Buttress area of the mountain, and check out some new (to us) routes in that area. Steve's main interest was in the route Touching the Sky, a 5.9 sport route accessed from Snag Buttress. That meant climbing the first pitch of Zig Zag (5.7) to get there. Once on the ledge, we determined that the down climb, and water seep on the route meant we did not want to do it. Instead we opted to climb up the ledge slightly above the top of Snag Buttress where there were multiple routes to chose from. We opted for the Ray Auld Memorial Route (5.7) which brought us up to the top of wall.

We hiked around a bit trying to make sense of the maps and crags. We stumbled upon a short blocky sport route which I am thinking might be A View to a Climb (5.6) on the Lumpy Crag. Hard to tell. We climbed it, and just west of the top we were above the Friction Slab area. After that, we played the typical Mt. Erie find the best way down game. We looked through the book and followed some weak trails down. (Made more fun by walking on slippery grass with rock shoes.) A free-hanging rappel off a Madrone tree and some bramble bushwhacking got us back to the packs.

It was a fun day. However, I seemed not mentally up to the climbing and had difficulty at times with moves/grades that are well within my ability. Also of note, was the generally crummy rock quality and lack of good protection in some areas. Plenty of relic pitons and old bolts around too.

Coming up Zig Zag (photo by Steve Machuga)

Steve leading up Ray Auld

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