Adam and I discussed an outing, but I had to be back in town in time for my class. So cragging was an obvious choice. I wanted to do something that involved placing gear and not just clipping bolts, so I convinced Adam to head to Leavenworth. Being that it is November we didn't get an early start, as it is usually a little too cold in the mornings to make climbing not fun. When we arrived in the Icicle, the temp was around 36° and clouds/fog were keeping us from direct sunlight.
Our plan was to hike up to Givler's Dome to climb Givler's Crack. This extra 45 minutes of hiking would give us more time for the day to warm up. Within ten minutes or so we were above the fog and receiving the warmth of the sun. We got off route a few times on the way up and had to scramble a bit to get back on track, but eventually made it to the base.
Since Adam was not up to leading the route, I would lead both pitches. And for whatever reason, the first pitch scares me. Perhaps because I flailed on it the first time I climbed the route. I've climbed it twice since then with no problems though. I placed a nut high and started up. I found the hands difficult as I had placed the piece where it interfered where I wanted to put them. I down climbed to the ground and restarted. After a few moves, I placed a second piece which then interfered with further hands. But I was able to move past it and continue. I finished the pitch feeling like it was the worst I had ever climbed it.
I brought Adam up and he had to hang on the rope to remove my stuck #4 from down low. He then climbed the second half of the pitch not using much crack technique for his hands. He arrived at the belay stating the first section wasn't as hard as I made it look.
We exchanged gear, and I was off leading the next pitch. I don't recall how I previously climbed it, but this time I wanted to try and keep my feet in the crack as much as possible. This proved a bit uncomfortable, but I persevered. Instead of going all the way to the top, I set up an intermediate belay once the angle eased, so I could see Adam climb. Unfortunately, the best spot for a comfortable belay did not offer a good view of the pitch, and I only got pics of him on the last portion of the pitch.
When Adam arrived at the belay, he kept going to the top finishing with the easy section to the boulder. We quickly hiked down to our packs. We took a lunch break and basked in the sun before heading to another destination, Rare Earth.
It was great to be out on such a beautiful November day. It was a bummer that we only climbed one route. And even though we pitched it out to three pitches, it really is only two. I think we'll have a better idea of how to find Rare Earth the next time as well. I think this trip satisfied my urge to get out and rock climb, and perhaps my next trip this year will be to climb snow or ice.
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