Jason Griffith

About Blake Herrington

Blake Herrington learned to climb while living in Bellingham. He has spent time living in Colorado and Stehekin, WA between expeditions to Alaska, BC, and Patagonia. He lives in Leavenworth, WA where he waits tables, writes articles, and climbs throughout the Cascades between trips to farther-flung spots. He counts himself among the best camp chefs he's had the opportunity to climb with.

What’s in the Ultimate Cascades Daypack?

  The Cascades offer an amazing array of options when it comes to different mountain sports. And Spring is the best time of year for multi-sport days. We may not have the fluffiest powder, fattest blue alpine ice, or cleanest white granite, but we have some of everything, so Spring is an amazing time to take advantage of the area’s diversity with single-day outings which combine several different activities on adjacent peaks. Whether you are looking to combine splitboarding with [...]

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Top Rope Solo: Where and How in the Pacific Northwest

Toprope soloing is the fastest and easiest way to maximize climbing with limited time at the crag. This week I will focus on standard setups and ideal locations for TR solo climbing, but for an introduction to the topic and why you should try it, please read the first article in this 2-part series. The individual hardware setup that you use and where you choose to use it are the two decisions which may seem confusing or daunting. However, there [...]

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Climb More. Improve More. TR Solo.

Stop going cragging. It’s an inefficient and overly-elaborate process if your primary goal when heading to the cliff is to improve as a climber. Choosing an area that suits both partners, then sorting and re-sorting gear, and dealing with the myriad changes in belayers, shoes, and climbing locations all take up huge amounts of time and energy, and produce nothing of value in terms of training. Traditional partnered cragging results in a lot of “down time” for everyone. And while [...]

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Cold Weather Crags in Washington, Oregon, and BC

There’s more to winter rock climbing in the northwest than pulling on greasy plastic and sneaky a morning at the front side crags of Smith Rock. Washington and Oregon aren’t cragging destinations this time of year, but they do contain enough winter crags to make a few December and January days possible and downright enjoyable on the rock. The trick is finding an area with the holy trinity of necessary traits: sunny, sheltered, and low-elevation. In Squamish, the smoke bluffs [...]

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How Long is Your 60m Rope?

Have you ever come up short on a rappel when you remember that you’d managed to make it before? How about tried to toprope a pitch only to find yourself unable to lower a climber to the ground when others, with the same length ropes, had no problem? This might not simply be your memory going bad on you. There are significant differences in the lengths of ropes all labelled and sold as being identical. And these difference don’t just [...]

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Elbow-Saving Belay Setup – Streamline Your Multipitch Performance

As climbers and climbing-gear buyers, we are accustomed to wading through marketing claims, weeding out hearsay, and determining  the facts on our own before we act.  Is that carabiner really just 29g? We’ll simply put it on the scale and know the answer. Do these ski bindings collect ice and snow like I’ve heard? I’ll demo a pair and find out before I buy them. This tendency toward skepticism is healthy, and helps keeps us safe while climbing and skiing. [...]

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Fix Large Cams for Free

Unlike ropes, shoes, and harnesses, our climbing protection will last through years of use and abuse. I still regularly climb on a purple Metolius TCU which is older than I am, but which I have replaced the webbing on. And other than the webbing/slings on cams, which can be replaced by the company of manufacture, with a bulky hand-tied version, or a via third party such as Yates, the only other frequent mechanism of failure is the trigger wire. Fortunately [...]

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Local Deaths Can Inspire Safer Rappels

The northwest climbing community experienced a string of tragic accidents in September of 2014, when three veteran climbers were killed in accidents taking place at a bolted sport crag, a huge, scruffy alpine wall, and the steppy approach terrain below a climb. The common thread linking all three deaths was a simple yet fatal accident while rappeling. The idea of rappels being statistically the most dangerous part of a climb is drilled into new climbers from day one, and the [...]

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Late Season Last Chance Alpine Rock

November is, without a doubt, the worst month to be a climber, skier, or hiker in the northwest. But November is still a few weeks away. The one silver lining to what is generally a rainy, cold, and not-yet snowy season: it provides a great opportunity to rest and recover from one of the best times of the year to go hard, late September and October. Although October is traditionally associated with hard lowland rock climbs, pushing grades, and good [...]

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Rope Drag: The Silent Menace

While climbing do you often feel irritable, moody, or wracked with pain and uncomfortable pressure in your crotch and lower abdomen? Do you catch yourself upset and shouting at your friends and partners, but for no good reason? You may be suffering from something climbers have long known about but seldom discuss openly: Rope Drag Derangement Syndrome. Luckily, help is just around the corner. Kidding aside, rope drag is a literal pain, a frustrating inconvenience, and a potential hazard. Nobody [...]

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