Colchuck Balanced Crag - Milk n' Honey 5.11Date:
Over the last three months Craig Rankin, Abe Traven and myself made three quick trips to CBR to explore the rock on the right side of the West Face. During the first trip back in June, after warming up on the Scoop(awsome!) we esablished Leche la Vaca on the far right side of the massif.
Leche was climbed ground up with minimal cleaning and required and no fixed gear. All the belays were from comfortable ledges with excellent protection. The climbing was amazingly fun, and varied from perfect cracks to knobby corners, huge solid flakes and a tricky little roof at the top. With four pitches ranging from 5.8-5.10 it seemed the perfect compliment to the more difficult free routes already established on CBR at that point. We were stoked and immediately began planning another trip to go back for more!
The next two trips yielded two more full length routes up the steep West Face(Rikki Tikki Tavi .11 and Milk'n Honey .11) and a growing handful of variations and stand alone pitches scattered along the way. Everything was climbed free, ground up without the need of pre-cleaning. The few loose blocks that we encountered were able to be tossed off safely by the second.
Since June we have free climbed at least 18 new pitches on the face. At this point there are seven full length free routes and over 30 pitches of outstanding trad climbing. Including the Tempest and the Scoop from last summer, and the recent addition of Scarface up the far left side of the wall, CBR is without a doubt the premier alpine crag of Washington. The climbing is on near perfect Index quality granite but much more sustained and Yosemite like in character. There are number of long splitter cracks that rival the enduro classics of the valley.
Perhaps the most interesting development does not so much involve the climbing as it does the new approach. Paranoid Edit
By literally burrowing through the mountainside via a hidden, long forgotten fissure we were able to reach the col in a causal sub three hour hike from the parking lot. This new approach has already drawn more climbers to the area. Please be respectful and conscientious.
Pack it out! Camp on the rocks out of the meadow. Don't shit near the water. DON'T burry your shit. Use the desert method. Shit on a flat sunny rock and spread it out with a stick. Pack out your papers. The sun and air will take care of the rest. Don't believe me? Look it up. http://humanurehandbook.com/ Gear Notes:
double rack'o widgetsApproach Notes:
Milk N' Honey .11
It starts to the right of the start of The Scoop and left of Rikki Tikki Tavi.
Climbs an easy corner up to blocky roofs then pulls through a
strenuous flare(.10 akward) belays above in a good corner. P2 5.9-
fingers layback then easy up to bushy ledge right of Scoop pitch. P3
climb large L facing corner up to cracks in slab. P4 is the real
money. Climb up slabs from belay into corner with two cracks. Climb
up cracks arching left until a thin crack that cuts out right through
an overlap(.11). Pull through that onto face above and more easy
climbing to ledge just left of the cobra head. Awsome.