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Everything posted by Rainman

  1. Brandon, Now I know why it was hard to go climbing with you. I'm looking forward to getting my copy. Can I order one from you or do I have to go through the retail stores? Chris G.
  2. Good news indeed! Fixed anchors,as we know, are a necessity for most climbs. I like the idea of keeping them to a minimum , but each climb can be judged accordingly. Just remember, no machines! Hand drill only and have fun!
  3. Yeah, I knew him. He was a regular at Vertical World, Seattle. One of the nicest guys you'd meet there. Always had a smile and really loved climbers getting after it. I never climbed with him outside of the gym but I heard he was solid and a good partner to have. He will be sorely missed. RIP Bob
  4. Wow! Well done article! How timely to be reminded of the danger that lurks after a heavy snowfall. Everybody be safe out there!
  5. So I guess I'll chime in as well, since it is my favorite topic. 5.4 or less - South face Chrome dome (almost 4,000 ft of class 4 and easy 5th on super clean, polished stone). 5.7 or less - "Under The Boardwalk" (always fun!) 5.8 - "Till broad daylight" P1 ; "Excalibur" P1 (both have good athletic moves for the grade). 5.9 - the "Blue Crack" on Dreamer P6; the flake pitch on "Excalibur" P6 ( super fun on fantastic stone) 5.10a - "Waterfall Buttress" P5 (Nice clean finger crack on a flat face in an amazing location) 5.10b - "The Holy Grail" P5 ( In my opinion the best pitch in Darrington, bar none) 5.10c - "Centerstage" P1 (Credit card edges don't get any better) 5.10d - Excalibur" P8 (Fantastic crack and face moves on the cleanest rock in D-Town) 5.11A or harder - "Centerstage" P5 "Schitzophrenic" P7 (Very tenuous moves on superb rock way up in the air. It doesn't get much better than this)
  6. Be careful out here! Not all columnar basalt is worth climbing on. It can be extremly unstable with out telltale signs. I did some exploring with Jeff Thomas back in the eighties on some baslat columns that wobbled the entire length while climbing. Very, very scary it could have gone at any time with deadly consequences. An FA isn't worth much if no one else will do it because it's too dangerous. Think about it. Look more for good rock than obscure FA's.
  7. Nice job you guys! Can't wait to get on it. Keep putting up routes like this and the stoke will keep coming. Darrington Rocks!!!!
  8. Man, wish I could have been there. What a place to watch shooting stars!
  9. A runout is when you are sure you might fall, and the fall could be bad, but your a long way from the car so a fall is not an option, so you just suck it up and dont't fall, just like you used to when you were younger, before you knew you won't live forever because some of your friends have died doing what they love, but you'll remember it as a runout and you probably won't do this route again!
  10. It's good somebody isn't selfish like the rest of us that just went climbing on Saturday. Good job Matt, Mark & Danny. I'm glad the DEA is still working. I was ready to give a hand on Sunday but you guys did it all and nothing was left. Darn, missed the work party again. Oh well, the road and trails are ready for business. Let the climbing begin!
  11. I hear you Ben. The Page is another stellar and challenging climb, equally as good as any other on the wall. My hat's off to the FA boys. They figured it out and produced a beauty. I love its position on the wall. Nice job Brandon! The Illusion Wall just keeps cranking these babies out. If you've not sampled the goods up there yet, you ought to check it out. These are all modern mixed sport/trad routes with good gear on impeccable stone. Think of it as Washington's answer to Red Rocks, NV and you'll know what I mean. So the season is here! Grab the next good sunny day and go get some.
  12. That's the crag! The crag is on DNR land with an easement for the PUD powerlines. You have to cross leased land by the orchard owner. He's ok with climbing there, just be descrete and don't walk in the orchard in crossing over to the crag and don't park in his driverway!
  13. So I'm a little surprised about the responses regarding Rocky Reach. As one of the developers I think it's a really nice crag with a lot to offer. It is not as big as Vantage nor is it the best crag you've ever been to. But I think it is a nice alternative to other areas on the east side. There are currently 17 estabilshed, mixed trad and sport routes, from 5.7 to 5.12, all on good rock with easy access. Please park in Lincoln Head State Park (fee or Discovery pass required) and walk across the highway to access the crag.(approx. 15 min.) Please respect the orchard and don't walk through it. There is no guide at present but the routes are easy to see. Pick one that looks good and go for it. A liitle adventure always makes it more fun! Keep in mind that not too many people know about this so if your the only party there don't worry about it. Enjoy!
  14. After climbing here for over 30 years I'm always amazed that more people don't climb here. Not that I'm complaining. You gotta love it!
  15. Einar, Thanks for posting your pictures. I especially liked the shot of everyone getting ready to go at the base. Gentleman, start your engines! Way cool.
  16. Ran into one of the engineers at a Marmot Mtn. Works slideshow a while back and he said he and another put up the route on the left. Hanna and I added the variation a year ago. I have to say Chris, your exploits years ago were quite bold! The cracks are real and take gear well but the run-outs in between are long and would be terrifying with no bolts. I've yet to see any of your bolts though. We may be still left of where you went. So I've been putting up modern routes with two bolt anchors at every belay and pro bolts as needed to keep it challenging but relatively safe. I hope that doesn't offend you if we may have strayed onto your old lines
  17. Trip: Darrington - Illusion Wall - Schizophrenic Date: 10/15/2011 Trip Report: Once again, another season, another quality route on the Illusion Wall. If I wasn't having so much fun it might be boring. But wait, that's never going to happen. Daryl Kralovic and I completed a new line just to the right of "Search For The Holy Grail" and named it "Schizophrenic". (There is a story behind the name, but I'll save that for another time) We finished it in mid September, but never brought the camera. So on October 15th we headed out to get pictures of the new climb. A most unusual day for Darrington ensued. We arrived at the trailhead to find not one, but two other parties heading for the Illusion Wall. Darin Burdinka & Gene Pires were going for "The Holy Grail" and Mark VonHagel & Einar Osterhaug went for "Excalibur". Three parties on three different routes all in the same day on a wall we've had mostly to ourselves. Unheard of! But what a day it was! Blue sky, warm sunshine, great views, beautiful rock, WOW! Daryl following pitch three Daryl leading pitch four Pitch five Leading pitch five with Darin on pitch five of The Holy Grail in the background. Looking down on pitch seven Looking over at Mark & Einar on Excalibur Taking a picture of Einar taking a picture. Einar, post your picture! Mark on "the flake" Darin leading out on pitch seven "The Holy Grail" Daryl leading the "crackling corner" pitch eight. Some real exposure on pitch nine. The Illusion Wall and all the known routes. Yellow - Engineers Route 5.9 Dingbat 5.10+ 2 pitch variation Red - The Page 5.10+ Blue - Excalibur 5.10+ Green - Search for The Holy Grail 5.10+ Variation to pitches 6 & 7 5.9 Orange - Schizophrenic 5.11-
  18. Just so I've made myself clear, I'm not asking for support or for anyone's blessing. I've given my reason for climbing in Darrington what's yours? I'm sure we all have opinions and I'd like to hear them. What do we do if a wilderness climbing area becomes a little more used? Do we police ourselves or do we let the Forest Service do it? Let's here your thoughts.
  19. I found the comments to Brandon's trip report for "The Page" on the Illusion Wall from Dec 5th quite interesting, especially the comments made by "crazedmaniac" aka "Zip". Maybe it's time the climbing community had a discussion about whats been going on in Darrington. I've been putting up routes there since 1978 and I'd like to get things rolling by giving you my perspective of the area. The Darrington climbing area is big and wild. Always has been and I think for the most part always will be. How big? Well, for one, there are 15 major walls over 600ft tall. The biggest is Squire Creek Wall which is almost 2 miles wide and over 2000ft tall. Four of these walls have no documented climbs at all. How wild? Well, except for Exfoliation Dome and Witch Doctor Wall, everything lies within The Boulder River Wilderness. There are only two designated trails in the entire 49,000acre area. Squire Creek Pass/Eight Mile trail and the Goat Flats/Three Fingers Lookout trail. Everything else is going to require a bushwhack. Trust me, there are lots of adventures just waiting for you. Darrington climbing has been going on since 1969 when none other than Fred Beckey climbed Witch Doctor Wall. In the 1971 American Alpine Journal, Manuel Gonzalez wrote about Darrington that; "the soundness of the rock and its proximity to Seattle should contribute to the future popularity of the area". In 1982 Don Brooks commented in his guide book Washington Rock that that had yet to be born out. In 2003 David Whitelaw noted in his guide book Rattle & Slimethat perhaps that time has finally arrived. Now in 2011 could we be there yet? I'm not so sure. With the exception of Three O'clock Rock and The Comb Buttress, everything else requires a significant approach. With some possible exceptions, I don't think it's ever going to get "crowded" This type of climbing is just not for everyone. So what type of climbing is it? Mostly, Darrington climbing is slab climbing. However, the steepness will vary a lot. Anywhere from 3rd class slab padding on Chrome Dome to steep, bold testpieces on the Illusion Wall. It's variety lends itself to a wide selection of personal expression. As for me, I've always been open to all ethics for first ascents. Whether it's ground-up, top down, sideways, solo, expedition, alpine capsule, all bolts, no bolts, whatever, you name it. I don't think any one ethic is better than another. Who are we to say what is right or wrong. We're all different with different beliefs and ideas. I think first ascents are an art form. How they're created is up to the original party. To me the most important aspect is what you leave behind. If you want to do a climb in such pure style as to leave nothing behind, go for it. Although you might find it hard to get anyone else to repeat it. If you want to put up a climb with bolts every three feet, go for it. Although you might find it hard to get anyone else to respect it. Climbers putting up first ascents will leave behind a legacy no matter what ethic they use. What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind? It's up to the individual and Darrington has lots of room. Over my climbing career one thing I've noticed whenever I've gone to other destinations, was climbers want to climb the best routes. Worthy climbs with 2 or 3 stars were vacant, while climbs with 4 or 5 stars required you to stand in line. My route "Dreamer" on the Green Giant Buttress is a good example. Climbers go for this line more than any other because it is a known "classic" while leaving many good routes untouched. Yet few know that the route they're climbing is not the original line. It has gradually changed over the years to encompass a "better" line. This process started as early as the second ascent when Steve Scott and I rap bolted the traverse pitch to create a direct, more asthetic finish to that pitch. Although we felt it was wrong at the time we knew it made for a better climb. This lesson simmered in my mind for the next twenty years. In 1998 Matt Perkins and David Whitelaw reincarnated an old Don Brooks route "Rubber Soul" and renamed it "Total Soul" They used rap bolting techniques to create the line as it exists today. Soon after, "Urban Bypass went in using the same techniques and I realized that this concept could create classic lines right from the begining without trial and error. I remembered a campfire discussion from years past when we were putting up routes at Banks Lake. The talk came around to ratings and how hard can they get on an open-ended scale? Then someone brought up the idea that instead of pushing the difficulty, maybe one could push the quality or "star rating" which was just getting popular around then. Put up a line that was so awesome as to be in a class by itself. The idea of the sixth star was mentioned and we all had a good laugh. But I thought, why not? I'm never going to climb 5.13 the standard back then, let alone 5.15, but maybe I could put up a route that was so good as to earn a sixth star. And so my quest began. I knew the rock quality of Darrington was good enough if I could only find "the line". I knew the best way to find it was to scour the rock for all possibilities. By pictures, spotting scope, ball buster bushwhacks, rapping down cliffs, any manner of tricks, even ground up! Not only was I driven to find the best line I had to honor the climb by doing the best job possible. With all these tricks I'd have no excuse to put up a bad climb. That includes the proper placement of the bolts. Before any bolts go in I believe the climb needs to be toproped twice by two different people to verify the best location. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than someone repeating my route and saying they had fun. After all, isn't that what it's all about? Someone once said that the most successful climber is the one having the most fun. Darrigton is a wilderness area and as such deserves respect for the idea of what wilderness should be. Power drills are not allowed and make no mistake, all my bolts were placed by hand. As well they should be. The rock is easy to drill and when you get used to it you can easily drill one in less than ten minutes. I think bush and tree cutting should be kept at a minimum. We're not supposed to cut at all, but this is Western Washington and things grow back so fast here it will make your head swim. Follow the rules in good faith and I don't see it ever becomong a problem. In summary, I think there is room enough for everyone to have their own special adventure. Although some areas of special interest might get more traffic than some people would like, I think it's a little bit unreasonable to believe that any given area will remain the same and unchanged over the years on a planet with 7 billion people. We need to be thankful that we have this area so close to home that still remains relatively wild and untouched. By the way, I still haven't found the sixth star yet, but come summer you know I'll be looking. Chris Greyell
  20. Awesome, David! I can't believe how much Squire Creek has provided for new routes! It just keeps going, and going and...... Keep the fires burning man!
  21. Nice job, Rad & Brandon! The rock looks better than I would have imagined! What a stellar looking day! You guy's have got the stuff it takes. I look forward to hearing more of your exploits in the future.
  22. Well done! It's fantastic that Slab Daddy is getting the attention it deserves. A great route in a great location.
  23. Nicely done! That's exactly the experience I was hoping people would have when the route went in. The Illusion Wall is such a wonderful piece of stone you'd think it was built for climbers. Excalibur is of the same quality...but wait, there's more to come!
  24. Nice Tyson, I've looked at that wall for a number of years and always thought to have a look. It sounds like the approach wasn't to bad. Do you figure it's worth more trips? It looks like it could have potential.
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