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Finding dry rock routes after rain

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Newsflash: it rains in the PNW. You can mope about it or just go anyway. But where to go? Good knowledge of the local crags can be the key to finding dry rock. With that in mind, I thought I'd start a thread so people with knowledge of the wet/dry patterns of local routes can help create a resource that will be useful for both local and visiting climbers. 

Here's a start:

Concept: there's a difference between routes that are wet from seepage and routes that are wet from rain. When the ground is saturated after a wet winter or spring, it can be a while before routes subject to seepage become dry enough to climb. On the flip side, a day or two of rain after a prolonged dry spell in the summer is unlikely to lead to seepage.

Concept: water evaporates faster at warmer temperatures. Consequently, one sunny day can dry a lot more crags in the summer than in the winter.  

Concept: wind can be an issue for some areas. If the wind is out of the East on the I90 corridor, Winter Block, Headlight Point, and the higher parts of Shangri La can be unbearably windy due to a valley constriction between McClellan's Butte and the X38 Far Side buttresses. East winds above 10 MPH can be a show stopper. If you didn't look at the forecast, look at the tree tops as you cross the Far Side bridge. If they're rocking choose another crag. 

Some observations (feel free to correct and/or add your own)

Index - On David Holland / Lovin Arms, the first 5.9 pitch can be wet when the rest of the climb above is dry. Hopefully others with more experience can give a more nuanced analysis of the many crags and routes at Index.

X32 - Blackstone wall gets wet at the top and can seep in places, but the rock is high friction and can generally be climbed even when it is damp. WW1 stays mostly dry in most conditions. Seepage can affect routes in the winter.

Erie - Climbs with southern exposure dry quickly, and this area is in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains, so this can be a good choice when other areas are wet. Crags under deep cover, such as the one at Rosario, are more subject to seepage and humidity.

Mazama and Vantage - Can be sunny and nice in the spring when the West side is wet and nasty. In summer they can be hot.

X38 - Here is a more detailed breakdown as that's the area I know best.

   Amazonia is quite protected and will generally stay dry in light rain from about June to October. In spring and winter, seepage from saturated ground above the cliff will make a number of routes wet. If you go on a sunny day in winter you're likely to find this cliff still quite wet.

   Nevermind is also protected and stays dry in a light rain. Like Amazonia, it is subject to seepage from above, but fewer routes are affected.

   Bob's Wall and Valley View West dry pretty quickly.

   The Actual Cave is subject to seepage. The routes right of it are often wet until mid-summer.

   The Trestle and deception areas of X38 can be slick when damp and can get wet quickly. Seepage can be an issue. Routes with sun exposure, which changes by season, can dry quickly. There are so many routes along this stretch that unless it's actively raining or has rained continuously for days you should be able to find something to climb.

   Neverland routes vary in how quickly they dry. Seepage is an issue for the lower crags. 

   Gun Show is only modestly affected by seepage and dries pretty quickly. It also gets wet quickly when it rains because it is not protected. Endless Bliss may have a wet patch around the first bolt even when the rest of the route is dry. 

   Trucktown cave stays dry most of the time.

   Eastern Block and Headlight Point are East-facing and dry pretty quickly after it rains. There are a few routes where seepage is an issue, but the rock is high friction and can be climbed when it is damp. The first 20 feet of Displacement can look quite wet, but the holds you need are generally fine and the upper part of the route is generally dry unless everything is wet. 

   Mirror wall is protected from light rain. It is only modestly affected by seepage.

   Most of Shangri-La stays pretty dry in light rain. Seepage is less of an issue here than at many other crags.

   Winter Block generally dries quickly because of its exposure to wind and sun.

Hopefully others can add more.








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