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Dreamer (sort of) TR


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Coondog and myself headed up to climb Dreamer yesterday. We got a fairly leisurely start. In an attempt to make up time, I tried to goad Coondog into driving ALL the way to the base of Green Giant Buttress, but he declined. I guess he’s still babying his new “previously owned” 4WD truck. So we walked to the base of the climb.


The sun was high in the sky by the time we got on the rock. I’d meant to bring MattP’s excellent topo, but forgot it, which resulted in some Adventures in Routefinding. After consulting the Matt’s website today, it appears we climbed a couple pitches of Dreamer, two pitches of Urban Bypass, one pitch of Safe Sex, then one scary hard pitch that doesn’t appear on his topo linking the Safe Sex Belay under the great roof to the top of the Blue Crack (more on this later) then the last four pitches of Dreamer to the top.


I started off and made it to the belay below Urban Bypass in one long leftward angling pitch (some simulclimbing required). Coondog led the Urban Bypass 5.10 friction pitch, then I led us up and right where we apparently connected with Safe Sex. Coondog led a short pitch up through the bushes and trees past a rusty hangerless bolt to a big belay ledge in the huge corner below the Great Roof.


It’s this next pitch I’m curious about. I’m pretty sure we were off of any route, but perhaps others have gone this way accidentally or intentionally. On MattP’s topo (attached below) I highlighted our route in red and this one particular pitch in orange.


I started at the 4th Safe Sex belay in the huge corner about 50 feet under the Great roof, and ended up at the top of the Blue Crack. From the Safe Sex belay, I downclimbed a few feet, and traversed left across the beautiful handcrack (which ends 15-20 feet above).


I went left out around the corner, where I found myself out on a face with some crumbly grooves, hard moves and uninspiring protection. I climbed up and left, slung a shrub, and then began a long leftward traverse under a roof.


I traversed for 50 or 60 feet horizontally leftwards. It was pretty freaky and I felt less and less confident I was on route. Basically it involved underclinging or jamming this inch-thick hollow flake hanging several feet vertically out from under the roof. Spooky. I jammed it as much as possible to avoid pulling out on the flake. Protection was OK in places, but in other spots it seemed pointless because of the fragility of the flake. I was having visions of taking a long whipper with a large thin sharp flake in my lap.


After a long leftward traverse, I arrived at the base of a really cool looking clean flake/crack above me (which turns out was the Blue Crack). I think this is where I rejoined Dreamer? In order to get into the crack, I had to continue traversing left another 10 feet, to where you can go up and make a couple face moves back right reach the crack.


The Blue Crack itself is a beautiful feature. You can lieback or jam it, but I felt more comfortable jamming it, as the lip of the crack is quite thin and friable in spots. With horrendous rope drag, no slings, and little rope left I reached the hanging belay above the blue crack. So has anyone else tried this variation?


I can’t say I’d recommend it, but it certainly was mentally and physically challenging—the highlight of the day for me. One of those “fun after its done” kind of pitches.


The rest of the climb was straightforward and enjoyable. It appears a piano-sized chunk of rock recently departed from the last short easy pitch. There are some loose blocks around the scar, but they are easily avoidable. There was no wetness anywhere on the climb, and no snow anywhere on the approach or at the base. The creek is low enough you can easily cross without getting your feet wet.


By the time we got back to the base of the climb, it was getting dark. By the time we got down into the woods, it was very dark. By the time we got back to Seattle, it was today already.




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Hey! Nice going UT! You guys got off route and still topped out. That's perserverance!


When you talk of the "Great Roof" are you talking about that big triangular roof above a 20' dihedral with handcrack directly above the 3rd belay of Safe Sex?


You mentioned a great handcrack on your variation pitch. Could that be "S.S. variation 5.9", perhaps the "obvious finger crack that has yet to be freed" mentioned in the Traveler's Guide?

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ChucK--yeah, exactly. From the Safe Sex belay under the big triangular roof in the big dihedral, I traversed straight left, put a cam in the nice handcrack on the left wall (about 20 feet below where it tapers out), then continued traversing left over the arete out of sight of the belay. I slung a shrub in the next corner over.


Then I went up and right via face moves to reach the really cool looking finger crack. At that point I was kind of desperate. I had my fingers in the finger crack, which was up and to my right, but I couldn't move up or get gear in the section of crack I could reach (which was nothing but flared tips). So I downclimbed a little bit--and then fell--back down and left where my sling around the shrub caught me.


So I gave up on that idea. Instead I continued my horizontal traverse left under a long roof with a hanging flake all the way to the base of the Blue Crack (maybe 70 some feet total traversing straight off the Safe Sex Belay?) and then up to the top of the Blue Crack.

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Tricky, it sounds to me as if, after you traverssed from the belay, you found the fingercrack that the Traveller's guide notes has not been freed (as far as I know). It goes over a bulge that is perhaps ten feet high, and maybe 20 feet above the belay. Flared tips. There used to be a knob conveniently located so as to allow one to pull over the bulge without having to climb the crack, but it broke off after one or two ascents. Way to stick with it! Most parties fail on their first attempt to climb Dreamer, even if they don't get off route.

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I have a question: Has the road that is used to access Green Giant Buttress deteriorated much in the past four years? I was last there in 1999; about that time there was a small uproar about the USFS intention to abandon the road. Basically, I'd like to know if driving to the old pullout is still a go for a low clearance vehicle. Thanks in advance.

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The Forest Service got a lot of letters on the topic, and they never gated or installed water bars on the road, as they had proposed to do. It has deteriorated slightly and is rockier but is pretty much just as driveable as it was 4 years ago.

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