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Darrington Guide


DavidW
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As some of you may be aware a new guide for the Darrington area is in the final stages of production. Some areas are better documented than others and there's still a chance to contribute tidbits of info and pictures! At this point there will be almost 100 routes in the guide.

 

I'm planning on producing the book on a disk....... and so far the plans are to combine text, topo's, photo's and AVI movies in an interactive format that should prove to be fun and affordable.

 

so....... if you're a computer wizard and wanna see your name on an obscure publication about a useless sport then send me a PM!

 

Beyond that........ There's some great routes up there put up by unknown persons...... if youve ever put up a route in Darrington please get in touch!

 

Specifically I'm looking for information about the following areas:

 

1. Any routes on Witch Doctor Wall

2. Any routes on Squire Creek Wall

3. Any routes on the Comb Buttress

4. The mythical route called the "Scar" on Blueberry Hill

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Man you sure picked the Mystery route of the decade.... as far as I can tell it was only a nebulous report in the WashingtonRock guide back in 1980..... it seems all knowledge since then is just fantasy built on this single sentence. I'll provide a six-pack of Mike's Hard Lemonade and an autographed picture of Mattp for anyone who can come up with a topo on this one...... some restrictions apply..... see below for details. lol

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Hey everybody:

 

The rumors that you've heard - about Darrington being a wet climbing area - are all untrue. In fact, Three Fingers creates a rain-shadow and the sun is shining on Exfoliation Dome at this very moment. Here's "the beta," according to Zippy Monkey Boy. Why don't one of you go out there and claim your prize?

 

-

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Originally posted by michael_layton:

[QB]See, it's right where I said it was! Share the wealth Mattp!!!

 

Except that, if Chris is correct, the route generally follows dihedrals that face away from the West Buttress area and would be completly out of view behind the "Scar Buttress." Chris said it was one of the best routes in DTown, and that all three possible finishes were "about the same."

 

Now ... Has anybody been up Witch Doctor Wall? I bet a detailed report on that will get you a free tee shirt as well.

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I've seen the "Scar" from the W.ridge of Blueberry hill. It is just left of Psalm 29. I didn't see the start, but it doesn't look as long as the other routes. However, it may have some good cracks, but the rock look pretty shattered around the scar (obviously)! Hope that helps a little, but nothin' beats 1st hand info.

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I am proud to have climbed the first (5.4) pitch of Sunday Cruise on Witch Doctor Wall and lived. For those interested here is a description. From base of wall scramble 3rd and 4th class to pin belay on ledge below vague right facing corner.

 

Climb corner. Corner is composed of stacked, loose flakes up to 30' long. Handholds and pro can be found by digging through moss and ferns. Eventually bearhug a very large, very scary flake wedged in corner to wide crack and decomposing chockstone belay. Look at mossy, schrub covered headwall. Bail

 

A forgettable Darrington classic.

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quote:

Originally posted by mattp:

Except that, if Chris is correct, the route generally follows dihedrals that face away from the West Buttress area and would be completly out of view behind the "Scar Buttress." Chris said it was one of the best routes in DTown, and that all three possible finishes were "about the same."

Are we talking Chris from C & S Engineering? How much riddling and double-speak did you have to wade through to get that much? Have you been beneath the route to confirm any of his description? What were his thoughts on the rating? Joke Smoot gives it 5.9.

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Darin -

It sounds like you had the full-on Darrington experience when you went to Witch Doctor. Nice!!!

If only all the routes there could be of such "quality" ChucK wouldn't be tempted to call it sport climbing.

 

Greg -

Chris has logged a lot of time up in Darrington and while he does like to talk in riddles, the guy knows something. I believe he has in fact climbed "The Scar" and I bet he is right that it is a worthy route. However, in addition to being bodacious enough to take on Squire Creek Wall, he has more of a stomach for loose rock and dirty flakes than most modern rock climbers so if you head for "The Scar," be forewarned.

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Matt - Yeah, I've waded through enough of Chris's website to figure out that he has logged some serious time up in that area. Have you glassed it from 23rd Psalm or that area? Is DavidW going to include beta on Squire Creek Wall? I know Chris has been trying to keep that area quiet.

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what I retained from Witch Doctor Wall (and Sunday cruise in particular) is short, cool approach, miles (literally) of beautiful rock, hundreds of dirt and bush filled cracks, enormous potential for 2 pitch climbs (think defoliant and backhoe), all in all a worthwhile trip! [Wink]

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quote:

Originally posted by j_b:

what I retained from Witch Doctor Wall (and Sunday cruise in particular) is short, cool approach, miles (literally) of beautiful rock, hundreds of dirt and bush filled cracks, enormous potential for 2 pitch climbs (think defoliant and backhoe), all in all a worthwhile trip!
[Wink]

Sounds like an all-weather destination: doesn't sound like your climb could have sucked much worse in the rain.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Can you really say that Chris has been trying to keep SC Wall secret? Hell, he's had all sorts a shit about it on his website forever and has taken anybody who wanted to go up there for as long as I've known him (over a decade). The only thing he seems to not like alot are guidebooks and at least one guidebook writer.....

 

Say Greg, have we met? Did we do Glacier way back? PM me.

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Hmmmm, I don't mean to put words in Chris' mouth [Wink] cause lord knows.... but....

 

If you mean he would prefer it not be overrun like Leavenworth or Index, with mountaineer hordes bearing guidebooks explaining which way to point their pinky to get over the crux, and preparing them to put exactly which piece of BD gear 7.2' past what feature, then yeah yer right.

 

But could ya blame anyone?

 

I have no dog in this one, 'cause I don't know DavidW and obviously at some point "a guidebook would be written", he may be writing a very cool one!

 

And I don't know, maybe it's elitist to think that some climbing areas should be less like a connect the dots puzzle book and more like a "hey that looks like a cool line" adventure. "A rumor of a route...." Which is the way that I grew up climbing.

I just hope that when one gets written that it will be done in a way that reflects the history of the development there. Which would probably mean coming to grips with the crowd who did a lot of it....

 

A guy could always start by buying these; [big Drink][big Drink][big Drink] ! Which are currency accepted worldwide!! [big Grin]

 

[ 11-22-2002, 11:01 PM: Message edited by: Scotch-a-Go-Go ]

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quote:

Originally posted by Scotch-a-Go-Go:

I just hope that when one gets written that it will be done in a way that reflects the history of the development there. Which would probably mean coming to grips with the crowd who did a lot of it....


Ummmmmm.......I think DavidW has that part under control. [Wink][Wink][Wink]

 

[ 11-23-2002, 02:05 PM: Message edited by: dberdinka ]

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AWWWW Dammit!

 

I am unfortunately at the present geographically unacceptable to [big Drink] with anyone that ain't in the flatlands. [Frown][Frown][Frown]

 

Also my experience are old and in a long-gone memory bank now erased with single malt scotch. (Hence the nickname). I didn't climb much in that specific area anyway, I was more interested in peak-bagging and snow/ice at that particular time.

 

Ya might want to talk with Smedley, DJ or the gear rustler if Chris doesn't want to get involved.

 

They also respond to [big Drink][big Drink][big Drink]

 

[ 11-24-2002, 10:36 PM: Message edited by: Scotch-a-Go-Go ]

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Hey Dave, this is Brian B. I looked through hundreds of slides and did not find any of the Witch Doctor route. I can't remember if we took pictures or not, but we usually did.

 

We climbed it as a party of three in 1977 or 1978. We actually used the "real old" Beckey guidebook. Do you have a copy of that... it was a small book probably printed in the early 60s. I have not seen one for years.

 

We did the Witch Doctor in "two days." Made the approach on a Friday and fixed the first pitch before dark. Climbed the next day and bivy'd on a "ledge." The ledge was about two feet wide and was separated from the main face by about 18 inches. Two of us sat on the ledge and slept while the third wedge himself down in the crack between the face and the ledge.

 

Next morning we climbed the final pitch to the top.

 

Here's what I remember from the route. First pitch, mixed easy free and aid. All pitches to the bivy ledge were aid. The last pitch was free at 5.7. The aid pitches were in vertical cracks going about A3. The route was VERY CLEAN!!! No dirt or trees etc. Good pin placements and a very direct line essentially straight up the face. I imagine good free climbers could climb this route without aid but they would need to be real good.. the route is pretty much vertical except for the first and last pitch.

 

I can't believe others have not climbed the route. My impression at the time was it was very clean, scary and a tough descent down the slabs on the other side. Route finding was relatively easy... just follow the vertical crack systems. Belays are reasonable.. I don't remember any hanging belays or difficulties having three guys on the climb.

 

Regards

Brian B.

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