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(TR) WA Pass, 8/1/07

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This is my 1st cc.com TR so I hope I get it right.

With my wife due back from Europe in 2 days, my son working, and no partner, I drove the North Cascades Highway and got to Blue Lake trailhead. After some sorting and waiting for the big heat of the day to pass a bit, I left at 1:40 PM. Hot hiking with a break or 2 in the skimpy shade got me to the Liberty-Concord notch. A pair from Durango was just starting the Beckey route as I suited up w/ a harness, 60m 8mm rope, and lots of chalk.

I had done the route 10 days before, but had climbed right of the first chimney, so I was pleased to find this a secure way to pass them. The route felt uber-solid after the rope drag and multiple layers of before. After laying down and resting on the summit I headed down, gave descent pointers to the CO couple, and rapped to the notch for hydration and celebration.

At 5:00 I scrambled back to my trekking poles and picked up a good trail that went through the little cliff band below NEWS, saving time. It was buggy and I put on more DEET below the South Arete, then headed up at 6:45 pm. The start was indeed confusing, I went too far right, but I eventuallu dumped the rope in the chimney and went left around the chockstone. On top all was very quiet and scenic; by then I was the only person anywhere in the Spires.

After only a few minutes on the summit I descended. Tiredness and my celebratory mood made me zoned enough that I went a ways down the SW Couloir before backtracking up to the left exit from the couloir. Cautiously downclimbing took more time than the up.

By 8:45 I had packed and scrambled down to my poles, and got out to the car just after 10 PM. I only needed the headlamp for the last 1/2 mile or so. Then it was a party of one at the car and crash in the woods.

Next day I drove through Leavenworth and unwound with boulders and swimming at The Beach across from Castle Rock. My knees were sore enough that every climb out of the driver's seat was momentous....


Edited by Telemack

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