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kinnikinnick

Mt. Erie Question

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i've heard mixed reviews regarding the quality of climbing at mt erie...bad rock,hard to protect, etc. anyone disagree wholeheartedly with the reputation? im moving out to bellingham this weekend and would prefer to drive to erie over index because its a lot closer. anyone have any favorite trad lines at the crag in the 5.6-9 range?

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I'd say mixed reviews is exactly what Erie deserves. It can be fun, and is great for a quick hit, but doesn't even come close to Index, especially for trad. I can't really remember any trad climbing except for zig-zag. The sport can be decent, but bolts are generally not where you would want them, i.e. after pulling crux moves, not protecting crux moves.

Someone recently told me that the Bat Caves is seeing new activity of late. My first trad lead was out there. Longer but more straightforward hike, shorter drive than Erie.

If you have a whole day to climb then I would just make the drive to tasty granite.

 

Cheers.

Jimbo

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If you're in B'ham I don't think its much further to Darrington than Erie. Darrington rocks for easy trad. When its raining in the cascades it can be sunny at Erie, thats the time to check it out.

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swing by the Lake Erie Store and grab a guide book...there is quite a bit of climbing to be had in that range...trad, sport and mix...it's obviously not Index but by no means a shitty place to crag...it's about 30 min from my office so we try to get a couple times per week for a quick stint on the rock

 

it just takes some exploring to find the lines but the guide book is well worth the $5...i think there is something like 170+ established lines??

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Personally I really enjoy climbing at Erie, particularly as an afternoon/evening jaunt in the springtime when you're feeling rusty and any bit of climbing is good climbing.

 

Outside of Zigzag I don't think there is a lot in the 5.6-5.9 range. The powerline Wall is definitely worth a visit with a handful of 5.10- to 5.10 thin edging routes and the climbing at the Orange Wall is probably the best at Erie for 5.10.

 

But it ain't Index...

 

Erie is about a 50 minute drive from B'ham with short approaches. D-Town is ~2 hours with much longer approaches. Interestingly enough Index, D-Town and Squamish are all about the exact same distance from B'ham. Something like 92-97 miles (can't remember the specifics)

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If you get the $5 guidebook, make sure you're looking at the correct topo when you read the route descriptions. All the topos list routes "1-9", but sometimes the descriptions are for the topos on following pages. I went up a really hard 5.6 3-pitch route, only to find it was 5.9+ on the following page. Wrong #6. Fun!

 

Also, go for a swim in Whistle Lake when your'e done. Good cliff diving...

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Watch out for beer cans/bottles, fire extinguishers and tree limbs being thrown off the overlook at the top and ticks in the late spring/early summer.

 

Other than that it's a pleasant place to crag from time to time, the views are good and it catches the edge of the Olympic rain shadow

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Watch out for beer cans/bottles, fire extinguishers and tree limbs being thrown off the overlook at the top ...

 

No kidding. While on lead, I was grazed by an empty can of Frito-Lay bean dip there last year. :noway:

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Erie is awesome in my mind...I've led some quality routes and some chossy routes...all great climbing in my mind. There's even a few good spots to free solo at a moderate level. But then again, as mentioned earlier...if you have the whole day a trip to Granite would be more fun...Squamish or Darrington.

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There are some really good mixed lines from 5.8-5.10 on main wall east.Lord of the dance and fiddler on the roof are really fun. Fiddler takes great gear the whole way, and is 5.9. There are about 4 short multipitches in all there.

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just buck up and go to Squamish. World class, and only hour and a half away. Little bit further, but your trad rack will thank you. Pass port not needed either (took that excuse) 14 bucks for an extended drivers license.

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There are some really good mixed lines from 5.8-5.10 on main wall east.Lord of the dance and fiddler on the roof are really fun. Fiddler takes great gear the whole way, and is 5.9. There are about 4 short multipitches in all there.

 

Fiddler is an great little line. Up and over the roof and than it gets hard.

 

There are a couple of good easy moderate clip ups higher to the right on what I think is Pigeon Stool wall, the face just right of gruesome gully. You can get to them from the top but it always freaks me out to step down to the chains because you can't see them from the edge. Besides its more fun to lead Fiddler.

 

 

The new millenium wall has some great 4 bolt routes that are all under under 5.8. There are two nice, albeit short, cracks on the right side of the wall as well.

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I love Erie. Nice views and sometimes better weather than Bellingham. Orange Wall, Powerlines, Snag Buttress and I even like Sunset Slabs. I could hang out there all day and just lay on the rocks.

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Erie's great for when you don't have all day. Just expect to take some time getting acquainted with each wall and the maze of trails that connects them. Unfortunately, Dallas' book is the only game in town and the maps are a little vague and in a couple of instances just plain wrong, unless down-climbing 3rd or 4th class terrain constitutes a "trail".

Chris

 

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