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[TR] Squire Creek, Darrington - Stage Right (5.10b, 10 pitches) 6/26/2010


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Trip: Squire Creek, Darrington - Stage Right (5.10b, 10 pitches)


Date: 6/26/2010


Trip Report:

Martha and I headed up to check out some of the new routes in the Rattle and Slime guidebook. After talking to Chris, I figured we weren’t up for the 11a slab climbing on Center Stage and headed for the slightly easier Stage Right (5.10b, 11 pitches). We hiked up on Friday afternoon and camped out under the large boulder named, “Martha’s Place” (named for another Martha). From the large boulder, I could count 18 separate waterfalls within the basin. We had a nice dry bivy site and running water as well! We climbed Stage right on Saturday (see below), and after a slow start on Sunday morning and a light rain shower, we decided to save the Waterfall route for our next trip. Overall a fantastic and beautiful place, I can’t wait to get back up there and try Center Stage and the Flight of the Falcon on Salish.


Approach: (time ~4 hours)

As described in the new Rattle and Slime guidebook, simply head up Squire Creek road until the nice turnaround and park (watch out for young D-town locals making out in their large pickups). Head up the old road, through the wash out, back onto the old road until you hit the old trail head. The trail gets a little rougher at this point, but is still easygoing and only slightly uphill. There are a few stream crossings, but they are easily managed.


When you hit the large white rock field, drop down and right towards the Creek, start watching for orange flag tape from here on. Follow the flagging to a trail that walks on the east side of the river for a while until you come to the Creek, leaving you with two options: 1) cross several logs and a little bush whacking to get to the other side (or) 2) take off your shoes and wade across going from the rock bed on one side to the other. We did #1 on the way up, and #2 on the way down. Both were not that bad.


After the crossing, continue on the trail for a while until you come into a large dry riverbed. We tried to stay in the riverbed as long as possible until bushwhacking to the running creek. Here we walked straight up the creek, rock hoping, some bush whacking, and sometimes both! This route is not recommended if the stream is running (see map below). By the end, both Martha and I had had our feet plunge into the river several times, and were getting pretty worked over. Thankfully, Martha’s place appeared shortly afterwards.


Route approach: (~45 min)

From Martha’s place, we dropped down following the creek until we came to a rock gully that leads up to Roan wall. There is a large carin to mark the start of the route and a few along the way as well.



Overall a great route! The approach pitches are just that, and the best climbing starts on pitch 3 and higher.


Pitch -1: 5.8 with 4 bolts, a little dirty, straightforward. Scramble ~200 ft up and right after the belay to a corner.

Pitch 0: 5.4 with only a little gear, but easy. Follows a face crack system. Scramble several hundred feet up, traverse off to the right to access the first pitch.

Pitch 1: 5.8 A little heady of a lead and a bit difficult on route finding. After 170 ft you come to two widely spaced bolts (belay here, we should have) but we had read there was a higher belay another ~30 feet up. I could not find this belay, and Martha started simul-climbing for another 20-30 (total of 50-60 ft above the widely spaced bolts) where I found a tree and made a belay. Although the topo indicates this is easy third class, I found it to be more like hard fourth easy fifth pulling over trees and blocks, I would stay roped up.

Pitch 2: Third class. From the tree belay, there was a dead tree climbers right that you could climb behind that leads to a large ledge system. Easy walking/scrambling leads to a perch ~250 ft from the dead tree where you can make a gear anchor (0.75 and a red tcu). It’s easiest to unrope and walk.

Pitch 3: 5.10a. Slab climbing with fun knobs, good climbing. 10 bolts.

Pitch 4: 5.5 Head straight up and then traverse left to the anchors. Slightly dirty, but easy.

Pitch 5: 5.10a Classic Darrrington style slab climbing, a fun roof as well! 10 bolts.

Pitch 6: 5.10b Exciting and sustained slab climbing with a fun roof. 12 bolts.

Pitch 7: 5.9 Very fun and sustained edge climbing, 10 bolts.

Pitch 8: 5.8 After stepping over a roof, move up easy terrain to an fun corner to easier terrain and the summit!



Single rack of small tcus up to 0.75 camalot. Some extra small gear and a single #3 camalot also came in handy on pitch #1. Double 60 meter ropes. Bring at least 12 draws (not the 10 reported in the guide).


Route Descent: (10 rappels)

To descend, we walked on the ridge ~100ft to a large 10ft high block, dropped to the left of it, squeezed through the trees, and rappelled down Center Stage (which looks awesome as well!). Rappels were straightforward.


Descent: (~3 hours)

To try and avoid the creek hoping madness on the way up, we found a dry streambed that was further away from the creek and walked down that. While the rock was fairly loose, it was much easier to walk down and only required a small section of bush whacking on the way down. I would recommend this for future parties (see map).


Thanks to all the Squire Creek crew for putting up so many awesome lines in such an awesome area! Not to mention all the trail work you guys are doing up there. Cheers! :brew:





Through the trees:



Entering into the basin:



Bush whacking:



Camp (Martha’s Place):



Martha in her place:



Awesome view from camp:



On the way to Roan wall:



Pitch -1:



Pitch 3:



Pitch 4:



Pitch 7:






View from the top of Roan wall:



Salish Peak (next time!):



Purdy (note: Martha's place boulder):



Waterfall buttress:



Heading out:



Backside of Roan (left) Salish peak (right)



At the boulder field before being back on the good trail:



Now this is how to stash a beer!



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Hey Matt-


I was hoping you would post up. Thanks for the great pix- we were up there last w/e and that "dry streambed approach" was not dry by about 2 feet!! Lots of beautiful waterfalls this time of year. Good work- :rocken:




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Nice job.

Nice, too, to hear that the routes are getting some traffic.

Access up that stream bed to "Martha's" can vary wildly in early season depending on the amount of runoff during the day and where it wants to surface. Later in the summer it will be dry all the time.

That anchor you missed at the top of the first (real) pitch can be found by climbing about 12' up to the top of the feature with the two spaced bolts, then exit to the right, climbing over a heavily pruned cedar onto a ledge with a bolted anchor above. From there it's easy to wander up and right to the next pitch via ramping ledges.

Glad you enjoyed it!

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Matt forgot to mention one of the most important details of the trip... Although we managed to properly stash our beer in the creek, we left our socks out in the open at camp. Matt went to bed with four socks laying out to dry. There were only three socks when we woke up in the morning. Despite a massive search on Sunday morning, no sock was found. I believe this may always remain a mystery. And if you happen to find a lone sock in the Squire Creek area, it is not what you think.

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That anchor you missed at the top of the first (real) pitch can be found by climbing about 12' up to the top of the feature with the two spaced bolts, then exit to the right, climbing over a heavily pruned cedar onto a ledge with a bolted anchor above. From there it's easy to wander up and right to the next pitch via ramping ledges.

I looked over in that direction, but I must have missed it. I think if we had found those anchors it would have saved us some time wandering up the gully.



are there sport routes on Martha's boulder? if so what grade and how many?

There are two routes up there: Drilling Martha (10b) and Roofer Madness (11+). Drilling Martha looked fun, while Roofer madness looked pretty hard with a long traverse before heading up a slab.


As for the snaffle hound that took my sock, I hope it doesn't have a keen sense of smell :pagetop:



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