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KyleJ

Best routes to learn to climb cracks in the NW

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I haven't found the rock quality to be suspect at Royal Columns, and I still think it offers the most concentrated collection of moderate crack climbs I've encountered in the NW, but YMMV.

 

Be honest, do you fall on gear there? I've only climbed there a couple of times, but I definitely was not falling.

Yes, I have, and yes, I do. And I've never ripped a piece, although I did invert (and ruin) a TCU on Developing Arms cuz I blew the exit move and the cam was about 10 feet below the top. So it was a whipper, nothing huge, but big enough to trash a cam. Royal Columns (and The Bend) rock is solid. Vantage almost killed me. Fucking chossgarden...

 

:pagetop:

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I haven't found the rock quality to be suspect at Royal Columns, and I still think it offers the most concentrated collection of moderate crack climbs I've encountered in the NW, but YMMV.

 

Be honest, do you fall on gear there? I've only climbed there a couple of times, but I definitely was not falling.

 

You're going to miss out on a lot of great climbing if you don't think the Tieton is solid. Forget about Red Rock and J-tree for starters as well as Washington pass and the Stuart range.

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I worry more about the rattlesnakes at Royal Columns then the rock quality. The rock is generally great! The snakes live at the top and only get pissed if you go there,ha!

 

Here's Lucky Larry getting er done at RC this summer.

OPB_Filming_and_Tieton_Canyon_144.JPG

 

and here is the greeting party at the top.

OPB_Filming_and_Tieton_Canyon_138.JPG

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I haven't found the rock quality to be suspect at Royal Columns, and I still think it offers the most concentrated collection of moderate crack climbs I've encountered in the NW, but YMMV.

 

Be honest, do you fall on gear there? I've only climbed there a couple of times, but I definitely was not falling.

 

You're going to miss out on a lot of great climbing if you don't think the Tieton is solid. Forget about Red Rock and J-tree for starters as well as Washington pass and the Stuart range.

 

That's just silly. Tieton is no where near as solid as any of those places except maybe some of the softer sandier stuff at red rocks. I've climbed at all of those locations pretty extensively. Devil's Tower is the only columnar basalt area I've climbed at where the rock seemed really bomber to me. I've also pulled of more "holds" in my 4 days of climbing at tieton and vantage than in the rest of my climbing career. That might have to do with my chunky proportions, but it still seems telling.

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and here is the greeting party at the top.

OPB_Filming_and_Tieton_Canyon_138.JPG

 

aah isn't he cute! My wife nearly picked up a 5 footer there a couple years ago on accident (he was curled up 1 ft off the trail between the trail and her pack). He didn't even rattle at her :P

 

 

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Oh! And you can help me clean Red Dihedral and Jungle Safari out at Carver this summer. That should be fun :rawk:

 

Adam, that's funny you mention Red Dihedral. That's been on my need-to-clean list for two years. I guess I'm not the only one that thinks it's a worthwhile project.

 

 

Chad

 

Hey Chad! I think I saw you at the Circuit the other week.

 

I'm up in your neck of the woods now; near PCC Cascade. Hit me up iffens you find yourself itching to get out as I have four day weekends now. Fit work for five courses in there some how.

 

To not drift too much- Kyle, check this out!

http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1056141/Trout_Creek_this_weekend_carpo#Post1056141

jump into the wack world of crack at the best place and with a more than competent leader (from what I have heard since I've never climbed with him)

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The crack climbing at Royal Columns at Tieton is ideal for a new crack climber. I've seen snakes in the sun at the base, but not on top. There is frequently loose rock there, but only as you top out. I guess the tops of the columns weather first?

 

The cracks themselves are stellar. Where else can you find 5 cracks together under 5.8? The cracks undulate in and out, forming pockets that are perfect for hexes and stoppers. That 5.7 route called "mushmaker" is superb. Takes a ton of hand and fist sized gear, and it's basically a splitter, so you climb the crack or you don't get up. Also the cracks at Tieton don't have as much of that fractured look that is such a problem at Vantage.

 

As long as you are extra cautious as you top out, and avoid the obvious loose blocks all will be good.

 

I can't speak to the sport climbing at Tieton as I've never done any of it, but I have friends who love it.

 

photos and trip report here about Tieton

tieton tr

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One unusual feature of tieton is that cracks "undulate" as Mark put it and are often wider inside than on the surface. This is a good place to bring your hex's, or borrow some from a friend. In many placements they are more secure than cams.

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I worry more about the rattlesnakes at Royal Columns then the rock quality. The rock is generally great! The snakes live at the top and only get pissed if you go there,ha!

Not just at the top. There's a nest of young'ns every year just beyond the elk fence gate on far climber's right of the wall. It's in a big pile of rocks at the last switchback where the trail gets close to the base of the wall where you cut left and head towards the base of the climbs. And they don't have buttons developed yet, so they won't make any noise before they bite you. The pile of rocks makes a natural "handrail" as you climb the "stairs" to the base of the wall, so just beware...

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I just wanted to give an update, as you all gave me lots of great suggestions.

 

While not getting out as much as I had hoped, I think I'm still making some good progress on my crack skills. I have been trying to get on cracks at Rocky Butte when it is dry. I try to get a couple of laps on the new cracks at PRG whenever I get the chance. I have learned to love perfect hands and despise thin hands. Finger locks aren't really uncomfortable anymore.

 

I also was able to do my first trad lead a few weeks ago on Cinammon Slab at Smith. I am definitely hooked. I will probably start doing some aid just to practice placing gear.

 

Just wanted to say thanks to all of you for the suggestions. I still have a bunch of climbs on my list to finish by the end of the year. Hopefully I will get a chance to get out to Beacon when it opens!

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