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[TR] Squire Creek - Oso Rodeo 9/8/2012


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Trip: Squire Creek - Oso Rodeo


Date: 9/8/2012


Trip Report:

Having done many of the routes in Squire Creek, Evan and I were excited to try Oso Rodeo to the right of Slab Daddy. We knew all too well that it would be hot up there, and with the predicted high in the mid 80s, we started out pretty early in the morning. We did the approach in about 2 hours including the old road, river crossing, and winding path through the forest to the base of the route. We started out climbing at 6:55 AM with the hopes of cruising as far as we could before the sun hit us. We made it halfway through pitch 7 when the sun crept in, and our pace slowed down after about pitch 9 when the slabs started getting hot. After a short break on the top of 9 and leaving a liter of water each for the descent, we cruised on topping out at 12:51 PM (total 5 hours and 56 minutes). We were both out of water at this point, so the raps went a bit slower and we touched down at ~3:50 PM. Luckily we had stored a couple of beers at the river crossing which not only “rehydrated” us, but made the hike out nice and chill.



The route is definitely long but has pretty descent protection the whole way. There is interesting climbing to be had, and the views are spectacular as usual. Big thanks to DW and the rest of the Darrington crew for putting up these big fun routes!


A few comments:

Pitches 1-3 are cruiser and are a great warm up for the rest of the route.


Pitch 4, the first 5.10- roof was hard to figure out at first, but is a short and well protected crux. We both thought this was at least as difficult as the 10+ above.


Pitch 5 and 6 are easily linked.


Pitch 7, the 5.10+ crux seemed equally difficult as the other 10 sections and is well protected.


For pitch 10, we did not look carefully at the topo and started straight from the top of pitch 9. There is a short 2 bolt slab there that was pretty hard and slick (clocks in around 5.10 or so, bring a small cam). The second bolt on this shorter slab is also missing. You can link the short start pitch into the main pitch 10 with a 60m rope. There is a big pool of super nasty water at the top of the short section, careful not to dunk your ropes in it on the way down.


Pitch 12, as described by Otto, the third bolt is missing but it’s pretty easy to protect with a stopper slung on it and since you are traversing, a fall wouldn’t be too bad anyways. This pitch is fairly sustained 9/10 climbing but enjoyable.


Pitch 14, the 5.8R is not really too bad. You make a 5.8 move near the bolt and then it eases out after about 10 feet.


Pitch 16, the finger crack section is about 5-10 feet above an easy ramp. The crack is clean and takes gear, but is semi contrived with 5.easy ramp right below it.


Pitch 17, the 5.8R is right off the anchor. The 8 section is fairly short and becomes easy before the bolt.


Pitch 18 has the closest thing to a harder run out section. Above the second 5.10- section, it continues to be a bit tricky to the next bolt.


Pitch 19 was awkward and tricky. I am sure baking in the sun wasn’t helping anything, but it definitely was not cruiser like many of the other pitches.


Pitch 20 the stacked blocks are definitely shifty and will come down at some point. Careful on those bad boys. We were both surprised to find out that you finish about 100 feet below the true summit ridge. It seemed like the route would have gone up, but I am sure there was a good reason to stop there.





Gear Notes:

12 draws, 4 of them extendable

Single rack to 2” (you only place some gear, each piece gets used at least once, but most pitches have lots of bolts or are pretty cruiser terrain)

No need for a #4, there is a nice small crack that eats small cams



Approach Notes:

Flip flops for the river, beer in the river for the descent.

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Nice going! It's great to see somebody give it a go! We thought the little gear crack on the first pitch looked good too... then one day following with a big pack I grabbed the piece and watched the flake expand and spit out the little cam... after that I felt better using the bigger pro.


I recognize after 20 pitches you'd like to get somewhere. We talked alot about where it ended. I think you could wander around and get another pitch. I felt that one can wander and thrash in the bushes just about anywhere in washington and very top edge of the wall is a bit shattered. There are blocks hanging in the bushes sometimes and I'd come for the slabs. That's the reason... good or bad.

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I almost never bring a camera nor do I TR anything. However, Matt did talk me into bringing my camera and I did snap off a couple shots at the Grotto... So here ya go Stewball.




After that pic I gave Matt the camera but he failed to take any shots either. You're just so amped, as you can see, to get on all that slab that you can't be bothered with anymore glamour shots. Then by the time pitch 15 rolls around and you've slowed down enough to snap a shot the sun has sucked the life out of you and your only thought is topping out so you can start the raps and get the F@*k off...


As for that first pitch we'd already decided to forgo the boat anchor. I said I'd take the pitch and just roll with it. Light and fast was the goal of the day. I did notice the flake in the right flare was expando, but a nicely slotted green alien cammed all the way was bomber. :)


I was also hoping for a bit of a top out, after leading P19 and hanging in that awful v-slot belay I was expecting a tree crawl and bushwhack to a sitting spot on the ridge for the final pitch. There sure looked like a tunnel through the knarly trees just above the anchor so I got a bit disgruntled when it ended a short 20m or so up from the last belay. I would agree that for all the mileage you get on route the lack of a top out was minor.


On pitch 18 Matt snagged the LA and dumped a piece in the crack too. I think it was just the last set of moves off the final bolt to an edge that got the blood flowing. We were both sweating "just a tad" and would have preferred a couple 5.6 pitches to end the day. I definitely like the occasional pin on route though. A few up there if I remember. One on 11 and 18, another somewhere before 10 and another at P19.


Those last couple pitches were the money though. I definitely put in some work on P19. After pulling that traversing face around the corner I'd hoped it was over but that angled ramp then out onto the arete had some exposure! That finishing layback just wasn't as positive as I'd have liked either... Wow!


Another big route up in the SQ and a great day out. Having a cold beer at the river is always a major bonus and a stellar way to finish any day up there.

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Good notes, thanks for posting. When I did it in one day with chucK, he just soloed the first pitch up to the first bolt! But DavidW and I are always talking about, and trying to implement, safely protected pitches with little chance of decking before the first pro. So, we have to mention the pro possibilites in the description or the topo. In this case, a #5 cam will definitely protect it. With some fiddling, smaller cams can be made to work, at least as "psychological pro".


On the crux of Pitch 7 that day, I got to second it with the pack and did something that worked for me. I hung the pack off the bolt and did the mantle without it! Once on the shelf, you can reach down and get it back on. Sweet!

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