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[TR] Darrington - 2nd Comb Buttress - Psalms 61 10/8/2012


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Trip: Darrington - 2nd Comb Buttress - Psalms 61


Date: 10/8/2012


Trip Report:

Finally found someone willing to explore some of the neglected routes up on the Comb in Darrington.


Psalms 61

Hear my cry, O God;

Attend to my prayer.

From the end of the earth I will cry to You,

When my heart is overwhelmed;

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.


The biblical quote seemed to fit the day, especially the approach. The climbing was great, but the approach, although short distance-wise, was a battle of bushwacking.

Whitelaw's description of the approach said 20 minutes with 2 different paths, one to the 1st and 2nd teeth and one to the 3rd and 4th teeth.


We followed what we thought was the trail up to the 1st and 2nd teeth but realized half way through a flagged, old growth forest that we were headed up the wrong trail. Either way, the trail and the flagging vanished and we ended up amidst vine maple hell under the 2nd tooth.


Thrashing and wandering, we ended up on ledges underneath "Desire", the other long 5.10 up the 2nd tooth. we rappelled from this ledge back into the vine maple and scrambled up to the ledge underneath Psalms.



What was supposed to take 20 minutes took an hour!


Once on route, we found fun varied climbing typical of many routes in Darrington. Friction, edges, knobs, flakes and even straight in jamming!






knobs and slab



The flake on pitch 2


The Autumn colors and the gorgeous valley made for stunning backdrops.






Good times :)


This was probably one of the first routes in Darrington where I experienced the rumors of runout slab. Some pitches had estimated 25 feet between bolts on 5.9 terrain. Quite puckering!


It was quite obvious that no one had climbed the route to its completion in years. Although all the bolts were in really great shape, the anchor on one of the upper pitches consisted of ancient webbing on two bolts. I replaced this and added a piece of webbing off a tree at the edge of picnic ledge to start the rappels since the bolt anchors are in a strange place for rappelling.


Once off the route we attempted to descend the 1st and 2nd teeth approach and found much easier travel through a dried up drainage but when it ended so did our path. The last 10 minutes were wandering through mostly open forest. We still never found the start of the trail up to the 1st and 2nd teeth.


It was great to take a new friend and climbing partner who has never been to Darrington out. Looking back, I probably should have chosen a route that had more traffic as an intro to a newbie to D-town but in the end she is excited to go back.


All and all, a great route, but bring your route finding skills and extra gear just in case.


Gear Notes:

Single cams .3-3 with doubles .5-2. Nuts were VERY useful. Could have used some larger cams but not really necessary.

NOT ALL ANCHORS ARE BOLTED!! Bring necessary cord, webbing, etc.


Approach Notes:

Read up on Rattle and Slime or PM me.

The cues to the start of the approach trails (hub cap and webbing on trees) were never found. Bring your route finding skills and notes from rattle and slime.

Edited by mountainsloth
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Nice job getting up there before the rains got you! I've never met anyone other than the Gunstones who have done that route. Back when we were up there often the two approach paths were pretty obvious, alas its probably been almost 10 years since then and the jungle never sleeps. Way to hang in there... thanks for the trip report!

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For some years there was a hubcap at the Three-O trailhead. That was where we got the idea in the first place. For a few years we hung hubcaps at all the trail starts as kind of Darrington tradition. Apparently this offended the forest Taliban and our hubcaps vanished. I'm not convinced that cemented in posts with a reader board and wilderness warnings is an ecological advancement over hubcaps but some people do so love to march in step and wear spiffy uniforms.

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Thanks for the sweet photos of Autumn light and knobby rock. It's a good stoke to continue exploration of the Comb. The only thing I've done there is Over the Rainbow, which is very good; must get back up there next year.


BTW, I was in the general area yesterday, in foot-deep snow at 3200'. The snow started at about 1900'.

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We need someone with a pruning saw to get it done right! Below the Wilderness Area line, of course...


Awesome photos - I don't seem to find that cute of climbing partners, must be my rack.


The trail whacker you need to get stoked on this one is David Young, we did miles of thrashing with him yesterday at Static.

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