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[TR] Washington Pass - West Face: NEWS, SW Rib and Hitchhiker: SEWS 6/5/2015

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Trip: Washington Pass - West Face: NEWS, SW Rib and Hitchhiker: SEWS

 

Date: 6/5/2015

 

Trip Report:

Wa pass is one of my favorite places on Earth. Add in some amazing friends, pour in some sunny weather, and a dash of perfect rock climbing and you get perfection.

 

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Pitch 4 of West Face, NEWS

 

Beau, Audie, and I left Leavenworth at about 6 in the morning and headed to Wa Pass to climb The West Face of NEWS. I have done this route before and it is SO GOOD! I led up to the crux pitch in 2 long pitches then Beau sent the crux. He climbed until the cracks petered out and made a belay. We only had a short 5.7 slab traverse between us and the summit. Short and oh so sweet!

 

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Pitch 5-6 of West Face, NEWS

 

BETA: We rappelled about 30 feet to the climber's right of where we topped out. A handful of single rope rappels off of chain anchors will get you very close to the base of the route.

This is in contrast to the guide book suggesting rappelling into the gully that holds snow for a long time.

 

After that I floated across snow to the base of The South West Rib of SEWS. I dropped all my cumbersome, heavy climbing gear and took off on a free solo. A few parties were on route, but I was able to pass them at belays. I was able to downclimb the section that people usually rappel, right before the summit. It felt perfect; the moment meditation and situational awareness of free soloing is kida spiritual. I love making this deep inner connection while in the mountains. I down climbed the South Arete and headed back to my car.

 

The next day was the big one for me. The Hitchhiker! I have wanted to do this route for a couple years, but I never felt strong enough to take it down without help. This year is a little different; the lack of a Winter allowed me to boulder as much as I physically could. Bouldering increased my strength as well as technical ability and it was a lot of fun too!

 

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A View of the Hitchhiker on approach

 

We left the hairpin at about 6 in the morning and traveled on dirt and rocks most of the way to the route. We roped up and started climbing just as another group showed up from the Blue Lake TH approach. We all laughed and joked our way up one of the best routes in the state. Anya and I were even nice enough to leave our #4 in the wide crack traverse for them to clip.

 

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11a slab pitch

 

At first I was a little off put by the wandering nature of this line, but that actually added a lot to the flavor of the climbing. My partner Anya said the route is like a taste tester of beer because each pitch is a little different and almost every pitch is 10+ or 11- (similar alcohol percentages).

 

We flew up the route. We topped out around 1:00, chilled in some shade near the summit and talked about life. The climbing on the Hitchhiker is very fun plus all the bolts and anchors make climb easy and safe. The route is clean, on perfect rock in a beautiful location.

 

BETA: The Supertopo guide is kinda weird for pitch 8. Travel left up a wide but easy track once you almost reached a small tree with slings on it, look up. You will see the bolts for the 5.10 slab.

 

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Mommy and baby goat

 

Gear Notes:

Less is more.

 

Approach Notes:

Snow is consolidated and melting quickly.

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