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Cragging at Castle Rock

Leavenworth, WA

May 29, 2008

Dan Zittel and I gambled on the "30% chance of rain" forecast and spent a glorious day climbing some classic routes at Castle Rock outside of Leavenworth.

It was raining outside of Monroe as we drove up Highway 2 to Stevens Pass. We weren't too worried because, "the weather is always better in Leavenworth". We were treated to a sighting of a large black bear just on the other side of the pass. As soon as I saw the large, dark, spot on the shoulder of the highway, I immediately thought, "That's a bear!" But it wasn't until we saw it lumbering across the median and into the woods that my mind could truly believe it. With no traffic, I pulled over to the side of the road and Dan was able to shoot a short video of the bear as it ran across the road.

The further we drove east, the better the weather got. As we pulled in to the parking lot below Castle Rock the sun was shining on the mountains across the river. Soon we would be in the sunshine! We were the only car there so we would have our pick of the routes.

We hiked up to Logger's Ledge and then went around the corner and climber Sabre. I forgot about all the twists and curves of the route so to reduce rope drag we broke it up into 3 1/2 pitches. I took a wrong turn at Sabre Ledge and we ended up climbing Cat Burglar (5.6) instead. Kudo's to Dan on climbing great on this more difficult route.

The sun was in full force when we reached the top, so we hiked back down around to our packs and drank some water. There was an Australian (?) couple starting up Sabre and they were having a bit of route finding problems. It was funny, they had radios and were talking to each other. I walked down the trail to where I could see the fellow up at the ledge before the slab and I just yelled up to him where the route went. Technology-schmology! ;)

After a quick drink we hiked back down to Logger's Ledge and climbed the first pitch of Midway up to the top of Jello Tower. Two guys (one named Pete) were climbing the western face of Castle Rock, having started at Angel Crack. Nice work, guys!

I had an evening meeting, so that was all the climbing we had time for that day. We rapped off, then drove to town where we enjoyed a nice cool IPA at Gustav's. What a perfect way to end a perfect day. Thanks Dan for a great day of climbing!