castle Rock, Leavenworth, WA
October 5, 2012
We were in Leavenworth for Oktoberfest and my nephew, Blake, and I took advantage of the great weather to climb Midway on Castle Rock. I had forgotten to pack an extra pair of rock shoes for Blake so we stopped at the Leavenworth Mountain Shop to rent a pair. While Blake was trying on shoes we chatted with two employees about Snoop Dogg's new name: Snoop Lion. Doesn't a jump from dog to lion require some sort of knighthood or other significant appointment? I suppose not!
Now that we were fully equipped, we continued our drive up Highway to the trailhead. Having climbed Kangaroo Temple together a few summers ago, Blake and I were glad for this nice, short approach!
There were two cars at the trailhead but we didn't see any climbers as we arrived at Loggers Ledge. There was a little smoke up the valley as we put on our harnesses and sorted the rack. I'm always amazed at the picturesque setting at Castle Rock with the river, the mountains, and the trees.
It was fun to share this classic route with Blake. On the hike up I told him of how this was the first outdoor rock climb Kim and I ever made with our friend, Jeff. I can still remember how nervous I was at the anchors on top of Jello Tower. At the time I thought for sure this "narrow" pinnacle would topple over with the slightest breeze.
Blake did great on the tricky first pitch and soon we were re-racking in preparation for the "step over" move to b begin the second pitch. I had a quickdraw ready for the piton but when I made the move and got closer, I saw that the piton had been beaten over so the hole was too small to accept a carabiner! Doh! At times like these, I'm glad that the route was well within my comfort zone.
I failed to put a long enough sling on my first piece of protection and the resulting rope drag was enough to make me cut the second pitch a bit short. No problem, though. On fun routes like with no time constraints we were glad to make the climb last a little bit longer. At the belay we took a few moments to enjoy the exposure and the spectacular scenery. I love climbing in the autumn with the crisp air and the color of the trees.
All too soon I was finishing the last pitch which was much shorter than I had remembered. No sooner had Blake arrived at the top when we heard voices and another party arrived having climbed Sabre. After sorting the rack and coiling the rope, we took a self portrait and then hiked back down to our waiting packs and then head back down to the car. Thanks Blake for joining me! Looking forward to many more adventures with you in the Mountains! Prost!