Alpinism Home

Kangaroo Temple (7572')

North Face (5.4)

July 14, 2008

Dan Zittel and I returned to Kangaroo Temple and this time camped at Kangaroo Pass to break up the long day. My nephews, Cam and Blake, were out visiting from Iowa and joined us!

Wednesday we had a fairly leisurely day of driving up to the hairpin east of Washington Pass, then hiking up the valley to Kangaroo Pass. We stopped for dinner below Kangaroo Pass near the lake which was still frozen over. I was suprised since last year at this time when we were here the lake was completely thawed with no snow in site. And this has been a very warm, dry spring summer so far. The snowpack for this area must have been huge!

A billygoat came to investigate what we were doing as we set up camp at Kangaroo Pass. We designated two rocks on either side of camp as "pee rocks" and hoped that our offering of salt would keep the mountain goat from chewing on our packs and trekking pole straps while we were on our climb the next morning.

After we got camp set up, I rigged a rappel station off some nearby cliffs and had Blake and Cam practice. They had climbed with Kim and I at Marymoor Park, Vertical World and the REI Pinnacle, but never rappeled. After an overview on the ground, we hiked up to the cliff and they both did great.

We also practiced cleaning gear on a simulated climb. With four people and two ropes, I decided to have Blake climb on a figure 8 on a bight 20 feet from the end, with Cam tied in to the very end, and Dan tied into the other rope. This way I could belay everyone simultaneously with Blake clipping past the pieces of protection and Cam cleaning gear on their rope, and Dan would be climbing indpendently on the other rope giving Cam a hand if he had trouble cleaning. Normally we would climb the route in 4 pitches, but to make things simpler I broke down the route into about 6 pitches. It took a little more time, but made life much easier, safer, and allowed me to get some good shots of them climbing up!

We loaded up our packs for the next day then melted some snow from a nearby snowpatch for some hot chocolate that we enjoyed while playing a rousing game of Pigmania (or Pass the Pigs). Dan ended up victorious with an impressive come from behind win, throwing several double snouters! Afterwards we headed to bed with Dan in his uber-light Big Agnes Emerald Mountain tent, and Cam and Blake in my REI Sub Alpine tent. The stars were brilliant and the Milky Way was streaking across the sky as I crawled into my Bibler bivy sack. And we all had a good night.

I awoke early in the morning light with a hummingbird buzzing above my head. My bivy sack is bright green an I must have looked like the biggest flower the hummingbird had ever seen! Billy the Goat was lying down in the dirt underneath a tree about 15 feet from me! I was thankful he had kept all the bad goats away from me during the night.

After a few more cups of hot chocolate and cups of oatmeal, we stashed away all our gear, shouldered our packs and started hiking around the corner to Kangaroo Temple.