Sportclimbing at Nason Ridge
September 10, 2010
Marcus and I had planned on doing some more climbing at Index, but when we arrived and saw that the recent rains were still seaping down the Lower Town Walls, Marcus suggested we seek drier conditions by continuing over Stevens Pass to the Leavenworth area.
I was feeling a little under the weather, so Marcus drove while I napped. We arrived at a turnoff on highway 2 and Marcus found the trailhead that leads up to the Nason Ridge cliffs. We made the 20 minute approach and were glad for the drier weather. A friend of Marcus had developed this area, so Marcus knew many of the bolted lines on the overhanging bluff.
We started on a steep line on the left end of the cliffs that felt liked 5.11-. Marcus did a great job leading this pumpy route. There were a few tricky-bits where he had to traverse right for about 4 feet before he could climb back left over a roof. A higher arete also presented some challenging moves before Marcus topped out. Even on top rope, I struggled to get to the top taking several times. This was quite the warm up!
Next we moved over to the route to climber's left and Marcus lead what we believed to be a 5.10- route. Marcus had no trouble on this steep face and soon was at the top. While Marcus was climbing we heard a car alarm going off down below by the highway. After I lowered Marcus off, I hiked back down to the car to make sure everything was ok. It was, thankfully, so I made my way back up to the crag. The sun had now reached the cliff which warmed things up considerably. It had been a little chilly belaying in the shade.
I got to TR the last route and had a much better time! With my Mythos sent off to John Ramuta to be resoled, I was switching between my backup climbing shoes: a pair of Katanas which I used on the first route, and a pair of old school, high-topped Enduros which I used on this easier route! It was fun to be climbing in these shoes again! The first place I ever used them was on Castle Rock, just down the highway.
I was still battling a headache, so Marcus continued the leading by taking on another overhanging route two lines over to the right from our first route. This flowed much easier than the first, but the climbing was a little more difficult. It was maybe a 5.11b/c. We finished the afternoon by getting Marcus on an incredibly overhanging route that goes straight up the steepest part of the face. I told Marcus that I wished I had a helmet cam as I belayed him! When I lowered him off from the chains, Marcus must have been 20 feet away from the start of the route! Nice work, Marcus!
My headache had finally gone away and I didn't want it to return by exerting myself on what for me would be a very strenuous route. So we pulled the rope, packed up our gear and drove back over the pass to the Sultan Bakery where Marcus treated me to an excellent late lunch of soup and sandwiches! Thanks Marcus for another great day climbing!