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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 12:49 pm 
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An Old Geezer
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Betsy and I had a date to go climbing and headed to Leavenworth. We didn't get quite the early start we hoped for (this would not surprise those who know us ;) ) and started hiking at 10:30am. Just across the creek, we ran into two climber-lookin' dudes.

"Hey, are you going up to Snow Creek?"

"Yup, did you just come down from there?" They must have taken a quick run up Outer Space before the crowds arrived, I'm thinking.

(To his partner:) "Uh, I guess it's clearing up over there."
"We felt some rain and turned around."

"Oh. It looks good now." Everyone looks up at the sky.

Awkward silence. The two guys exchange glances. Hesitation.

"OK, well, I'll just let you guys think that one over," I say as I hustle on up the trail.

Poor fellas. I wonder what they ended up doing with their day.

We arrived at the base of our route, with several parties crawling all over the wall to the left. I thought White Slabs (5.7, 4p) would be a good intro to Snow Creek Wall for Betsy. If she didn't mind the dirt, veggies, and unbolted belays, then I figured she might enjoy a future trip up one of the more technically difficult classics on the wall. Better for her to ease back into it.

The first pitch started with a totally optional 5.7 slab move and scrambled up to a one-cam belay below the technical climbing. I was not impressed after the first pitch, but the second was not bad: a little hand crack, some stemming, cleaner rock. The belay was a little awkward, with either a sketchy slung boulder or a tree for an anchor.

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Betsy coming up pitch two. Fun so far!

The next pitch was a bit more challenging, with water-worn slippery spots, reachy moves, and mandatory stemming and jamming. Betsy let out a few yells of frustration on her way up, but pulled through with determination.

Pitch four led to the Country Club Ramp, which I thought we could traverse either down to the Umbrella Tree route or left to the top of the formation. Betsy grunted up the final mantel and joined me at the tree belay, where we took a break and discussed options. The Umbrella Tree looked out of reach and traversing up the Ramp was very dirty and unpleasantly unprotectable for a follower.

So we rappelled, leaving a couple slings and a biner on the way down to back up the existing anchors, one of which was a single sling around an hourglass in the middle of a dihedral.

We ran into several climbers on the way out who had seen us climbing and wondered what route we were on. I'd say White Slabs is worth doing, with three full pitches of decent climbing, good pro, easy routefinding up an obvious set of corners, and certainly less of a line-up than the classics. It's too bad that it ends at the Ramp, but a determined party could link up with Umbrella Tree or grovel up the Ramp to the top.

Image
White Slabs goes up right of the white slabs

Betsy did great with the uncertainty and dirtiness that comes with a less-traveled route and even enjoyed herself. Now that she's indulged my urge for more "adventurous" climbing, I owe her some user-friendly cragging time... like when we move to Boulder next year and a hike to the crag means ten minutes out the front door ;)


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:56 pm 
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UW Climber
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Location: Boulder, CO
Sounds like fun. Do you have a job or something lined up in boulder?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 2:38 pm 
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An Old Geezer
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Nope, probably will keep the same job or go to work for a partner company. Betsy's got the clinical portion of her acupuncture program to complete at a school just outside Boulder, that's why we're moving there.


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