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The Climbing Club • View topic - Mt Erie: Summit and Powerline Walls - 4/7/2012

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 11:00 am 
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Location: Seattle
Aubrey Goldsmith (another UW alum) only had Saturday free and I was still recovering from a bad cold, so when Aubrey suggested a visit to Mt Erie to practice our budding trad skills, I said yes! Neither of us had visited Mt Erie before, but the promise of gorgeous weather and the exploration of a new crag had us departing our Seattle carpool rendezvous point bright and early at 7:15am.

During the course of our day, we discovered that our combined Whitelaw (Weekend Rock) and Smoot (Rock Climbing Washington) guidebooks leave out a lot of climbs. Both of us purchased copies of the stapled 8.5x11" guidebook at the local grocery for $7 on our way home. Sadly, we also learned how the author and "guardian" of Mt Erie (Dallas Kloke) passed away 2 years ago at age 72 doing what he loved -- climbing in the mountains of Washington.

With the sun still warming things up, Aubrey and I descended to the Summit Wall to start our day. Aubrey gear-led the 5.6 Open Book up to the bolt anchors, passing a #1 Camalot that was insanely stuck in the dihedral crack. Neither of us discovered the small leaf or green "cookie" that Polagye and Co encountered on their visit in August 2011 (). We then top-roped the Nose (5.8) and the Joker (5.6) while Aubrey continued to plug gear for practice and feedback. I played around a bit with the fun direct 5.10c variation straight up the overhanging nose. The Nose must have also been recovering from a winter cold, as it still had some drippiness in the "nostril" area.

We then moved climber's right to some more bolt anchors, from which we top-roped Jack of Diamonds (5.6) and Queen of Diamonds (5.8), while Aubrey again plugged more gear. The crux on Queen of Diamonds was the slightly overhanging start. Both of us were glad to be on top-rope and not gear leading that start since protection options are limited. King of Diamonds had some mossy new growth on it, so we opted to pass it up in favor of exploring another crag.

We wandered down to the Lookout Wall, which was busy with three ropes on it. The mostly bolted (except for the start) 5.9+ "Shake, rattle, and hold" climb on the far left looked very tempting, but we passed it up in favor of finding another easy trad climb elsewhere.

On we wandered through faint foot paths and ledges, eventually winding our way to the top of Powerline Wall, where Dan Nelson was topping out on a climb (probably the Intimidator). Some quick directions from him had us scrambling around and down to the base of Crack Crag, which we quickly realized that the Whitelaw and Smoot guidebooks do not include (buy the guidebook at the local grocery). Climber's right of Crack Crag is the Powerline Wall, where several parties had the bolted routes locked up. Deciphering the crag and figuring out which route was which took us a little time, but fortunately the easy-moderate trad route Tyndall's Terror (5.7) was wide open -- how convenient!

After a bit of a scramble to the base of Leaning Crack (5.6, starts from a prominent madrona tree), I led up the lower crack before traversing right to the big ledge from which Tyndall's Terror starts. Leaning Crack had an interesting start due to some bushes growing out of the crack and a cruxy little bulge right at the start with a potentially bad landing underneath should you fall. Take care! I belayed Aubrey up to the ledge before continuing up the very nice little crack that starts Tyndall's Terror. The crack eventually runs out but the route overlaps with the bolted route Scarface (5.9) before diverging right at the top. The climb ends at bolted anchors with rap rings. Our 60m rope was just the right length for rappelling all the way back to the base (at the Madrona tree). Recommend that you make sure you find the middle of your rope and put knots in the ends since the rappel is exactly 30m.

By the time we finished Tyndall's Terror, it was close to 4pm and time to head back to Seattle for evening engagements. But what a day! The sun was shining and eagles were soaring overhead (and making eagle calls). The rock is surprisingly sticky and really fun. Bigger and more challenging trad routes await, but in the near term, I will be cutting my teeth on lots of easy trad routes. Thank you Aubrey for a great outing and patient belaying!

Some pictures:

Aubrey racks up in preparation for leading Open Book:
Image

Looking up the 5.6 Open Book (Summit Wall):
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Adjusting ropes at the base of Jack of Diamonds:
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Beautiful view from the Summit Wall anchors:
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Me leading Leaning Crack en route to Tyndall's Terror:
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Aubrey belays from the base of Leaning Crack (and the madrona tree). Picture taken from belay ledge for Tyndall's Terror. You could climb the whole thing in one pitch, but there would likely be a lot of rope drag:
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Aubrey reaches the belay ledge for Tyndall's Terror. What a day!:
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Aubrey follows Tyndall's Terror:
Image


Last edited by Heather Whitney on Mon May 07, 2012 7:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 5:59 pm 
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Best sunsets of most any crag in the State. Stunning!!!


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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 10:09 pm 
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Rodrigo
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Well done here. I just thought I would add to this thread. Today I was up there and found Leaning Crack to be a fun lead for those learning to lead trad. I think the climb has two moves that could be considered the crux and both are in locations right above ledges where you would certainly deck out. I thought the climb was fun and I would encourage someone that is considering a trip up Leaning Crack to do it despite the route description that states it is highly vegetated.

Also, I'd recommend staying away from anything on Crack Wall if it has rained recently (perhaps a week). Michelle and I tried both of the trad routes there today and it both cases ended up with wet footholds and really wet hands.

One final note, I'd recommend bring a small rack even if you are planning on climbing some of the bolted routes up here. Some of the routes have their first bolts 15-20 feet off of the ground or are really run out.


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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 10:31 am 
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UW Climber
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Location: Warm sunny rock


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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 7:27 pm 
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Chris, yes, I agree the crux of Tyndall's Terror are the first few moves up over the bulge on Leaning Crack that are difficult to protect. Another tricky move with not that great protection was the traverse over to the belay ledge for Tyndall's Terror. To anyone who is interested, the climber is standing just atop the "crux" move on Leaning Crack in this photo:

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