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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:11 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2009 2:34 pm
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Location: Seattle
Finally -- My first trip to Darrington! My friend Jaga and I both had activities planned for Sat-Sunday of Labor Day weekend, but we both had Monday free for climbing. I suggested Darrington, and Jaga said yes!

We decided to go check out Three O'Clock Rock. Because Jaga had already climbed Silent Running (5.9) last summer, we opted for the 8-pitch Total Soul (5.10b) instead. We were the first car at the trailhead, and we saw only one other group of 3 on Silent Running while we were climbing Total Soul.

We racked up with only a bit too much gear (next time leave the nuts and #3 behind) and launched off into the vertical realm. We brought my new double-rope setup in anticipation of the required double-rope raps, but ended up also appreciating the setup as a means to reduce rope drag. Both of us loved the system! We could feed rope as needed on the rope up next for clipping while keeping the "money" rope (the rope clipped to the last piece of gear) with minimal slack.

We reach the base of Total Soul:
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A view up our route. We are headed for the top!
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Jaga glides up the super easy pitch 1 warm-up:
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Pitch 1 was so easy that Jaga continued leading up the 2nd pitch. Here's a view up the fun 5.9 second pitch:
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I led out on the runout, but easy 3rd pitch (5.7):
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Jaga led pitch 4 aka "Rubber Soul" pitch, rated at 5.9. Some trad gear required:
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Finally, my turn to lead the 5.10a/b pitch 5 -- spicy!!
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The lead switched back to Jaga for the (in my opinion) even spicier pitch 6! Blank slabs were punctuated by easy overhangs. Time to trust your feet because you won't find much for your hands!
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I led pitch 7 which required a few pieces of gear. Solid fun:
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Jaga nicely finished up the route by leading the spicy last 5.10b slab. She took one slip below the second bolt, but figured it out on the second try. I was a little busy being an attentive belayer, so no mid-climb pictures:
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Exfoliation Dome looked very nice in the afternoon/evening light:
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Time to return to terra firma. Eight double raps and one stuck rope (fortunately on the easy 5.7 pitch) later, we were back on the ground. Notice that the fall colors are already turning!
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Gear used:
2 half ropes
single set of cams (C4s: .5 thru 2 plus one blue Mastercam)
9 quick draws
some slings
2.5 L of water while climbing (could have used more, but fortunately the temperature never got too hot)

Bolts were sparse but in all the right places. All bolts looked to be of the modern 3/8" variety. We used the route topo available on Matt Perkins's Darrington Rock website.

Loved loved Darrington... Gotta get back and check out the other routes there! Highly recommend it.


Last edited by Heather Whitney on Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:03 pm 
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Raging Alpoholic
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Posts: 812
10b slab on your first trip to Darrington, Nice work!


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:17 pm 
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Location: Seattle
Thanks, Val! Oh there was a lot of "paste and pray" footwork happening during those blank 10b slab sections.

Interestingly, both Jaga and I felt like the other person had the more difficult individual 5.10b lead pitch, but I think that has to do with the follower being off-balance while carrying the backpack. It's amazing what a different mindset you have when leading vs following.

Really want to do Silent Running now.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 4:55 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2006 5:43 pm
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I thought that last 10b was spicy too, fell about three times on it. Slab climbing is kinda like flying, being how close to falling you are. Total soul is my favorite there. Silent running felt a lot easier.


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