Beautiful Granite in Washington Pass!
Another custom trip proves to be a spectacular way to spend the weekend in Washington Pass! MM Guide Rob Schiesser and returning client Chris Egnatz were ecstatic to tackle an amazing “3 days, 3 big objectives, 23 pitches, and a whole lot of crisp granite.” Congratulations to Rob and Chris for their incredible accomplishment!
“Within a quick couple of emails, and a fair amount a daydreaming, the only real objective we were able to pin down was this: get as much time on high, difficult alpine rock climbing routes as possible on our 3‑day trip. Since the Washington Pass area offers the highest concentration of alpine rock climbing terrain and a short approach, we picked a hefty dose of hard-person classics to attempt.
Pitch 1 on the Hitchhiker, a burly 5.10+ corner. Rob Schiesser photo
“We started the trip off with one of the longest bolted rock climbs in the US. Climbing nearly 1,000 feet up a low laying buttress in the Methow Valley, we got into a great rhythm moving quickly up the nearly 9 pitches of perfect steep limestone-like rock. The 5.11 crux led us through an amazing thin section where balance and breath control made all the difference.
Pitch 2. Bolts led us through another classic corner system. Rob Schiesser photo
“In the morning we awoke to a cool hazy glow and were ready to take our trip into the alpine zone. The Liberty Bell massif offeres many faces of various aspects and pitch after pitch of beautiful sparkling granite. The South Face of the North Early Winter Spire offers a line of crack and face climbing up its 1,100 foot wall. The route we chose, The Hitchhiker (5.11c) seemed to rise directly out of the hairpin turn. Every pitch of this amazing line followed obvious weaknesses and features sometimes even rising steeply over roofs of granite with bulbous bucket-type holds guiding us through what looked to be impossible faces. The crux pitch spit us off the wall laughing with delight as we tested our power endurance in its thin corner-crack feature. As we topped out on the face it took some work to slow down and reflect on the beauty of our position; you just gotta stop and smell the roses, or at least the little Jack Pine near the summit block!
Another classic shot of the Hitchhiker. Mark Gunlogson photo
“On the last day we realized we needed a bit of a warm down. However, more steller hard climbing presented itself and we commited to yet another big hard free climb. The Bovine Roof variation on the southwest rib of North Early Winter spire offered some easy terrain with a killer double roof hand crack. The first pitch sent us out into the empty void whooping for footholds. After the beautiful final handcrack of the Bovine Roof variation we moved into the more comfortable 5.6 slab of the upper spire and moved quickly to the top.
Top of the spire with classic Washington Pass view. Rob Schiesser photo