Fall Rock Climbing in Leavenworth
Early October often provides good weather in the Northwest. MM Guide Ian Nicholson and climber Reid Walker found a window of good weather in Leavenworth long enough to get in a great custom one to one rock trip to introduce Reid into the world of outdoor climbing. Custom trips are not only great for catering to your own personal objectives, but the one on one training you can receive from your guide will push you farther than you expected to go! Ian writes about Reid’s awesome successes on his first climbs on Leavenworth rock.
Placing gear. Ian Nicholson photo
“Reid Walker picked me up at my house in Seattle at 7 am under cloudy skies and light rain. We drove over Stevens Pass where we were greeted by far nice weather in the quaint Bavarian town of Leavenworth. The town was packed with hundreds of people dressed in traditional lederhosen for Oktoberfest.
“We grabbed one of the last available campsites at 8 Mile Campground, then drove over to Barney’s Rubble, and under a small overhang we spent the morning learning knots and about our equipment. Later in the morning the clouds broke and the sun poked out, so we hopped back in the car and drove to the Mountaineer’s Dome, where we went over belaying, rappelling, equipment, placing natural protection and equalizing anchors, among other things. We also rock climbed; this was Reid’s first time ever climbing outside and he did great! So great, in fact, that our next stop of the day was the famous 500-foot tall Icicle Buttress, where we climbed one of the oldest technical rock routes in the state, the 5‑pitch R & D.
Equalized anchor set-up. Ian Nicholson photo
The brief chimney section on R&D. Ian Nicholson photo
“After R & D, we went back to our camp and enjoyed a fabulous burrito dinner and some well-earned sleep. In the morning, I made eggs, bacon and hashbrowns. After breakfast we walked across the street and climbed the Tree Route, a popular 4‑pitch 5.6 that finishes on a notorious off-width crack on the third pitch.
On top of Icicle Buttress. Ian Nicholson photo
“Reid tweaked his right arm on the approach while stepping over a tree on the way to the climb, so we took it easy for a while in camp after the Tree Route. But Reid’s excitement began to grow, so we headed to the February Buttress and climbed Ground Hog Day: II, 5.7, 3 pitches. His arm was really bothering him so we went back to camp and not 20 minutes later, it began to rain.… HARD.
Some wide crack climbing. Ian Nicholson photo
“Despite the heavy rain, I made a spectacular dinner. Pancakes from scratch in the backcountry. I let the dough rise in my pocket and cooked it over the stove. It rained all night and in the morning we had a wonderful pancake breakfast and covered some new skills, in addition to reviewing others we had gone over the previous day. What a great introduction to rock for Reid, I hope to see him out on the granite again soon!”
Looking down on the Wenatchee River from Groundhog Day. Ian Nicholson photo