Mother-Daughter Rock Training — Rain or Shine!
Despite the Weather forecast Karen and Keira Howe, a mother and daughter team from the eastside, picked me up at my house and we all drove over Stevens Pass to Leavenworth. Keira, a senior in high school, has been working most of the year on the mental aspects of climbing as her senior project (What a cool senior project!!!).
We arrived in Leavenworth under low lying clouds and a steady rain, but we had come prepared for this. Armed with a big tarp and plenty of Gore-tex, we started off under the tarp at Hammerhead Rock reviewing knots, belay techniques, anchors, top rope strategies, gear placements, and multi-pitch climbing.
The ladies learning knots and trying to stay dry! Ian Nicholson photo
By early afternoon everyone was itching to get in some climbing and apply the skills we had just covered, but the weather hadn’t let up and we still stared out at a steady rain from beneath our tarp. But the motivation was high, so we drove over to the Icicle Buttress and started climbing up a five pitch route named R & D. The rock was wet and at times water ran heavily down the rock in the backs of some of the cracks. There was the occasional unexpected slip because of the wet rock. The rain was steady for most of the climb until our final pitch when it started to pour. As a whole, Karen and Keira’s spirits were so high that they would still call this experience fun and we realized that we were likely the only people climbing in all of Leavenworth!
Wet climbing on R & D. Ian Nicholson photo
It rained through the night but by the next morning it turned into more of a drizzle. After our French toast breakfast the rock was even approaching the description of “dry”. We went to the Mountaineer’s Dome to practice some rappelling techniques before driving over to the February Buttress where we climbed Groundhog Day, which, even though it is two grades harder than R & D, felt easier because it was dry. After that we drove back to Seattle so Keira could continue to work on her Senior project.
Good luck Keira!!!!
~ MM Guide Ian Nicholson
Practicing setting anchors. Ian Nicholson photo
Sending the Mountaineer’s Dome. Ian Nicholson photo