|Snow Creek Wall
||Trad, 6 pitches, 500', Grade III
|Consensus: || YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI British: HVS 5a [details]|
|FA: ||Fred Beckey, of course, and Ron Nicoli - 1960|
|Season: ||Spring, Summer, Fall|
|Page Views: ||24,721|
|Submitted By: ||jonah on Feb 2, 2006|
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BETA PHOTO: Route topo, as in the description.
I can't believe nobody has added this yet. Probably the most popular route in Leavenworth. Starts at the base of Snow Creek Wall and follows fantastic features up through the main shield to the top. This can be crowded, but it's a good place to chill and look at the view. Pretty easy to identify this route on the wall, because of the long, well-cleaned crack splitting the upper headwall. Follow that crack down to a ledge with a big cedar growing out of it. The regular start is the ledge/dihedral system about 80 feet right and 100 feet down from the end of that ledge.
p1/2: An easy corner/scramble to a ledge. From the ledge, traverse down and left to the huge ledge with the big tree; you'll probably have to do a little easy simulclimbing to do this as one pitch.(5.7). There's also several fun variations starting further left that are a bit harder, but would allow you to pass a really slow party on the first pitch.
p3: From the ledge, either head up a steep crack with juggy flakes (some are a bit hollow) or start from the left up a dihedral. Either way, you end up at a roof. Step out to the right (this is airy and fun, with great pro) and follow the crack out right until it heads up again. Be careful of drag. Belay on a nice sloping ledge. (5.9)
p4. Head up and left on an easy slab peppered with knobs toward a left-facing dihedral. Get into the dihedral (crux of this pitch), top out, and traverse left to another ledge. Watch out for rope drag on this, too. Longer than it looks. (5.8).
p5. The money pitch. Go up the obvious crack that splits the shield. One of the most enjoyable pitches in the world, I think. You will giggle the whole way up. It's 130 feet long (?). You can jam in any of the bomber, perfect jams along the way, or if you get tired of that, step onto the stair-like knobs peppering the face. Sublime. And it ends on a perfect ledge with a separate crack to set an anchor. (5.7)
p6. Keep following the crack. A little "bouldery" crack move gets you off the ledge, then it's cruiser jamming to the top. Getting all the way to the top in one pitch from here will stretch a 60m rope. You may have to stop on the slab to bring up your second before you actually hit the top and trees. Don't sweat it, though. There's room for gear everywhere. (5.9)
From here, there is a rap route, or scramble down the gullies on the left (as you're facing the wall). The descent sucks. Stay in the gully a bit longer than you think you need to before heading back toward the wall, or you will end up on higher ledges near Orbit, etc.
Cams up to a #3 camalot with doubles in hand size will sew this puppy up. Rack o' nuts and some long slings. Sensible shoes for the descent.
Feb 2, 2006
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a
It would be great to have more info about that rap route on the site-- it's the first I've heard of it.
Feb 3, 2006
All I know is you can rap Iconoclast with 2 60s, if slings are in place. Haven't done it myself, though. Anyone out there rapped it?
|By Dave Wise|
From: Pinehurst, NC
Mar 4, 2007
Slight correction to the above description: Pitch 4 is a right facing dihedral rather than left facing.
Stellar route!! Well worth the approach and the descent.
Apr 19, 2007
We didn't think the descent was particularly horrible. No fun, but not too long and not life threatening. My partner led the last pitch, and we simul-climbed for a while to get him to the top. He was stuffed butt-first into a bathtub, giving me a hip belay (it's okay, we do that all the time). Behind him was a mountain goat billy! He hung around watching us for half an hour or so, but never approached us to mooch or threaten. Very cool.
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 11, 2007
5.9 seems like a bit of a stretch for the final pitch. I guess the first few moves are, but the rest of the pitch is 5.7, no more than 5.8. Beautiful stuff!
|By Drew Peterson|
Aug 13, 2007
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a
Amazing route, great location, and don't forget that once you get to the top of the cliff you can hike (5-10 minutes) to the very top of the cliff and get a great panorama of the area. The decent wasn't all that bad; but I was very glad when it was over. Beautiful Alpine route that shouldn't be missed.
Mar 8, 2008
anybody willing to divulge some information on variations of outer space? or submit other routes on the formation?
|By Derek Kiehn|
From: Spokane, WA
Mar 14, 2008
Snow creek wall has over 16 routes on it ranging from .8 to .11c. You should pick up Viktor Kramar's Leavenworth Rock 2nd edition, worth the money, with 1000 climbings in the area
|By Sam Adams|
Oct 8, 2008
We did this route and followed the first three pitches of Remorse. I thought it was a very good alternative to what the entrance pitches had to offer on Outer Space. The second pitch of the alternate on Remorse had a very nice and balancy 5.8 undercling.
Regarding the walk down as opposed to the rap. We walked off and it only took about 30 minutes. Not an easy walk off, but you'd be hard pressed to rap down that quickly I think.
From: ABQ, NM
Oct 9, 2008
Watch you head on the knobs, I almost knocked my self out. Hit my head so hard I don't remember when I did this route, just with my cousin who is not really a climber.
|By Jesse Davidson|
From: san diego, ca
Mar 12, 2009
When I did this route I did a nice direct start. 5.6 scrambling leads into a dihedral directly below the belay at the bottom of the third pitch, with one 10b or so move (with a cam at your chest) at the top. Great start to an even better climb. you do not want to do the descent in your rock shoes, like I did
|By Goran Lynch|
From: Seattle, WA
Sep 2, 2010
Amazing, amazing route! We did this on (roughly) Aug 20, 2010. A few notes:
1) Expect an hour on the snow lakes trail (at a leisurely pace - could certainly be done faster) before the turnoff and another 20-30 minutes to the base of the wall. The herd path to the base of the cliff starts maybe 30ft to the LEFT of the first stream crossing as you face the wall. It's certainly possible to wander around yourself and get up there, but using the trail makes things easier and better for the environment; if you cross the stream and go up and left, you'll find a relatively heavily trodden path.
2) The 5.9 crux traverse is solid 5.9. Nobody talks about it much, but there's some business to it, and that business involved pulling fairly hard on a thin, hollow flake. Solid 5.9, IMO, for sure - the gear's good, but if you're not a consistent 5.9 leader, expect difficulties.
3) The pitches on this route are LONG - we did this with a 60m rope, but having a 70m would have been nice for the first and last pitches. It's easy to miss the traverse left on the first pitch (I missed it, for one), and getting to a good belay ledge in that case happens at the absolute end of the rope with maybe 5 feet of simulclimbing. The last pitch can be hairy on length as well. My partner, shooting for the top, climbed past the top of the crack and onto a slabby section (easy climbing, no gear), and ran out of rope. With me standing just below the last pitch crux, he was able to get a couple of cams into a good seam. A 70m would have been hugely helpful here, especially if we hadn't had radios.
Rough pitch lengths, following the original Beckey description:
2nd: (we did this in two thanks to some routefinding confusion) estimate it would be 50-55m
While the total vertical gain on this climb may be 800ft, the total climbing distance is assuredly nearer to 1100ft. The 500 foot length listed here on MP is most definitely incorrect. Bring a 70 to make life easy, and given the pitch length and wind up high, consider bringing radios as well.
|By Joshua Dreher|
From: Bremerton, WA
Sep 27, 2010
I would have to agree. Just from rough rope lengths this climb ascends at least 700 ft with much more actual climbing length to it. DO NOT descend this puppy in the dark if it can be avoided. My fiancée and I got caught behind some slow parties and ended up getting to the top in the dark with only one headlamp. The rock cairns helped us get past the initial steep stuff but they eventually led us astray and we ended up way to high. We raped twice off of trees and that after some dangerous traversing. I had done Outer Space three times before but this was the first time in a few years. I knew to go lower than one thinks but without a good range of sight it was hard to tell where to head left.
|By Brad Leneis|
May 15, 2012
Climbed this yesterday via a pretty fun three-pitch semi-direct start. Pitch 1 - start about 60-70 feet left of the original start and angle up and left along ramps with occasional 5th class moves, headed in the direction of the prominent corner at the left margin of the roof under the left side of 2-tree ledge. About 12 feet right of the start of the corner there is a solid 2-bolt belay anchor with many slings. I think this is the first pitch of RPM, and the 5th class moves are maybe 5.8. With all the traversing the pitch ends up being 180 ft or so. Pitch 2 -- Traverse left and a little down into the corner -- 5.8ish with an ok cam behind a flake -- and then jam and layback up the beautiful 5.8 corner. At the top of the corner, instead of breaking right through the roof at 5.10 -- the line of RPM -- head left around the corner (a large knob appears for a foothold just when needed; use a double-length sling on your last piece in the corner) and hand traverse out along a line of juggy flakes. The flakes thin out into a crack which provides good gear, and then a spicy move (5.9/10a-ish) left on knobs leads to a sloping sandy ledge. Up and right a few moves to a better belay. 120 feet or so. Pitch 3 -- up a big flake into a corner, then up under or over a chockstone into a chimney at the left edge of 2-tree ledge. 5.4 or so. I think this joins up with Pitch 3 or Remorse. 70 feet. This variation allows you to climb the really nice RPM corner but escape the roof at a lower technical grade, and the airy traverses are a nice warmup for the very airy traverse right above 2-tree ledge. With all the traversing and belay exchanges, it probably takes longer than the original start, but allows for more actual rockclimbing. The rest of the route is stellar -- I thought the right-trending traverse off 2-tree was the highlight of the climb, even better than the 300 foot splitter above.
|By chris harkness|
Jun 15, 2012
Just did this route on June 12, 2012. Very crowded even for Tuesday, but great route. I'll add some beta here so I hope this helps:
Drive 4.2 miles up Icicle road to trail #1553 in a pullout on the left and park. Hike the main trail for about 30 minutes steep uphill and look for the obvious huge wall begin to appear across the valley and on the right. As you come parallel with this wall, start looking for a nice big cairn with a stick in it on the right. Once found, look for the next cairn on a log crossing the creek. Cross there, and follow cairns, and the trail to the base of "Outerspace".
Route (just the direct start):
We did the direct start, a nice, but committing 5.8 left traversing lead. P1 climb low 5th slabs to where you will need to start traversing left and belay here somewhere. P2 head left across a 5.7 slab to gain a flake undercling traverse (about 15 feet below the huge roof). Keep traversing left (5.8) until you can scramble up to the big ledge at the base of the left facing dihedral. P3 climb the dihedral (5.7) to a ledge at the base of the classic P4 right angling traverse. This is where the alternate easier start leads to from the right. You'll probably just following a line of climbers up this whole route anyway.
We rapped the route in 5 double rope rappels. First rap station is visible from the topout of "Outerspace" about 80 feet left and down the slab a bit. (I had someone belay me to it, but probably not necessary). As you rap, stay on the main head wall angling climber's right as you go. Eventually you'll reach a rap station at a small tree about 240' up the wall. You can either rap to the 5.0 slabs and downclimb the last 40', or look for another rap (I am told) about 40' below the small tree so you can reach the ground.
From: North Vancouver, BC
Sep 5, 2012
|By Thad Arnold|
May 23, 2013
From what I can see, the ledge listed in the description (I think it's called "2 tree ledge" in the guide) with the Cedar on it no longer has any trees on it, so don't look too hard for them.
The descent was well-cairned but not over-cairned when I was there last week, but the approach from the main trail was not well-cairned.
|By Nate Ball|
From: Taipei, TW
Aug 3, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a
A few notes on the original route...
To approach, take the Snow Creek Trail until directly across from the wall. Keep an eye down towards the creek - a well worn trail should make itself apparent before too long. Locate the line before you approach. You're looking for a long, white-worn splitter crack which runs down the shield on the top-middle-left part of the wall, then down and right to another white-worn traversing crack that goes down and left, then straight down to a big ledge with trees. You will approach this from just to the right of big dark gully.
The thimble berries are really exploding right now. We saw a young but solitary black bear gorging himself on them early in the morning, just off the trail. He gave us the most complacent of looks as we passed not twenty feet away.
Cross the creek over a log, and continue through bushes, then into the boulder field, across and over more logs, following cairns upwards to a dirt trail, which leads to some loose scrambling, and eventually the base of the wall. Locate the dihedral to the right of the gully. If you are scrambling for 100 feet up dirty ledges to a pine tree with a rappel sling, you're too far right.
The first pitch starts about 20 feet right of the big bush-filled garbage chute that comes down from the Tree Ledge. You can scramble the first 30 feet. From a nice ledge, start up the rampy dihedral. When you can see a tree above (it will probably have rap slings), at the end of the dihedral, setup a belay. Stop about 20 feet below the tree, at a small alcove. If you scramble, this pitch is about 45m long and is easy 5th.
Pitch two, move up a finger crack (5.7) to a ledge with two old bolts. Traverse along the slab, passing a big chockstone, heading towards the gap that separates the slabs from the big, obvious ledge to the left. Hop this gap, climb over more chockstones, walk along, and hop down onto the main ledge, with the obvious crack systems of pitch 3 above. Belay from nice cracks, with rap slings on a tree nearby. Close to 60m, little/no gear.
Pitch three, sweet climbing with mostly detached but seemingly solid horns and flakes. After you make the step right around the corner, BEWARE! The juggy flake is super-loose, flexes under body weight, and could go at any moment! If this goes, this pitch will probably bump up in difficulty. The pitch remains exposed, and ends at a sweet ledge with another tree (and rap tat).
Pitch four, up the slab, onto the small featured buttress with fixed piton, and then onto the slabby face with crack above. Try to minimalize placements here, and use long runners for any early pro (at least 1'; 2' for the slabby face). Make a long leftward traverse towards the dihedral and another fixed piton (no gear, easy). Grunt your way to the top of this and downclimb (5.8), or step left around it about half-way up (5.6, hard to see). Belay at a ledge below the hand crack... rope drag will probably be gnarly.
Pitch five, straight up. I used smaller stuff early, but didn't use anything smaller than 1.5" above that (even with sparse placements and six cams from 1.5-2.5"), and ran out about 30 feet from the top, but this is the easiest climbing on the pitch - lots of chicken heads, and less vertical.
Pitch six, bouldery move off the deck protected with thin stuff, but you can step further out to gain really big features. The difficulties end quickly, and you find yourself swimming up this beautiful crack. At one point you are forced to hand- and foot-jam for lack of features - FUN! With a 60m rope, you should belay at another tree.
Pitch seven, continue to the top. I placed one .75" cam before stepping up onto the super-easy knobby face, pulling an overhanging move on huge holds to the final slab, and belayed on a rock bench at the top.
We followed cairns all the way down, but must have lost them right as you reach the skirt of the base slabs, because we ended up having to do one short rappel off of tree roots after descending a narrow, loose gully. Maybe we should have gone right here. After making this rappel, we regained a vague trail, which dissipated into the bushes and scree, but we skirted the slabs and soon arrived at the approach trail. From top to the creek, probably two hours.
Sep 2, 2013
The last two pitches make it all worthwhile. The third pitch of giant flexing flakes really adds to the pucker factor. Do your best not to pull out on them. If you do want to lever them with your body weight, try to move your belayer off to the side so they don't get crushed when you peel one of the big guys off.
|By geoff georges|
From: Seattle, Wa.
Sep 17, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a
There are several approaches to 2 tree ledge (with no trees).
The original start up ledges and corner till it runs out at a bush and leaves you on a ledge where you have to down climb to a ledge with 1/4" rusty anchor, or better than that go up steep finger crack about 20' below old bolts.
The Remorse start is more in the grade and better climbing.
RPM is fun if you like steep 10b cracks.
Leaving 2 tree ledge there are 2 options. The original is on the left end with an old Bong, over near the bush with slings you can go straight up to the traverse, also 5.9.
At the top of pitch 4 when you finish the RFC there is a bolt that is helpful as a high directional when belaying the 2nd up at the base of pitch 5.
|By tanner jones|
Sep 20, 2013
started at 1pm, took us about 2 hrs from the car to the base of the route. we ended up doing the last two pitches by the moonlight, which was nice since they are very straight forward. on the last pitch the crack ends and you can go either left or right on some rad chicken heads. i went right and had no problems, but there was no pro. it was another 2 hrs for the descent in the dark (although the moon was out) and the cairns were perfectly spaced. from car to car it took us about 11 hrs and only about 5 of it was spent climbing. expect runouts. we had a great time!
|By Richard Shore|
Nov 4, 2013
The flake at the P4 crux is not nearly as bad as some make it out to be. I reefed on the thing with my 200lbs; little-to-no flex at all. If it hasn't gone yet with hundreds of people climbing the route, it won't likely go anytime soon.
The P5 splitter with chickenheads ranks among the top 5 pitches I have ever climbed. Simply amazing.
Linked P1-2 of the Remorse start with about 15' of simul climbing on a 60M. Done this way, it was still a full 6 pitches plus a short 30' pitch to top out.
|By John Gassel|
From: Boston, MA
6 days ago
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a
We lost about an hour on the approach to this so I figured I'd share what we learned (on the way out!).
The climbers trail off the hiking trail is not totally obvious. There were a lot of things that could be a trail or could just be some rocks. We ended up passing about 1/4 mile too far and found a great tree spanning the river to cross. This put us in the middle of a long bushwhack though.
The trail really is DIRECTLY ACROSS from the route. Where you descend off the hiking trail is a little rocky to start so it's hard to see there's a footpath there unless you're really looking for it.
We built a pretty large and obvious cairn there on our way out as of 6/28/14.