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Which to climb in 4 days

Original Post
Waiwai Kim · · Buffalo, NY · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 0


I'll have 4 days in Seattle in August that I can use to climb. I'll be alone during this time, so I'll have to look into finding a partner or hiring a guide. I climb 5.12 on sport, 5.10 on trad, just started ice climbing. I'm keen on climbing a bigger route (maybe one of the 50th classics climbs in North America?). Do you have any suggestion on which one to spend my time and money on? Maybe a course on mountaineering if it provides me with knowledge and skills that enable me to go on an unguided climb in the future? Or should I focus on bigger rock routes that utilize my current skill set? 


FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

Contact these people to discuss possibilities. Highly recommend.

Edit: This guide service is based in Mazama, so Washington Pass and Fun Rock is in their backyard.

Ashort · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 55

I suggest spending that time around washington pass and mazama. There you will have good trad climbing in an alpine setting at the pass and sport climbing in mazama. You can probably find partners for those areas as well. 

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 95

August is a really good time to be in Washington, especially for spending time in the North Cascades. You can generally expect dry and stable weather at that time of year. The low elevation crags will fairly hot, but the alpine rock areas should be perfect.  In terms of what to do, it really just depend on what motivates you. If you have an interest in mountaineering, a 4-day time block would work out fairly well to do an introductory guided course on Mt. Baker. Alternatively, you could hire a guide to take you up a big alpine rock climb on Mt Stuart. This would be a great outing.

If you just want to find a partner and go do alpine rock climbs, Washington Pass offers high quality long routes in an alpine setting, but with roadside access. Long routes can be found from 5.easy to 5.hard, with many good options for the 5.8-5.10 trad climber. In short, it is awesome. The SW Rib of South Early Winter Spire is highly reccomended as an introduction to the area for someone solid on 5.8 multipitch trad. Great climbing, lots of exposure, finishes at a proper summit, and fairly simple approach. If that route goes easily, there are plenty of harder routes to step up the diffculty the next day.

Washington Pass can also be easily combined with cragging at Mazama (to the east of the Pass) or Newhalem (to the west of the Pass). Mazama offers good easier sport climbing, with the best routes ranging from 5.easy-5.12a, and also has some long fully bolted sport multipitches. Mazama will be very hot in August, though. Newhalem offers cooler temperatures, afternoon shade, and very high quality 5.11-5.12 sport climbing on granite. Newhalem (look up "Ryan's Wall") is covered in detail on Mountainproject. A couple days of long routes at the Pass and a couple days sport climbing at Newhalem or Mazama would be an awesome trip.

For guidebook, check out "Cascade Rock" by Blake Herrington. Very good guidebook that covers most of the good multipitch options in Washington, including Washington Pass. Thumb through the book and see what is appealing.

Final option to consider- At WA Pass, you really need to arrange a partner beforehand. If finding a WA Pass partner is tricky, you could also just head up to Squamish. It is only 3.5 hours north from Seattle (do the drive late in the evening if possible to avoid traffic), there is much good multipitch trad, and it is really easy to just show up solo and find a partner in the campground.

Tim Page · · Bend · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 5

4 days in the North Cascades in August sounds awesome. However, the weather can be fickle and figuring out approaches can be challenging, depending. That said, using a guide service can definitely assure you that you will get something done in your small window. They will know the current conditions and weather patterns and will have alternate objectives in mind. Previously mentioned services. American Alpine Institute out of Bellingham, and many others are available. Timberline Mountain Guides out of Bend Oregon are great too, they run some trips in the Cascades and also have the Oregon, beta. If you want straight forward amazing granite to use your current skills Squamish in Canada is pretty close too.

Z Winters · · Mazama, WA · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 220

I live in the Washington Pass area. Shoot me a pm if you want recommendations for climbs, guides, conditions, etc in this area.

Most things are game on in August in the NW, it just depends what you're stoked on. For the best pure rock, go to Squamish. For great alpine rock, WA Pass (easy to get a lot in) and the Stewart Range (longer approaches, more backcountry feel) are where it's at. Lots of options to get a more rugged Cascade mountaineering type experience, just depends what you're into.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Pacific Northwest
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