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Yosemite training in Washington


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Lohan · · Rome, GA · Joined May 2014 · Points: 265

I am working in Ellensburg for the next 4 weeks, until Ieaving for a month in Yosemite. I'll have weekends free and hangboarding/running in the week. This is my first time in Washington.

Where are the best granite areas that best prepare you for the valley style? Aka cracks, slabs, granite voodoo. Bonus if there is easy access for TR solo, or if you wanna partner up for big volume days. Ideally within 2 hours, not more than 3. Index looks great but wet...

Also would love to hear some trail recommendations in the area.

Thanks!

Max Tepfer · · Bend, OR · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 1,702

Index is your option. 

Lohan · · Rome, GA · Joined May 2014 · Points: 265

Max, it definitely seems like Index is the best spot, but does anything stay dry there? Seems to be raining indefinitely there...or is the forecast not to be trusted?

Billcoe · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 855

You're close to both Levenworth that has great granite free routes and is much dryer than Index, and Tower Rock, which has an easy but superlong 14 pitch aid route if you are looking to dial in and speed up your aid systems. I've TR soloed the lower pitches of Rapunzel at Tower Rock when wet (2 ropes to rap off) and it's exciting but do able and super fun.

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 515
Lohan wrote: Max, it definitely seems like Index is the best spot, but does anything stay dry there? Seems to be raining indefinitely there...or is the forecast not to be trusted?

Many routes dry fast with a slight breeze. Lots of access to TR solo with questionable weather, I've done quite a few pitches on UTW in the rain before. 

MikePond · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 80

I don’t know what grades of climbing you’re targeting in Yosemite, but assuming you’re looking to up your crack game, there are a few pitches in Leavenworth hat are continuous cracks. You could do a million laps of Classic Crack and the one right of it, Damnation Crack, stuff at Midnight (kind of a pain to get to, and hard to get many pitches), other crack pitches...

Hyperspace on Snow Creek.
Colchuck Balanced Rock, Dragons of Eden in the Enchantments. 
Definitely Index.

Overall I’ve found that Valley crack climbing is longer, burlier, wider, and more sustained than the climbing in WA. Good luck!

slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,107

it is kind of hard to get great transfer to yosemite at washington crags.  Index is sort of close, but not really.  yosemite is definitely more physical, there is a lot more wide climbing, and it is a lot more slippery.  i think climbing at yosemite is typically more difficult in general (although i am sure a million index locals will disagree as they seem to think it has the stiffest ratings around, which i think is kind of funny).  of course there are some exceptions, but i think this is pretty accurate.  the layout for weather at index can be problematic as well.

i think castle rock would likely be a better bet. leavenworth in general is probably a better bet, although it is difficult to find crags that are stacked with long, continuous, physical routes.  most of the crags have one here, one there sort of thing.

squamish is probably your best overall option, although it is light on wide climbing, the rock is grippy, a lot of it is less steep, and the grades are way softer.  but at least you won't be doing the same 5 routes over and over.

(actually, now that i think of it washington pass could be your best bet if the weather isn't shit).

Kyle Elliott · · Everett, WA · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 1,136

What will you be climbing in Yos? Style, grade, length of route, and so on. 

Max Tepfer · · Bend, OR · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 1,702

I'm far from local, but I have a number of friends who are quite local to Index.  From talking to them it seems like if you can cherry pick your days and (like Nick said) are willing to go when the forecast is slightly marginal, you can be pretty productive.  Obviously it's not the valley, but it is granite trickery and has a ton of volume/variety if you get off the beaten path.  (with the caveat that there's not much in the way of proper jamming)  Trout Creek (further drive) would be your option for that.

Lohan · · Rome, GA · Joined May 2014 · Points: 265

Thanks for all these responses! Castle Rock and Washington Pass seem like really sick areas I hadn't heard of. I know Squamish would be great, but it's just too far for me. Also sounds like index is worth chancing despite rain? Perhaps I can find dry rock somewhere on Upper Town Wall.

Thanks again, would love to hear more and if anyone needs a partner on weekends please reach out! 

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 515
Lohan wrote: Thanks for all these responses! Castle Rock and Washington Pass seem like really sick areas I hadn't heard of. I know Squamish would be great, but it's just too far for me. Also sounds like index is worth chancing despite rain? Perhaps I can find dry rock somewhere on Upper Town Wall.

Thanks again, would love to hear more and if anyone needs a partner on weekends please reach out! 

Lohan, based on your ticks, I would say it's very well worth your time checking out the lines on the east face of liberty bell. Best rock at WA pass, shade in the afternoon, and it's stacked with high quality lines. Trends a lot more to face climbing with minimal jamming though. 

slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,107

unfortunately i was a dumbass and didn't look at your ticklist before my previous post. given your ticklist, index is where you would likely best spend your time if the weather works.  most of the routes you would likely be chasing at yosemite would be more in the filet mignon sizes, as opposed to the chuck roast sizes.

Lohan · · Rome, GA · Joined May 2014 · Points: 265

Liberty Bell looks unreal! As does Index, but I'd never heard of Liberty Bell. I also checked out Trout Creek's description, and that seems like a great place to jam your heart out. Far, but I'm growing increasingly willing to drive a bit farther...

Deciding on one of these places would be a lot easier if someone was interested in joining for a weekend... ;)

slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,107

liberty bell is really fucking awesome. you should check it out. you will shit when you see it!

blakeherrington · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2006 · Points: 1,071

It's fall already. Liberty Bell at shady 7,000' has de-facto closed down for the year so it's not relevant.

Lohan it looks like you are from the Southeast and mostly climb overhanging or very overhanging sporty sandstone face climbs. Do a "premortem" on your own Yosemite trip and imagine what is most likely to be a personal crux based on what you are bad at and what you want to do there.

Hauling? Offwidthing? Meat and potato crack climbing? Slabbing?

Whatever the answer is, post it here, and surely folks will help direct you to somewhere you could practice it.

If your answer is any form of crack climbing, I'd go to Midnight Rock. You could easily get in a couple laps on some of the most Yosemite-like cracks anywhere in Oregon/Washington in the 5.10 to 5.12 range, and that crag is only climbable about 8 weeks a year with now being ideal. The drive from Ellensburg will be 1/4 as long as Trout and an hour less than Index (though a longer walk).

Lohan · · Rome, GA · Joined May 2014 · Points: 265
blakeherrington wrote: It's fall already. Liberty Bell at shady 7,000' has de-facto closed down for the year so it's not relevant.

Lohan it looks like you are from the Southeast and mostly climb overhanging or very overhanging sporty sandstone face climbs. Do a "premortem" on your own Yosemite trip and imagine what is most likely to be a personal crux based on what you are bad at and what you want to do there.

Hauling? Offwidthing? Meat and potato crack climbing? Slabbing?

Whatever the answer is, post it here, and surely folks will help direct you to somewhere you could practice it.

If your answer is any form of crack climbing, I'd go to Midnight Rock. You could easily get in a couple laps on some of the most Yosemite-like cracks anywhere in Oregon/Washington in the 5.10 to 5.12 range, and that crag is only climbable about 8 weeks a year with now being ideal. The drive from Ellensburg will be 1/4 as long as Trout and an hour less than Index (though a longer walk).

Thanks for a very thoughtful response. 

More detail on my experience, weaknesses, and goals in Yosemite:

I've been to Yosemite once each year the last 5 years. Always in summer, so I'm excited to be there in October this year. I've climbed lots of the moderate in a day stuff. Done the Nose a couple times, once hauling in 2 days and once IAD. Hauling I can handle, but isn't relevant since I'm only hoping to do routes IAD.

Immediate weaknesses that come to mind...
  • Stamina - ability to climb physical valley pitches all day long 
  • Offwidth - done moby dick and sacherer cracker, but could barely move an inch on the generator crack. Never tried the Monster, but am likely to. 
  • Slab - I have done relatively well on sandstone slabs but really don't have much experience on granite slabs. I've climbed the freeblast but I fell on the bolt ladder pitch. 
I prefer keeping my goals to myself but generally speaking I want to climb harder free routes around the valley IAD.
 
This weekend I ended up in Smith for a day (didn't realize the craggin classic was happening) and trout for a half day. Trout was phenomenal. Focused on mileage and onsighted lots of 10s and some 11s. One offwidth called rodeo I think? Felt hard and like something I could improve at.
Marlin Thorman · · Spokane, WA · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 471

Glad you stopped by Trout!  That place is awesome.  I think Rodeo Crack is probably my favorite offwidth there.  If you get back try out Muffin Top, Redside and Gas Chamber.  They are all great offwidths as well.

For slab climbing you might look into Darrington area.  I have heard really good things about the route Slab Daddy on the Squire Creek Walls.  

Good luck in the valley!

blakeherrington · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2006 · Points: 1,071
Lohan wrote:

Thanks for a very thoughtful response. 

More detail on my experience, weaknesses, and goals in Yosemite:

I've been to Yosemite once each year the last 5 years. Always in summer, so I'm excited to be there in October this year. I've climbed lots of the moderate in a day stuff. Done the Nose a couple times, once hauling in 2 days and once IAD. Hauling I can handle, but isn't relevant since I'm only hoping to do routes IAD.

Immediate weaknesses that come to mind...
  • Stamina - ability to climb physical valley pitches all day long 
  • Offwidth - done moby dick and sacherer cracker, but could barely move an inch on the generator crack. Never tried the Monster, but am likely to. 
  • Slab - I have done relatively well on sandstone slabs but really don't have much experience on granite slabs. I've climbed the freeblast but I fell on the bolt ladder pitch. 
I prefer keeping my goals to myself but generally speaking I want to climb harder free routes around the valley IAD.
 
This weekend I ended up in Smith for a day (didn't realize the craggin classic was happening) and trout for a half day. Trout was phenomenal. Focused on mileage and onsighted lots of 10s and some 11s. One offwidth called rodeo I think? Felt hard and like something I could improve at.

There's not much offwidth in the PNW, but your best bets given the above are Midnight Rock and the lower town wall for day trips, trout creek for weekends or better fall weather though its hard to really learn granite slabbery and monster-style smooth offwidths at Trout, which is heavy on vertical finger cracks and stemming.

Dave Davis · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 13 hours ago · Points: 0

Twin Cracks at Midnight Rock is an excellent and overlooked OW. Carnival Crack on Icicle Creek is close to the road, easy to top-rope and often the scene of much hyper-ventilating.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Pacific Northwest
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