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Midway

5.6, Trad, 3 pitches,  Avg: 3 from 139 votes
FA: Fred Beckey, Wes Grande, Jack Schwabland, 1948.
Washington > Central-E Casca… > Tumwater Canyon > Castle Rock > Upper Castle

Description

P1: Climb the chimney on the right side of Jello Tower to the bolted anchor at the top of the tower.

P2 (and P3 if you shorten P2): Step back across the top of the chimney and head right and up a wide crack to the top.

Protection

Pro to 2"

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Dan near the top on pitch 3
[Hide Photo] Dan near the top on pitch 3
Looking down from the top of pitch 3
[Hide Photo] Looking down from the top of pitch 3
Top of pitch 3, bolder anchor
[Hide Photo] Top of pitch 3, bolder anchor
Looking down from the top of pitch 2
[Hide Photo] Looking down from the top of pitch 2
Working my way up the left option of pitch 2, looking back down on Jello Tower
[Hide Photo] Working my way up the left option of pitch 2, looking back down on Jello Tower
Looking down from the top of Jello Tower (1st pitch)
[Hide Photo] Looking down from the top of Jello Tower (1st pitch)
Leading pitch 1 up Jello Tower
[Hide Photo] Leading pitch 1 up Jello Tower
Pitch two, end of the traverse
[Hide Photo] Pitch two, end of the traverse
Reaching the top of the second pitch
[Hide Photo] Reaching the top of the second pitch
Coming up the first pitch
[Hide Photo] Coming up the first pitch
The first pitch of Midway (5.5) starts in the corner and climbs the chimney.
[Hide Photo] The first pitch of Midway (5.5) starts in the corner and climbs the chimney.
Kristin, on the wide / polished p
[Hide Photo] Kristin, on the wide / polished p

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] This is a great traditional free solo. Aug 23, 2009
[Hide Comment] A fun historic climb. Pretty straightforward climbing with mostly good pro. I thought the direct version was a little better. At least when I was there it was impossible to hear your partner on the final pitch, even splitting it into 3 pitches trying to avoid just that issue. So have a plan in place. Beautiful view, very cool if the salmon are running and you can see them in the river 100's of feet below you. Jul 30, 2013
rohanbk
Seattle, WA
  5.6
[Hide Comment] The crux of the first pitch comes near the top where you need to transition from a really nice ledge to stemming between two walls with polished holes. It took me a couple mins to psyche myself up, but I was able to get a tiny cam into one of the horizontal cracks before being able to reach and clip a piton wedged in one of the cracks. Fun climbing! Sep 8, 2013
geoff georges
Seattle, Wa.
  5.5
[Hide Comment] Midway holds the distinction of being the first "modern" crag pitch in Wa.In 1948- 1960's this was considered 5.4. When Fred did this a couple of years ago he thought it was hard, maybe 5.7.The first pitch is pretty slippery, but if you use chimney technique and find the stemming mid way and chimney out the exit it is a lot easier.
Climbers seem to get lost on the 2nd pitch, it could be done in at least 3 different ways, all about the same grade and gear. The original line after crossing the void follows some old pins that can be hard to spot till on a big ledge, about 100', here is the improbable looking right trending traverse with a ring pin. It looks harder then 5.5, might be 5.7, but turns out to be easier then it looks. keep lower on the traverse to find pro till in wide gully like corner, follow this out veering right on ramp like crack to boulders at top. May 20, 2014
[Hide Comment] We used #4 cam on pitch 1. Some people might prefer having a 2nd #4 cam for 1st pitch. Jul 8, 2014
Tine Wahl
5.8
[Hide Comment] If you’re used to climbing at Vantage and Exit 38, this is the equivalent of a 5.8 rather than an easy 5.6.

We ran into a guide climbing next to us who said this is the route he takes his clients up if they request a good 5.8 multipitch. I can confirm this, as I’m a new climber usually doing 5.7s and this route brutalized me. I could not have completed it without hang-dogging most moves.

The “chimney” is small and you don’t actually climb inside it, just alongside it. You can use it as a crack.

If you have trouble getting up the “chimney”, the next two pitches are even harder. The top of the chimney is your last chance to rap down without leaving gear.

Bring radios because you can’t hear each other on Pitch 2 and 3.

Pitch 1 is bolted. Pitch 2 and 3 are not bolted and need trad anchors. You can walk off the top down to the base of the route in 15 mins. The approach from the car is about another 15 mins.

The end of Pitch 3 is kind of runout for maybe 20 feet until you top off.

The hardest part of this climb is mentally doing the first move of Pitch 2. You have to stand up on the tiny top of Jello Tower and then stretch your hands and foot across a large gap of open air. If you don’t make it, you fall down into the rocky chimney.

Pitch 2 and 3 have many ledges that are a great quick break, but you could potentially hit if you fall when leading. Jun 2, 2018
Chase G
Seattle, WA
[Hide Comment] Just to make a slight clarification to Tine's comment, Pitch1 is NOT bolted, what they mean is there is a bolted anchor at the top of Jello tower. Sep 21, 2018
Kyle Bodamer
Bellingham WA
  5.6
[Hide Comment] If you're not use to chimneys this will feel a little stiff, i didn't bring any wide gear for the chimney and felt like I was never runout at all. All in all this is an easy way to get atop of castle fast Oct 7, 2018