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Infinite Bliss

5.10c R, Trad, 2600 ft (788 m), 23 pitches, Grade IV,  Avg: 2.8 from 63 votes
FA: Leland Windham and Steve Martin - Aug 2003
Washington > Central-W Casca… > N Bend & Vicinity > Exit 34; Middle… > Mt Garfield

Description

Infinite Bliss is a super fun 23-pitch bolted route in a beautiful setting. While it was quite controversial when first established and there was talk of chopping the line, it has become an enjoyable line that appears is here to stay.

This route is not a sport climb. It is a bolt-protected slab climb, and it is extremely long which means you need to be quick and efficient. In fact, it's quite possible it's the longest bolted climb in the USA and Canada and the second longest in North America. There are sections where runouts can top 100 feet with little to no options for trad gear. However, any move harder than 5.6 is well protected, and the crux pitches are fully-bolted sport pitches.

The "parking lot" and approach is at N47.54604, W121.52151, Elevation: 1174'. Simply copy and paste the GPS coordinates, excluding the elevation, into Google Maps and it will tell you how to get there. From the parking lot, the approach is about 45 minutes long and is mostly uphill through switchbacks in the forest. While the trail was not explicitly marked when I climbed the route, it is worn enough that if you are hiking more than a few minutes and it does not look like you are on a trail, you are off route.

Pitches 1 - 7: These pitches involves easy, low-angle, somewhat runout climbing on solid slab. The rock can be a bit water-polished. Be careful if there are parties above you because if they knock rock down the rock will blast right through the first six pitches at triple digit speeds. Numerous bent hangers on these pitches are obvious indicators of the rock fall hazard. If you are confident simulclimbing 5.8, the first six pitches are the place to do it.

Pitches 8 - 12: The rock starts to steepen here, but the pitches become more closely bolted as the moves get harder.

Pitches 13 - 18: Mostly easy climbing. The most runout section is in here. Be very careful not to knock loose rock down on climbers below as the rock quality in this section is fair in some areas. Dont feel bad if you dont find the bolts on P15 as I missed both of them. P16 and 17 have no pro aside from the belay station. The climbing is very easy, but the rock quality is fair and the rock tends to be slightly polished, so be careful.

Pitches 19 - 23: These are the hardest pitches, but they are mostly sport-bolted pitches. Both of the 5.10 pitches are well bolted.

For more info, Google Infinite Bliss. Summit Post has a nice write-up on the route. You can find a topo here: cascadeclimbers.com/forum/u…

WARNING: Rock fall is a serious concern here. Wear a helmet, and once you pass pitch six, be extremely careful not to knock loose rock down on other climbers. The entire route follows a gully slab, and if you knock rock down it will have nowhere to go but right along the route the entire way.

Some current (2016) discussion of this route is here:
mountainproject.com/v/infin…

The GPS coordinates of the "parking lot" are:

N47.54604
W121.52151
Elevation: 1174'

Protection

Seventeen quickdraws or 30 if you plan to simulclimb. Bring 2' trad draws as you will get a bunch of drag using only sport climbing draws. You do need two 60m ropes. A 70m or 80m is not long enough. I did not see many worthwhile trad placements when I climbed it as the route is mostly slab. If you really want to bring trad gear, bring a set of nuts, but don’t plan to do much with them.

Video

A "Go-pro" style of video for an ascent is here:

youtu.be/pi27YLr01V8

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Rough topo from across the valley (At Fee Demo Wall)
[Hide Photo] Rough topo from across the valley (At Fee Demo Wall)
5.10b pitch
[Hide Photo] 5.10b pitch
Starting the rappels off the summit.<br>
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[Hide Photo] Starting the rappels off the summit. http://facebook.com/adventurethrulens http://patrickbetts.zenfolio.com
Looking up from the start of Infinite Bliss.  Matt Compton on lead.
[Hide Photo] Looking up from the start of Infinite Bliss. Matt Compton on lead.
Summit of Infinite Bliss<br>
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[Hide Photo] Summit of Infinite Bliss http://facebook.com/adventurethrulens http://patrickbetts.zenfolio.com
Great views of the Middle Fork Valley from the top of pitch 7 or so.
[Hide Photo] Great views of the Middle Fork Valley from the top of pitch 7 or so.
Beginning of .10c pitch, you can see how well bolted it is. Taken by my partner.
[Hide Photo] Beginning of .10c pitch, you can see how well bolted it is. Taken by my partner.
Humor
[Hide Photo] Humor
End of the pitch 22 traverse.<br>
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[Hide Photo] End of the pitch 22 traverse. http://facebook.com/adventurethrulens http://patrickbetts.zenfolio.com
Looking down from the top of pitch 6 with the entry slab pitches below.<br>
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[Hide Photo] Looking down from the top of pitch 6 with the entry slab pitches below. http://facebook.com/adventurethrulens http://patrickbetts.zenfolio.com
P17-P23
[Hide Photo] P17-P23
P12-P17
[Hide Photo] P12-P17

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Jon H
PC, UT
[Hide Comment] Got on this last summer. Bailed at the top of P13 because we ran out of water (it was 90 degrees) and the rental car was due back at 5PM. Would love to get back and send this thing properly.

The crux for us (besides running out of water) was the approach. Leave ample time to find the start of the route. Jun 24, 2013
Alex Mitchell
Boston, MA
[Hide Comment] We had no trouble finding the route. We made it to the base in 45 min. The trail is pretty beat in. If it wasn't for those 5.0 pitches half way up this would be such a great route. The chossiness of those pitches really bring it down. Took us 14 hours car to car. Jul 21, 2013
rohan bk
Seattle, WA
  5.10c PG13
[Hide Comment] Could someone indicate why this route is 'R' rated? Is it because of the extremely run-out low fifth class pitches? Jul 23, 2013
Alex Mitchell
Boston, MA
[Hide Comment] It is "R" rated because you literally climb 200 feet without a bolt over super chossy although easy terrain. Every move harder than 5.7 is well protected. Jul 24, 2013
20 kN

  5.10c
[Hide Comment] GPS coordinates for the "parking lot."

N47.54604
W121.52151
Elevation: 1174' Dec 24, 2013
[Hide Comment] Like many other people we got lost in the chossy section. The intermediate anchor is directly above the first bush WITH slings (80'). It isn't visible from any direction until you're about 15 feet away. From the anchor below the choss to the intermediate is > 200'. Jun 8, 2014
Chris-Bailey
Olympia, WA
[Hide Comment] Looking for information on the road closure:

wta.org/signpost/road-closu…

Do you now, if so desired, could you hike (yeah 12 mile approach) or bike in? Has anyone been in there to investigate, see if access is still possible during the week (I'm one of those Sat-Mon work week kind of people?

Thanks,
Chris Jul 11, 2014
Johan
Palo Alto, CA
 
[Hide Comment] Did this yesterday. I'm going to give the current conditions of the road, which will likely stay relevant through the next year of construction, and then some general comments.

The MF road is currently closed at the CCC trail trailhead, about 2.6 miles before the Taylor creek bridge. The closure meant that we biked in from the current closure point. The road is currently perfectly bikeable, but the planned roadwork over the coming weeks may interfere. We stashed bikes where the trail branches from the road. Parked car at 6:45am, climbing by 8:30am (including a bathroom break at the campground en route).

We thought we were being super clever by biking in and getting on this when the road is closed. Yesterday, Sunday, was actually our second attempt of the weekend after heading up there Saturday. On Saturday we got on the route at 8:30am (same approach times), only to find one party had slept at the base, who in turn thought they were super clever but another party had in fact slept at the top of P7. On Sunday we were alone on the route.

On Saturday the joke was on the top party, because when we reached the P10 anchors at around 10:30am, a series of massive thunderstorms started, with dime-size hail. We started bailing, as did the party that had slept at the base of the route (we had caught up to them at P10). Another storm bubbled up an hour later while descending. When we reached the base of the route we could see the top party was rapping around P14. On the bike ride out, another storm hit. Know that when a downpour comes through, the majority of the pitches turn into waterfalls, and much of the climbing is friction climbing, making it basically a game over.

Climbing this route with parties above/below is extremely unnerving. On Saturday we saw several golfball-to-softball sized shrapnel pieces come down, and on Sunday we couldn't avoid causing the same, especially over the P15-17 chossfest, both ascending and descending. These pitches are very different from other alpine choss I've climbed: it's a low angle continuous slab, with no blockiness or ledges to halt a major fall, and every hold is suspect, for at least these 400 feet.

Why there's no anchor other than the bush between the current P16 and P15 stations is beyond me, it's currently basically impossible to ascend or descend the route without unroping or "simuling with a death pact" -- no gear between. It's very psychologically taxing to climb these two pitches, both on the way up and down, and honestly felt like the crux of the route. Dealing with the double ropes on the chossy low angle rap was a lot of work at a very tired state.

The climbing is not that hard, and all the hard pitches, rated 10b, 10c, 10a, are tightly bolted enough that pulling on draws can easily get you up at a 5.9 A0 grade. Our ascent of the 10c pitch was definitely a case of reverting to 5.9 A0 after so much climbing. This route would be 4-stars if it wasn't for the P15-17 choss. The climbing on the rest of the route is fantastic!

The times I remember where: 5:45am leave Seattle, 6:45am park at CCC trailhead, 8:30am climb, 10:15am at top of P8, 7pm top out, 7:30pm start raps, 12:30am off route, 2:30am back at car, 3:30am home in Seattle. Basically a 16hr climb. We would have been faster overall if we weren't tired from the Saturday attempt through P10. We were also very slow through the P15-17, in both directions. It would be faster to simply unrope for the ascent/descent of the choss, and acknowledge that that's the level of sketch-commitment you have to be OK with to do this route. What made us want to do the approach twice in a weekend I still don't know, but hey, psych was high!

A monumental route, but because of the choss section I don't see myself ever doing it again. Aug 4, 2014
Nick Sweeney
Spokane, WA
[Hide Comment] RIP Ross Halverson, who died on this route on 9/9/14. Sep 19, 2014
20 kN

  5.10c
[Hide Comment] what happened? Oct 9, 2014
Jon Nelson
Redmond, WA
[Hide Comment] The accident somehow involved rapping off the end of the rope, but the details are not clear. Oct 29, 2014
pyr
[Hide Comment] Hi,

What is the best period to attempt this route. It looks like I will be in the area in mid-june, is it too early ?

Cheers, Feb 16, 2015
20 kN

  5.10c
[Hide Comment] No mid June is not too early. It might be rather hot then actually. Apr 26, 2015
Andrew Carlson
Idaho falls, Idaho
[Hide Comment] I'm living in Tacoma from now until the end of May. Is this route possible between now and then?? Thanks Mar 14, 2016
Serge S
Seattle, WA
[Hide Comment] Some errata for the pitch lengths in the (otherwise excellent) CascadeClimbers topo:

Pitches 2 and 3 add up to 250' - rapping them with 2x70 left us 20' short (easy but exposed down-scramble).

In general, the route appears slightly longer than the indicated 2600'. My GPS (barometric altimeter) indicated 2550' elevation change on rappel, so, given the ~45 degree angle of at least 40% of the route, and some zig-zag here and there, I'd estimate the route to be between 2800' and 3000'.

We were, however, able to combine the following rappels just fine with 2x70: 23+22, 20+19, 12+11, 5+4. The 23+22 looked like it would *almost* go with 2x60 (didn't pay attention to how much rope remained on the other ones). Jul 31, 2016
Serge S
Seattle, WA
[Hide Comment] Route starts 47.549,-121.5137. The trail has at least 3 branches:
- a flat horizontal traverse (good trail) that takes you to the slab too early (too low)
- an up-and-down traverse (also good trail) that takes you to the route
- a branch that continues uphill much higher than the start of the route
So turn left to get to the route, but take the 2nd left rather than the 1st one. If you have a GPS, longitude 121.5137 is your target (the main trail in the forest goes mostly east-west, the traverses to the slab go north-south). Elevation gain from the road to the start of the route is right about 1000 feet. Jul 31, 2016
MilesC
 
[Hide Comment] In regards to getting in. Is the road closed during the week?
I see it was due to be closed for July, is that still the case?

If it is closed how far can one drive in before walking is necessary?Any over night camp spots? Is water about for camping or should i walk that in also.

Heading up Thursday to climb Friday, if we can get in!!!

Cheers. Aug 8, 2016
Nate Fearer
Bellingham, WA
 
[Hide Comment] I attempted this with a buddy on June 4, 2016 and thought it was a great route! I couldn't tell you about anything higher than pitch 15 because we turned back (it was in the mid to upper 80s and the river below looked too inviting in our dehydration), but I loved it all the same.

Be aware that mosquitos will follow you up the rock for quite a way if you're climbing in June, or any hot month.

Don't bivy at the base for a quick start. The road is nearby and your car is more comfortable. It's only a 45 minute approach anyways, so just wake up earlier, and avoid doing what I've done.

Bring lots of water, obviously. Oct 19, 2016
Mud Crud
Fall City, Wa
 
[Hide Comment] Fun route, The chimney pitch can seep so having an addition large cams can be helpful.

Route was in good shape on 3 Oct 2017. Oct 4, 2017
Matt Castelli
Denver
[Hide Comment] So what is the deal with the 16th pitch/section of 5.0 with no bolts? Was an intermediate rap station added, or are folks still rapping off of the bush? Jun 19, 2018
Marcin Banasiak
Los Angeles
[Hide Comment] Hey!
I was just wondering if there is any update on the condition of the bolts.
Thanks Sep 17, 2019
Timmy Deez
Portland OR
[Hide Comment] Quick beta for this route:
Bolts were all in great shape, maybe two hangers so smashed you couldn’t use them.
The route finding was pretty straightforward with a few exceptions.
Pitch 8: it really is 200’ long in a right trending gully, you’ll feel lost but just cruise up that gully the anchors cannot be missed as long as you stay in the gully.
Pitches 15-17 are most likely where everyone shits the bed. Why?? Because for almost 400’ of easy granite there are pretty much only anchors. Pay close attention to the topo here or you will be 50m runout with only a slung tree.
Hint: look up at a ledgy tree-filled area, follow it left and look for bolts on a seeping & short headwall. This will be the 5.8 before the absolutely amazing 10c pitch. Jul 6, 2020
Drew Thayer
Denver, CO
  5.10b
[Hide Comment] This is a fun route; it's unique and the views and climbing on the upper half are really good. Sure there are some "get from here to there" pitches but most pitches 5.8 and harder, and the initial slab apron, are fun and high quality. This could be called "infinite rappelling", it really is time consuming (took us 3.5 hours), especially the weird ledgy part in the middle where the party must either unrope and scramble (we did) or rap off of questionable bushes.

As many have, we missed the anchors on the scrambling section on the climb and ended up soloing up to the line of trees climber's right of the route, then traversing left through the trees to reach bolts below the crux pitch. These anchors are incredibly hard to see from below, but they are roughly above the nearby tree clusters as you top out pitch 15, in line with the "headwall" where the crux pitch is located. They are not located in the long, upward-right trending obtuse trough that's grassy and mostly 3rd class. However if you find yourself soloing up that because it looks secure and easy, it's an OK way to go.

We employed some simul climbing to speed things up; these felt generally safe. Pitches 1-5 (5 has some insecure moves), 7-8 (up to the belay in the big "scoop" dike), and 12-13-14 (between the 10b pitch and the ledgy unroped terrain). We used about 20 draws to do this. As of June 2021 there are a few bent hangers, none bent beyond repair, and a lot of rusted bolts and chains on the apron pitches. Good fun! Jun 3, 2021
Paul Price
Bend
  5.10c PG13
[Hide Comment] My Partner Pat and I attempted this route yesterday, June 26th 2021. We may be directionally challenged or plain stupid, but we could not find the route for the life of us, and ended up bush wacking for about 6 hours trying to find the base.

The coordinates listed in the description above spit us out at the Middle Fork campground. From here, it is not possible to access the route. We ended up crossing the bridge further up the road, and parking at the trail head there. The well established trail is not the correct way up, and we learned that the hard way. We ended up walking to the base of the rock way up on Mt. Garfield, but were never able to find the start.

We believe the correct way to get to the base is to drive past the bridge past MF campground, and then take a left on the dirt road for a ways. From there, we are unsure of where the climbers trail starts for the approach.

EDIT:
We went back and did this route, this time we brought a GPS. It went off fine. There is more than enough beta on MP alone to navigate this route on the ascent and the descent. Bringing two 70 meter ropes instead of 60 meter ropes for the rap is the way to go in my opinion. Jun 27, 2021
Zachary K
Leavenworth, WA
[Hide Comment] You attempted this when the forecast was over 100 degrees? If anything you should be glad you didn't find the route. Jun 27, 2021
Pat Cheng
Portland, OR
[Hide Comment] Seemed climbable in the sun even at 11am. 100+ degrees was normal at Reimers. /shrug

The real approach to the climb is located a couple miles down a dirt road, if anyone is still confused. There's a couple sets of coordinates floating around but I'll echo an above poster: N47.54604, W121.52151. A pretty non-descript (no cairns when we were there) climber's path starting right form the dirt road. Aug 12, 2021
Mallorie Estenson
Seattle, WA
 
[Hide Comment] You're clipping bolts... but it absolutely retains its alpine character. Loved it. Failed to plan for how long it would take us to rap 23 pitches, haha. Whoops. Do better than we did. Aug 18, 2021
Jeffrey Pyke
Seattle, WA
  5.10c X
[Hide Comment] We ended after 15 pitches after getting lost on pitch 16 looking for the anchors. It seems "pitch 16" is actually 280 feet (some distance across the ramp, some distance up, sources vary), which can't be climbed with a rope length. I would like to see some intermediate anchors added so it can be pitched out, before someone gets seriously injured. We climbed all around pitch 16 with virtually no pro looking for anchors, would not recommend. It has loose rock, dirty rock (off route), and kitty litter. The bolting is weird on this route. There are sometimes bolts closely spaced for no apparent reason, and then unreasonable runout. And there are also bolts near natural features like flakes and cracks. And the missing belay on pitch 16. 4 stars for the location, 3 stars for the climbing, and 2 stars for the bolting...

Other beta:
  • Hike is steep uphill. 45 mins. The trail is faint but we never lost it.
  • None of the first 15 (and maybe more) pitches can't be linked with a 60m.
  • We were glad we brought cams from .2-.5 (used some while climbing around on 16 looking for the anchors). Didn't use nuts.
  • Be ready for some runout on the easier sections of any pitch.
  • Study all the beta you can find about pitch 16. Seriously, in my 4 years I've trad climbing I've never encountered a pitch so out of character with the rest of the route and needlessly unsafe. You will probably get lost, and it will be dangerous. Or just climb the first 15 pitches until it is fixed.
  • At least one of the rappels (1-15) is a rope stretcher with 60m ropes. Make sure to tie stopper knots.
Jun 27, 2023
Ben Chaloupka
Eugene, OR
  5.10c
[Hide Comment] What a beautiful route! Pitches 19 and 21 are certainly worth making it through the sketchy stuff. A few notes that I hope will help other parties:

- Simuling 1-6 certainly helps speed up the beginning. These are easy yet water-polished pitches, and if you don't mind skipping a bolt here and there they can be simuled in a single block with ~20 draws.
- Pitches 7-8 might be a bit awkward to simul as they involve some wandering.
- Pitch 8 is a surprisingly fun pitch up the right-trending tube. The rock quality is better than it looks from below.
- Pitch 11 will test if you're ready for 5.10 slab. The grade feels spot on, and this pitch offers some fun slab moves to get you warmed up for later!
- Pitch 15 is pretty chill. While there is a bit of choss, I'm not sure this pitch should get lumped in with the sketchy section.
- Pitch 16 is considerably less chossy than some comments make it seem. Sure, there is some loose and hollow rock along the way, but there is also a good amount of solid rock. Those with chossaneering experience in our beloved Cascades will not find the rock quality difficult to navigate. However, this pitch really is about 280 feet (and yes, we did find all of the anchors). One solution is to climb to the rap bush and belay the second up from there. From the start of pitch 16 to the bush uses almost all of a 70m rope. Then you can pitch out the remaining 80 feet to the anchor straight above. Someone mentioned that a few small cams might be useful on this pitch, and I agree. I think I placed a .5 on this pitch in a decent placement on solid rock.
- Pitch 17 goes mostly straight up, but trends left a bit. If you find yourself making moves that feel more like 5.5 than 5.0, you are probably too far right and maybe too high on the slab. I think I place a .4 on this pitch, but there are probably a few options for small cams once again.
- Pitch 19 makes everything you've gone through to this point worth it. This is a phenomenal pitch with sustained 5.10 face moves at the beginning and a sweet 5.10c slab crux near the top. The rock is excellent, the movement is varied and engaging, and the pitch is long and well-bolted.
- Pitch 21 is amazing for the novelty of it, but maybe not quite as good as pitch 19. Nonetheless, you get fun chimney and stemming moves with a step out onto the arete near the top. Fairly steep for 5.10a, and probably the most physical pitch.
- Pitch 22 is quite steep and fun for 5.8.
- Pitch 23 is most likely a fair but sustained 5.9 in isolation, but by the end of the day this pitch will feel much harder and is certainly not a gimme. It's a fun pitch and you're rewarded at the top with beautiful panoramic views.
- For linking rappels with 2x70m ropes: you can link 23 & 22, 20 & 19, and 12 & 11. You'll have to do pitch 16 as two rappels, given that the pitch 17 rap is already fairly long, so you'll have to rap from the top of pitch 17 to the top of pitch 16, then from the top of pitch 16 to the bush (a shorter rap), then from the bush back to the start of pitch 16 (a full 70m rap, and it's diagonal). You CANNOT link 5 & 4 on rappel. With 2x70m ropes, we came up around 30 feet short and had to solo downclimb the last bit. It's an easy downclimb, but in a tired state and with headlamps (at least for us) this wasn't ideal. Most of the other raps are pretty straightforward, but there is potential for stuck ropes here and there (especially the very first rappel).
- We brought around 4 liters of water on route each, and this was perfect.
- Our rack was 2x70m ropes, 24 draws (12 alpine & 12 sport; we only used 20), and 3 small cams (.3-.5 BD camalots). This allowed for simuling 1-6 and pitching out the rest.
- The approach trail is fairly easy to find (just a bit further down the road from the pullout), and it's fairly well beat in. There is one spot where it traverses right just below a mossy granite slab and seems to disappear, but scramble over the downed trees and you'll see it goes straight up to the right of the slab. We can confirm that it takes ~45 minutes to reach the climb from the road.
- I think this route is quite a bit longer than 2600 ft. Adding up the lengths on the topo comes out to 3150 ft, and judging by the amount of rope we used on each pitch, I think this is closer to the correct number.

Have fun on this epic climb! Jul 10, 2023
Jaysen Niedermeyer
Seattle, WA
 
[Hide Comment] In the sea of mank n' choss that is p16 and p17, if you're desperate enough to pull your phone out, the p16 anchors are at 47.55122, -121.50888 in an alcove that blocks them from view until you're within 10 feet of them.

These anchors are significantly more than a 60m rope length away from the p15 anchors.

When you are rapping these bothersome pitches, a 60m also will not reach from the tat encumbered bush in the topo to the p15 anchors. You will have to downclimb some 4th class and pull your rope through a tree and bush.... this will make it smell like pine though, which was an unexpected bonus. Sep 18, 2023
Hunter
 
[Hide Comment] We tried this over the summer and got lost on pitch 16 as well. I was wandering around for 40 minutes with 100+ft of runout and couldn't find the anchor for the life of me. I also recommend bringing some small pieces for this pitch, even though the terrain is quite easy. Getting lost and wandering on questionable rock can take a mental toll. Ben's recent comment is comforting/helpful and we'll keep this info in mind next time we attempt! Jan 6, 2024
[Hide Comment] We experienced spontaneous rockfall on two separate outings on the route this year. It is advisable to get your helmet on ASAP at the base of the route before you start racking up and take care to position yourself close to steeper features when possible to avoid being hit. The apron has many banged up hangers so moving through this section quickly is key. Jun 1, 2024