Avg: 2.7 from 32 votes
|Type:||Trad, 1000 ft (303 m), 7 pitches, Grade III|
|FA:||Clark Gerhardt, Bill Sumner 1972|
|Page Views:||8,179 total · 91/month|
|Shared By:||Curt Veldhuisen on Mar 1, 2014 · Updates|
|Admins:||Scott Coldiron, Jon Nelson, Micah Klesick, Z Winters|
The Blueberry route is an adventurous route that is more like an alpine rock route than a crag climb. It is the least technical route up spectacular Exfoliation Dome, though is seldom described as 'easy'! The alpine character applies to the climbing (trad), with sections of clean crack and corners, blocky scrambling and bush pulling. The Granite Sidewalk approach/deproach adds physicality and mental challenges for most. Like any alpine objective, your ascent will go best if you: Do your homework, Heed the forecast, Pack lots of food/water & headlamps and Get an early start! The varied experiences described in the comments below say it all.
The well-traveled 7-pitch version attains Blueberry Terrace, a broad ledge around 2/3 of the way to the summit. From there, you can continue to the summit via scruffier climbing, or get started on the tricky rappel descent. The route-finding is fairly straight-forward and adds to the adventure, so is not described here in detail.
The Start: Above a large white snag find the obvious fist crack leading to a cedar bush (see photo). Continue up a left facing corner toward the prominent right-facing corner on the buttress crest. 2 pitches.
The Right-leaning Corner: Cimb the corner (slabby to right, overhanging on left), passing semi-wedged flakes and two bolts (5.8+). Exit via an airy step leftward (5.8+) back onto the buttress. Recommend doing the entire corner in a long pitch as belay options are tight.
To Terrace: 3-4 more pitches of scenic crack and block climbing on the broad crest to reach Blueberry Terrace. There are numerous ledges and trees to build an anchor.
Terrace to Summit: Walk left as far as you can (class 3) and find a bolted rap anchor (~100 yds beyond steep corner recommended in Smoot's Falcon guide). Continue up and left, low fifth for about 100' then 5.8-ish to a bolt. Continue straight up to a bolt belay and another bolt. From there, trend a little left over low angle rock with sparse pro toward the rounded skyline. Reach a gentle bowl where you can unrope for the final slabs to the ridge and Exfo summit. There is a more detailed description of this section under the Dark Rhythm route.
Also, consult Weekend Rock: Washington by David Whitelaw.
Descent Rappelling the route is possible but NOT recommended. From Blueberry Terrace, walk right to the drop-off, then rappel off slinged trees toward the West Slabs and find another sling anchor, then the bolted anchors down the Westward Ho route, which is clearly visible on the way up. All anchors are fixed and require two 60s.
The standard approach follows the Granite Sidewalk, a long slabby ramp (class 3-4) described well in the writeup for neighboring route Dark Rhythm. Though called a 'Sidewalk', it is seriously tilted and you would not want to tumble or even contemplate such a grisly fate! Many visitors will appreciate sticky approach shoes or even comfy rock shoes for this approach. It is direct and memorable, though!
There are also newer alternative routes through that forest that bypass much of the Sidewalk. Again, do your homework and use your routefinding skills, if interested.