Type: Trad, 1000 ft, 7 pitches, Grade III
FA: Clark Gerhardt, Bill Sumner 1972
Page Views: 7,113 total · 91/month
Shared By: Curt Veldhuisen on Mar 1, 2014 with 1 Suggestions
Admins: Scott Coldiron, Jon Nelson, Micah Klesick, Z Winters

You & This Route


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Description

The Blueberry route is a popular Darrington classic that has more feel of an alpine rock route than a crag climb. It is the easiest route up spectacular Exfoliation Dome, the west face of which has been nicknamed “Blueberry Hill” for the wild blueberry bushes on many ledges. The alpine character applies to the climbing (predominantly trad), which has sections of clean crack and corners interspersed with blocky scrambling and occasional bush pulling. Although not highly technical, this route is physically demanding with the Granite Sidewalk approach and deproach providing an added challenge, both physical and mental. Do your homework, pack food/water, headlamps and phone/camera, of course.

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 toward a 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 rappel (skier's) left off slinged trees toward the West Slabs and find another sling anchor, then the bolted anchors of the Westward Ho route, which is clearly visible on the way up. All anchors are fixed and require two 60s.

Location

The approach follows the Granite Sidewalk, a broad slabby ramp described well in the writeup for neighboring route Dark Rhythm. The Granite Sidewalk is fairly steep and long 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 both direct and memorable, though!

Protection

Standard trad rack to 4". Bring long slings (24-48") for tying off trees and reducing rope drag. Approach shoes or loose climbing shoes desirable for the approach.

This route has many easy wide cracks that have occasional options for smaller gear. Still I would bring one #4 or 5.

Photos