Jacob's Ladder is one of the newer routes in Darrington. It ascends the west side of Exfoliation Dome, with a fairly steep and blunt buttress rising from a slabby apron.
The route is steeper than many of the routes in the nearby area, and requires edging and some crack climbing technique in addition to good friction climbing skills. The crux is well bolted and the 5.10 climber can aid the 5.11 part. Much of the climbing is bolt protected and the pro is solid anywhere the climbing is difficult, but this is not a sport climb - gear placement skills and some willingness to run it out on easier terrain are required.
Take the left fork of the Clear Creek logging road, about five miles from the pavement. After crossing the second of two gravelly washes, park and head up the dry streambed (the first is a bit rough for some cars, but if you park here it is only about 1/3 of a mile to the second one where most people park).
To reach Jacob's Ladder, climb a thousand feet on the granite slab approach known as the Granite Sidewalk, looking to the left to get around a few steepish spots en route. A few hundred feet below where the Dome itself rises above this approach slab, look for a passage through a narrow strip of trees on the left, leading to a route along the bottom of the slabby apron below the Dome's west face (the 2004 Subaru Primal Quest adventure race staff constructed a trail here, but is is largely overgrown - the Darrington jungle is very resilient).
The climb starts with a right-facing corner, a few hundred feet up and left of the lowest part of the clean slabs below the wall.
Rap the route, with a deviation right (south) for a straighter descent on pitches 3-5 (this also eliminates one rap). Two ropes needed for rappels.
Bring gear to three inches, one each size from small stoppers and tiny tcu's on up. A double or two in the 3/4" to 1" size may be handy on pitch 7.
|Comments on Jacobs Ladder, 5.10b A-1 or 5.11b
By Nicola Masciandaro
Aug 23, 2012
Nice route and beautiful position, even though I shantied (green-yellow) on pitch 6 after the second bolt due to scariness of the s-curve flake (and the flake on flake!), esp with the several recent big scars staring down from the cliff and across the valley.
By Serge Smirnov
Aug 12, 2016
2nd photo at cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbt... is helpful in locating the route. Especially the downward-pointing parallelogram-shaped flake up high on the wall (that kind of looks like a handgun handle) - it's right next to P5, and the start is directly below it.
Pitches 1,2,3,6,7,8 are fairly clean. Pitches 4,5 might be 10+ A1 (instead of 10- A1) due to dirt/moisture.
A lot of hollow flakes, and sometimes (e.g. P6) hollow flakes are the only pro option (though all moves 5.9 or harder are well protected by bolts).
Not much crack climbing - we found 2-3 hand jams on the entire route, and maybe a finger jam or two. But lots of face climbing indeed.
With two 70m ropes we made it in 1 rappel from the top of P6 to the dedicated rappel anchor (to the right of P3 anchor).