The Big Tree
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BETA PHOTO: Laybacking the tree at the top of Pitch 3 of The B...
The Big Tree I
is one of the first routes climbed in Darrington. "Big Tree I" has been steadily revised slightly over the years, few parties follow the original first pitch that started on Cornucopia Flake. and most modern parties do not actually climb to the big tree itself.
The first pitch takes an obvious crack with a zig zag and a move right into a larger crack and then reaches a set of ledges with rappel slings on a medium sized tree. A chain belay is fifteen feet up and left. From here, pass three bolts and climb a short corner to reach a horizontal traverse left (one pro bolt here). The last move of the second pitch is a downward step to the left. Thence climb upward on flakes and corners, passing left around a tree maybe 50 feet above the belay (short pitch). Climb up the right-had of two corners, and then move out right onto a slab. If you find yourself eying a grassy seam that may have an old piton sticking out of it, it is time to look right and get onto the bolted slab. Pass an uncomfortable slab belay to reach chains at the top of this fourth pitch, maybe fifty feet below and right of the obvious "Big Tree."
Few parties climb to the actual Big Tree. Shake, Rattle and Roll
continues for two more pitches, 5.8. A short pitch climbs up and right from the Big Tree
chains and a longer, varied pitch follows.
Description and Topo: mattsea.com/Darr/three.htm
Three O'Clock Rock is home to about thirty routes in addition to The Big Tree. To reach the crag, drive five or six miles up the Clear Creek logging road from the Mountain Loop Highway southeast of Darrington, and take the right (main) fork. In less than another mile, parking is found on the left and a bulletin board and trailhead sign is just off to the right. Hike the Eightmile Creek trail about two miles, at first along an old logging spur and through second growth but eventually entering big timber with some impressive old cedar tress. Just before reacing the crag, the trail exits the trees and crosses an old overgrown talus slope. Straight ahead the trail runs into and skirts the base of the North Buttress of Three O'Clock Rock; for the South Buttress, a climbers trail heads up and left into the slide maples, part way across this talus slope and 100 yards before the trail reaches the North Buttress.
The route starts with a prominent zig zagging crack where the South Buttress access trail reaches the rock.
Gear to 3" and long slings will be handy (you may use a 4" piece on the first two pitches).
BETA PHOTO: Looking down from the anchors at the top of The Bi...
BETA PHOTO: Joe climbing the layback crack at the start of Pit...
BETA PHOTO: Looking down the first part of Pitch 3 of The Big ...
BETA PHOTO: Zig Zag Crack on Pitch 1 of The Big Tree. You coul...
Climbing Big Tree One pitch four
Looking up the third pitch of Big Tree One
The traverse at the end of pitch 2
BETA PHOTO: The start of Big Tree One (zig zag crack left of t...
Pitch 3 of The Big Tree Route, Darrington.