Saturday afternoon I went north to my buddy Art's house for our journey to the wall in NE Washington State. We left his place and drove the 10 minutes to the trailhead where we unloaded ourselves, gear, and my dog Jax for the short mile hike to camp and the rock.
As we wandered around the parking spot and looked at boulders Jax did the standard dog thing and dove straight into a wet pile of cow crap, rolling in it and getting covered in shit. You can see his back is all nasty and he looks nice and content.
We had about a mile hike to get to the camp at the base of the wall and during the hike Jax rolled in no less than 4 other piles of cow crap. Needless to say he smelled atrocious so upon reaching camp which is next to the lake we threw him in the water and made him swim around some to try and wash off a bit of the ick.
We spent the evening wandering around the boulders looking at the INSANE amount of potential boulder problems. I saw 4 specifically that I will be working on. A few too many beers later we were crashing out for the night as the rain showers passed over. The rock cave we camped in kept us nice and dry.
In the morning we woke to a nice day with mist hanging in the valley around the lake. We wandered the boulders for a little while, now in the light, and found even more outstanding rocks. I ended up stepping on a damned ground nest and got stung by wasps. They hit me in 4 or 5 spots, which still hurt today. We headed back to camp to grab our gear. As the sun rose the mist burned off and around 9 am we racked up and hiked the 15 minutes up to the base of the wall. The view from the base is really nice and only gets better the higher up the wall you go.
Art led up the first pitch which follows a corner to the belay stance. He was forced to do some gardening along the way as the mankness and grunge on the wall made it a bit tough at times. He got to the belay after a little while and then put me on top rope to follow the route. The video is my vid of the climb from my helmet mounted cam. The climb took me only about 10 minutes to follow the 30 meters which is pretty damned good I feel.
After I made it to the belay we realized that we had left a portion of the rack at the base of the wall so we rappelled down for a bit of sustenance and to grab the rack. We jugged up the rope to the anchor and I racked up for the lead. I have not been on point for so many years that I was pretty apprehensive at first, but once I began to lower out down the wall I fell into the groove of climbing again and just focused on what I was doing. This is near mid way up the crack as I was plugging cams into the lichen filled splitter cra
I made it to the top of the crack and onto a ledge near a pair of pine trees. After doing some arboreal work on the branches I was able to make us room to stand. I anchored the rope with a pair of cams in a nice crack and backed up to the tree for Art to clean the gear. After I had the line set I looked around the corner of the wall and found a FAT ledge that is about 10ft by 5ft, large enough to untie and hang out.
While we sat on the ledge, Art ended up drilling a bolt and setting it above the ledge. The weather was such that the little storm cells kept rolling past the valley and rock. The sun was shining nice and bright when I noticed a wall of white across the valley. As I looked I was able to see the rain drops back lit by the light, a half mile away.
A little while later we were standing looking out at the clouds when all of a sudden a mass of HUGE rain drops started falling in the direction we were looking. The rain was coming from behind us and the wall above us sheltered us for a while until the storm cell had moved more directly over us. The sun shining in the rain was super cool.
The routes are noted on the pic below. Pitch one runs up the corner, pitch 2 lowers out to the crack then runs up to the trees/ledge anchors.
About 3 pm we started to make our way down the wall, gathered our gear, and hiked back down to camp. We packed up and headed out for the truck. The hike is mellow and there were cows in the field that Jax did well to not chase. We had cut off the little road and into the grass field when Jax bolted. A deer had walked into the field and Jax saw him and took off like a shot. I was yelling at him to come back but he was full at full speed chase.
The sound was extremely loud and Jax went flying into the air, yelping and whimpering. My instant thought was, "TRAP!". I dropped my pack and crash pad and ran to him. He was laying on his back, legs akimbo, pissing himself. He wasn't moving much when I got to him and as I looked him over I did not see any blood, broken bones, a trap, or anything. I looked up nearby to see the cause of the incident.
The tree is laying in the grass and as Jax was running full speed he impacted the blunt end of the stump with the center of his chest. The snapping sound I heard was the wood breaking from the impact. THANK GOD that the stump was cut flat with no sharp point otherwise he would have impaled himself in the chest. You can see the hair left on the wood from his chest.
Art made it to us and as we sat there with Jax I kept him laying down for a bit then helped him sit up. He leaned against my legs and seemed a bit dazed. After a couple minutes of sitting there I stood up and he popped up onto his legs. He has a noticeable limp even now the next day, but it doesn't seem major. He is a lot more subdued today but that is probably from being sore and tired, just like I am.
All in all it was a supremely successful outing and Jax did really good while we were on the rock climbing. I'm hoping the winter holds off for long enough that we can get back and finish up the routes.
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