[Climbing] (08/30/2020) Silent Running (5.10b, 7 pitches, Grade III) @ Darrington, WA

  • Route Details
  • Getting to the base of the climb...
    • We left Seattle around 7AM! Driving to the TH took about 2 hours, where the last half hour was pretty gravelly on a dirt road. Our Suburu Forester did just fine though. Approach hike was short and pleasant at about 30 minutes. There were some impressive old growth trees en route! 
  • Climb Details 
    • There was a party in front of us, so we waited a bit and began around 11:00AM. We set our turnaround time to 4PM. 
    • I led 5 pitches - 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7. The first pitch (which I followed) felt like a walk in the park - more like incline walking at about ~45-50 degrees. When we began on pitch 2 though, the steepness snuck on me pretty quickly. Suddenly I found myself having to really trust my feet on those slabs! From then on until pitch 6, slabs with maybe 65 - 85 degree angle ensued, with _pretty_ runout sections between protections. We took some cams and I was able to place a few finger-sized, not-so-confidence-inspiring pieces in hollow flakes. I would place a piece and just think oh well, better not fall. And there were some sections where I couldn't even really place a piece and I was looking at 30-40ft since the last protection. Again, I thought to myself - better not fall. I was pretty mentally composed and still enjoyed myself the whole time; it was just that I found myself chuckling at the runouts and mountain project comments that said "well bolted" - especially pitch 3 and 5.
    • When we got to the top of pitch 6, it was about 3PM. I heard the final pitch goes at 10b and was worth it, so I was pretty psyched on doing the last pitch. The final pitch did end up being pretty great! It did take better gear than the rest of the pitches below, and the crux section on the thin slab was quite thrilling. I belayed Jay up & we set up rappel & began descending a bit before 4PM.
  • Rappeling Troubles!
    • AHH- the 7 rappels we made were one of the worst set of rappels we've ever done! The descriptions called for 2 of 50m, and we had 2 of 70m, so we bind them together for the rappels. The trouble was that there were number of bushes everywhere and our rope would get stuck in them. The rope getting stuck issue was particularly bad on the last pitch and happened on almost every pitch. Another mistake we made was letting go of one side of rope strand at a rappel station, and having the strand become out of the reach (due to the rappel anchor not being directly above us). All in all, the rappels took us 3.5 hours. Rookie mistakes..
  • Getting home
    • We were at the base of the climb by 7:30PM. It was starting to get dark as we started hiking out, and it was almost completely dark when we got to our car around ~8:10PM. We were ravenous but we wanted to eat pretty close to home (Seattle) due to coronavirus so we drove on for some time. We found ourselves at a McDonalds drive-through right outside of Seattle around 10PM. I suppose all good trips end with less-than-ideal dinners. "nice, causal Saturday outing!" so it is. 
  • Etc..
    • I was supposed to wake up at 6:30AM the next day to go to Index with my two regular partners and I found myself contemplating bailing as I was stuffing my face with some McDonalds and diet coke. Well I did scream when my alarm went off at 6:30AM, but I didn't bail. I'm glad I didn't because I was able to send my first 5.9 on gear (on a classic beautiful crack line called Toxic Shock at Inner Walls) and we all got milkshakes as per the Ice Cream Game!

Top of the climb! 

View from Pitch 5

Pano from Pitch 5

Some mushrooms spotted on the old growth trees..

Starting our hike back home.. full moon!


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