Thursday, July 18, 2013

Darrington Day Trip

I had a really fun day out climbing at Darrington a couple of days ago. Darrington is a place I had heard about and wanted to visit for a while. I got out there with a new climbing partner Tom, he's a WRG regular and a parent of one of my students. Every parent conference and soccer game we would talk about getting out together so it was great to finally make it happen.
Tom leads the first pitch. The route goes all the way up for 800ft or so, into the trees. It is a lot longer than it looks from the bottom.
Tom had climbed there a couple if times before, but it was my first time. So we opted for the route Silent Running a moderate 7 pitch mixed route. It's a real slab route, by that I mean a lot of pure friction padding on featureless granite. The rock is really high quality and has a surprising amount of texture for granite so the smears feel solid. We swung leads and made good time. On my first pitch I was sweating it climbing above the bolts on 5.8 friction moves, but the higher I got the more confidence I had in the smears. The hard parts are pretty well protected with a bolt about every 10 feet, but where the difficulty  eases you are looking at 40ft+ run outs. Tom who is very experienced on this type of climbing was solid or at least he looked it. I on the other hand struggled a bit more. But by the end I was able to cruise the 5.9+ friction moves. 
A lot of the climbing was pure friction, which takes some getting used to.
The final pitch is the hardest at 10b. It has a more gear placements than most pitches but the crux is a very delicate smearing slab. It was Tom's lead and he cruised up it, with the exception of one grab of the draw on an really thin section. By the time we rappelled back down, we had been on the rock for 7 hours, we figured we better get back for the three hour drive back to Olympia. I can't wait to get back there, there is another route nearby, Total Soul, which is slightly harder and longer, that I really want to get on next!
There were pretty long run outs when the climbing was easy.


jimmy said...

see any boulders? glad you're a bunch again!!

jimmy said...