Rock Climbing Road Trip To Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Oregon (Warning - Long)

  • Monday, October 13, 2014 11:21 PM
    Message # 3122778

    Although I returned from my climbing trip vacation more than a month ago, I have not had a chance to finish a trip report until now since I have been moving into a house and have not had cable service until today.  Here are the details of my recent trip, which took me to various climbing areas in California, Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Oregon. I put nearly 3000 miles on my Prius during this trip. This is a long trip report, but I wanted to capture the climbs I did and the experience. There are also notes about the climbing areas.  Technology note:  I brought a gas lantern, but never used it since I had a solar powered lantern, a solar power battery pack, and a solar panel.  I only used about 1/3 of a gallon of camp gas over the entire trip.

    Saturday, August 23, 2014

    Donner Summit, California and Elko, Nevada

    I woke up early at my old Fresno apartment and packed my gear into my car. I was on the road just after 7 am and drove north on California Highway 99 to Sacramento and then turned east on Interstate 80 towards the Lake Tahoe area. I stopped off at the top of Donner Summit along the old US Highway 40 road. It was a nice day, so there were many cars in the parking lot for hikers and mountain bikers. I hiked along the Pacific Crest Trail to School Rock, not realizing that you can park you car along US Highway 40 just below the crag. I decided to climb "Kindergarten Crack Left" (5.5) which is an easy climb so that I could straighten out my never used 9.8 mm, 70 m fluorescent yellow climbing rope. A climber on a nearby crack to the left commented that the rope was very bright.

    I set up a rope solo belay anchor using a large block at the bottom. I led up the initial steep section which is the crux. Then I went up the easy slabs with cracks above this steep section. I went to the left at the top of the long slab section, which went over a roof and then up more slab sections to the top of the crag. I had combined two or three pitches into a single pitch covering the entire length of the 70 m rope since I had no more rope when I reached the top. I built a belay station and attached the rope to it. I rappelled down the pitch and then re-ascended it to clean the gear. The climbing was done with my Silent Partner device, which was used a lot on my trip except for during my stay at City of Rocks National Reserve and Castle Rock State Park in Idaho. I hiked around to the bottom of the crack and then had lunch while I watched other climbers climbing at this popular crag. The weather was great and there are great views of Donner Lake.

    I would have liked to continue climbing at Donner Summit, but I had to continue my driving that day to Elko, Nevada. I was not even half way to Elko yet. So I got back onto Interstate 80 and headed east, passing through Truckee and then into Nevada before Reno. Then I continued driving the many miles in Nevada on I-80 to Elko, where I stayed at a hotel. I stayed at a hotel here because the nearest campgrounds were about 35 miles from Elko, which would have added driving time. I saw many cars and trailers headed toward the Burning Man event in northwestern Nevada. You could recognize these vehicles by the many bikes and crazy construction materials on the vehicles and trailers.

    Sunday, August 24, 2014

    City of Rocks National Reserve, Idaho

    I enjoyed the breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express and then was driving east again on Interstate 80. It would have been nice to check out some climbing at Pequop Summit along I-80 in northeastern Nevada, but I did not have a guidebook for the area at the time. I looked up at the limestone cliffs, which looked nice. Later when I obtained the "Utah's West Desert" guidebook by James Garrett on this trip, I found out that the majority of the climbs here are 5.12 and up, so these climbs would be outside of my ability. I wanted to get to City of Rocks National Reserve in Idaho, so I kept driving east. I turned northeast on Nevada Highway 233 from I-80 (there is nothing at this intersection but the desert) and continued driving through the small town of Montello. I entered into Utah where the road changes to Utah Highway 30 and you need to change the time to an hour later. Utah Highway 30 continues in the lonely northeastern Utah skirting the edge of the Great Salt Lake Basin. Although there are several dirt county roads that could have taken me north to the City of Rocks National Reserve, I did not know the condition of these roads, so I stayed on Utah Highway 30 which went east and then north until it met Utah Highway 42. I turned north on Utah Highway 42 and then soon entered into Idaho. Although there is a dirt county road which I could take west from here to City of Rocks, I drove north to Malta, Idaho since I needed to get gas for my car (my GPS indicated the closest gas station was in Malta). I got gas in Malta, which is only a few blocks long and is a farming community. Then I drove west on Idaho Highway 77 and then south on a paved road to Almo, Idaho where the visitor's center is located for City of Rocks National Reserve. Almo is a very small farming community that has the oldest general store in Idaho still in operation. I visited the visitor's center to get a brochure for the City of Rocks National Reserve and then drove up to my reserved campsite.

    The campsites at City of Rocks National Reserve are very dispersed, but are nice. There was only one other campsite within 400 feet of the site I stayed at. Some of the campsites such as mine were walk-in types where others allowed you to drive right up to the campsite. My reserved campsite 55 was near to the King On The Throne crag and also close to the Parking Lot Rock parking lot. I arrived at the campsite around noon and set up my camp. Eric Mountford, who is a Potomac Appalachian Trail Club - Mountaineering Section member who moved last year from Virginia to Colorado, had not arrived yet at the campsite. I ate lunch and then left Eric a note of where I would be climbing.

    From my campsite I walked to the Parking Lot Rock parking lot and then to the East Face of Window Rock. I met some climbers who were hiking out from this area. The trails to the crags are very well maintained and well signed. I first decided to climb "Summit Route/Descent Route" (5.5) *. I used a large juniper tree at the base as a solo belay anchor. I climbed up the slab and then the crack. At one point I went out onto the unprotectable face on the right to bypass a steep section. Higher up I passed several pools in the rock on the way to the top of the crag. I realized there were no anchor points at the top of the crag, so I down climbed on easy terrain to a two bolt anchor at the top of "Pure Pleasure". I used these as an anchor for the rope while I rappelled down and then re-ascended to rope to clean the route. Next, I did "Pure Pleasure" (5.6) ** which is the next climb to the left of the previous climb. I used the same rope anchor at the bottom. This climb goes up a short easy slab to a very nice hand crack. I climbed the perfect hand crack up to near the top of the route where the crack became very small, yet there were good face holds. The protection was great in this crack. I put the rope through the chains at the top and then rappelled down to clean the gear. For the last climb, I did "Good Times" (5.6) ** which is the next climb to the left of the previous climb. Although this climb starts up a lower angle slab below, since I was using the tree as an anchor, I had to bypass the lower slab section and traverse to an overlap, which I mantled onto on good holds. I climbed up to the bolt, which was the first protection I could get. As I climbed up higher to a perfect hands crack, Eric Mountford arrived at the climbing area. He watched as I climbed up an excellent crack to the top. I used the crack for hand jamming, but there were always good footholds on the face near the crack. Thus, the climbing was very easy. I climbed up to the top and set up an anchor. I rappelled down and then showed Eric how the Silent Partner device I was using worked. Since Eric did not bring his climbing gear to the crag, he watched while I re-ascended the rope and then hiked back to our campsite. I cleaned up the route and then rappelled down from the chains at the top of "Pure Pleasure". We then had dinner at our campsite. During the night it rained a bit.

    Monday, August 25, 2014

    City of Rocks National Reserve

    We wanted to climb the mega-classic "Wheat Thin" on the east side of Elephant Rock, but when we arrived there, a party was already on the climb. We looked at the very nice "Columbian Crack" (5.7) ***, but the unprotectable stemming chimney that led to the thin crack about 30 feet up looked a bit scary, so we decided to climb at another location. We drove over to Practice Rock where an Idaho State Park ranger was providing a climbing program to two climbers. During the summer the Idaho State Parks provides this program. Eric led up "Original Left" (5.7/5.8 - more like 5.8) *. As I followed him up the short route route, it started to sprinkle. Because the rock surface was beginning to get wet, I set up the adjacent "Betwixt" (5.7/5.8 - more like 5.8) ** on top rope from the bolted anchor at the top. Eric belayed me as I top roped this climb. It was a lot harder than normal since the rock was wet. We packed up in the rain and then drove to the Almo General Store to pick up ice and beer (the necessities).

    We went back to our campsite for lunch and then in the afternoon we hiked around the crags upslope from our campsite. We found many good climbs in the Breadloaves formations (from a distance the crags look like a series of sliced bread loaves). It had stopped raining, yet the rock surface was still wet since the clouds had not cleared. By the time we got to the West Side of Upper Breadloaves formation, the sun had come out and the rock surface was dry. We found several nice bolted climbs, so we hiked back to our campsite and then drove back to a parking lot on the dirt road next to the West Side of Upper Breadloaves.

    I led a climb that is a bolted route to the right or on "Wide Crack" (5.8). I do not think we did "Wide Crack" because the guidebook shows this climb as continuing up a crack whereas the climb I did was on a face just to the right of the crack and then crossed over the crack to the face on the left. In any case, the climb I led felt about 5.8 - 5.9. The climb went up a face on easy holds to a steeper section. The steeper section had more insecure holds. The crux was where you had to do an insecure side pull with smearing face holds to reach up to a rail on the crack edge and a good pocket above. Then you stepped left onto a knob on a vertical face. I climbed up great pockets and other holds past several bolts to a slab section and ten a final steeper section. The two bolt belay/rappel station was about 90-95 feet high. Eric lowered me down and then he cleaned the quick draws on top rope. He then led the climb and I followed it on top rope to clean the quick draws.

    Then I led a bolted climb to the left of the previous climb. This climb is shown as "Bad Crack" (5.10a) in the guidebook, but the name is strange because the climb does not go up a crack but is rather a face climb. There is a wide crack to the left, but no climb is shown that goes up this wide crack. Eric belayed me as I climbed up an easy slab at the start. Then the climb gets much steeper and goes up a vertical section. This section is very insecure, but I reached very high to find good holds. I pulled through and continued up easier terrain past many bolts to a two bolt rappel station. Eric lowered me down. He then cleaned the quick draws on top rope. In the evening it became very windy at our campsite, but the wind calmed down after the sun had completely set.

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

    City of Rocks National Reserve, Idaho

    We got up early and drove to the parking lot for Elephant Rock. There was no one there, so we had the East Side of Elephant Rock to ourselves. The guidebook stated that "Wheat Thin" (5.7) *** required a full rack and said that several accidents had occurred because of people not protecting before and in the crux lieback section. So I carried my rack in addition to some cams, including big cams, from Eric. I led up the easy but unprotectable slab to the first location where I could get in a cam. Then I started up the curving crack. Initially the holds and stances are very good, but as you go higher the stances are not as good. However, I found that I could always find fairly good stances for placing protection. I put in lots of protection below and in the vertical crack area, thinking that this would be the crux, but it felt very easy. Then as the crack curved back to the right on the face, the crack became thinner. I realized that this would probably be the crux area, so I put in thin cams where I could. When I got to the end of the crack, I put my arm in to a very large separate crack to the left and made a few arm bar moves to hold myself in place while moving up the face. All of the moves felt really great on this climb. I put in at least one large cam into this large crack and then continued up to the top. I set up a belay with large cams and a few small cams and nuts. This was a long pitch. I told Eric he would love the climbing. He came up and soon joined me at the top. Although you can do a long and steep walk-off from the back side of the formation, we did a double rope rappel from the chains on top of the adjacent "Rye Crisp" climb. Once I got to the ground, I realized that the rappel could have been done with a single 70 m rope. This was a fantastic climb and is one of the best 5.7 climbs at the City of Rocks.

    In keeping with the theme of doing the top rated climbs (as listed in Mountain Project) in several grades, we decided to do "Cowboy Route" (5.5) *** on the east side of Bath Rock. The approach consists of walking across the road from the parking lot. Eric led up the short first pitch, which goes up some water groves and pockets. Eric was able to get in a large cam in a wide crack and then climb higher on an easy but unprotectable face. He wanted to establish a belay just below the second pitch, but could not find a location in the wide water crack that would accept cams. Eventually he belayed me with a body stance belay without protection in the rock. I did not know this at the time until I got to him, but the climbing was extremely easy. I found a belay location lower (where the guidebook shows the belay is located) and built a belay. Eric then led off on the second pitch, which goes up an easy slab that then comes to a steeper face with many knobs and chicken heads. Eric sewed up the pitch with excellent tied off slings on knobs and chicken heads. Occasionally there was a crack for a cam, but most of the protection is tied off features. He then went up to the top where he built a belay. He then belayed me up this excellent pitch. I was amazed at how large the knobs and chicken heads were, which made the climbing easy despite being fairly steep. There is a "manufactured" 4th class down climb from the top using metal staple rungs cemented in to the rock, but we choose to rappel off of a huge single eyebolt. I rappelled down to slabs on the west side of the formation. I could see dark clouds in the far horizon, but it was still clear where we were. Eric then rappelled down. We hiked around to the west side.

    I then wanted to do the nearby "Tree Start" (5.5) ** that is the next climb to the left. I was about ready to start leading up when it started sprinkling. I made a few moves and then Eric said it may not be a good idea to climb with the rain. At first I thought it would not be too hard, but then it started raining harder. Next, the route was a rushing torrent of water. We scrambled to gather up our gear and run for the car. We had lunch in the car and waited for the rain to stop.

    Once the rain stopped, we went to Campsite #22 to do a climb on on Lookout Ridge. We went past the campers in the site and continued out on the ridge. The climb looked good, so we got our gear. Eric tied his dog Barley to a tree near the car. Barley barked the entire time we were climbing, which was probably annoying to the campers. We hiked out on the wild ridge that has Ansel Adams type trees for photographing and rock pools filled with water. We found the start of "Lookout Ridge" (5.5) ***. The climb starts on a wide ledge. I led up easy face climbing to an overhang that had a fixed piton. After clipping the piton, I made a very insecure leftward traverse with poor handholds to a notch in the overhang. After placing a cam, I pulled up through the overhang, which is the crux. From there the climbing is very easy. I passed a large boulder with multiple slings and webbing plus carabiners for rappelling off the route. Although the climbing was 4th class from here, I kept climbing to the top of the formation where I set up a belay. Eric followed me up the pitch, but only went to the rappel location. I then broke down the belay and climbed back to him. He rappelled down the pitch and then I rappelled down. He wanted to get down since Barley was barking so much (Eric said Barley was barking the entire time we climbed, which was extremely annoying. We tried looking for the campers to apologize about the barking dog, but we could not find them. This was an excellent climb, but most of the climbing is fairly easily with only a short more difficult section. That evening, we had excellent steak dinners at the Almo Steakhouse.

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014

    City of Rocks National Reserve, Idaho

    We got up fairly early and drove to the Circle Creek Overlook parking lot. We then hiked up the well-signed trail to Steinfell's Dome and Jackson's Thumb. We came to the base of the "Theater of Shadows" (5.7) *** route on Jackson's Thumb. This route was put up in 1999 and is very different from other climbs in that it is extremely well bolted. The guidebook states that old school climbers will be shocked by the number of bolts, but that the climb has been very popular ever since it was put up. This route has many crystal holds like the climbs in the Needles in the Black Hills, South Dakota. Some of these crystals are the size of your hand. Eric led up the first pitch, clipping the first bolt fairly close to the ground. He continued following the many bolts. Although the guidebook states that the climb is a clip-up, Eric decided to bring cams just in case. Higher up the first pitch he put in some cams in a crack that caused him to miss a few bolts. He led up to an alcove with a two bolt belay station. I then followed him up, noticing the bolts that he missed.

    After untangling our two ropes at the belay station, Eric led up the next pitch. The climbing started very easy up a grove and then went out onto a face. Soon I could not see Eric as he climbed, but he kept going up. At one point I thought he missed the belay station, but then he called for off belay. The belay station was just below a roof that passes through most of the face. After getting the remaining quick draws and slings from Eric, I led up the next pitch. This pitch traversed right and then went up a steep face that bypassed the roof. Above the steep face the holds were much smaller, so I was using smears for my feet on very small crystals. Then I came to a less steep section on the ridge which led to a two bolt belay station. Since I had not passed the half way mark on my 70 m rope, Eric urged me to keep going on the next pitch. I led along the next pitch, but soon was clipping every other bolt so that I did not run out of quick draws and slings and also to reduce the rope drag. The rope drag was a little hard to move against, but the climbing was very easy. Finally I came up to the two bolt belay station at the top of the crag. I urged Eric to hurry up since there were dark clouds nearby and I was near the top of a ridge which was exposed. He came up the two pitches.

    We then traversed about 20 feet to another rappel station on the right. Since we brought two ropes, we tied the two ropes together and then Eric made the first rappel down into a gully. The rappel is partially free hanging. There is supposed to be an intermediate set of rappel bolts so you can do single rope rappels, but we never saw these bolts. He rappelled down into the gully and then I rappelled down. The rappel is almost 200 feet total, although the bottom section is a slab. We pulled the ropes and then packed up. We carefully hiked down the talus-filled gully with loose rocks. We then came back to the start of the climb. This was a fantastic four pitch climb. I did feel that the bolts were a bit too close in places, but I guess that makes me an old school climber. We ate lunch at a rock near the start that overlooked the entire City of Rocks area.

    We wanted to go to Almo for showers and the hot springs, but it was still early in the afternoon, so I wanted to do a very short climb. We went to Practice Rock. I led "First Lead" (5.6) **. Eric belayed me as I went up this climb. I used a large Big Bro for the first protection although you can get protection in slightly higher that does not have to be so big. I went up the slanting crack, placing good protection. I got to the top and built a belay around several large wedged boulders. I brought Eric up this short climb and then we walked off the opposite side through an unoccupied campsite.

    We then packed up and went to the Almo General Store to take showers. The shower facilities were somewhat small and only had a milk crate to put my supplies and clothing on. Despite this, it was great to take a hot shower. After the shower we went to the Durfee Hot Springs just north of Almo. After paying inside of the trailer, we then soaked in the three hot pools. The pools are three different temperatures. We found the hottest pool, which has a sunshade, to be too hot for relaxing more than a short time. The middle temperature pool was very nice although the coolest pool (probably about 80-83 deg. F). was also nice. After staying in the various pools until our skins on our hands wrinkled, we changed and drove back to the campsite for the night.

    Thursday, August 28, 2014

    Castle Rock State Park, Idaho

    Castle Rock State Park is very near City of Rocks National Reserve and has similar rock, but a different history. We decided to climb here for a day. Years ago Castle Rock State Park was private property, but climbers occasionally climbed here. During the sport climbing revolution in the late 1980's happening mostly at Smith Rock State Park in Oregon, climbers in Idaho wanted to stage an outdoor climbing competition. They had to select an area that was not already routinely climbed. They settled on some formations within what was to later become Castle Rock State Park. The competition featured climbs with added bolt on holds as well as other manufactured routes. The alteration of the rock generated so much controversy that the climbing magazines refused to publish the results of the competition although many top US climbers participated. Later the area became a state park, but climbing was prohibited. Then in 2003 climbing was allowed, but guidelines for establishing the climb had to be followed. What resulted is an area that has safely bolted climbs with good hardware as well as a few traditional climbs. What this means is that the climbs are well bolted with bolts adequately protecting the crux moves.

    Eric and I drove just north of Almo and then drove along the dirt road that enters into Castle Rock State Park. We paid the daily entry fee and then went to the parking lot very near Castle Rock. We then hiked on the well-marked trail to the south face. We found a climb that appeared to possibly be "Big Time", but did not seem to match the guidebook. Later we found out through Mountain Project that the climb we did was "High Times" (5.7) ***. This climb is between "Little Time" and "Big Time". Eric led up the first pitch, which went up a slab that looks easy, but was not so easy. The bolts are fairly close (but not over-bolted), but there are some slab climbing moves that have insecure handholds. He established a belay at a stance part way up the face. Because his feet were hurting so much, he had me lead the next pitch. After we danced around so that I could lead out to the left, I went up the face past many bolts to the next belay station. I brought Eric up this pitch. While the climb actually ends here, I made a long, unprotected, and easy traverse over to a bolt on the third pitch of "Big Time" (5.7) ***. I clipped this bolt and then headed up past several more bolts to a belay station at the top of the third pitch of "Big Time". I brought Eric up this shorter pitch to the ledge where he could relax his feet that hurt from the climbing shoes. After transferring the gear, I led up the fourth pitch of "Big Time". This climb goes up a steep ramp/face next to a very wide crack wide crack. Then the route went out onto the face and past a sloping ledge with a rappel station. Then I went up a steep slab to a funky corner with a horn at the top. The move from the slab to grab the horn was breathtaking, but I pulled up on the horn and past more good holds to a highly featured face. I climbed this very featured face up to the two bolts at the top of the route. There was a lot of rope drag since this pitch bends considerably and has many bolts. I brought Eric up the pitch. We then made five single rope rappels down "Big Time" to the bottom. We saw a curious gopher snake later at the bottom.

    Eric's feet hurt too much to climb more, but he was happy to keep belaying me. I led the first pitch of "Big Time" (5.7) ***. I cruised up the pitch, which is steeper than "High Times", but I felt was easier. I always found an interesting handhold exactly where I wanted it. Some of the handholds were small dishes or depressions while others were side-pulls. I threaded the rope through the rappel chains and rappelled down. Next, I led the first two pitches of "Little Time" (5.6 to 5.7-) **. I used my 70 m rope to link the two pitches together, which required 22 quickdraws and slings. The climbing was easier than the other climbs we had done, but was still challenging, particularly in the steep section on the second pitch. The second pitch ends on the same ledge as the third pitch of "Big Time". I then rappelled down the route using two 70 m ropes. We also saw a large gopher snake in this area. Although it was in the afternoon and hot, I still wanted to climb one more climb at this place. We hiked to the left and went up Hostess Gully to the west face of Castle Rock. I settled on "Three Bits" (5.9) * as the last climb of the day. This climb starts at the highest point of Hostess Gully and appears in the guidebook to be shorter than the other climbs. In reality, it is just as tall as the other climbs. Eric belayed me as I went over a series of overhangs. The second overhang had a bolt right at the lip and looked very intimidating. However, I pulled up and found a huge pocket hold high on the face above. I hauled up and found another large pocket. I pulled over this wild roof. I continued climbing up this very steep climb. I could finally see the bolts at the top, which were a lot higher than I expected. Although the route was very steep, there were holds where you wanted them. I clipped one of the bolts at the top with a quickdraw and put the rope through it. I am glad I did this because one of the hardest moves is the last one to the bolts. The stance at the bolts is very poor, so I clipped my PAS device into the anchors. I then threaded the rope through the chains and then rappelled down, cleaning the gear on the way down. This was a fantastic climb. Although I was very tired and sore from the days of climbing, I was proud that I was able to do this climb without rests.

    We then went to Rock City store/restaurant in Almo for some fantastic pizza and salad. Eric was smart and went for the unlimited toppings price level. The little of everything pizza was great and the salad (with a salad bowl at your table, none of this salad bar with wilted and poor ingredients) was also nice. This place has a very large collection of microbrews, ciders, and speciality soft drinks, including some limited edition brews from Pacific Northwest breweries. We had a great celebration of our climbing trip. We said hello to the campers who moved into the site next to us.

    I really enjoyed City of Rocks National Reserve and Castle Rock State Park. These places are very worthy alternatives to Joshua Tree and other popular areas. I would definitely return to these areas. City of Rocks National Reserve is great if you like trad climbing and Castle Rock State Park is great if you like sport climbing.  If you climb at these places, you will want to get "City of Rocks Idaho" by Dave Bingham and "Castle Rocks Idaho" by Dave Bingham.  These places are a great alternative to the crowded climbing areas such as Joshua Tree and Yosemite.

    Friday, August 29, 2014

    City of Rocks National Reserve, Idaho; Dierkes Lake, Idaho; and Alturas Lake, Idaho

    Eric and I packed up. He was driving back to Denver today and I was headed north to the Sawtooth Mountains. We drove down to the Smoky Mountain Campground which is near Almo. This campground, which is managed by the Idaho State Parks, has hot showers. We paid the daily entry fee and I believe a shower fee. The hot shower felt great. We then went to the Visitor's Center in Almo to get water and say goodbye. I had a great time climbing with Eric and am already thinking about climbing trips with him next year. I drove north on the county road through Elba to Conner Corner where I turned north on Idaho Highway 77. At Conner Summit I stopped along the side of the road to mark in my GPS the turnoff to go to Conner Columns, a small rock climbing area, although I did not drive up the dirt road to look at the climbing area. I continued driving north to Interstate 84 which I took west towards Twin Falls. I stopped at Dierkes Lake, which is in Shoshone Falls State Park near Twin Falls. After eating my lunch, I hiked to the north side of the lake to boulder a bit on the French Connection Right boulder, the Pipe Boulder, and the Trad Slab boulder. Most of the boulder problems I did were V0 and lower. I did not have a crash and the ground was very hard, so I did not want to tweak an ankle on this trip. It was fairly hot in the sun as there is no shade here.

    After bouldering a bit, I drove north on US Highway 93 and then on Idaho Highway 75. I drove into the Sawtooth National Recreational Area and went over Galena Pass into the Salmon River Valley. I turned off on the road to Alturas Lake and went to the Alturas Lake Inlet Campground where I had a reserved campsite. This was the start of the Labor Day Weekend, so I could not reserve a campsite for three continuous days in the area, so I had to settle on this campground for one night and then another campground closer to the climbing area for the other two nights. The campground was full. As I was enjoying a campfire at my campsite, it started pouring down rain. I quickly packed the few items I had remaining outside into the car and went to my tent. I tried to read as the rain was pounding against the tent, but soon fell asleep.

    Saturday, August 30, 2014

    Alturas Lake, Redfish Lake, and Mount Heyburn, Sawtooth National Recreational Area, Idaho

    It was overcast and still raining in the morning when I woke up. I quickly warmed water for breakfast, but ate breakfast in my car. I quickly packed up the car and drove north about 20 miles in the rain to Redfish Lake. The rain had stopped, but it was still very overcast. My plan was to do some easy climbing today and then tomorrow climb Mount Heyburn, which is 10,200+ feet high. However, in my haste to go climbing, I packed just about everything to climb Mount Heyburn today (I left my ice axe and crampons in the car, which is good since they were not needed). I did forget one very important item, which I will mention later. I hiked up the Redfish Lake North Side Trail to the Bench Lakes Trail junction. I then hiked up to the first Bench Lake where the official trail ended. I followed a good hikers' trail up to the second Bench Lake. From this lake, I followed a climbers' trail up to the third and fourth Bench Lakes. Then I continued on the climbers' trail along the scree and talus above the lake and then up a steep slope covered in scree and talus, some of which moved a bit. The trail went up a very steep scree slope to a saddle. When I got to the saddle, I realized I forgot to bring the photocopied pages of the "Idaho - A Climbing Guide" guidebook by Tom Lopez. My intention was to climb "Stur Chimney" (II, 5.2) on the west summit, but I forgot the guidebook. I remember reading that there were multiple summits and some summits had very loose rock. Because there were multiple climbers' trails going to different locations from the saddle and I was not sure where the climb I wanted to do was located, plus it was in the early afternoon with some clouds brewing (remember the alpine climber's motto: Be off by 2 pm), I decided to look around for a climb that I could see worth doing. Very near the saddle I noticed a dihedral that is on the northern-most sub-summit of Mount Heyburn. I hiked over to the base of the dihedral and scrambled up 3rd class terrain for about 20 feet. I climbing up the dihedral looked like it was possible, so I built a rope solo anchor. I led up past dirty sections and loose rock in the dihedral. The dirty sections and loose rock would be a fairly constant theme on this route. Higher on the dihedral the route became more steep. I wish I had more cams in the 3.5 to 4.0 size up higher since these would be more secure than the micro cams I was putting into cracks. In several places I had to pull up on clumps of dirt and moss. Finally I came to the top, which was a notch on the ridge. There was a spire-like section above that went to the top of this sub-summit, but I did not investigate this since it looked like it would require aid climbing or a bolt ladder. Although I party of two could probably down climb the very steep talus-filled gully on the other side, if I did this, it would take me far from my gear at the base. So I looped some cord around a spike at the top and used this as a rappel anchor. I cleaned the route on the way down. Based upon the amount of dirt on this climb and the lack of top anchors, I presume that I did a first ascent of this route. This route is not too long, about 27 m. I felt a bit guilty about leaving the cord on the spike at the top since the Sawtooth Mountains Wilderness Area where I was is were the no fixed climbing anchors in wilderness areas began. I called this climb "Dihedral of Fun" (II, 5.3-5.4). I think only the most diehard Sawtooth Mountains climber will want to repeat it due to the dirty cracks and some loose rock, but I had fun on it. Actually, when I read the guidebook later, it said that many of the routes on Mount Heyburn have some loose rock. I could not get a good fix on the starting location since I left my good GPS in the car, but the approximate location of the start is N 44 deg. 6.1675' and W 144 deg. 58.76'. I hiked back down to Redfish Lake and rewarded myself with an ice cream cone. The cashier at the Redfish Lodge store gave me a "badass" discount when I told him I hiked from Redfish Lake hiking trailhead to near the top of Mount Heyburn and back in under 8 hours, including the rock climbing and the 13 mile round trip. My legs and shoulders were very sore. I set up my campsite at Glacier View Campground, ate dinner, and then went to sleep. I was so tired that even the multi-family commotion at the campsite nearby did not keep me awake.

    There are few guidebooks for this area, but I think the best for the alpine areas is "Idaho - A Climbing Guide" by Tom Lopez.


    Sunday, August 31, 2014

    Super Slab, Redfish Lake, Sawtooth National Recreational Area, Idaho

    I awoke to a clear by cold morning. I decided to climb some easier and more accessible routes today, but were not sure where they were. I went to the Redfish Lake Lodge to ask if someone could tell me where the Super Slab was located. This area is mentioned in the Tom Lopez book, but the book does not identify where it is located other than it is somewhere in the Redfish Lake Creek Valley above Redfish Lake. The guidebook states that guiding companies use this area to teach rock climbing. The women at the reception desk had heard of the area and went online to find information, but could not find anything. She then phoned someone else who told her that it was about an hour hike up from the lake. She directed me to go to the boat shuttle dock to ask someone. I was already headed for the boat shuttle dock because there was no way I was going to walk the six miles one way from one end of the lake to the other. The $16 I spent for the round trip boat shuttle was well worth it. A person at the boat dock told me to go about an hour upstream from the end of the lake and look for large boulders next to the trail. In about 10-15 minutes I was at the other end of the lake and hiking up the Redfish Lake Creek Trail. I came to the huge boulders along the trail, but nothing looked like a climbing area, so I kept going. After passing over some wood bridges over a wet area, I came to a side trail on the right. Beyond the trees I could see what looked like a large slab area, so I hiked up the climbers' trail to the base of the slab. It did not look like there were any climbs except for in very dirty cracks at the bottom, so I hiked up the climbers' trail on the right side of the slab. I came to a ledge about a third of the way up and had lunch. Then I looked around for a place to build and solo belay anchor and found two bolts painted black. I was really surprised to see these bolts due to the fixed anchors ban in this area. I led up very easy slabs and cracks to a wide ledge with two bolts. This pitch is probably about 50 - 55 m long and does not have many protection possibilities, but the climbing is very easy. I anchored the rope, rappelled down, and then re-ascended the rope.

    I led up the next pitch, which took me to the left to an arching crack. Then I went up an easy but unprotected face to another two bolts. There were only a few protection possibilities on this pitch, but it was very easy. I am sure that the regular climb continues up the face for another two pitches to the top of the formation, but I went up a dirty dihedral to the right. The climbing was a bit more difficult because the crack in the dihedral was dirty and vegetated. I only got in a few pieces of protection this very long pitch that I ran out for almost the full 70 m to the top of the formation. I anchored the rope to two smaller trees, rappelled down, and re-ascended the rope. I think walked off on a climbers' trail from the top back to my gear. I have no idea what the name of this climb is as it is not listed in the guidebook or on Mountain Project. I will call it "Unknown Climb" (about 5.3 the way I went). It is 3-4 pitches long. I hiked back down to the upper end of the lake. Although my return boat trip was supposed to be at 5 pm, there was space on a boat going back at 4 pm for me, so I got back early. The beach near Redfish Lake Lodge was absolutely packed with people, so much so that the boat driver had to warn people to get out of the way so that he could maneuver his boat into the slip at the dock. I enjoyed a nice dinner at my campsite.

    This area is not in any guidebook or on the internet - just go climb.


    Monday, September 1, 2014

    Redfish Lake, Sawtooth National Recreational Area, Idaho and Blodgett Canyon, Bitterroot Mountains, Hamilton, Montana

    Today was Labor Day. I woke up to cold and fog in the morning. I packed up and went to the showers near the pack station. I took a hot shower and then started driving north on Idaho Highway 75 to meet with US Highway 93 which I took to Salmon, Idaho. I got camping food there and had lunch. Then I continued driving north into Montana at Lost Trail Pass. I drove north to Hamilton and then west into Blodgett Canyon. The Blodgett Canyon Campground is at the end of the road and only has six sites, none of which can be reserved. This was the only campground on my trip that I was worried about having problems with because the guidebook states that the campground is frequently filed, particularly on weekends. Three of the sites were occupied when I arrived at 3:30 pm, but by 5:30 pm all sites had been taken. The camping is free, but a campground host determined how long you were going to stay, how many people were in your group, and how you were camping (tent or RV/camper). I hiked up to the Parking Lot Wall, which looks close to the campground, but is actually quite a hike to get there. Most of the climbs are in the 5.10+ range, but I did observe a 5.8 climb. It was clear from the condition of the trail that few people climb at this area.

    To be continued

  • Monday, October 13, 2014 11:28 PM
    Reply # 3122779 on 3122778

    Tuesday, September 2, 2014

    Blackfoot Dome, Blodgett Canyon, Bitterroot Mountains, Hamilton, Montana

    I woke up early and began hiking up the Blodgett Canyon to the approach for Blackfoot Dome. After about 2 miles I crossed Blodgett Creek on a log and then trashed through downed trees and lots of brush (the area had a fire some time ago). I later learned that I crossed the creek too early. I had to bushwhack through the brush and many downed trees until I picked up a faint climbers' trail higher on the hillside. Then I hiked up a steep slope with rock slabs interspersed with grass to some trees. Then I traversed left to the apparent start of the climb I wanted to do.

    "Blackfoot Dome, Southeast Face" (III, 5.5/5.6)

    I started this climb at a group of low juniper trees growing on the edge of a ledge. I put slings around the base of two of the juniper trees and used this as a solo rope belay. The climb starts up a slab that is easy, but has no protection possibilities. I had to climb up much higher to a place where I could get in the first protection. I kept climbing up the runout slabs until I came to an overlap that had a nice hand crack above it. I put in a good protection piece and pulled up using the crack. I followed the crack up to a tree that had some old slings on it. This is the normal end of the first pitch, but since I had a 70 m rope, I still had a lot of rope left. I kept climbing up easy slabs that appeared to have sideways steps in the slabs. Then I came to a very tricky smooth slab. I pulled on a small juniper tree to get up to a location where I could put in a cam in a crack. The slab had few features and it was hard to tell whether the surface was good or just lichen cover. I made a delicate move up to easier terrain and a ledge where I built a belay station with several cams since I was almost out of rope. I anchored the rope, rappelled down, and then re-ascended the pitch with my backpack on.

    The next pitch was 3rd and 4th class past a big tree that would be the normal end of the second pitch and up to top of the normal third pitch. Because the climbing was so easy, I did not anchor the rope in, but rather just trailed the rope unanchored. Most of the climbing was 3rd class with a few short 4th class moves on slabs, so I felt very comfortable. At the big tree at the top of the normal third pitch, I used the tree as a rope anchor. I continued up steeper slabs with occasional steeper sections. I led up to almost the end of my 70 m rope were I made an anchor with a very thin juniper tree and a large cam in a crack. I anchored the rope, rappelled down, and then re-ascended the rope with my backpack. Then I led off on the final pitch, which went up a steep notch and then easier terrain to the top of the formation. I built a belay on a tree next to a large flat rock. I noticed that others had come up this route the same way (the climb is somewhat undefined since there are many ways you can go) since there was a broken path through some ground bushes at the top. I rappelled down and then came back up. I had lunch on the rock with a great view of the Blodgett Canyon and Hamilton Valley.

    The guidebook states that you just walk off to the north to a gully, which is what I tried to do. However, I found that all ways always led to 5th class slabs. I was a bit puzzled until I saw a tree that had a large rope sling with rappel rings. While I was attaching my lead rope to a tag line for a double rope rappel, a helicopter was repeatedly flying low over the formation. Another helicopter was also flying into and out of the valley. I realized they were probably not sightseeing, but were rather on a search and rescue mission. I rappelled down a slab to a dead tree with rappel slings and carabiners attached to it. Since I had forgotten the hand signals to helicopters in search and rescue operations, I decided to ignore the helicopter rather than waiving to it which could possibly be misinterpreted as me needing help, which I did not. Although the second tree for the rappel was dead, it looked sturdy enough to rappel from and there were no other options since this was the only tree on the slab. I threaded the rope through the carabiners after I had pulled it from the previous rappel point. I then made a double rope rappel to the gully.

    While I thought the descent would be easy once I reached the gully, I was wrong. The gully was burned over probably 10 years ago, so it was choked with downed trees and high brush. I missed the start of the climbers' descent trail, so I bushwhacked through the brush and downed logs until I found the "trail". The descent "trail" is extremely steep and goes through the brush, downed trees, etc. It is not a place you want to slip since you will probably impale yourself onto broken branch stubs sticking out from the downed burned trees. After descending for a very long time, I came to the slabs near where I started the climb. Rather than hiking out through the brush that I came up, I hiked across a large talus field back down to Blodgett Creek. While hiking down to the creek, I saw two climbers on "The Free Lament" (5.9+, R) on the south face of Blackfoot Dome. The crux of the climb I did is not the actual climbing, which is easy, but the approach to the climb and the descent, which are more tiring. I crossed Blodgett Creek and hiked down the trail to the campground. I noticed several Ravalli County Search And Rescue vehicles, so I knew that the helicopter, which was still flying around, was indeed on a search mission. The campground host told me that they were looking for a hiker who was two weeks late from coming out. However, later I heard on a website that the person may have been a climber. I never found out what the situation actually was. I had a few well-deserved beers at the campground.

    This climbing area is best covered in "Rock Climbing Montana" by Randell Green.


    Wednesday, September 3, 2014

    Blodgett Canyon, Hamilton, Montana and Peck Gulch Campground, Lake Koocanusa, Montana

    So far it had been perfect weather in Montana, but I woke to a few sprinkles and an overcast sky in the morning. I packed up my campsite and started driving north towards Missoula. I had the oil changed on my car in Missoula since the change oil light was on and I still had many miles to drive on my trip. As I drove north from Missoula on US Highway 93, it started to rain. It rained most of the day as I drove north of Kalispell to Eureka, which is only six miles from the Canadian border. Then I turned south on the little-used Montana Highway 37 which goes along Lake Koocanusa, which is really the Kootenai River dammed at Libby Dam such that the reservoir extends into Canada from the USA (look carefully at the name for the explanation). I went down from the highway to the Forest Service Peck Gulch Campground on the lake. The campground hosts had already left for the season and there was only one other vehicle in the campground besides me. I waited in my car while reading a climbing guidebook I purchased in Kalispell until the rain stopped. I enjoyed some sun when the clouds cleared. Nobody else came to the campground during the night or even the next day (this is a very remote part of Montana).

    Thursday, September 4, 2014

    Stone Hill, Lake Koocanusa, Montana

    I had visited this place over a year ago when I was working at the Libby Dam, but only bouldered at the time since I only had my shoes and chalk bag. I drove several miles north from the campground on the road and pulled off right next to Lizard Slab, which is right next to the road. I tried to do a rope solo climb of Terrordactyl" (5.8), but realized the route was very polished and harder than listed. Although there are bolts on this route and others, most people top rope the climbs. Although this crag is somewhat remote, many local climbs who live in Libby and Eureka come here in the afternoon and evening in the summer to do top roping. Consequently, the holds and face are very polished. I did this climb several times on solo top rope. Then I did the nearby "Lizard Follies" (5.8) on solo top rope. I moved down the cliff and did the following climbs on solo top rope (moving right to left): "Plum Pudding (5.8), "Thin Pudding" (5.8), "Thin Ice" (5.8), Ally Oop" (5.7), and Scotty's Delight" (5.6). Some local (local being from Libby, about 40 miles away) climbers showed up and I was hoping to climb with them, but then one of them realized that he had forgotten the two harnesses for them at his house - oops!

    Next, I drove about 300 feet up the highway past the vault toilet to another climbing area. I rope solo led an "Unknown Climb" (about 5.7) that is either on Hold Up Bluffs South or between this formation and Hold Up Bluffs North. The climb starts off of a pedestal about 15 feet of the ground. I anchored the rope to a tree at the base and led up past the bolts on the sloping slab. The crux is passing a large block that forces you to make awkward moves around it. Above it I found a large square-cut ledge that had two fixed cams in a crack. I used both of these as protection since I only brought quick draws and some kind of protection is needed here. I climbed past one more bolt to the rappel chains at the top. This was a fun climb, but I do not know the name of it since it is not listed in the guidebook or on Mountain Project.

    Next, I climbed an "Unknown Climb" (about 5.8 - 5.9) that is just right of "Beer and Smear". The short climb has only two bolts on it and is only about 35-40 feet tall. I led up to the first bolt and passed it to a slight ledge. Then I reached high to clip the second bolt. I did a side pull on the edge of the formation and then reached to the ledge above. I pulled up and mantled onto this ledge. I found two bolts and chains at the top of the ledge that were not visible from below. This was a fun day of climbing, but I felt that I had explored this area as much as I wanted to even though I had planned to be here for two days.

    The climbing areas is best covered in "Rock Climbing Montana" by Randell Green.
    Friday, September 5, 2014

    Peck Gulch Campground, Lake Koocanusa, Montana and Rocks of Sharon near Spokane, Washington

    I decided to deviate from my trip plan so that I would be able to climb at some locations in Washington, so I decided to drive to the Spokane area and spend the night there instead of spending another night at Lake Koocanusa. I woke up early, but did not have breakfast since I was planning to eat in Libby, Montana about 45 miles south of my campground. It was cloudy and overcast in the morning. I ate breakfast at a local restaurant in Libby. This was my third visit to Libby over the years (twice for work) and I feel for the residents. The entire town was declared a Superfund hazardous waste site due to airborne residue from a nearby vermiculite mine and processing facility in Libby. The town has been cleaned up, but the air is still being monitored for asbestos fibers and people are still dying from the asbestos. Then I drove west, leaving Montana and Mountain Time Zone, and entering Idaho. I drove west through the Idaho panhandle into Washington towards Spokane. I went to the Rocks of Sharon, which is in the Dishman Hills Natural Area southeast of Spokane. I did all climbs on the Big Rock formation. The first climb I led rope solo was "Highland Malt" (5.8). This climb starts right next to the trail. It climbs up past many bolts to a two bolt belay/rappel station above. The climb requires good foot movements. Then I led "Southern Comfort Straight Up" (5.7) which leads up to near the top of the formation. The mantle move over the overhang was scary because if you fall, you will hit the ledge below no matter how good the belay is. I had to go through this several times before committing to the mantle, which I was able to do. I rappelled down this and "Southern Comfort". I then led "Southern Comfort" (5.5) which goes up an arete/slab on the edge of the formation. I rappelled down from the belay/rappel bolts. As my last climb of the day, I led the two pitch climb "Standard Route" (5.4) as a single pitch climb with my 70 m rope. I stretched the rope to the very top of the formation. The first pitch is 3rd and 4th class and the second pitch has a few 5.4 moves, but the rest is easy. This took me to the top of the formation, which had great views to the south and east. I did two rope rappels down to the bottom. This is a very nice climbing area. At Mountain Gear in Spokane I asked for a recommendation for a nearby campground with showers. The salesperson directed me to the Bowl and Pitcher Campground in Riverside State Park. This park is in Spokane, but you would never know it. The campground has great showers. I had dinner in Spokane at a place that had great BBQ.

    This climbing area is best described in "Climbing The Rocks Of Sharon" by Aaron Henson, Bob Ordner, Eric Barrett, and Jon Jonckers which is published by Mountain Gear.


    Saturday, September 6, 2014

    Banks Lake, Washington and Biggs Junction, Oregon

    It felt strange to drive through the city streets of Spokane after spending the night in a campground. Except for the hotel in Elko, which really is not a big city, I had been spending every night in campgrounds that were someone remote. The Bowl and Pitcher Campground does have a remote feeling, but then you drive through Spokane making you realize that you are not remote. I drove west on US Highway 2 across the plains to Wilbur and then drove north on Washington Highway 174 to Grand Coulee. Then I went west on Washington Highway 155 to Banks Lake and specifically Northrup Canyon near Banks Lake. I got a mandatory Washington State day pass and then went to the Picnic Table Rock in Northrup Canyon. From a distance, the rock looks like poor quality basalt, but it is actually decomposing granite. Ignore the "decomposing" part because this rock is great with very solid holds that are often small flat horizontal incuts of varying widths.

    There were many bolted routes on the wall, including many that were not in the guidebook. It was difficult to tell which climb was which using the guidebook. To get used to the climbing here (the rock did not look good at first to me), I led "Introduction" (5.4). This is a traversing route which traversed across several routes not shown in the guidebook. There are now more bolts on the route than listed in the guidebook because the new routes were put up that cross this route. I led the easy climbing to one of the many chain anchors and then rappelled down. I was amazed at how good the rock was. Next, I led an "Unknown Climb" (about 5.10 c or d) that intersected the previous route I did. The climb was well bolted, but had some spicy moves. I did have to hold onto one draw while clipping it, so I repeated the climb on top rope where I found that I could do the move. Then I led another "Unknown Climb" (about 5.9) that was right next door. This climb was good, but was not as steep or sustained as the previous climb. These climbs are only about 40-45' high. For the last climb, I led "I'm Down" (5.7) *. This was a very fun climb that started out in a chamber between a huge boulder and the wall. I climbed up to the top of a chockstone between the boulder and the wall and then went up the wall. This route ends at the top of the traversing route "Introduction". Of all the climbs I did here, I think this last climb was the best. I noticed that there were some routes that went up an overhanging roof at the top of the wall with quickdraws on the hangers. Someone was working this route, which probably in the 5.13 - 5.14 range.

    Then I continued to drive southwest towards Yakama and then south on US Highway 97 to the Columbia River where I drove into Oregon. I had a reservation to stay at the Three Rivers Inn at Biggs Junction. Biggs Junction is not much of a town, but is a very busy collection of local motels and fast food restaurants catering to truckers and travelers going along Interstate 84 along the Columbia River. I ate at the only non-fast food restaurant, which did not have great food. The local hotel was ok. I had picked this place because originally I thought I would be driving from Montana to here in a day, which would be a long drive.

    This area is best covered in "Rock Climbs Of Central Washington" by Rick La Belle which is published by Mountain Gear.


    Sunday, September 7, 2014

    Smith Rock State Park, Oregon and Colliver Memorial State Park, Chiloquin Oregon

    I had breakfast in the hotel lobby, which felt strange instead of making breakfast at a campground. I then drove south on US Highway 97 on the eastern plains of Oregon. The towns are very small here and the gas stations are far apart until you reach Madras. I kept driving south to Terrebonne and then went to Smith Rock State Park. There were lots of cars in the parking lot and I was worried about crowding on the climbs, but my fears were not justified since the majority of the cars were hikers and mountain bikers. This park is also very popular with these other user groups. You must now pay for parking compared to when I went here 11 years ago. I hiked quickly to the climbing area, but stopped to speak a volunteer who had a gopher snake on his hand. I told him I had seen many gopher snakes at Castle Rock State Park in Idaho. He told me that I may see some here at this park also. Gopher snakes are very docile and curious. They are often mistaken for rattlesnakes since they have similar markings, but do not have rattles and are a harmless snake. I quickly went to the southeast face section of the Dihedrals area since I remembered that there are some nice climbs there.

    While looking at the base of "Lichen It" (5.8) *** to see if I could find a place to make a rope solo anchor, some climbers considering the adjacent "Easy Reader" noticed my Potomac Appalachian Trail Section - Mountaineering Section (PATC-MS) shirt which I wore today. They asked me if I was in PATC-MS. I explained to them that I was, yet I lived in California after moving from Maryland over a year ago. Two of them were members of PATC-MS and were visiting the brother of one of them who lived in the area and was climbing with them. I did not recognize them, but they may have joined after I left the East Coast. This was their first time climbing at Smith Rock. Unfortunately, I did not catch their names because I did the second pitch of the climb, which requires hiking to another location to rappel down and they had left the area when I got back down. However, we traded details about their visits, my climbing trip, and their impression so far of Smith Rock. Wow, PATC-MS members are everywhere! I led "Lichen It", which was fun. The climb is harder than I remember it, but I also noticed that the most recent Smith Rock State Park guidebook lists the rating as 5.8 whereas the 1992 edition guidebook that I had listed it as 5.7 (I did the climb in 2003). The holds have become smoother. I also did the second pitch, which is not listed in the latest edition guidebook. I understood why the second pitch is not listed when I got near the top and was accidentally knocking down pebbles onto the people below. The second pitch is 5.2 and only has one protection placement possibility on the entire pitch. I had to sling several large boulders at the top for an anchor. I rappelled down the second pitch and then re-ascended it. I had to walk over to the top of "Cinnamon Slab" and then rappel down this route. The PATC-MS members had left the area, so I did not get to share further details with them.

    I then led "Easy Reader" (5.6) ***. I had also done this climb back in 2003. The crux of this climb is the first few moves. Once you have done the first few moves onto a ledge, the remainder of the climbing is easy but good. I rappelled down the route and then cleaned it. I noticed a bolted climb between "Cinnamon Slab" and "Easy Reader" that was not in my 1992 edition of the guidebook. Two climbers were doing the climb, but they were just finishing up when I enquired about the climb. They said they were done with the climb. Some older climbers told me that the route was "Night Flight" (5.5) ***. The two climbers told me it would be a good climb to finish up the climbing on my trip (I had told them that I had been climbing nearly every day for the last two weeks on my road trip). I led the route. Although the climbing was easy, I found it very satisfying with a variety of climbing types. I passed the rope through the rappel rings and did a rappel down, taking a bit extra time to savor the descent and cleaning since I knew this was the last climb of my trip. I packed up and hiked back to my car. I then drove south to the Collivier Memorial State Park Campground in Southern Oregon. I camped there for the night. The campground was filled with recreational vehicles.

    Monday, September 8, 2014

    Chiloquin, Oregon and return to Fresno

    It was quite cold when I woke up at the Colliver Memorial State Park Campground near Chiloquin, Oregon. I enjoyed a hot shower and then cooked breakfast, which would be the final breakfast on the trip. When I looked at my car thermometer, it was 37 deg. F which was the coldest morning on my trip. After packing up, I drove south on US Highway 97 into California. I noticed that Mount Shasta only had snow on the glaciers on the northern and eastern slopes, yet there was no snow on the entire western side of Mount Shasta, which rarely every happens. I drove down I-5 and California Highway 99 to Fresno, arriving at my old apartment after 5 pm. This was the conclusion of my excellent climbing trip.

  • Thursday, October 23, 2014 8:43 AM
    Reply # 3131807 on 3122778

    Excellent trip indeed.  Any photo?   Hung

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