Yesterday I had one of those “coming full circle” moments in my climbing life. I first climbed Liberty Bell when I was 17 via Thin Red Line, and Liberty crack when I was 18, which was about 12 years ago. Both of those ascents were monumental for me at the time. On my long ago ascent of TRL I had my first real wall bivi experience and it was one to remember. My partner and I shared a single Fish portaledge and pretty much gumbied our way up the route aiding almost every possible inch of the route. On Liberty Crack we had planned on a one day ascent but of course didn’t send in a day. We pulled an all nighter making it back to the car by noon the next day. For me times have really changed since those teenage ascents. I’ve been fortunate enough to spend a good majority of the last 10 years climbing, living and working in Yosemite. I’ve learnt a few things down there in those years. A couple of which are how to free climb and how to climb really big routes.
The only problem with spending all that time in Yosemite is that I haven’t really been able to climb in the Cascades much. Luckily for me I quit my job in Yosemite two years ago now which has allowed me to make it to some destinations other than the Valley during the summer months. Last year I managed to spend almost a month in Washington and loved it the whole time. So far this year I have only racked up a total of 5 climbing days here in the state. I’ve tried to make the most of the them though, a day at Si, Index, Der Sportsman on Prussik Peak, and two days up at Washington Pass.
I barely squeaked the two days in at the pass. It was actually a last minute decision to go up there on Sunday night. Kate and I were driving back from climbing up in the Powell River area of BC and had finished the route a little quicker than expected which left us with a little free time.
We had driven well into the night on Sunday night so there wasn’t going to be any serious pre-dawn starts for us on Monday. We slept in Newhalem (the last place with phone service) and had a leisurely morning. Without a guide book we were pretty limited in route selections, I tried to do some topo hunting on my Iphone but didn’t get to far. I was able to get some beta for the Independence route, from Jen’s Holsten blog and thought that would be a good option for us the next day. By the time we got out of Newhalem it was close to 11:00 which didn’t leave much time for anything but cragging. We decided on low commitment cragging on the first few pitches of Liberty Crack Continue reading