Dan got in touch with me via Mountain Project and we went climbing together at the Pearly Gates. We got started on a trad 5.8 that was very fun. A couple of his friends showed up that were very good climbers. One leads 11s on trad and another one just got back from putting up a new route on Fitz Roy in Patagonia. I love climbing with people that are better than me.
Dan and I went up an awesome two pitch 5.9 called Cloud Nine. Super cool. We also did a extremely exposed route. You step up onto a horn of an arete at about 70 feet up. There is nothing like balancing on one foot that high up. A 60m rope was barely long enough to get down.
I also followed on a 9+ that starts in a super awkward offwidth. I guess all offwidths are awkward. I fell a bunch and almost gave up. On the lower, I was thinking “What did they put me on? An 11?” Nope, just a “Welcome to Leavenworth.” I guess the grades are a little harder around here.
While I was in the area, I visited my good friend Loren and his wife Tina in Wenatchee. It was good to sleep in bed, take a shower, and wash my clothes but even better to spend some time with such an awesome person.
After a couple days with Loren, I headed back to my campsite and the climbing. Unfortunately I had a hard time finding climbing partners. One day I did find a family to climb with back at the Pearly Gates.
The father was a hard core Yosemite climber years ago and was now getting back into it because his son wants to climb. I think the bug was spreading because his younger sisters were climbing too. The littlest one even got up the first 5.8 I did there. I have missed my little sisters and being welcomed into their family was very nice.
I ended up leading the first pitch of Cloud Nine which had a bouldery move at the bottom. My long reach made it much easier though. This route is the new high mark for my trad leading skills.
At the end of the day, we cooled down by splashing and swimming in Icicle Creek. And yes, it was cold.