Touchstone Blog Archive
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
  Leavenworthless- Trip Report
Recently Becky Trafecanty, a bad ass Berkeley climber/nurse, and Justin Alarcon, the guy with the matted hair and cut off jeans at Berkeley Ironworks front desk, returned from a trip to Northwest. “Neither of us had been (to Leavenworth/Goldbar) before, which was part of the allure,” said Justin. “We'd also heard about great quality rock, free camping, and it seemed a safer bet for dry weather than Squamish for a relatively short trip.” The majority of their ten day trip was spent in Leavenworth but they also checked out Gold Bar for three days.

Jessica Campbell on The Cattleguard Arete V8

Around 1860, Loggers established the central Washington town of Leavenworth in the middle of the Gold Rush, making a strip of businesses out of the saloons and brothels. As the need for lumber decreased, the economy declined, and the boom town slowly became skeletal and desolate. While Leavenworth's fruit industry made significant contributions to the economy with the hills of pear, apple, and cherry trees, the town needed more. In the 1960's Leavenworth locals made a last ditch effort to bring business, adopting a Bavarian theme. Now the town boasts status as Washington's second most popular tourist attraction with a strip of restaurants and gift shops all built like a village in the Swiss Alps. The alpine setting of the area also attracts many adventurous Washingtonians.

Keri Carlton on the Skyline Boulders at Steven's Passs

A half dozen rafting outfits run daily trips down the white water of the Wenatchee and Tumwater, both of which feature excellent kayaking and raftin. Besides the boaters, Leavenworth attracts backpackers and hikers, who often make the twenty mile trek to view the Enchantments and the large trees, conifers which burst into glowing yellows and oranges in the autumn. After their outings on the river, their hikes on the rocky hillsides of Icicle Canyon, or listening the non-stop accordion waltz in the town green, the tourists often walk along the Bavarian fronted streets, stopping by the Munchen Haus and Kink Ludwig's to stuff themselves. Most people come to Leavenworth to eat and drink and they are fat and drunk. If you can escape the food, and look past the rafting, Leavenworth features some of the best bouldering in the North West.

Max Hasson on Scrambled Eggs (v8)

“The climbing is pretty varied for granite,” Justin said. “There were plenty of slopers, crimps, and pinches, even a few pockets. The rock varied from 'just okay' to amazing. The boulders are all really accessible too, like seconds to minutes off the road. Its kind of like a granite Joe's Valley in the Pacific Northwest.”

Kyle O'Meara on Hurly Burly V7 at the Metalocalypse Boulder

While classic problems on the Fridge Boulder, at Mad Meadows in Icicle Canyon, and a circuit around Swiftwater saw ascents as early as thirty years ago, the majority of the bouldering developed within the past decade. Just before the turn of the century, Cole Allen and Johnny Goicoechea rallied out to the east Cascades to establish a hoard of neo-classics including The Sail (v9), Mushashi (v9), Pimpsqueak (v9), and The Peephole (v10). They were joined by Kelly Sheridan, the author of a new extensive guide book, local poster boy Kyle O'Meara, and the uber-strong Joel Campbell. These boys diligently scrubbed the boulders, unearthing a series of slopers, crimps, and granite jugs. In between discovering new problems, they bouldered out many of the classic top rope problems in the area. Going ropeless on the Sword (v3), the butt puckering Ruminator (v6), and running afternoon laps on the Sleeping Lady (v2), a jug haul located directly above the raging Icicle River with death potential, became standard practice.

Thomasina Pidgeon on Answer man V6

Though the bouldering is fantastic- the highlight for Becky was the mini pony that pastured along Icicle Canyon Road. Becky named the little horse Clover . Yeah Mini Pony!

Check out the great video that Justin and Becky made of their trip. Way to Crush!

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I still miss Clover...
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