Saber and R&D trad climbs at Leavenworth

Saber. 5.6 2 pitch trad route. Photo by Genevieve Hathaway.

After getting weathered and avy-ed off Little Tahoma on Mt. Rainier, Gerhard, Zach and I decided to go scratch up some of Gerhard’s shinny new cams on trad routes in Leavenworth, WA. First up on the agenda was getting some multipitch trad in on Castlerock.  The crag is located at the second turnout on the left (if you are coming from Seattle) after the mile 96 marker.  (Heads up the book only shows 2 turn outs on the left, but there are actually three between mile 96 and mile 97 markers.)  There is a wood announcements/info board and a VERY obvious trail on the left side of the turn out.  As the rock is directly infront of you, there’s nothing hidden about this climb.

Heading up the path, we walked around Upper Castlerock until we are on the far side, the very last crack on the right is Saber.  Saber is a two pitch trad climb.  The belay ledge halfway up is very distinctive and can sit 5 or 6 people comfortably.  The start has a little bit of an overhang, but the holds are so bomber it’s easy to get up, then there’s this tight v-shaped crack in the rock, stay out to the right and look for good holds also out left of the v.  Both pitch 1 and 2 were smooth sailing, the crack that you follow on the first pitch is littered with bomber holds and the second pitch is just big holds climbing.

We used a lot of microcams on this route. Photo by Genevieve Hathaway.

Zack, Gerhard and I at the top of pitch 1 of Saber. Gerhard's Photo.

Zach and I were chilling on the belay ledge (while Gerhard led pitch number 2), enjoy the sporadic sun and munching on some yummy cookies, when I guy popped his arm and head through the small opening on the right side of the ledge.  He and his girlfriend (who cursed out the no feet finish a lot more than he did), joined us and were very cool ledge buddies.

Our ledge buddies popping through a slot in the rock. Photo by Genevieve Hathaway.

Gerhard heading up pitch 2 of Saber. We had enough gear with us to sew up our crack and our neighbours' crack. Photo by Genevieve Hathaway.

We flew up the second pitch, and claimed our easy completion of the route.  The views from the top of Saber are spectacular.  To get back down, there’s a short, easy walk-off on the back of the route.  You can easily do it in your rock shoes.

View from the top of Saber. Photo by Genevieve Hathaway.

After our successful, fun climb of Saber, Zach, Gerhard and I celebrated German style with beer and brauts at the always fabulous Munchen Haus.  This is one of my favorite places in Leavenworth – great beer, great brauts, great atmosphere.  The seating is outside, but that doesn’t prevent them from keeping the patrons toasty warm.  They bring out large heaters that keep you plenty warm, even in the winter after a day of ice climbing.

On Sunday, we climbed the 4 pitch 5.6 trad route R&D.  All of the pitches were straightforward and easy.  The first two pitches were very ledgey and the second two pitches were very cracky; all pitches had big beyond bomber holds.  The weather was gorgeous, views incredible and the rock was fun.  At the top of R&D you can walk down, but bring your shoes with you since you scramble down a gully and it wouldn’t be all that fun in rock shoes.

R & D. Photo by Genevieve Hathaway.

Coming up pitch 1 of R&D. Gerhard's photo.

Zach leading pitch number 2 of R&D. Photo by Genevieve Hathaway.

Coming up pitch 2. The holds in this very large crack were really bomber. Gerhard's photo.

Pitch 3 of R&D. Photo by Genevieve Hathaway.

Pitch 4. Super fun crack. Photo by Genevieve Hathaway.

Summit Achieved! Gerhard's photo.

Group summit shot! Gerhard's photo.

All the gear we used for R&D. Photo by Genevieve Hathaway.

~ by Genevieve Hathaway on May 26, 2010.

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