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Cragging in Peshastin Pinnacles and Castle Rock

Tunnel Route, Orchard Rock (5.6)

Midway, Castle Rock (5.6)

Leavenworth, WA

May 20, 2009


Dan Zittel and I returned to Leavenworth almost a year to the day from our previous trip to complete some unfinished business. Last year we climbed Sabre and Cat Burglar, then climbed the first pitch of Midway up to the top of Jello Tower. Today we came back and finished Midway and the heat almost finished us!

We started off the day by driving to the Peshastin Pinnacles. It was about 10 am and it felt like the temperature was already in the mid 70's. A large group of instructors and students were laying seige to Martian Rock so we decided to climb the Tunnel Route on Orchard Rock.

The last time I climbed this route my friend Loren lead it, so this was fun to climb from the sharp end of the rope. Dan did a great job climbing through the "tricky bits" and soon we were standing on the top of this great sandstone formation. From the top, we could look over the town of Dryden, the orchards, Wenatchee River, highway, railroad tracks and the Stuart Range off in the distance. I commented to Dan that this would be a fun location for a model railroad prototype! (Among my numerous hobbies I have recently included model railroading. I'm currently designing a prototype-freelance model of Talkeetna .

To make things more interesting, two cams got stuck when Dan was cleaning them, so we decided to rappel off the side and then I re-lead the route to the stuck cams and then down climbed the route. Fun!

After a drink of water and PB&J in the car, we drove up to Castle Rock and got on Midway. We were the only car in the parking lot and we thought, "Wow, what great luck. We have it all to ourselves." Once we got up on the route and the full brunt of the sun was on us, we realized why we were the only ones crazy enough to climb in this hot weather.

At the trailhead we looked to see if our friend Adam Greenstreet had left any friendly Ranger notices. He took a summer job working at the Leavenworth Ranger Station last year and was rehired for this season too. We left him a message on his phone but we assumed he was probably up in the Enchantments keeping the peace. We made our way slowly but surely up the trail to Logger's Ledge. There was a little breeze climbing up the first pitch to Jello Tower but that would be all the relief we would get.

Everytime I climb this pitch I'm reminded of how tricky it is. Lot's of turning around, stemming, face climbing, crack climbing....the whole gammet. Nice work, Dan! The step across on the second pitch was fun, but soon I was traversing right and then up some weird fins to a deep crack system. 5.awkward climbing. This was the tricky bit and Dan had to get creative to get past this crux. Unfortunately I was too high to be able to see where he was so I could only shout down a few suggestions on how I climbed it. On top of it all, the temperature was beginning to take it's toll and Dan's hands were beginning to cramp up.

A few moves, then a long rest. A few moves, then a long rest. Repeat. Slowly but surely we finished the third and last pitch and found ourselves on top just as the sun was about to drop below the mountains. We found Dan some shade, then I hiked down to our packs to get our water and some food. Once he had some liquids and got out of the sun, he was feeling much better.

Once back down to the car, we rallied and drove into town to have a well earned burger, beer, and two pitchers of water!