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Peshastin Pinnacles and February Buttress

Leavenworth, WA

October 1-2, 2010


Kim and I were in Leavenworth for our annual Oktoberfest trip with her sister and brother-in-law, so we took advantage of the great weather and did some climbing at Peshastin Pinnacles and Tumwater Canyon. Friday Kim and I drove to Peshastin Pinnacles State Park with Jenny, Eric,and their identical twin boys, Kaiden and Leif.

We hiked up to Sunset Slab to climb the route, Tequila Sunset (5-) with the idea of setting up a top rop on this easy slab for all of us to climb. As it turned out, I got a little off route and climbed what I think was a variation of Sunset (5.7) and then up to the left of the bolts to a shrub belay. My Five-Ten Camp Four approach shoes were up to the more challenging terrain just fine, but the 30 foot runouts on poor gear definitely had my full awareness.

From our equalized shrub, Kim belayed me up the rotten rock above the anchors to a corner where I found a walk off. Two full pitches took more time than we had planned in the 85F heat so Jenny, Eric and the boys ended up hiking back down to the picnic area. Sorry, guys! The twins did have fun playing in the grass in this beautiful setting amongst orchards.

Our friend, Jesse Murray, arrived in Leavenworth later that evening and the next morning, Kim, Jesse, and I climbed the first pitch of Ground Hog Day (5.6) on February Buttress. This was Jesse's first climbing trip outdoors and he did a great job! I had never climbed at this area, but the new Leavenworth guidebook had a great drawing of the Lower Tumwater Canyon. We found the climbers trail across the highway from the pullout, and soon were making our way up to the foot of the buttress. We hiked a little too far up the west side of the buttress before we realized our mistake and had to hike back down and around to the east side to a small, level area with bare dirt where Ground Hog Day began.

Jesse had rappelled in the Army, but never with an ATC, so Kim and I went over the procedures with him. Once we had gone over all our safety checks, I started up the steep cracks to the easier slabs. I ended up linking the lower half of Ground Hog Day with the upper part of Ain't Misbehavin' (5.7). There was a bit of rope drag at the end, but even still I had a MUCH better time leading this route than the day before. It's amazing what solid gear placements will do for my enjoyment level.

From the two bolt anchor, I belayed Kim and Jesse up simultaneously. Jesse climbed first and Kim followed about 15 feet behind. They both cruised up the route and soon were clipping into the anchors. While belaying I spotted the bolted chains for Ground Hog Day, so we belayed each other over to those for our rappel. We told Jesse that he was getting a "turbo charged-front loading" climbing course! I set up the rappel as Kim and Jesse flaked the rope and tossed it perfectly down the route.

Kim rappelled first, followed by Jesse, then me. Once down we pulled the ropes, packed everything up and hike back down the steep trail to the car. with the river, the sunshine, the mountains, and the fall colors, it was a beautiful first outdoor climb. Thanks, Jesse, for a fun climb! We are looking forward to more with you.