Condor buttress and Bathtub Dome

April 21st, 2001

On some quick friday night plans, Matt Cary and I descided to head out to leavenworth for a day of sun and climbing on granite domes and buttresses. Having heard so many good things about the infamous Condoraphine Addiction route on Condor buttress, I was excited to give the route a try. The info from the route setter was that it was a 7 pitch 10b. Each pitch was about 80-90 feet and there were three pitches with .10a/b in them. This only being the second time on rock for the season, I was a bit nervous.

Matt and I arrived in the canyon to warm blue skies. We quickly racked up and started huffing our gear up the 1500 feet to the base of the climb. The well trod trail starts at Underwear rock, just past the Bridge creek campground. We were moving fast, much to the chagrin of our aching bodies, and made it up to the base of the route in about 45 minutes! Whew, and only 2nd in line. hmmm, didn't that guy we passed on the way up say he was doing this route too???

There are three bolted lines at the base. The left-most one being a .10b varriation start, the center being the .7 regular route, and the right being a seperate climb at about .6. Matt and I paitently waited as the group in front of us worked out the early season kinks, and went up the first pitch. Matt aparently wasn't having enough fun sitting around, so he "accidently" let his pack slip and start tumbling down the hill. "Aww, it'll stop before that little cliff." Pow! the pack jumps the cliff! "hmm, seems to be picking up speed there matt." Unfortunatly, Matt's plan to retrive his pack from the road failed when a rouge stump caught the pack before yet another drop off.

A fair game of 1-2-3-shoot left me with the first lead. Yes, my strategy eluded even the brightest of CS graduate students! A very short seeming romp up a slab with many bolts quickly brought me to the first belay. I brought Matt up, and after letting a hot-n-fast party pass, we had the back of the line to ourselves. Matt lead off on pitch 2, which cruxes at a hard barndoor-like move. Above this an awkward crack leads steeply to the belay. A very strong first lead of the season for Matt! My pitch was next, and I descided to run it together with the 4th. The third pitch starts out around low fifth, but then relaxes into sandy 3rd/4th class slabs. Skipping the bad-for-rope-drag belay bolts, I left the security of a flat ledge for a very nice pitch of 5.8ish face climbing. The climbing was a lot of fun, and held some challenging moves, but not sustained for more than a few moves.

Emily leads the 5.8 pitch on a subsequent trip. Photo by: Easton

Easton starts off on the crux pitch. Photo by: Emily

Matt came up and lead off an easy slab up towards an imposing looking stem-opposition section. This steep bathtub of granite held the hardest moves of the route where one has to smear and oppose on an entirely blank bowing-wall. The bolts protected this well for the timid, but hard moves to make none the less. I climbed up, trying to psych myself up for the next pitch which was going to be my first hard lead of the day. I was able to climb the 5th (matt's lead) pitch with good style, and was soon off on my own thin face climbing lead. Nice moves off the belay to a thin crack gave way to open and rolly face climbing. The crux surmounts a buldge right over a bolt, so it was pretty mellow. The rest of the pitch continued on thin face moves and was quite enjoyable. Matt followed on up while the first party was already rapping down. All that remained was the short 7th pitch. Matt, leading in incredable form, tackled the pitch with such ferocity that he hardly noticed when a bolt would fly by, escaping his concious! I shared the sentiment by dyno-ing up the last hard moves.

After following the pitch we setup on the top of the buttress and took in the awesome view of the Enchantments. Everything from Dragontail to Stuart was in full view. We descided to rappel the route courteously, taking our time and being careful not to annoy the teams still coming up. Aparently with one rapp off the back side you can take a trail down to the base, but then you add the risk of ticks! Easy rapping on chains brought us back down in 7 singles. Still feeling spunky from the route, I opted to lead the .10b varriation-start. It consisted of a half pitch of fine thin face climbing on little edges and small crimps. I would totally recomend this as the best way to start the route.

We then worked our way over to Bathtub dome. I had heard good things about the dome from Len, so it must have been worth it to carry that rack up the hill, right?? Matt lead the 2nd tier 5.7 crack in a typical icicle downpour, and I followed the windy wet pitch with a true alpine feel. Matt and I sheltered under a tree until the rain passed and the rock dried. We were thinking about doing The Drain but with the slick rock, and the intimidating looking runout crux, we opted to climb something on the right side. I started up shallow groove-cracks which lead to a nice finger crack through a roof. After about 2/3rds rope the drag became pretty bad so I brought Matt up and he finished the lead.

Overall a very satisfying day with much technical climbing. It was nice to finally get on some multi pitch routes in Leavenworth... seems like so much we do there is short.

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