Leavenworth, June 20
The Purina Crag is not hard to find if you read the detailed description in the guidebook. If you just look at the map it’s a little confusing though (it looks like the trail is between the parking lot and the houses, but it’s really the 3rd-or-so driveway). You do have to walk up a private driveway (the correct one has a sign saying “Climbers and Hikers Enter At Your Own Risk” and another sign saying “Cabin and Campsite For Rent”). Needless to say we did not read the detailed description in the guidebook (or rather, the one of us who did read the detailed description was ignored because others saw an “obvious trail”, etc…). So first we found Madsen’s Buttress and a cute cabin made out of rocks and skis, then went back down and and found the driveway and the real approach.
It’s all part of the charm of the domes of Leavenworth — crashing through tick-infested brush, slipping on pine needles, rereading approach descriptions (the new book has better maps and directions, but this seems to only make me feel sillier after getting lost). All in pursuit of unfamiliar rock to climb — squinting up to catch the flash of sunlight off the anchor bolts, figuring out the sequence for the route, and maybe discovering a new favorite spot.
Soon enough we were up at Planet of the Eights. It’s kind of typical Leavenworth foldy-bulgy slab, protected by a couple tricky gear placements and a couple bolts. I kind of like slab climbing but I don’t think Sketchy and Denny were in the mood for more after their leads. Anyway, it was easy to lure me away by offering me the first lead on Poison Ivy Crack, a clean curving finger-to-hands dihedral (which we passed on the way up).
Poison Ivy Crack turned out to be as fun as it looked (too bad it was so short). And yes, there is poison ivy at the bottom (leaves of three, let it be…). After we all had our turn (and I did some TR flailing on the 11b slab next to it — note to self, helmet cams and featureless vertical slab climbing do not go well together) we wandered over to explore the rest of Purina Crag.
We only did one route. There was definitely more that looked good, including a bolt-protected 11 that looked a bit exciting but not too hard. Careno Crag is just a little further and looks way better on paper — multiple-starred multipitch routes in the 10- range, and lots of starred single pitch stuff in the 9s 10s and 11s.
- Planet of the Eights, Surveillance of Assailants, 5.8 mixed (TR) kind of dirty, fun slab
- Planet of the Eights, Make Mine a Bold One, 5.8+ mixed (TR) more of the above
- Purina Crag, Poison Ivy Crack, 5.9 trad (lead) fun!
- Purina Crag, El Caliente 5.9, trad (lead) seemed easier than 5.9