Saturday, May 15, 2010

Leavenworth Pics

Cortney and I have made it out to Leavenworth during the last two weekends, and have had lots of fun adventures. I'm continually amazed at the amount of new development occurring in the Icicle; there are probably three or four new small areas that have popped up this spring.

Wonderful SceneryKeri Warming Up at the Machine Gun

One really nice area that was developed last season is the Domestic Boulders, perched on the sloping hillside above the Domestic Dome crag. This is a wonderful area that seems to be the first of many mini-clusters found on top of existing roped-climbing crags. The approach is long by Icicle standards, but still only ten minutes or so, and there are a handful of fantastic problems - mostly established by the indomitable Kyle O'Meara. The problem names are all a bit strange, but the climbing is fantastic. Cortney and I returned to this area last weekend with our good friends Joe and Keri, and I was excited to finally climb Kyle's five star problem Domestic Violence - I had heard lots of good things about it, but hadn't seen it since Kyle established it.

Me on Domestic ViolenceThe Domestic BouldersCortney and Keri on Bootin' DookieThe Balls Wall - Future Hard, Dangerous Problems
Another fun area is the Scat Boulders, a spread-out upper Icicle area that is roughly a twenty minute hike from the road. I visited this area a few weeks ago with Drew Shick and Max Hasson, and was impressed both with the stone and with the basic fact that there are boulders that far up the hillside!

Drew Schick on Two Scat Boulders Problems

Finally, the whole group of monkeys put up a few problems two weeks ago on a boulder about 100 yards uphill from the Cotton Pony Pointer. This steep wall could offer a few more climbs if someone gets excited to do the cleaning...

Joel Above The C.P.P.

I'll cut this short because I have an exam this coming week, but I wanted to share some pictures of our adventures... Hope everyone has been getting outdoors!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Gold Bar Access Update

I attended the DNR Access meeting two weeks ago, and there was a decent climber turnout. We had six people there, and were the second-best-represented user group (to ORV users). The meeting was a frank and open discussion about which areas will be open to motorized use, which will be open for non-motorized uses, and how DNR plans to balance user groups within each area. Erik Hirst posted a detailed write-up of the meeting on

DNR plans to open the motorized areas to ORVs on June 20, 2010. The good news is that the road up to the clearcut is generally within the non-motorized use area. Unfortunately, this is also the bad news.

The Clearcut

DNR's Reiter Foothills Area extends along the North side of the Sky Valley from Wallace Falls State Park to the top of the Index Town Wall. The bulk of Gold Bar's bouldering is North (uphill) of the Reiter Foothills Area, on private land owned by Manke Timber company. Manke Timber has expressed their approval of climbers' use of the area, but the road to the clearcut traverses about a mile of DNR land before hitting private property. Because DNR faces many contentious user group issues within the Reiter Foothills Area, and because climbers are just a small blip on the state's radar, providing climbers with access to private property is not a high priority for DNR.

DNR's current plan is to keep the dirt road closed at Reiter Road and place a non-motorized trailhead at the Reiter Pit. This would mean that we would be hiking to the clearcut. An alternative plan would be for DNR to place the trailhead just past the powerlines, where the May Creek Road and the road to the clearcut diverge. If DNR doesn't block the road to the clearcut, we could drive up the hill. Given the ORV community's poor history of complying with rules in the Reiter area, however, DNR may see this alternative as an invitation to off-roaders to 'poach' the road to the clearcut. With some good advocacy and persistence, hopefully climbers will be able to convince the state of the merits of this idea: climbers would get access to a unique and regionally important resource, and could assist with enforcement efforts in the area, and the timber company could exercise their legal easement to access their property.

Thanks to everyone for their interest, and to the couple of NW Granite readers who showed their willingness to be involved in this process. One of our next steps will be to write a letter to officials higher up in the state administration asking them to kindly recognize our interest in the area. I'll continue to post updates here, as well as any action items that come up as we move forward.