Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I went out to Leavenworth this past weekend with Cortney and a big posse of monkeys. We had spent several much-needed months away from Little Bavaria after going there every weekend during the spring. It was great to return to the sunny, happy slopes of the Wenatchee Mountains.

Happy CampingMilk Thistle - Silybum marianumRespect These Signs!

The weather was a bit strange and altogether not that great for climbing. On Saturday, it was 90 degrees by 9:00 a.m., but by 2:00 p.m. it was chilly and drizziling! Sunday was a little better, with temps in the 80s but decent cloud cover and no rain. On account of the elements, we didn't spend any time trying to crush sick grips, instead opting for fun adventures and quality hangin' out time by the river. We weren't disappointed.

Cortney on the TyroleanJoel is Wary of the TyroleanJoel's Shoe Almost Fell Off!Bad Self-PortraitDrew Schick On and Off the Mothermilker

The highlight of my weekend was definitely climbing Annie's Climax. This climb is located at the Muscle Beach crag in the Icicle, which bulges and slabs out over a deep pool in the creek. Viktor Kramer's new guide (which is fantastic and everyone should buy, even if they have the last edition), featuring a sick picture of John Stordahl on Annie's Climax, has this to say about the climb: "Recently recleaned, this route has become a somewhat popular but hairy deep water solo." I had witnessed several monkeys solo this climb last summer, but had never worked up the guts to commit to either the sun-soaked grips of the top-out or the chilly dip in the waters of the Icicle's fresh snowmelt.

Drew Schick Approves of Annie's ClimaxMichelle Is About to Jump Off of Annie's Climax

On Sunday, Cortney and I top-roped the climb (thanks Michelle!) and were hanging out on the ledge with our friends. Michelle took two tries on the climb, both of which ended with a nice 30+ foot plunge into the cold water. I top-roped the climb again and opened a beer. After a good, long rest, I downed the dregs of my Miller High Life and decided to go into autopilot. I put on my shoes, stepped off the ledge, and started doing the moves. The climbing felt easy, but I was so nervous I couldn't stop shaking! After what seemed like only a few seconds, I was rocking up on the final holds, and could hear the cheers of the audience below. I'm definitely not cut out for soloing, but this climb presents a really unique opportunity for safe, exhilarating ropeless climbing in Leavenworth's fantastic mountain setting. I'm still savoring the feeling of doing this climb. Here are some more pictures. I hope everyone has been getting out!!

Me on Annie's ClimaxJoel on a Project at Muscle BeachJoel and Drew on Turbulence

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