Matt and Joanne’s Page

September 19, 2007

What an awesome long weekend :)

Filed under: Climbing — joannestamplis @ 3:59 pm

So I’ve mentioned that I’ve been working really hard lately right? Well, last Friday during our daily meeting, my manager give me pretty much no notice and asked me if I like to take the Monday through Wednesday off and my answer was “hell ya!”. I came home and told Matt, “let’s pack up, we have 5 days of vacation, where should we go?”. We ended up driving that night to Frenchman Coulee and spent the next 2 days climbing there.

I’ve never been to Frenchmen Coulee before but it’s definitely a great cragging place. We spent the first day climbing all day at the Sunshine Wall. We did most of the classic routes there including Air Guitar, George and Martha, Pony Keg, Tangled Up In Blue, Party in your pants, 7 virgins and a Mule, etc. It as a ton of fun and super easy for the grade in my opinion. I didn’t lead any of the 5.10s but I pretty much went up all of them with no difficulty at all. I told Matt that the next time we go there again, I’ll lead them for sure. I did end up leading Tangled Up In Blue which is a 5.9 route and I thought it was really tricky and actually harder than the 5.10s we did. I wasn’t sure if it’s because I didn’t lead those harder routes but once Matt went up and came back down, he agreed with me that it was definitely a harder route compared to those he did. I was quite proud because it was definitely one of the hardest route I’ve ever led.

Joanne cruises up Party In Your Pants 

The next day we spent the 1st half of the day at the Feathers. Climbing at this wall is pretty much a joke after spending the whole day at the Sunshine wall the day before. All the routes here are sport routes, real easy and short. We climbed 6 routes rating from 5.8 to 5.10b in a couple hours and we both lead all the climbs. I was once again very proud of myself because I was keeping up with Matt the whole time :). Note, I’m not as good of a climber as he is. Around noon, we decided to pack up and leave to Leavenworth since we have pretty much done all the hard routes at the Feathers.

This is the second time we went to Leavenworth, we were here last year during Labor’s Day and I remembered that we didn’t do too much because the weather was super hot. This time however, the temperature was much cooler and camping is super easy to find because we went there during weekday. Matt went back to the 8 mile rock and climbed the classic crack again. This is where we found a #2 cam left by a climber and I remember we were definitely struggling on this route last year. I remembered very clearly that I was pretty much thrashing up the route and we both were hang-dogging. This year, Matt red pointed the route in super clean style, the couple who were on the route previously were very impressed with his lead. I wasn’t as confident as Matt and chose to just top rope the route first before deciding to lead it since I remembered how hard it was last year. Surprisingly, it was not very difficult at all. The crack was my hand-size crack and the jams were so good I was super secure on this route. Next time I would definitely lead this :). We also top roped another crack to the right of the classic crack and it was one of those days where I climb better than Matt. Originally Matt wanted to lead it but after placing 1 piece of marginal protection, we chose to top rope it. And when Matt climbed it, his foot actually slipped and he scrapped his knee doing that. He did however managed to hang on with his strong arms and went up cleanly. And then it was my turn to climb, and my foot work was so much better than Matt, I did it in style.

We boarded Yogi on Monday (and Tuesday but didn’t, read on) so we can make an attempt to climb both Orbit and Outer Space at the Alpine Lake wilderness area. These are supposedly a popular routes in Leavenworth. We woke up at 4am and started our approach around 5.15am. By the time we hiked up to the climber’s trail, it was around 6.30am. Here where our adventure began. We needed to cross a river and then hike up to the base of the wall but it wasn’t obvious where to cross. We didn’t see any cairns so we just look around for the best log to cross the river. By the way, there are a lot of logs here so finding the exact one is pretty hard. The area where we chose to cross was by a pretty flat area looked like a campground so we thought this must be it.

Well, the next 3 hours, we spent bush-whacking everywhere while vaguely heading in the direction of the wall. Matt found a small drainage that we both decided must be the best way up. It quickly became overgrown and we were just thrashing our way through some of the worst bush-whacking I’ve ever done. Then we finally saw a cairn and a tree with ropes around it going down. I suggested that we should go back down and try to find the real trail again but Matt insisted we keep going up instead. After a few more minutes of scrambling around and looking for trail, Matt finally agreed that my suggestion was the best.

It was kind of strange that someone had left some ropes in the middle of the forest here and we both had no idea where the ropes would take us. This was by far, the worst rappel I’ve ever done in my life. In the past, I have rapped into a tree and out of tree because the rope got stuck in between branches and I have to navigate it out. This time however, I have to rapped over an overhanging rock, then into the forest going sideways the whole time. This is where I got my hand stuck in between the rock and the rope and got pretty cut up doing that. I didn’t feel much pain at first but as I rapped down, the pain starts to feel unbearable and I was grunting the whole time. I don’t even know how to describe this but all I can say is that what we went through is what you can describe as the nightmare of rappeling. We did find the trail eventually and made it to the base of the wall.

Joanne “rappelling”? I’m still confused why anyone would leave two ropes up here…

It was already 11am by the time we get here and a party was already there and were getting started at the Outer Space. We were both really disappointed and decided to try to climb Orbit instead. We were having a lot of difficulty finding this route and eventually after climbing 1 short pitch, we decided to rappel back down because we were not sure if we were actually climbing the route or not (eventually when we came home, Matt found out that we were indeed on the route 😦 ). We packed up and went back to our car, both super exhausted from thrashing out way all morning. I was pretty beaten up from my rappel incident, I walked into some kind of stinging plant and I was wearing knee length pants, I slipped on the descent and cut up my legs. So all in all, I had a pretty rough day and I half-jokingly told Matt that the next thing that will happen is I will take a whipper on a climb and crack my head.

The Snow Creek Wall – hopefully next time we have better luck here!

Anyway, we decided to go to Castle Rock and climb Saber instead. Since I’m very superstitious I refused to lead any pitch. The climb was quite fun but hard for a 5.4 rating in my opinion. I had so much difficulty getting off the ground. After that, we went and picked up Yogi and spent the rest of the day at the campground, relaxing and enjoying the bottle of wine I brought with us.

So much story but nothing is more enjoyable than pictures right? Well, I haven’t have any time to download the pictures off my camera and we really didn’t take much pictures at all. We’ll see if I can find any good one and I’ll post them later.



  1. Saber is the most sand-bagged climb I have ever been on. I had trouble getting off the ground too and the long traverse is super shady. 5.4 my ass!

    Sorry to hear about your Snow Creek Wall misadventure. Finding that climbers trail can be a pain in the ass, but 3 hours? Sounds like you need to work on your route finding skills. Roche and I bagged Outer Space a few weeks ago and it was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

    Comment by Tony F — September 20, 2007 @ 2:14 pm

  2. Agree on Saber route, super sand-bagged. Yeah, I’m so jealous about the Outer Space. We thought the best way to go is up even though we are not on the right trail. Except we are closer to the descent trail than the actual climber trail so after spending so much time going up, it’s time to come back down and up again :(. We read that there was supposed to be a cairn by trail but we didn’t see any on the way out so I place another cairn there. Hopefully nobody remove it and people will have a better time finding the trail. The key is if you see this roof on the left of the hiking trail, the river crossing is a few more feet on the right and not super obviuos.

    Comment by joannestamplis — September 20, 2007 @ 2:20 pm

  3. oh bummer about the injuries that you picked up, but you still had fun right? waiting for the pics next… 😉

    Comment by Lil — September 23, 2007 @ 6:06 am

  4. Oh the injuries was no big deal. My fingers are already healing but maybe not so fast because I constantly jamming them into finger cracks when I go climbing :). I’ll try to find some pics to post soon. Sorry for being so slow.

    Comment by joannestamplis — September 23, 2007 @ 6:10 pm

  5. nice leh your boss automatically ask u to take leave

    Comment by jerry — September 23, 2007 @ 8:23 pm

  6. Well, I guess it is nice. But after working for more than 12 hours everyday for 2 weeks and weekends, I kinda expected that I will be getting vacation soon or I will go berserk :).

    Comment by joannestamplis — September 23, 2007 @ 9:54 pm

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