Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Castle

In 2007 Paul Steger and I retreated from our attempt to cross the Bailey Traverse in the Olympic Mountains. Lousy weather had us looking for greener pastures and we found them in Rainier National Park. One of the places that we explored was the Tatoosh Range. We scrambled up Pinnacle Peak and then hiked up Plummer Peak. Then we started to explore The Castle. After crossing a scary traverse we made our way to the summit block. We probably could have scrambled up there, but I did not feel like I could descend without a rope.

Saturday I found myself in the Tatoosh Range again. This time it was iffy weather in the North Cascades that had me looking for better conditions, so again I found myself at the door of The Castle. This time I was there with more experience and confidence, the necessary equipment, and a team of Mazamas.I had a feeling that there was a better way than to cross than that scary traverse, so I did my homework. This time we hiked below the traverse and I found a place to climb up the ridge. Once we all had climbed this pitch we found easy access to the summit block.

The assistant pointed out a good route to the top. As I climbed up this pitch I found good rock and plenty of places to place my rock gear. I was even able to place my Pink Tricam, which has been used for all of my climbs this summer. I felt like my gear placement was more efficient on this climb. Everyone on the team did a great job climbing up this pitch.

Up on the summit we had misgivings about the location where it appeared that others had rappelled down, so we took the time to set up our own rappel station. Once everyone had rappelled down we carefully made our way down the talus field and started back. Going down I found a better way down than the way we had ascended. Everyone was very diligent about careful foot placement, as there was ample loose rock here.

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