This winter wasn’t a good one for the PNW. The early rains that started in early October obliterated the entirety of the fall season and it’s still raining. There’s hope and dry days are starting to shine through, but there’s a while til the season really starts.
Last time we talked, I told you about Gold Bar – Jeez. It’s been a little while, huh? It may take a minute to recap all the photo things that have happened since then. OK. So, since January Gold Bar-th it snowed in Seattle (which is insane); Abby, Teal, Josh and I went to Squamish; I did a solo trip to Chattanooga to escape the rains; and Abby and I did a day trip to Leavenworth.
Alright. Let’s talk about Squamish. Squamish is a magical place, but it’s also a rainforest. Rainforests tend to be very wet. The seasons are notoriously short and you have to take any opportunity you can to get out there. In February a surprise weather window opened up. Over a weekend too - a rare occasion in February even on a dry year. Abby, Teal, Josh and I got our stuff together as quickly as we could and rolled out. Both Abby and I found a fun new climbs we’re excited about and I got a couple of okay pictures despite forgetting to charge my monolight battery. I don’t love these photos, but they’re not bad for just a speedlight. This’ll teach me to charge my stupid studio light battery.
Early March Abby and Teal went to Bishop to the Flash Foxy Women’s Festival thing. Feeling abandoned and alone, I wasn’t excited to sit at home and twiddle my thumbs. Instead I got Mike in gear to come meet me in Chattanooga for a long weekend bouldering adventure. I’ve seen many photos of Stone Fort and Rocktown bouldering, but never been. The rock looks amazing. It’s something I’ve been meaning to check out for some time, but it’s never been a priority. Now that I have been there, though, I have to go back.
Unfortunately Mike got crazy sick the week before and ended up not being able to come, so I rolled solo for most of the trip. I say ‘most’ because it wasn’t all headphone o’clock. It just so happened that Aaron was also in the area, visiting from Seattle. I got to have a little bit of friend time after all.
Aaron flew into Atlanta with his wife to visit friends and took the opportunity to palm some sandstone while there. We met up in Rocktown with his freind Warren. I didn’t do much climbing that day because I got pretty wrecked on my first day, hiking around Stone Fort climbing all the classics. I took it really easy and focused on taking photos.
Despite my fatigue I did actually end up climbing a couple things that day. I did this thing called Blue, that I would honestly not recommend to anyone, but I also got on what is probably one of the best climbs I’ve ever touched: the terribly named Golden Shower. I ended up running, like, 5 laps on that thing because the motion is just so SO good. I would go back to Rocktown just for that climb. I mean, just look at it:
Aaron and Warren both have little kids, so this was their little vacation to get outside and they really went to town on stuff. It was really inspiring watching Aaron burl down on the blank slopers of Golden Harvest and making solid progress after not having climbed for months.
Funny story, though: Aaron was rocking this bright green jacket that I hated because I thought really clashed with the color of the rock. I ended up changing the hue of it to the blueish aquamarine you see here in every photo I kept of him. But – shhh – don’t tell him.
By the end of the day, Warren wanted to try this classic line called Tunnel Vision,. We went over there and Aaron tried a couple things too, but ran out of energy pretty quickly and switched into full-on photo mode. We went full paparrazzi on Warren; poor guy. Which was fine, until he got to the crux, which is a massive swing and we were decidedly not spotting him. Had he let go at the apex of the swing, he would have flown way out past the pads. But he did not let go. Which is fortunate because that would have made my awesome photo of him mid swing less funny.
I never did get any photos of Stone Fort, since there was no one for me to photograph. But that’s okay: I am coming back. I am coming back with friends, all my camera stuff, and an extended tick list.
Coming back from the dry warn South East to the cold rainy garbage that has been Seattle weather for the last several weeks has not been great. We train to pass the time between checking the weather forecasts, look at old photos, and look forward to the sun burning off all the milky goop that has been covering the mountains.
There’s windows here and there. I see them on line. People who live in Leavenworth will post videos and photos. It’s usually on a Wednesday. Last week it wasn’t, though. Last week it was on a Saturday. What!? Imagine our joy and surprise.
There’s still snow on the ground, the approaches are wet, as well as much of the actual rock, but there’s patches of dry. You just have to look for them. Very, very carefully.
So, that’s it. That has been the update. I hope you enjoyed it. I also hope there’ll be more for me to post in the near future. With the weather clearing up and stuff. Anyway.
Til next time.