Last week I finished up one of my favorite courses that I get to teach–the Alpine Mountaineering and Technical Leadership Part 2. In this course we get to develop our leading skills on rock routes, ice climbs, and glaciers and then apply them in real terrain in the mountains. On this course we spent the first few days climbing ice on the lower Coleman Glacier of Mt. Baker, giving Abe and Dan a swing at their first lead climbs on ice (woohoo!) and a full day of crevasse rescue and glacier navigating. Then we were off to the sunny rock Mecca of Leavenworth, where we climbed a number of routes including the ultra-classic Outer Space (5.9, 7 pitches).
Following that, we headed to Washington Pass, home of the best alpine cragging routes in the state, and attempted a two day traverse of the entire Liberty Bell massif. Much to our disappointment, the north facing routes were still quite snowy and cold and our progress was slowed considerably on the Patriot Cracks on Concord Tower, then the North Face of Lexington. As such, we were only able to climbed 3 of the 5 towers in the group, arriving at the planned bivy site at 3PM…a little early for our tastes given the incredibly long days of mid-summer. We then tried to cruise up North Early Winter Spire via the Chockstone/SW Route, but were thwarted by all of the snow in the upper gully pitches. We opted to descend and camp in relative luxury down in the Methow Valley.
We rounded out the course with a handful of days cragging at Fun Rock in Mazama, the Goat Wall, and miscellaneous crags in the Leavenworth area. What a fantastic trip!