Sisyphus

The gas station/tourist trap smelled like sugar and people wearing too many personal hygiene products. My head was pounding, but I was falling asleep at the wheel anyway. 45 minutes into a 9 hour drive, I was not feeling psyched on the trip.

Columbia River

Columbia River

I was stressed about work, frustrated with bad weather, and leaving town feeling underprepared. I was deeply afraid of not having a “good enough” time on my vacation. I woke up on Saturday morning at Dustin’s parents house in Stanwood, WA. Their spot on a bluff above Puget sound has been a regular refuge over the years.

Bob and Nancy, and Puget Sound. Doing together right for over 40 years.

Bob and Nancy, and Puget Sound. Doing together right for over 40 years.

Dustin was more than willing to be an impromptu climbing partner, but I spent the first day of my vacation resting. Sunday we headed for Washington Pass- fittingly, we got rained off after the first pitch on Concord Tower…

Strangely my first visit to this particular climbing icon...

Strangely my first visit to this particular climbing icon…

For his many wonderful qualities, Dustin has reynouds syndrome, and enduring cold and wet is not a good vacation activity. To be fair, I usually like an equally willing partner to suffer with if I’m going alpine climbing. We headed down valley for warmer temps and bolted multi-pitch outside of Mazama. Dustin had never been on a multi-pitch climb, so I figured we would start “easy.”

Heavy weather

Heavy weather

 

Sisyphus is a super fun, fully bolted 10 pitch climb with a 5.11a crux in the middle. The line isn’t particularly aesthetic, but the position is great, and the bolts are generous. If you don’t fire the grade, the first 5 pitches take you to a lovely ledge for lunch!

Getting a taste of the big air.

Getting a taste of the big air.

Stoke

Stoke

Many rappels down- pitch by pitch beta to follow shortly. More about this fun little tool later.

Many rappels down- pitch by pitch beta to follow shortly. More about this fun little tool later.

Tech Notes: 
Huge props to North Cascades Mountain Guides for establishing the route and making a topo readily available for free. We climbed with a 70m rope. You can link pitches 1&2, 7&8, and 9&10 (recommended), and simul climb from the top of P3 to the base of P5 if you are strong at the grade. You can also link the rappel from the base of Pitch 4 to the intermediate tree rap in the middle of pitch 3. Otherwise, 11 rappels is a lot of rappels…

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