Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Life and Climbs of Charlie Barrett: Chapter 38 - Cremation of Care


Two years ago Charlie Barrett came to town.  Charlie likes big boulders.  He also likes conspiracy theories, childish pranks and Pabst Blue Ribbon.  His most impressive addition to Leavenworth bouldering during his relatively short stay is a proud direct finish to an already intimidating line, the Ruminator.  This old school toprope's crux is in the first two moves, steep pulls into an easier crack top out that looms over some jumbled blocks.  Charlie's line, while having a more uniform landing, tackles the boulders tallest aspect and includes some desperately long moves.

Charlie offered to try and repeat the problem, which he dubbed Cremation of Care, if I was interested in getting some photos.  My only problem with the plan was my lack of film.  The only roll I found in my fridge's butter drawer was a super low iso slide film, the kind that makes people look like tomatoes.  I was a little dissapointed with the results but I think Charlie's effort deserves at the very least a blog post.  Black and white seems a little easier on my eyes but I've looked at these so many times now it's hard to tell.

An observant reader who frequents the area might wonder how I got this view.  For those who don't know, there is no conveniently adjacent rock that looks down the face.  There is, however, a massive dead tree lying across the top of the boulder, you can see it behind Charlie's shoulder in the last photo.  I had no plans to use this tree as natural scaffolding but my dad convinced me it was solid.  My folks were visiting Leavenworth for the week and got to see Charlie send the gnar.

Friday, April 2, 2010


The Last Night in Peshastin

We thought that winter was over, that April was surely too late for low elevation snow.  Seasons are supposed to change on a specific day, but the weather follows no calendar.  Seeing the snow covering the ground this morning reminded me of the ice climbing season just past and inspired thoughts of frozen mountain climbing in my near future.  It's hard to imagine now, we've been so focused on the boulders, trying in vain to grow enough skin to sneak up some new problems. 

 Jens in January

Jens in February

After the Icicle's icicles all fell down we still found some fun at the elusive elevation between spring rains and winter powder snow.  Eventually this too became water and the rock started to dry.  

Strangely, the rock seemed to dry faster on the West (typically wet) side.  With so much climbing around Leavenworth I don't make it to the Index area nearly enough.  Hopefully I can continue to motivate as the year progresses, it's only an hour away.

Bouldering in Goldbar this year involves great cross-training, the road has been re-graded but is now closed to vehicles.  Less 4-wheeler traffic has improved the ambiance, and a good hike is a great warm up.  Carrying more than one pad is not recommended but will hopefully get me in shape for the mountains.

New boulders are still being uncovered in Leavenworth, and some of the area's hardest problems are being done.  The snow is forcing us to rest and is cleaning the rock.  I'm finally getting some work done, more photos are on the way.