Condorphamine Addiction is a high quality 7 pitch 5.10B slab climb put up by Leland Windham in the year 2000. The route follows a direct line up the 600 foot northeast face of the Condor Buttress, a large outcropping of granite in Icicle Creek Canyon offering excellent views into the Stuart Range. The climbing is very nice. This route sees a fair amount of traffic, so it is free of lichen and moss.
From Leavenworth, turn left on Icicle Creek Road driving about 9 miles to the turnoff for the Stuart Lake Trailhead (Bridge Creek Campground too). Don’t turn here. Drive another .2 miles and park in the first pullout on the left side of the road.
Walk about 50 feet to the north along the west side of the street until you see a climber’s path exiting into the woods to the west. Follow this path uphill past Bathtub Dome switch backing up the side of the hill. The trail gains approximately 1,500 feet to get to the base of the Condor Buttress. It took us 1 hour. Look for the largest formation with the obvious path of delichened rock on it.
The route as described below includes the Condorphamine Addiction with the Opus 5.10A start. The normal start to the route looked like a boring 5.6 pitch. I would highly recommend climbing this route with the Opus first pitch variation, as I’ve described below. Opus is the leftmost of the the three bolted lines at the base.
Pitch #1 – 5.10A - Move up the thin balancy slab utilizing small features for hands and feet. Climbing is sustained in the 5.9 to 5.10A range, and is very enjoyable. At the top, traverse to the right to gain the chains. (85 feet)
Pitch #2 – 5.9 - Work your way up the arête traversing from side to side on excellent, varied climbing. About half way up, a steep rightward traverse with no feet and a big jug offers super fun climbing. Move up to the top of the arête, then jamb the handcrack to reach your belay at the chains. (90 feet)
Pitch #3 – 5.4 - This pitch moves up lower angle terrain on mostly 4th class rock to reach the base of the steep buttress ahead. (60 feet)
Pitch #4 – 5.8 - Move up the steepening slab working your way through interesting and fun climbing on small ledges, edges, and features. (100 feet)
Pitch #5 – 5.10B - Now the fun begins. Work your way up and to the right towards the arête. The slab is quite a bit steeper here, but featured at the start. All of a sudden the holds disappear, and you have to perform a couple hard, thin slab moves with stemming. These sections were very interesting. Above that is more steep sustained thin slab, with excellent varied climbing. Good stuff. Reach the flat spot at the top, and belay at the chains. (95 feet)
Pitch #6 – 5.10B - Keep working up the steep arête slab on more excellent climbing. This pitch is quite sustained, almost every move is 5.9 or 5.10A. About half way up you encounter another blank slab. This was the crux of the route for me. A hard thin slab move then several more slightly easier ones gives way to a ledge and the belay chains. (90 feet)
Pitch #7 – 5.4 - An easy romp to the top of the buttress and your done! (60 feet)
Down - With 2 60 meter ropes, the route can be done in 3 raps. With a single rope, it will take you 7 raps. (No thanks) The other option is to rap off the backside then downclimb the steep loose gulley on the north side of the buttress (looked nasty).
With 2 60s the raps are as follows:
#1 – To the top of pitch #5
#2 – To the top of pitch #3
#3 – To the ground (59 meters)
2 60 meter ropes
12 quickdraws (20 if linking pitches)
24” slings are needed in a couple spots to reduce rope drag
With 60 meter ropes, the route can be done in 3 long pitches and 1 short one. Pitches 1&2, 3&4, and 5&6 go together. Rope drag is significant and a little annoying but manageable.
Condorphamine Addiction has received some bad press from local climbers, because of the density of bolts on the route. In some locations, specifically the crux sections, there are bolts every 3 to 4 feet. On easier terrain, they are about 10 to 12 feet apart. I personally believe that there are too many at the crux sections. I skipped about 6 bolts while climbing the route, to make it seem more interesting. Others blast the route because it was bolted and cleaned on rappel. I could care less about that.
If you want a bit more of an adventure, try bringing only 7 to 9 quickdraws per pitch instead of 12. The route is definitely worth doing, don’t let the bad press discourage you.
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