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Ice climbing in Leavenworth
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Ice climbing in Leavenworth

Ice climbing in Leavenworth

Page Type: Trip Report

Location: Washington, United States, North America

Object Title: Ice climbing in Leavenworth

Date Climbed/Hiked: Dec 27, 2009

Activities: Ice Climbing

Season: Winter


Page By: Mark Straub

Created/Edited: Jan 4, 2010 / Jan 5, 2010

Object ID: 586951

Hits: 3967 

Page Score: 81.18%  - 13 Votes 

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Day 1- Rainbow Falls

I went out to Leavenworth for some ice climbing the 2 days between Christmas and my birthday, making for a perfect holiday break! It was my first time ice climbing, due to a very generous invitation on cascadeclimbers.com by Curt (montypiton). We went up Rainbow Falls (I think) the first day, where I learned technique and placing screws. I did a lot of "bouldering" (icicling?) at the bottom while Curt and his son Michael were climbing, and I took the time to test out different tools and different swing techniques.

Rainbow Falls
Rainbow Falls- my first ice climb!

Ice Cascade
Looking up at various ice flows.

First day ice climbing
I'm new to ice climbing- just look at my crooked helmet and goofy smile!

Candlestick Falls
The Corner- We ran out of time, so I didn't get to climb it. Next time though!

Looking up at Candlestick Falls
Looking up at The Corner.

Dusk in the Canyon
Curt climbing Rainbow Falls as dusk approaches.

Curt Ice Climbing
A closer shot of Curt placing an ice screw.

First day on the ice!
Me climbing Rainbow Falls, and having fun!

Having fun!
At the bottom with Curt on belay.

Day 2- The Funnel

The next morning, we hiked up to The Funnel, a 3-pitch waterfall on Hubba Hubba Wall. The ice was more brittle and hard here, and I had to learn different techniques. I got a tool stuck on the vertical section at the bottom, and consequently fell trying to get it out. (Darn it!)

The Funnel
The Funnel- A 400-foot tall waterfall on Mt. Cashmere, and a terrific climb! This is only the first pitch- I couldn't capture the next two as well as I would have liked.

When I reached the belay, I asked Curt where to stand, and he gestured towards a slightly less sloped part of the waterfall with a thin layer of snow. I remember thinking, "Wait, what? I don't see a stance...oh." It was cool to look at the anchor, built off a resident piton, Curt's freshly-placed piton, and an ice screw. I hung the backpack with our puffy coats and some hot tea and clipped my camera in to the anchor. This was all new to me, but what a fun experience!

Ice Anchor
Our ice anchor, with 3 people, a backpack, a camera, and other assorted gear hanging off it.

Curt brought Michael up and then led the second pitch, then Michael followed. A barrage of ice continued on throughout, with me looking up then consequently pressing myself against the waterfall repeatedly as chunks of ice bounced and shattered on my helmet. When it was finally my chance to climb, I undid the anchor and continued on to Curt and Michael at the top, noticing how small the front points on my G-12's were and how they barely scraped the surface of the ice, yet still gave me enough support to weight them.

Looking upwards
Looking up at the beginning of the second pitch.

The rappel tree, unfortunately, was about 20 feet above us. I led the short, unprotectable pitch (thinking there would be ice underneath, thus rendering it easy), but there was only powder snow covering rocks. I delicately continued up, and I hooked a small tree with my ice tool until I was able to climb onto the large tree, clip in, and belay Michael and Curt up. We rappelled back down, packed up our gear, and hiked down in the dark.

Ice Mouth
Night photography of The Funnel.

All in all, this was a fun trip and I am very eager for my second time ice climbing!

Gear Notes:
I bought a pair of Aztars from Curt! It was cool getting to test gear before buying it.

Approach Notes:
Rainbow Falls is like 3 minutes from the road, The Funnel is about 1,500 feet higher. Totally worth the walk though! (Who am I kidding- I like hiking too.)



Dusk in the Canyon


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Viewing: 1-5 of 5    



Voted 10/10

never ice climbed either but would like to try so your beginners view is very cool for me to read/see. thanks for posting up.
Posted Jan 7, 2010 1:04 pm

Mark StraubRe: nice!

Mark Straub

Hasn't voted

Thanks! I'm sure you would enjoy it. You know, I will be leading ice in a month or two...maybe if you're interested we could meet up for a trip sometime.
Posted Jan 7, 2010 5:57 pm

Josh LewisThanks for the story

Josh Lewis

Voted 10/10

Curt's a nice guy, he sold me a pair of ice tools for a very nice price. I hope to hit the ice one of these days.
Posted Jan 13, 2011 7:42 pm

Mark StraubRe: Thanks for the story

Mark Straub

Hasn't voted

I was there, remember? And yeah, we just need to get out there.
Posted Jan 13, 2011 11:15 pm

Josh LewisRe: Thanks for the story

Josh Lewis

Voted 10/10

Mark, that was mostly for the public to see. ;-)
Posted Jan 13, 2011 11:42 pm

Viewing: 1-5 of 5