This route report describes the route Safe Sex with the lower Dreamer direct start providing a long 10 pitch alpine rock climb up the 1,100 foot east face of Green Giant Buttress in Darrington. This climb is just to the right of its more famous neighbor Dreamer, and is similar in difficulty but with better protection. Safe Sex is still sparsely bolted with up to 30 feet spacing on 5.8 terrain on a couple of the slab pitches. I would suggest being solid at the grade before tackling this route.
Like Dreamer, Safe Sex features a terrific combination of climbing styles. The lower portion of the route features moderately angled sustained slabs similar to that found on Three O'Clock Rock. The upper half up the route ramps up in steepness to about 75 degrees and features crack jambing, flake liebacking, and thin face climbing. Recommended.
Drive up Forrest Service Road #2060 to 5.5 miles then make a right. Continue to 6.9 miles where a log blocks the road (information current as of June 2006). With a high clearance 4 wheel drive vehicle it is possible to drive to the end of the road at 8.4 miles. Turn right at the intersection at approximately 7.6 miles in.
Hike to the end of the road then proceed up the path at its end through the woods. About 30 minutes in you cross a stream on rocks and downed logs. Continue up the trail until it breaks out into a clearing right of a stream. Follow the path to about 50 feet below the slab waterfall. Look for a rock cairn here and exit into the woods to the right in the tree tunnel. Scramble up the granite slabs all the way to the base of the buttress. Keep right and stay on broken terrain in the trees when things get difficult. Look for a few cedar trees, just above this is a good ledge to store your packs.
Scramble up a shallow groove (with your rocks shoes on) until you reach the anchor that starts the route. Going is 4th to low 5th. This groove is just left of the grass and shrub filled cracks.
- 5.6 - Scramble directly up the slab clipping 4 bolts as you go. Climbing is generally low 5th with a few harder sections. Some long runouts. 180 feet
- 5.7 - Move up and to the right from the belay on low 5th terrain using cams under the flakes for protection. Aim for obvious left angling flake. Jamb this nice finger sized flake for 50 feet then traverse left at its end to gain the right facing corner. Climb this to the anchor at the shrub. 175 feet
- 5.8+ - Look for the bolt to your right and traverse the slab on small knobs heading straight up where it steepens. 3 bolts and 1 cam placement, pretty runout. 100 feet
- 5.8 - Climb up and to the left on the steeper slab with knobs clipping 3 bolts as you go. After the third bolt, angle up and to the right towards the tree to reach the anchor. This pitch is sustained 5.8 with 30 feet or more between bolts. 130 feet
- 5.9+ - This beautiful pitch starts by traversing first left then back right to gain the base of the handcrack. Jamb and lieback the nice handcrack flake for 40 feet, the do a wild stretch around the arête to your right into another crack when it peters out. Jamb this handcrack to reach a rest below the face above. Now climb the steep thin face clipping 3 bolts as you go. This section is rated 5.9 on the topo, but feels much harder. Now jamb and lieback up the hollow thin finger sized flake for 40 feet. Look for a bolt on the arete and traverse to your right here. Climb up and to your right to reach the anchor at the base of a long dihedral. 180 feet
- 5.9 - Jamb and stem your way up the nice finger sized dihedral (sustained 5.8) for 70 feet until you see a root in the crack from the tree above. Exit to the steep face on your right. Climb up and to the right moving back and forth across the arete. Follow the bolts all the way up to the anchor at the ledge. This section is sustained 5.9, but well protected. 190 feet
- 5.8 - Move up and to the right then straight up the flake system. Climb up and to the left following the path of least resistance to the belay at the base of a long grass and shrub filled corner. 120 feet
- 5.5 - Climb up and to the left on very long runouts to rejoin Dreamer at the anchor next to a medium sized tree. 110 feet
- 5.8 - Climb straight up the sustained slab / face clipping 6 bolts as you go. Belay at the anchors next to another tree. 180 feet
- 5.4 - Scramble up the slabs with some gear placements until you reach an anchor at the top of the buttress. 120 feet
- 10 60 meter double rope rappels off the route's belay stations will get you to the ground.
2 each cams micro to 2.5"
1 each cams 2.5" to 3.5"
1 each nuts
2 60 meter ropes