Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Super-local Jon Pobst is moving to France soon. It's been great climbing with Jon and watching his climbing progress over the past year, it seemed only fitting to make it in the hills together before Jon becomes a neon-clad, stitched knee pad, cig-smoking Euro.

Let's go rock climbing!
While our first objective wasn't quite "in" we used our Cascades adaptability powers and quickly teamed up with our buddy Blake Herrington for his third attempt at topping out the Supercave Route on the M&M Wall. We had a blast, a no-falls day for the team with onsight/flashes for Jon and I, and the well-earned top-out/redpoint for Blake.

The Supercave route was established in 2009 after 8 attempts by Spokane locals elaw and leearden ( aliases). Boy did they score! Amazing find so late in the game up at WA Pass, hard to imagine Burdo didn't have his eye on this wall for years.

This route has some of the best stone i've climbed up at WA Pass, it goes all free at 11c, and is absolutely in the realm to be climbed at 10+ with a few french-free moves. Get some!

The approach begins just west of the pullout for the Burgundy col approach, it climbs easily up a loose-ish gully for about 45 mins to the base of the wall.

Still psyched, approach #2 for the day.
As you near the base of the wall you may notice some bolts on a clean white low-angle slab. Not sure who put these in, but they are brand new, and make a pitch and a half intro start to the route.  They are a bit contrived, but with rock so good, why not?

Nonetheless, we continued on up the gully to a big ledge system which we walked rightwards to the base of the first pitch. Pitch one follows a corner system up and left to a bolted belay at about 10a. Already I was giddy from the high rock quality.

Pitch Two. Oh wow. Pitch Two.  I'd say one of the top 5 pitches at WA Pass of any grade, perhaps the best 5.10 pitch around.  From the belay, climb twin cracks up and left to an immaculate corner, up the corner to a crux bulge then rounded cracks up more beautiful stone to a bolted belay. So GOOD!

Jon leading up twin cracks off the belay.


Livin the Dream..

That was good!

End of September with no shirts on, WA Pass delivers.
Pitches 3 & 4 were my block. Pitch 3 is a massive left arching crack/roof system that goes at 11-. There is a bit of loose flakeage on this one, but it's not so bad. Wild traversing climbing ends with a sting in the tail bizarro crux to gain the belay (one fixed KB and a couple fixed nuts).

We nicknamed this pitch The Beast.

Cruxing out on The Beast.

Blake following

Pitch 4 is the crux of the route and involves awkward climbing up a left leaning  corner chasm to a bolt protected sequence over the roof and exciting face climbing up and then right past one more bolt, then a bit of gear while moving back left to a bolted belay in the Supercave, 11c.

Clipping the first bolt.

Neato holds, exciting moves.
The Supercave is super cool. Unique and odd. A 12+ sport route out the cave would really bring the place together..

Jonny Pobst in the Supercave
Blake was super excited for his block venturing above the cave. He started us off on pitch 5 which began with overhanging jug hauling out the left side and into a smooth corner. A smooth corner crux follows then more fun corner climbing with the occasional City of Rocks swiss-cheese jug hold thrown in for good measure, 11b.  This tops out at a good ledge to the left with a single fixed nut (out right is an even better ledge below a wild looking headwall crux pitch that will really finish the route out nicely when it is established...).

Steep climbing leaves the cave

P6 moved left around a pillar to an easy, slightly dirty corner. Up this corner,  eventually moving right on moderate ground to a treed ledge.

Blake's head on P6

Not a bad position
A mini pitch of 5.8 took us to the top of the wall where we unroped and scrambled up to the summit.

Blake topping us out with the Wine Spires in the background

Team No-Falls on top. Send of the Day goes to Jon, impressive climbing homie!
We double rope rapped the route, occasionally coming up a bit short (dbl 70m ropes would be ideal). About half way down i realized I left my new $300 camera and wife's windshirt at the topout. DOH!

So, the next morning Jon and I headed back up, taking the approach gully up and left past the wall to a sneaky treed ledge out right to the summit, grabbed my forgotten gear, and descended back down the way we came. It's a super easy walk off with just a couple 4th class steps, just so ya know.

Thanks for the great day out Blake and Jon!

Afternote: you can't really mention the M&M Wall without giving major props to first ascencionest Jim Langdon and Mead Hargis, whom, in September of 1969, sent the wall ground-up and in a day at 5.8 A4 with an 80 piton rack.  Simply badass. I'd need a rest-day just hauling that rack to the base of the wall.  In the days of 7oz approach shoes, soft-shell clothing, photon lockers, and CAMP Air harnesses it's hard to appreciate what a hardman crushfest this really was. Here's a great TR of Mr. Langdon climbing the Ice Cliff Arete on Mt. Stuart which really brings the HARDMAN out in him.

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