Hard rock climbs are just that, hard. Difficulty is not just based solely on how hard the moves are, much of a climb’s weight comes from it’s reputation. Snow Creek Wall’s Hyperspace has a reputation. Long, steep and notoriously physical, Hyperspace’s stacked hard pitches string together a sinister line up a huge cleft on Leavenworth’s Snow Creek Wall.
Visiting climbers come from all over the world to sample the distinct NCW granite that populates our area. Ed and Jonathan had climbed together before and a plan was hatched. The pair would road trip Washington’s best crags, climbing the classic routes at each area. Leavenworth’s Hyperspace fits the bill. What was once called “the most overhanging, exposed and continuously difficult climb in Leavenworth” by author and climber John Harlan may not be the hardest route in town anymore, but hard is still hard and steep is still steep. Hyperspace still delivers the goods 30 years after Jim Yoder, Neil Cannon and Kevin Busemeier slayed the dragon and sent the route free in 1982. Sure there were harder climbs, but this one was special.
Things got off to an inauspicious beginning when Ed took a fall on the first pitch. Uninjured and now suddenly motivated, Ed headed right back up and led rest of the moves without falls. Cracks, corners, stems went on for hundreds of feet. The exposure nipping at their heels, scared and excited all at the same time, the team worked out the pitches one by one… until the Pressure Chamber, the route’s crux. Steep, wild and totally old school hard, visiting suitors have no choice but to fully commit to the moves. The crux pitch behind them, only one rope length remained to the wall’s summit. Then it rained…hard. The valley echoed with thunder and the rock went from perfect to soaked in 30 seconds. With no choice but to race for the top. Gripped, the pair topped out under ominous skies. The rain stopped and the long march to a brat and beer ensued. Ed summed it up: “It’s totally cool; the rock is amazing and the climbing was wild, it’s the best route I’ve ever climbed in Leavenworth!” It’s was also the first route he climbed in Leavenworth!
Icicle TV will be publishing dispatches from the field as Ed and Jonathan explore the best of Washington’s rock climbing. Next stop: The Index Town Walls.