Thursday, September 30, 2010

Willkommen in Leavenworth

Ah Leavenworth, or should I say Little Bavaria. Yup, that's right, Bavaria. In the early to mid 1900s this place was much like any other small town, built up around the railway and lumber industry. Once those had moved elsewhere, it seemed the townsfolk decided that tourism would be the answer, so sometime in the 1960s, for no good reason other than because it seemed like a good idea, decided to theme the town Bavarian style.

It's pretty quaint to see everything (I mean everything - Starbucks, McDonald's, etc) themed in this way, and with Oktoberfest just around the corner the place is already starting to amp up. We managed to hit up the used book fundraiser downtown and picked up 6 books and a movie for a whopping $7.50, which should keep Kristal's voracious reading appitite satisfied for maybe a week.

On our way here we stopped in to visit my old friends from university Stu and Liz, now living in Seattle, whom I haven't seen since their wedding some ridiculous number of years ago. It was really awesome to see them again, reminisce about old times and meet their kids. They also graciously offered us to spend the night, which was a welcome change from sleeping in the rain. Thanks guys!

As we were reading the guidebook to Leavenworth bouldering, we were a little skeptical about its claims of being even better than Squamish. It's pretty common for guidebook authors to have a biased view of the climbing in their own backyard. Not that I blame them of course. I will always have a soft spot for McKenzie Pond in the Adirondacks, as a lot of people from Ottawa do, which view I'm sure is not always shared by visiting climbers. Even the bouldering guidebook to Squamish widly claims that all styles of climbing are well represented there, which is clearly not the case.

Anyway, it's always nice to be pleasantly surprised. Here is Kristal inside The Hueco Route V1.

The bouldering here is stellar, with an inordinate amout of quality problems, easy approaches, nice landings and an incredible amount of variety.

And the weather, oh the glorious weather! It's so nice to be out of the damp and dankness of the coast.

Every day so far has been sunny with a daytime high of low to mid twenties (Celsius of course).

We are also back to having an awesomely featured campsite, set up right beside Icicle Creek, with a nice little sandy shore to walk in for convenient bathing. Although, as I'm sure you can imagine based on the name, dips in the creek do not last very long.

The bouldering here is so good we have done nothing else so far, but next up we are going to jump on what is claimed to be one of Washington's best multi-pitch trad routes, Outer Space 5.9. We are pretty stoked for it.

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