Kangaroo Temple, WA
NW Face, 5.7+
July 22, 2006
NW Face, 5.7+
July 22, 2006
Picasa Photo Album
For our first alpine rock climb of the year, after a full year of skiing and wedding planning, we headed up to the NW Face of Kangaroo Temple. It was a peak I had climbed a couple years earlier with Andy, Andrew, and Murray and enjoyed it enough that it was worth a return trip. The hike up to Kangaroo Pass was BUGGY. We could see the welts growing on each other while we were hiking. After a couple hours and some very loose scree climbing, we made it to the base of the route. I'm still not entirely sure the best way to start this route. We started pretty far left, to the left of the horns shown in the Beckey guide and traversed all the way across, down the slab, then up the mostly unprotectable face to the first belay. I think the chimney/crack in the rock not quite so far left would make a better start, but I can't verify that.
That first traverse is pretty nervy, and kind of a rough way to warm up, but we made it across, then headed up 2nd pitch, the first 5.7+ layback, which is very nice! From the cave, we angled off to the left under a roof, then up a left-facing dihedral. This is very fun climbing, reminiscent of Deidre in Squamish. This leads to a tree belay. Here is where I made the same mistake I made last time, and decided to continue leading past this belay and up through the next 5.7+ layback. By doing so, we ended up turning the 5 pitches into 4, but the rope drag was horrible. Before each sequence of moves I had to pull up several feet of rope and then let is loose and hope it would pile up on the ledge below me just enough to allow me to move before yanking me back again. I'd recommend stopping at that tree and belaying.
I made up for this mistake by correcting one mistake we made last time, and that was crossing the Dance Floor properly. Last time, we crossed it high, trying to get as much protection in the rock as possible. Problem is, we increased our chances of falling dramatically! So this time, I crossed the bottom of the floor, where it's ever so slightly lower-angled, but with less protection, yet it felt much safer and easier. Once across, it's just one attention-getting slab move up and your done. I took the rest of the lead all the way up to the end of the technical climbing, although if you had belayed the previous pitch from the proper spot, you would have to set up a belay just above the dance floor. That's what makes this climb sort of difficult to manage, because the belays just don't seem to work out right. In any case, it was much fun climbing this route again. It's great to have a route with such quality climbing only a couple hours from the highway -- close, but far enough away to keep away the crowds.