Outer Space – 5.9 – 5/16/2015

Apparently every climber in Washington State has to climb “Outer Space” and “Godzilla”. These sound like the climber’s graduation climbs in Washington.

I have been avoiding these two for a while: “Outer Space” gets really crowded, that always seemed like a downside to me.

Aaron and I had planned to go to Trout Creek that weekend but ended up changing plans to climbing “Outer Space” and “Orbit” in Leavenworth, Snow creek wall. I had never been there, and the weather looked amazing.

We headed out to Leavenworth Friday evening, free-camping at a sweet secret place. I was asleep by 8:30pm, as we had planned to wake up at 5:00am the next day.

We woke up with the sun Saturday at  4:50am, and headed to the Snow Creek trail at 5:20am. The time to talk with friends at the parking lot, and cleaning the blueberry juice I spilled on a car seat, put us on the trail around 6am.

It took us one hour to get to Snow Creek wall, at the base of Outer Space. We were the first party to get there.

Snow Creek Wall
Snow Creek Wall

Aaron started leading the first pitch at 7:30am. Still no one on the wall except our friends that were planning on climbing something hard.

Aaron and I ran up the first two pitches of easy climbing. Then we got to the traverse pitch, that is supposed to be the crux of the route (5.9). I lead that one, really liked the precise moves you have to do to get up it.

outer Space - Traverser p3
“Outer Space”, Traverse pitch

I belayed Aaron up a tree, then he swung by and lead the following pitch (5.8?).

Belay atop of p3
“Outer Space”, Belaying Aaron up p4

I followed him and started the long hand crack that makes this climb so popular. It’s a pretty easy pitch, with a lot of chickenheads (why are those things called chickenheads?). I remember it taking a lot of #2, #1, and #3 as protection. It was kinda exposed, but so easy that I didn’t shake. I almost climbed past the huge ledge where I was supposed to stop and build a gear anchor. Sometimes I get blinded by a good rhythm.

The following pitch had a hard start (5.8, 5.9?) up a finger crack with a little boulder move. Aaron lead that one while I was enjoying the view and the comfortable seat on the gigantic ledge. the wind was blowing hard though, and I started to get cold, despite my jacket. I was also really hungry, weak, and dizzy. I had only been eating two cereal bars and half a peanut butter sandwich by that time.

Outer Space - p5
Outer Space – Following Aaron up p6

I followed Aaron up, feeling really dizzy from not enough eating. I was getting hangry for sure, not enjoying what is supposed to be THE enjoyable pitch of Outer Space. Once up, I then swung by him and lead the last little scramble to the top of Snow Creek wall. A goat was here, waiting for me to pee.

We made it up Outer Space in 4 hrs (5 pitches and a scramble/lead pitch), I thought it was a decent timing for my first time!

Return of experience: eat before hiking up the trail. I keep thinking that I’m getting stronger, so I don’t need to eat. Which is a really stupid idea! I also have to agree with eating and drinking while on the move. I’m French, I like to sit down and eat some good tasty food! But that doesn’t work in the mountains. I need to change my view on eating / food to actually succeed at the goals I set. Fueling your body is necessary and sometimes it doesn’t have to taste good.

We hike down/ scramble the gully to get back to our packs. the hike down was not too bad, not too exposed I thought.

As a result of me feeling dizzy and weak, we didn’t climb “Orbit’. I felt disappointed in myself, especially since we had a lot of time to do it! But oh well, next time I’ll eat and that won’t happen again.

As we were packing our bags to hit the trail back to our car, a huge block felt down, creating dust, debris, noise, and shock. It looks like the rock felt down the hiking trail. Good thing we weren’t on it then! No one got hurt, but it was close.

Outer Space - Trail

Later I heard that is was my friend’s anchor that created the rock fall. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but it gets you thinking! I’m glad every one got out safely.


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