For the first weekend in May, Jacob and I met up for some rock climbing. On that Friday afternoon, we went to the Upper Index Town Wall and did a 2 pitch 5.9 route of which the name escapes me. I remember I led the first pitch, a dirty 5.8 wide hands to fist crack. Jacob continued up the second pitch which has a tricky crux. The humidity made my hands greasy increasing the difficulty. After a couple hours on the wall, we continued to Leavenworth and camped off the Icicle Creek Road.
We got a very early start for Outer Space knowing it may be busy. At 6am we were starting up the trail and it took about an hour and a half of hiking up the Snow Creek Trail to reach the base of the route. Crossing the creek had the usual wet logs and the trail up the slope to the wall was still rough. Once at the base, we left out packs and racked up. We followed the normal route and did the route in 5.5 pitches. We sort of simul-climbed the second traverse pitch unprotected as it was barely even 4th class. The pitch by pitch description is shown below.
Pitch 1: 5.4 - 4th class up the diagonal ramp system, which becomes low fifth class at it's top. Belay above a scrappy bush. An alternative is to go left about 30 feet below the bush up a 5.9+ crack, directly to the bolt anchor above. 50 meters
Pitch 2: 5.0 - Traverse over easy ledges to 2 tree ledge. I climbed it before the '94 fire, the trees may be burned out now. Pro is scarce, but available, watch for short cracks and flakes. 30 meters traverse leftward
Pitch 3: 5.9 - Now the real climbing begins. A tricky 5.8 move up cracks at the far left end of 2 tree ledge leads to the 5.9 diagonal crack: the crux. Get your hands in the crack, smear on nothing, and get through it. It's difficult to jam, and the lower half of the crack is downsloping. It's pretty fun. Continue about 3 meters higher to the belay. 40 meters
Pitch 4: 5.8 - Run-out chicken heads and slopers, with exposure, leads to a small pillar/pedestal. Climb the right side of this pedestal in a wide 5.8 crack and belay from the large ledge on the left side of the top of this pillar. You will have to descend a few feet to the anchor. 45 meters
Pitch 5: 5.8 - And now the beautiful part. Follow the perfect splitter hands to thin hands crack leads from the far left side of the belay ledge. This is the crack that dissects the Shield. It's tricky at the beginning, but gets easier the higher you climb. Stretch the rope to a comfy belay ledge. 60 meters
Pitch 6: 5.9 - Climb the 5.9 finger crack just above the ledge, which gets wider and easier after a few moves. The rest of the pitch is easy 5.8 and 5.7, but it's long. Stretch the rope as far as you can and belay where the crack ends, or as close to it as you can get. I stretched our 70 meter rope all the way on this lead and was able to get to the top. With a shorter rope, one may have to belay on the final slab before reaching the top. 70 meters
The next day (Sunday), we hiked 3000 feet up a steep boot path on the north side of Icicle Creek Road to an area called Value Village. This area was developed in 2007 and is an excellent cragging area with good solitude. It is well worth the 1.5 hour hike up. Unfortunately, on the first route, Jacob took a fall and dislocated his ankle. Unsure if his Spot Beacon was working, I quickly hiked down and guided the rescue team up to our location since they had trouble locating him. By the time I made it back up to him with the EMT's, it was getting late in the day. A rain storm was quickly closing in and the rescue helicopter wasn't able to cross the cascades from the west side.
I ended up leaving and took Jacob's car back to Monroe and left it there and drove mt car back to Renton. I needed to leave for Wyoming that next morning. Luckily, a helicopter was able to pick him off the mountain just before midnight that evening right as the rain started. Sometime later I will go back to Value Village to try and top rope Full Boar which is the most classic route in the area.