Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Eastward Bound

From Leavenworth we headed to a place called Frenchman Coulee, a cool little climbing destination only about two hours east. It is known for its unique basalt column formations, which reminded us very much of Devils Tower. Unfortunately it's all on pretty short cliff bands, none of it being more than a single pitch.

We spent two days there, on the first of which we did some trad climbing. Here is Kristal on Party in your Pants 5.8, a fun little double crack climb.

The second day we decided to climb at the Feathers area, which is made up primarily of moderate sport routes on some cool, mostly freestanding, columns.

We ended up climbing 16 routes that day, which is a lot by our standards. Interestingly enough, at an average of 35-40 feet high each, it was still less climbing than we often do on just one of the many long multipitch routes we get on.

Frenchman Coulee is in an honest to goodness desert, with very little in the way of moisture. Here is our setup at the free camping area.

Fortunately there is a huge reservoir just down the road which made for some excellent swimming and bathing.

Next we headed further east, across the Columbia Basin and back into the mountains of the Rockies, to check out the bouldering around Riggins, Idaho.

Its really not a huge destination, with small pockets of boulders scattered along 6 miles of the Salmon River, but made for a pretty fun little stop. Many of the boulders are right on the shore of the river, with nice sandy landings. Some go right into the water, which makes for some interesting climbing.

Here I am on Butterfly Traverse, which traverses the lip of the boulder well into the river.

And here is Kristal figuring out how to get on an unknown face problem without getting wet.

Some of the faces on the river boulders are so incredibly polished that they offer no friction whatsoever. We found one low angle slab that normally wouldn't have even been worth trying, but because it was so polished it proved to be impossible to climb up the center. It did make for an interesting slide though.

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