Leavenworth, WA

July 29-August 7, 2008

We spent a lot of time climbing in these parts of the Cascades (the Enchantments and Alpine lakes area) during our first bus trip but we never got around to climb the West face of Colchuck Balanced Rock. This route has been super popular this summer. We've seen a few trip reports on Cascadeclimber, enough to make us feel like we were missing out. The route is pretty hard, but we've been rock-climbing steadily since our return from Australia, so we feel that we might have a shot at it without having to resort to too much aid. We decide to stop in Leavenworth on our way to Canada and give it a try.

We leave Index for Leavenworth around noon on Tuesday July 29. After stopping for a good hour at the rest area 15 miles west of town to empty our holding tanks and get a refill of fresh water, we go check our camp site from a few years ago. Unfortunately, we find the access road way too overgrown to get the bus through… even for the jeep, it's a bit tight. We could spend a couple of hours cutting the vegetation back… but we'd need a machete and a saw. Instead, we continue to town and park the bus at the large dirt lot by the climbing store. We inquire about permits for Colchuck at the ranger station but find none available before Sunday. Of course, the other option is to chance the daily lottery, but they only have one slot a day for the Enchantments, so our chances are not that great. We decide to take the spot for Sunday. We'll just have to figure out what to do until then...

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Leaving the sleepy town of Index.
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Home sweet home in downtown Leavenworth.
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Leavenworth is the Bavarian village of the Cascades.
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In true Disneyland style.

Between some maintenance work on the bus, a trip to Peshastin to do laundry, and a visit to the Anjou Bakery, the rest the week goes by fast. Hoping to take advantage of colder weather on Friday, we try to get on "HyperSpace" (a long route on the Snow Creek Wall). But even early morning at the trailhead the heat is unbearable. We climb the Normal Route on Careno Crag as a consolation.

The next day, we pack for a three-day trip to Colchuck Balanced Rock.