Sisyphus, Goat Wall, Mazama, WA

July 21st , 2007 / 5.11a, 10 pitches, sport.

We're at Washington Pass and the weather is not cooperating. Two days ago, between rain drops, we managed to climb Prime Rib, a good moderate clip-up on the Goat Wall near Mazama. We decide to go back to the Goat Wall for more sport-climbing, this time to climb Sisyphus, a 10-pitch 5.11a.

The forecast is for mostly cloudy skies but little chance of rain. We get a moderately early start and drive to Mazama.

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Sisyphus is a decent clip-up on the Goat Wall near Mazama. The rock looks ugly but the climbing is pretty fun.
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Going up scree slopes leading...
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...to the fixed rope and the base of the route.
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Eric starting the first pitch (5.7).
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Higher on pitch 1.

The approach is short but steep, ending with a bit of 4th class up a fixed rope.

Nice gradual increase in difficulty, from the first 5.7 pitch, to a 5.9, then a 5.10a/b (pretty steep, a bit awkward, but fun). The rock is a bit more slabby and the holds more slopy than on Prime Rib (more flowing water, I think), and it is a little less clean (again, more water equals more vegetation/moss; and of course, being much harder it receives much less traffic).

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Starting pitch 2 (p1 and 2 can be combined - we didn't).
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Pitch 3 (10a/b) is steep and a bit akward, but fun.
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Higher on pitch 3.
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Pitch 4 (5.2) is a ledge hike.
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Looking down the valley.

Pitch 4 is a ledge hike, which leads to the upper wall.

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Pitch 5 is another easy pitch (5.8).
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Eric starting the crux pitch...
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...a good 5.10 pitch with a move or two of soft 5.11a.
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At the belay, atop pitch 6.
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More views.

From here, one longish 5.8 pitch leads to the business: a steep and very thin (but short) 5.11a pitch; first leftward for 3 bolts at 5.10a or so, then right at 5.11a (fun), then left again at 5.10b/c. Fun pitch! Extremely well protected. Eric flashes it without any problem (soft ratings...). I follow, finding it fun as well.

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Pitch 7...
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...starts with a 5.9 mantle.
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Higher on pitch 7. Pitch 8 is 3rd class (no pic).
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Starting pitch 9.
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Higher on pitch 9.

Four more decent pitches lead to a huge ledge (the base of Diamond Point Buttress) and the end of the climb.

A very well engineered rap route leads back to the packs (12 raps with one 60m rope). If we were to do it again, we'd climb on doubles, to eliminate a few raps. Other than that, take 13 draws and a couple of lockers (no gear needed at all).

Overall a pretty good route, not a classic by any means, but a good wet weather alternative to WA Pass.

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Taking a break.
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The final pitch (p10, 5.6).
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Starting the well-engineered rap descent.
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Back at the base, 12 raps later.
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Hiking back to the car.

Approach notes: The trail starts 2.9 miles from Mazama. Go left at double cairns. Head toward a big ponderosa tree.

Gear notes: 60m rope + 13 draws + daisy chain or longer runners for rap descent. Double ropes would reduce the number of raps on the descent.

Topo: can be obtained from the guide service (North Cascades Mountain Guides) in Mazama (they keep a bunch of copies outside their door). Also heard rumors about a new guidebook from Brian Burdo which will include routes on the Goat Wall. Might be out by now (June '08).