Index Town Wall & Static Point, WA

July 23-28, 2008

This year, our first stop in the Northwest is Index. We climbed here on a couple of occasions during our first bus trip, and in between overnight trips in the North Cascades during our second bus trip. But we never made it a priority, never waited for good weather and as a result, never got much climbing done (it rains A LOT at Index!).

We're back with a few days to spare and a few things on our list: the 3-pitch combo Godzilla - Park City - Sloe Children, which we got rained off during our first visit, "Thin Fingers" a great finger crack on the lower wall we had admired from a distance, and the 6-pitch Davis-Holland - Lovin' Arms that we did not get to climb last summer because of the rain.

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Arriving in Index.
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Trains pass right through town and below the crag.
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Free camping within walking distance of the crag...if you don't mind the scene.
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Abandoned lodge in town.
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The steep Lower Town Wall.

The climbing at Index ranges from 1 to 6 pitches. It is typically steep, and on extremely good rock: very fine grained granite, with terrific friction, yet very gentle on the hands. This rock is simply amazing. Some of the best rock we've ever seen anywhere... Free camping in various pullouts along the river (that is if you don't mind the hillbillies on fishing and drinking trips). The only real drawback is the weather. If it rains anywhere in WA, it'sl almost certainly raining at Index. The best time to visit to minimize the rain is the summer, but it is then usually too hot and humid to climb comfortably. Make sure to pick a cloudy or cold day for Davis-Holland - Lovin' Arms.

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Eric starting up "Princely Ambitions" (5.10a).
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Traversing back into the corner.
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Lucie following the pitch.
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Traversing left into the corner.
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The burly but excellent "Sagittarius" (5.10a).

The Lower Town Wall boasts a great concentration of classic routes. Most are 5.10 and up, but "Godzilla" is an outstanding 5.9 pitch. For classic 5.10a's, try: "Princely Ambitions", technical and balancy and a good warm up in our opinion, "Sagittarius", burly and pumpy, and "Roger's Corner" to "Breakfast of Champions", steep and thin (actually overhangs 5 ft in 60ft): fingers to small hands, to hands, to wide hands and back to good hands, in one short splitter crack! At the right end of the wall, the classic "Thin Fingers" (11a) should not be missed if you feel up to it.

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Lucie near the top of "Sagittarius".
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Starting up "Roger's Corner" (5.9+).
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The steep and thin "Breakfast of Champions" (5.10a).
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The splitter crack near the top of "Breakfast of Champions".
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Crossing the tracks on the way back to the road.

We arrive at Index late afternoon on July 22 and park at our usual camping spot there, a huge pullout on the left (river side) perhaps 400m before the climber's parking lot. The next day, we finally climb the classic combo of the Upper Wall: Davis-Holland - Lovin' Arms, a 6-pitch outing with a bit of everything, steep cracks and corners, face and chimney.

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Hiking toward the Upper Wall to climb the 6-pitch Davis-Holland - Lovin' Arms (5.10c).
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Lucie following the classic corner of Davis-Holland (pitch 2, 5.10a).
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Eric leading pitch 1 of Lovin' Arms (5.10b).
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Views from high on the Upper wall.
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In the chimney of Lovin' Arms.

After a day of rest, we drive to Satic Point near Monroe to climb Online, a classic run-out slab. It's a bit of a drive from Index (30 miles), but we did not feel like moving the bus.

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Online is a classic runout slab at Static Point near Monroe.
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Views from the top of Static Point.
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Burger joint stop on our way back to Index.
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Eric on "Thin Fingers" (11a).
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Higher on this classic pitch.

We climb again at Index at the end of the week. We finally get to do "Thin Fingers", a striking 5.11a we'd had in mind for a while. We then want to finish the day on the Godzilla - City Park - Sloe Children combo. Once again (the same thing happened to us during our first visit there), we only make it to the top of the first pitch before rain forces us to rap down. We're back the next day and finally complete the combo! Time to move on to Leavenworth!

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Looking down at Lucie reaching the belay on "Thin Fingers".
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Godzilla - City Park - Sloe Children is a popular 3-pitch combo on the lower wall (party on "Godzilla") .
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Eric on Sloe Children.
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Leaving Index for Leavenworth.
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Got this napkin from Zeke's Pit Stop, another good burger joint on highway 2.