Online, Static Point, WA

July 25, 2008 - 5.10b, 6p, mixed protection (warning: rusted protection and anchor bolts)

After a couple of days cragging at Index, we go check out Static Point, near Monroe. It's our first time there. It's a bit of a drive (about 30 miles) from Index.

We find the "trailhead" easily, following the instructions in the guidebooks, after stopping at Spada lake to sign-in. Unfortunately, the final stretch of dirt road is now destroyed; the road is closed about 0.6 miles short of what our books indicate.

The first mile or so of the approach follows the old - extremely overgrown and locally washed away - road bed, past many streams, a lot of bushwhacking, and the local hillbillies' target practice area, complete with mannequins and blown out fire extinguishers… nice! Eventually, the road bed leads to a prominent section of abandoned culvert pipe (6ft diameter, just right of the trail) and an obvious cairn (on the left).

From here, it's pretty much straight up the slope for several hundred feet of steep but clean trail through the old-growth forest. The final 100ft or so are particularly steep, as the trail heads up and right onto the slabs.

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Signing in at the entrance of the Spada Lake Recreation Area.
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Local hillbillies' target practice area.
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The climber's trail branches off at the cairn near the obvious culvert pipe.
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Following the clean trail through the old growth forest.
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Looking up at "Online" from the base of the dome.

Our route ("Online") is the easiest one to get to; it is right at the top of the trail. The first bolt is visible about 50ft up… fortunately, the slab is pretty low angle below this bolt (5.5 or so) and reaching it is no big deal.

One issue: we had read that the bolts had been replaced on this route… if they have, it must have been some time ago, and the new bolts are not stainless steel. They look pretty sad and heavily rusted. The routes to our right and our left feature nice, shiny, stainless steel bolts… we'll see. I reach the first anchor in about 55m. The anchor bolts and chains are very rusted too.

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Hanging out before starting the climb.
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Eric starting the easy first pitch (5.5).
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Higher on pitch 1.
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Lucie following the first pitch.
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Getting to the belay.

The climbing gets gradually steeper. The second pitch features some 5.8 moves.

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Views.
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Pitch 2 features steeper climbing with a couple of 5.8 moves.
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Following pitch 2.
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Eric starting the scary 3rd pitch.
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Finally getting some pro in!

The third pitch is pretty scary: a bolt not too far from the belay, followed by 50ft or so of completely runout, smooth, water-polished 5.8 slab. I debate abandoning the route here, but keep going after all. It's a good mental exercize. I finally reach the sorry looking anchor.

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Lucie following the runout 5.8 slab on pitch 3.
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The sorry looking anchor atop pitch 3.
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Ditto.
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Eric leading pitch 4.
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Getting to the belay.

The fifth, crux pitch looks pretty daunting from the belay. The slab is very noticeably steeper here and gets steeper yet through the pitch. The first bolt is way up there, above a good 30 ft of thin climbing up to 5.9. The next bolt is another 30ft higher, this time past some 5.10a moves. The runouts continue, past insecure 5.10b moves, and finish with a 50ft section of unprotected 5.8 to reach the anchors. A bit sick, really. It takes me a while to get up this one. The moves are not obvious (they rarely are on a slab), and I take some time at each rest stance (ususally at the bolts - this thing was obviously bolted on lead) to relax my nerves. The anchor at the top of this pitch is particularly sorry looking: three quarter-inch rust piles, two of them buttonheads. Rusted chains hanging from them. No real stance. I try to sit on the slab to avoid putting too much load on the bolts... Fortunately, Lucie follow without too much difficulty (just mumbling in French to herself...).

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On pitch 5.
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Paddling the crux moves near the top of the pitch.
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Looking back at Lucie following pitch 5 (click for movie - 9.8Mb).
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Views.
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Eric starting the last pitch (p6).

The last pitch is a quick hike on easy 5th class terrain, with no pro except for an Alien placement in the first 15 ft. Easy enough. The top anchor is shared with the routes to our left and features nice beefy SS bolts! No chains though, so we have to replace some of the slingage… weird.

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At the belay atop pitch 6.
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Following the last pitch.
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"Summit" shot.
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Starting the rap descent.
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One of the very manky-looking rap anchors.

We do one long rap to the anchors at the base of pitch 5, then 4 more raps to the base of the route. We had hoped to be able to use anchors on other routes on the way down but this didn't work out.

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The last rap.
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Whacking the hell out of the bushes on the overgrown road.
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Small frog.
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Locals' playground !
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Hiking back to the trailhead.

We do some trail maintenance on the way out, moving branches out of the way, and whacking the hell out of the bushes. On the drive back, we stop for burgers and fries at a roadside joint (the Alpen Drive-In) along the way. Really good food, actually. We'd recommend it. Then we stop by the Video store and rent a movie. Back to the bus. Movie night!