Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Metaline High

Metaline Falls

Last weekend, Jessica Campbell and I trucked up to the north east corner of Washington to check out an area I used to frequent, Metaline Falls. Jess and I have a special place in our hearts for out of the loop crags and obscure backwater cliffs. Metaline Falls is defined by birds swooping across planes of rock, fresh blue limestone, hard climbing, and a small mining town that captures the imagination.

Movies show on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Take rest days on the weekends!

Besides exploring Metaline's incredible routes in the Arena and at Sector Europa, Jess and I swam in the Pend Orielle River, hiked to Sweetwater Falls, and ran around "downtown" Metaline Falls, poking our noses into old abandoned buildings and learning about the history of the people who had mined for zinc under the surrounding tree covered hills.

Route names at the base of each route lead your way...very helpful actually!

The mine closed in 1977, leaving the local community locked in a time warp. Everything around, from the trucks in people's front yards, to the vintage picnic areas in the local parks, sat as a testament to this era. Luckily, we fit right in, as our climbing abilities on the super steep limestone seemed to be stuck in the 70's also. Jess and I rarely (once or twice a year) clip bolts so we made our way up some stellar 5.12's and eyed future 5.13 inspirations. Someday, when I tire of slogging through the mountains (never!!) I want to be a real sport climber, riding waves of tufas out concave oceans of rock.

Without a doubt, the highlight of our weekend was lowering (and hauling out!) Jessica's Akida, River (big dog!) into Sector Europa. The look on River's face as he swung up the wall on the way out was priceless. Cool and unconcerned, River has a bold head and a bright future on the rock!

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