2006 -


Category: Washington

Snow Creek Wall in the Icicle River canyon near Leavenworth, Washington is a popular multipitch rock climbing destination. The granitic rock is solid and featured by chickenheads and stellar cracks. The climbing ranges from 5.6 to 5.11.

This page features some "short reports" from some of the climbs I’ve done on Snow Creek Wall. (This page also includes a report for a somewhat-recently-established sport multipitch route not on Snow Creek Wall, but just a few miles further up the Icicle River canyon.) These reports do not give a wide photo selection like most of my climbing reports, but they do provide some route beta and interesting details.


CLIMBS NEARBY (not at Snow Creek Wall):

OUTER SPACE, Snow Creek Wall, Leavenworth, WA      Trip Report #: 20, 55, 87, 141

Route overlay for Outer Space, by Steph Abegg.

Steep with plenty of jugs and jams! Jenny starting off Pitch 5, the first of the hand crack pitches, Apr 2013.

Caleb blasting up the stellar 5.7 handcrack just below Library Ledge, Oct 2007.

Watch out for these residents of Snow Creek Wall. On the April 2013 climb, the day's tick count was 19 (!).
First time up Outer Space: May 1, 2006 with Jason Cullum
Brief trip report: Outer Space is a Leavenworth classic. I led most of the route since my climbing partner was just beginning trad multi-pitch and was not altogether comfortable with placing gear. The 5.9 fingery traverse was my favorite pitch. The last two pitches involved a fun 5.7-5.8 hand crack with spacy jugs everywhere. I was glad that before the trip I had borrowed a few larger cams, since even so I had to backclean as I went up the crack. My only complaint about this route is that it was cold! When it started to snow and the snow was actually moving vertically upwards, we truly did feel we were in outer space! This is certainly a route I would like to do again!

Second time up Outer Space: October 14, 2007 with Caleb Ng
Brief trip report: I first climbed Outer Space in May 2006, and always wanted to climb it again. So when the forecast called for a sunny mid-October weekend, I headed for a day of climbing on Snow Creek Wall with my friend Caleb. We climbed Outer Space (8am-12:30pm) and then Orbit (1:20pm-4:20pm). The autumn colors were beautiful, there were no crowds, the rock was warm, and the climbing partner was fun. What a great day!

Third time up Outer Space: May 9, 2010 with my sister Jenny
Brief trip report: I'll never tire of this route!

Fourth time up Outer Space: April 27, 2013 with my sister Jenny
Brief trip report: Another fun day on this Washington classic. The climb took a few hours, so we quickly descended and then headed back up Snow Creek Wall via Orbit. Tick count for the day: 19!

  • 5.9, 7 pitches
  • START: Outer Space begins near the end of the main climber’s trail to the base of Snow Creek Wall. Once at the main wall, Look for a shattered chimney system. To the right is a diagonal 4th class ramp. This is the beginning of the route.
  • PITCH 1: 5.4. 4th class up the diagonal ramp system, which becomes low fifth class at it's top. Belay above a scrappy bush.
  • PITCH 2: 5.0. Traverse over easy ledges to 2 tree ledge.
  • PITCH 3: 5.9. Now the real climbing begins. A tricky 5.8 move up cracks at the far left end of 2 tree ledge leads to the 5.9 diagonal crack (the crux). Continue about 3 meters higher to the belay.
  • PITCH 4: 5.8. Run-out chicken heads and slopers, with exposure added leads to a small pillar/pedestal. Climb the right side of this pedestal in a 5.8 crack and belay from the top. There are bolts here I think.
  • PITCH 5: 5.8. A perfect crack leads from the far left side of the belay ledge. It's tricky at the beginning, but gets easier the higher you climb. A 60m rope can make it to a nice belay ledge.
  • PITCH 6: 5.8/9. Climb the 5.8/9 finger crack, which gets wider and easier after a few moves. The rest of the pitch is easy 5.8 and 5.7, but it's long. Stretch the rope as far as you can and belay where the crack ends, or as close to it as you can get. An easier alternative at the beginning is to swing out onto the bulge right of the belay and take a couple more steps right to easier holds that will take you back to the main crack.
  • PITCH 7: ~5.0 You may have to climb a short way up easy stuff to the top out. No pro, but it's only 7 meters or so of low 5th.

ORBIT, Snow Creek Wall, Leavenworth, WA      Trip Report #: 21, 56, 142

Route overlay for Orbit, by Steph Abegg. (Mary Jane Dihedral route also shown.)

Caleb climbing up the tricky thin crack of Pitch 3 of Orbit, Oct 2007. The righthand crack (the one Caleb is climbing) is harder than the lefthand crack. Fun climbing though!

Looking up the airy 4th pitch of Orbit, April 2013. This pitch earns  is often listed as 5.8+ or even 5.9.

Old pin on the 4th pitch.
First time up Orbit: May 14, 2006 with Jason Cullum
Brief trip report: The last time I was climbing on Snow Creek Wall, climbing Outer Space, we had nearly frozen in the cold and it had even snowed on us. This time it was around 75° and sunny, a nice change. Orbit was a bit more sustained in difficulty than its more popular neighbor Outer Space, and an equally fun route (the photo for Outer Space also shows the Orbit route). This time we knew the descent trail, which can be a bit tricky to find at times, so we got down quickly.

Second time up Orbit: October 14, 2007 with Caleb Ng
Brief trip report: I first climbed Orbit in May 2006, and always wanted to climb it again. So when the forecast called for a sunny mid-October weekend, I headed for a day of climbing on Snow Creek Wall with my friend Caleb. We climbed Outer Space (8am-12:30pm) and then Orbit (1:20pm-4:20pm). The autumn colors were beautiful, there were no crowds, the rock was warm, and the climbing partner was fun. What a great day!

Third time up Orbit: April 27, 2013 with my sister Jenny
Brief trip report: After warming up on Outer Space, we headed for Orbit, which makes a great link-up totaling 13 pitches of climbing (the OS+O total for us was 6.5 hours on the wall, an average of 30 min per pitch). Orbit is a stiff and satisfying route for its rating.

  • 5.8, 6 or 7 pitches (depending on how you link them)
  • START: Orbit begins on the left side of Snow Creek Wall. Once you follow the main climber’s trail to the base of the wall, follow a trail to the left traversing under the wall. To find Orbit, we looked for the "S-shaped" tree marking the beginning of the route as well as the prominent Mary Jane Dihedral in line with the start of the route.
  • PITCH 1: 5.6, 180 ft. Scramble up to the large tree with rap slings on it. Move left and enter a 4th class gully. Follow gully up toward the large tree at the top of it.
  • PITCH 2: 5.8, 90 ft. Move up the slabs and cracks directly above the belay ledge. Enter a dihedral which becomes progressively more difficult. Crux move is pulling onto an upper ledge using a stemming/chimneying move to bypass a small "roof". You're now about 30 ft below MJ Dihedral.
  • PITCH 3: 5.8, 150 ft. Climb up to the base of the MJ Dihedral (low 5th) and head up a ramp to the left (low 5th) for 50 ft to the base of the 5.8 finger crack system (c. 30 feet of it). Climb the thin finger cracks (left crack easier, right crack with fixed cam is harder) moving slightly left near the top. Gain a small ledge with a mid-sized bush just above it. This is a fun pitch!
  • PITCH 4: 5.8, 150 ft. Move up and right from belay ledge to gain the low angle slab with a thin finger crack down its center. Climb up the slab (thin cams) past a one good bolt + one "nail". The slab bypasses minor roofs on the right. About 10 ft above the bolt, move right around the arete. Climb up the face on the right side of arete (thin cams). Clip a piton and climb 10 more feet to gain a narrow stance that is to be your belay station. The stance comes equipped with two rusty, old, thin bolts. (I seem to remember that just about 10 ft above this was a much nicer ledge you can belay from if you have enough rope).
  • PITCH 5: 5.8, 100 feet. From belay, climb straight up the easy dihedral (5.6). The dihedral becomes thin (5.8) after about 40 ft. Move right to gain the knobby face. Continue up the face. Pull over an easy "roof" (maybe 5.7) and continue up the chicken head studded face (sparse pro, easy climbing) to gain a large ledge below a large roof. Belay.
  • PITCH 6: 5.6, 200 ft. From belay, move right and up bypassing the large roof on its right side. Climbing goes on easy chicken heads but pro is sparse. Run out the rope generally bearing up and left (follow easiest line). Belay when you're out of rope (should be enough to reach 3rd class ledges up top).
  • PITCH 7: low 5th, 150 ft. More chickenhead climbing on low angle (but exposed) terrain brings you to the sandy summit area of Snow Creek Wall.

ICONOCLAST, Snow Creek Wall, Leavenworth, WA      Trip Report #: 41

Iconoclast route overlay on Snow Creek Wall.
Date/partner: April 28, 2007 with Ross Peritore
Brief trip report: Our search for warmer, drier weather led us to Leavenworth. Ross and I had devised a cool linkup on Snow Creek Wall involving beginning with Remorse, climbing the 5.11a Psychopath pitch to the Iconoclast corner (5.10c), and then traversing from the corner to the last classic handcrack pitch of Outer Space. This turned out to be a great linkup with super fun and mixed climbing on all the pitches. Highly recommended!

  • 5.11a, 6 pitches (for Iconoclast link-up with Psychopath and Outer Space)
  • PITCH 1: 5.9. We began with the first pitch of Remorse (to the left of the standard start of Outer Space); this was a fun airy traverse over to the tree on one-tree ledge.
  • PITCH 2: Psychopath: 5.11a. Stellar thin crack – have to work hard not to be barn-doored off this one!
  • PITCH 3: 5.10c. Iconoclast corner to a ledge, pretty blocky and easy.
  • PITCH 4: 5.11a variation of Iconoclast corner. Pumpy and steep, but great holds and moves to a bolt belay.
  • PITCH 5: 5.10c. Climb up and then do a balancy traverse over to the right at the bolt into a sea of chickenheads and over to Library Ledge.
  • PITCH 6: 5.8. Upper handcrack pitch of Outer Space to the top.

MARY JANE DIHEDRAL, Snow Creek Wall, Leavenworth, WA      Trip Report #: 42

Mary Jane Dihedral route overlay on Snow Creek Wall.
Route: 5.9, 6 pitches
Date/partner: April 29, 2007 with Ross Peritore
Brief trip report: Ross and I had so much fun the previous day on Iconoclast that we decided to return to Snow Creek Wall for another day of multipitch. We decided to try out the Mary Jane Dihedral route to the right of the popular Orbit. This route shares its first pitch and a half with Orbit, then splits off to the right to follow the obvious dihedral for a few pitches, and then ends on the last pitch of Orbit. It was a fun climb, but seemed to be rarely travelled due to the high density of moss and dirt in the dihedral.

HYPERSPACE, Snow Creek Wall, Leavenworth, WA      Trip Report #: 166

Hyperspace route overlay on Snow Creek Wall.

John cruising on the 11a Psycopath finger crack. 

Watch out for the precariously wedged block at the top of the Iconoclast corner!
Date/partner: June 14, 2014 with John Plotz
Brief trip report: Stuffy gymnasium of a graduation ceremony or climb Hyperspace? Easy decision! This the longest, hardest, and, some insist and I probably agree, the best route on the wall. It's a compilation bringing together parts of many different routes. Gear to 4 inches. It took us 5 hours from base to top. Thanks John for taking another lap (what was it, your 12th time up?) on your favorite Snow Creek wall route. 

  • 5.11a, 7 pitches
  • PITCH 1: 5.8 or 5.10+. We scrambled up some 5.0 to the second pitch of Remorse (5.8). An alternative is to climb the first pitch of RPM (5.10+) to the second pitch of Remorse (5.8).
  • PITCH 2: 5.11a. Psychopath. Stellar thin crack.
  • PITCH 3: 5.9. Fun 5.9 climbing and the first bit of Iconoclast corner.
  • PITCH 4: 5.10c. Iconoclast corner. We took a really fun "11a" (not really 11a) variation up the steep and juggy "yellow face".
  • PITCH 5: 5.10c. Rather than doing the Iconclast traverse, move behind the massive flake and climb up a left-facing corner using strenuous double cracks. Watch out for the precariously wedged block near the beginning of this pitch just after the Iconoclast route cuts off right.
  • PITCH 6: 5.10d. The Pressure Chamber. Climb a difficult crack and enter the wild, overhanging, flaring chimney, called the Pressure Pod. Use a combination of off-width technique and crazy stemming.
  • PITCH 7: 5.10a.  Traverse left under a roof, then use a hand crack to climb up and surmount the overhang. 

CONDORPHAMINE ADDICTION, Condor Buttress, Leavenworth, WA (not on Snow Creek Wall)

     Trip Report #: 23

Looking down after one of the "crux" 10b sections of Condorphamine Addiction.
Route: 5.10b, 6 pitches. The route follows a direct line up the 600 foot northeast face of the Condor Buttress in Icicle Canyon. See summitpost page for approach and pitch-by-pitch details.
Date/partner: May 28, 2006 with Jason Cullum
Brief trip report: While climbing Monkey Face in Smith Rock earlier in May, we met someone who was raving about Condorphamine Addiction, an "alpine sport" 10b route in Leavenworth. So we decided to drive 4 hours down to Leavenworth Friday night, wake up early Saturday and climb Condorphamine Addiction, and then climb a few crags in the area in the afternoon, and then drive back home that night. Although Condorphamine Addiction was a fun route, it made me realize that I enjoy gear climbing much more. The entire route was very heavily bolted, and at times I only clipped every other bolt. The two 10b sections of the route were slabby and fun, and not too difficult.