2006 -


Category: Washington

Rock Type: Diorite 
Summit Elev: ~4,200 ft

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. I've climbed most of the popular routes on the wall, including Outer Space and Orbit (the ultra classics) and Iconoclast and Hyperspace (harder and perhaps the best routes on the wall). 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 ON SNOW CREEK WALL (in order of the first date I climbed them):

CLIMBS NEARBY (not at Snow Creek Wall):

Route: OUTER SPACE  (5.9, 6-7 pitches)  Snow Creek Wall, Leavenworth, WA 
Trip Report #: 20a53a84138a182b214c

Route overlay for Outer Space.

The RPM Roof provides a great direct (but harder, 10b) start to Two-Tree Ledge.

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

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 (!).

The typical welcome party at the top of Snow Creek Wall.
• First time up Outer Space:
Date: May 1, 2006    Partner: 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:
Date: October 14, 2007    Partner: 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:
Date: May 9, 2010    Partner: Jenny Abegg
Brief trip report: I'll never tire of this route!

• Fourth time up Outer Space:
Date: April 27, 2013    Partner: Jenny Abegg
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!

• Fifth time up Outer Space:
Date: May 10, 2015    Partner: John Plotz
Brief trip report: Done as a 2-hour warm-up before climbing Hyperspace. We climbed it in 4 long pitches: Pitch 1: RPM Roof to Two-Tree Ledge; Pitch 2: 5.9 traverse plus some; Pitch 3: Chicken-head studded 5.7 handcrack toLibrary Ledge; Pitch 4: The rest of the crack to the top.

• Sixth time up Outer Space: 
Date: April 9, 2016    Partner: John Plotz
Brief trip report: Done as the third of three routes in a great full day of climbing on Snow Creek Wall: Iconoclast-Mary Jane Dihedral-Outer Space link-up! In order to pass a party that had started up Outer Space about the same time we had started Iconoclast, we linked the final three pitches up the Shield into a stellar 300' continuous push to the top. I think I'll do that again next time!

  • 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. Alternatively, do the first couple of pitches of RPM to Two Tree Ledge, which provides a more direct start; the climbing is superb, but harder (10b).
  • 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 Two 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.
Route: ORBIT (5.8, 4-6 pitches)  Snow Creek Wall, Leavenworth, WA
Trip Report #: 20b53b138b182e

Route overlay for Orbit. (Mary Jane Dihedral route also shown.)

Loren climbing up the twin cracks of Pitch 3 of Orbit, May 2015. Fun climbing, and no gimmie 5.8 either.

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:
Date: May 14, 2006    Partner: 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:
Date: October 14, 2007    Partner: 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: 
Date: April 27, 2013    Partner: Jenny Abegg
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.

• Fourth time up Orbit:
Date: May 16, 2015    Partner: John Plotz, Loren Foss
Brief trip report: After climbing Iconoclast, we decided to run up Orbit. Still, even my fourth time up, the climbing on Orbit never seems as trivial as its grade. It was a great way to end another fun day of climbing on Snow Creek Wall!

  • 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.
Route: ICONOCLAST  (5.11a, 6 pitches)  Snow Creek Wall, Leavenworth, WA       
Trip Report #: 40a182a182d214a

Route overlay for Iconoclast.

Another route overlay for Iconoclast.

Psychopath Pitch variation (11a) on Pitch 2. Hard but so good! (There are a couple more photos of this pitch on the Hyperspace TR on this page.)

John starting up Pitch 4.

Loren climbing the "Yellow Wall" (11a?) section on Pitch 4. Pumpy and Fun!

Loren stepping out onto the Shield on Pitch 5. Wild!

Loren finishing on the "best 5.7 handcrack in WA". Sweet!

Some new Pets en route!
• First time up Iconoclast:
Date: April 28, 2007    Partner: 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!

• Second time up Iconoclast: 
Date: April 19, 2015    Partners: John Plotz, Loren Foss
Brief trip report: Such a great link-up of pitches, would be my favorite route on the wall if it weren't for Hyperspace. John has this route so dialed that Loren and I kicked back to let him do the leading, with Loren and I following on separate ropes but climbing at the same time about 30 feet apart. It was a good opportunity to get some climbing action photos on some of the mid-pitch sections. We finished the day with an encore pitch over the roof on RPM up to 2-Tree Ledge. 

• Third time up Iconoclast: 
Date: May 16, 2015    Partners: John Plotz, Loren Foss
Brief trip report: Less than a month later, John, Loren, and I found ourselves again on Iconoclast. We must like this route. We followed up the route by running up Orbit.

• Fourth time up Iconoclast: 
Date: April 9, 2016    Partner: John Plotz
Brief trip report: Done as the first of three routes in a great full day of climbing on Snow Creek Wall: Iconoclast-Mary Jane Dihedral-Outer Space link-up! I found the Psychopath pitch quite difficult this time up....still working through the early-season kinks I guess. John, however, cruised up without a hitch.

  • 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 barn-door at the crux!
  • 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.
Route: MARY JANE DIHEDRAL (5.9, 5-6 pitches)  Snow Creek Wall, Leavenworth, WA      
Trip Report #40b182f214b

Route overlay for Mary Jane Dihedral.

Route overlay for Orbit. (Mary Jane Dihedral route also shown.)

John on the airy traverse at the beginning of the third pitch.
• First time up Mary Jane Dihedral:
Date: April 29, 2007    Partner: 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.

• Second time up Mary Jane Dihedral:
Date: May 24, 2015    Partner: John Plotz
Brief trip report: John and I had already climbed all the Snow Creek Wall classics this season (Iconoclast, Hyperspace, Outer Space, Orbit, and Iconoclast again), so why not Mary Jane Dihedral too? Still just as dirty as I remember, but the climbing is pretty good and it's a worthwhile adventure. We capped off the day by running up RPM roof.

• Third time up Mary Jane Dihedral: 
Date: April 9, 2016    Partner: John Plotz
Brief trip report: Done as the second of three routes in a great full day of climbing on Snow Creek Wall: Iconoclast-Mary Jane Dihedral-Outer Space link-up! My theory is that if the name of the route fit in with the space theme of Snow Creek Wall, then this route would be another trade classic—the route offers section after section of excellent sustained and adventurous 5.9 climbing; but unfortunately, for lack of traffic, the route has earned its reputation for being quite dirty. I propose renaming the route Deep Space and then just announcing that there is a new route on Snow Creek Wall called Deep Space that is a must-do climb!

There are three independent pitches to MJD apart form Orbit:
  • PITCH 1: Climb straight up from the first pitch of Orbit from the nice flat ledge just after the Orbit chimney. Climb up through growing vegetation over a pumpy little overlap to an uncomfortable hanging belay on two ancient bolts. One an old rusted Beckey bolt, the other a rusted 1/4" p.o.s. This ancient anchor can be backed up with a couple 1" cams in an uninspiring flake above. 
  • PITCH 2: Climb straight up the corner on fun laybacks and loose flakes. Reach a new(ish) bolt out left. Clip this then make tenuous, unprotected slab moves left about 12 feet or so above the bolt to protection opportunities. Head back right. Climb an easier and fun overlap back to the corner to a one bolt anchor that can be backed up and equalized with a #3 and #1 camalot in a solid crack to the right.
  • PITCH 3: Climb straight left of the belay 15 feet of unprotected slab to a new(ish) bolt. Clip this and climb another 10 horizontal feet to a flake and protection opportunities. Climb to near the top of the flake. Climb back right to a large semi-detached flake. Mantel this and climb up to the top of the MJD corner and a small roof. Make excellent, well-protected moves over this roof to fun chickenhead climbing. Run the rope straight up through two more fun but dirty small roofs, about 55 meters to the comfy alcove belay shared with Orbit route.  
Route: HYPERSPACE (5.11a, 7 pitches)  Snow Creek Wall, Leavenworth, WA       
Trip Report #: 164182c

Route overlay for Hyperspace.

John cruising up the 11a Psychopath finger crack. 

Kyle leading the Psychopath pitch, just above the 11a crux.

Watch out for the precariously wedged block at the top of the Iconoclast corner!

Jon just above the 10d Pressure Chamber.

Jon in the 10a corner on the final pitch of Hyperspace.
• First time up Hyperspace: 
Date: June 14, 2014    Partner: 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. 

• Second time up Hyperspace: 
Date: May 10, 2015    Partner: John Plotz
Brief trip report: Even better the second time. We warmed up by climbing Outer Space first, which makes a great full day of climbing. Hyperspace has a way of making you feel like you've climbed something by the end of the day. That Pressure Chamber pitch is phenomenal.

  • PITCH 1: 5.8 or 5.10+. Follow the somewhat tenuous traverse of the second pitch of Remorse. 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" (seemed a bit easier) 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. 

A few more miles up Icicle Creek Road from Snow Creek Wall:

Route: CONDORPHAMINE ADDICTION (5.10b, 675', 7 pitches)
Condor Buttress, Leavenworth, WA (not on Snow Creek Wall)
Trip Report #: 22213

Route overlay for Condorphamine Addiction.

The climbers' path to Condor Buttress is tricky to find. We never did find the trail on the way up, but on the way down we maintained the trail. Here's my beta: Park about 0.25 miles further along the road from Bridge Creek CG; find the trail at the boulder in the photo; after passing the boulder, immediately cut left and follow a path upwards to below Bathtub Dome (I think the confusion here is that some beta suggests cutting left "after Underwear Rock/The Sword"  -- the boulder in the photo might be Underwear Rock but The Sword is further back in the trees); then follow the path under the base up and rightward towards Condor Buttress which you can see above. It is about 1500 feet and 1 hour above the road. The map overview page of Viktor Kramer's Leavenworth Rock (pg 209 of 2010 edition) gives a good idea of the route, including how the trail cuts left just after the big roadside boulder.

Will at a belay. More slabby climbing ahead!

Looking down after the first crux 10b section.

Will on the first 10b section.

View of the Stuart Range from the route.

Beware of ticks early in the spring....our tick count in April 2016 was Me: 26, Will: 27.
Route: This route is unique in that it is a multipitch sport climb. It follows a direct line up the 600+ foot northeast face of the Condor Buttress in Icicle Canyon, offering excellent views of the Stuart Range. See mountainproject page for approach and pitch-by-pitch details.

• First time up Condorphamine Addiction: 
Date: May 28, 2006    Partner: Jason Cullum
Brief trip report: While climbing at Smith Rock in early May, a fellow climber suggested I climb Condorphamine Addiction, a 10b "alpine sport" route in Leavenworth. This sounded intriguing enough to give it a try. So a couple of weeks after Smith Rock, Jason and I drove four hours down to Leavenworth Friday night, woke up early the next day and climbed Condorphamine Addiction, capped off the day with a couple of routes at Castle Rock, and then drove back home that night. We enjoyed the climb—the two 10b sections were slabby and fun and the route was very well-bolted. However, it made me realize that I enjoy gear climbing much more than sport.

• Second time up Condorphamine Addiction: 
Date: April 2, 2016    Partner: Will Surber
Brief trip report: It had been nearly a decade since either Will or I had climbed this route, and both of us had fond memories of it as a good half-day adventure. Plus, the well-bolted nature of the route makes it nice for an early-season climb. The crux of the day was finding the trail to the route (we never did find it until the way down, a tad embarrassing since both of us had been up there before!) We made quick work on the climb, climbing it in 4 pitches by linking Pitches 1-2, 3-4, and 6-7. We also collected some pets along the way: Me: 24 ticks, Will: 25.