<-- Map of summer 2017
     climbing roadtrip 
     (click to enlarge)
AUG
1
2017

SUPERCAVE Wall Route: Ellen Pea (5.11c, 7p, 900')

Category: Washington      Trip Report #255
Partner: Kevin Piarulli
Rock Type: Granite
Elev: 
~6,978 ft (top of wall)

Excellent rock climbing with an awesome cave mid-route.

Inside the supercave at the top of Pitch 4.


INTRO

Supercave Wall is a steep south-facing wall of granite towering above Highway 20 a few miles east of Washington Pass. The wall gets its name from the large cave in the center of the wall. Supercave Wall has some of the best rock in the North Cascades. One of the most popular (and easiest, at 11c) routes on the wall is called Ellen Pea*, a 900 foot route climbing the right side of the wall and intersecting the supercave feature. This route features consistently awesome climbing on excellent rock.  (*I had wondered where the route name came from, but Kevin pointed out that the first ascentionists were Erik Lawson and Arden Pete in 2009, so the route name is probably a play on their names.)

Kevin Piarulli responded to my partner post on mountainproject, in which I had mentioned that Ellen Pea was one of the climbs I was interested in. He drove 8 hours from Redmond, Oregon and met me at Washington Pass mid-morning on the day of the climb. It was a hottsh day (mid-90s in Mazama and topping 100° in Winthrop), so we had decided to get a somewhat late start (started the first pitch at 1pm), hoping the wall would go into the shade by mid-afternoon (it was completely shaded by 3-4pm). Smoke from forest fires dampened the blazing rays of the sun, so temperatures were pretty pleasant. We also decided to lead on a single rope and use a tag line to haul a small pack with our extra water and food and headlights, due to the harder nature of the climbing and the fact that you need two ropes anyway to rappel the route. This made the sustained sections and cruxes seem much more doable and the hauling on this route was easy. We enjoyed a mid-climb break in the giant supercave, which is a super unique feature (wonder if anyone has ever hauled up overnight gear and bivied up there?). Kevin and I both thought that the climbing and the rock quality on this route was excellent. One of the best routes I've done in Washington.

The following page gives a few photos from the climb. Smoke from forest fires dulled the photography, but didn't dull the fun.

OVERLAY

There are excellent route overlays and route description at https://squamishclimbingsource.com/mm-wall




PHOTOS


Photos:
Photo descriptions:
Approach 
(~45 min) From HWY 20, scramble up the creekbed and walk in from the left on the lowest treed ledge on the wall.
1.    
2.    
3.    
4.    
   
   
 

   
1. The approach gully as seen from HWY 20.
2. Fixed rope about halfway up the approach gully.
3. Nearing the base of the route. The route starts on the ledge with the big tree.
4. 3rd class ledge with big tree. The route starts at the far end of the ledge.
Pitch 
1
5.10a
5.    
6. 
5. Looking up Pitch 1. At 10a, this is a great warm up pitch.
6. Kevin climbing up Pitch 1.

Pitch 
2
5.10d
7.    
8.    
9.    
7. Kevin starting up Pitch 2.
8. The awesome fingercrack corner. The rock is so squeaky clean it is slippery.
9. Looking down the corner.
Pitch 
3
5.11a
10.    
11.      
10. The yellow flakes at the start of Pitch 3.
11. Kevin pulling the burly exit move on Pitch 3.

Pitch 
4
5.11c
12.    
13.    
     
12. Looking up Pitch 4. This pitch contains the 11c crux, but it is well-bolted. Nice lead Kevin.
13. Awesome pockets.


S
U
P
E
R
C
A
V

14.    
15.    
16.    
17.     
14. Inside the giant cave.
15-16. Looking out of the cave.
17. Something lives here....
Pitch 
5
5.11b
18.    
19.    
   
 
18. Pitch 5 is a wild steep exit out of the left side of the cave.
19. Further up on Pitch 5. I felt that this pitch was the hardest pitch on the route. Nice job onsighting this pitch on lead Kevin!
Pitch 
6
5.10c
20.    
20. Looking up the steep face of flakes. 
Pitch 
7
(short optional pitch to top)
5.8
21.    
21. Looking up the final pitch, 15m of 5.8 face climbing to a tree.
Descent 
Rappel route (2 ropes).
22.    
23.    
22. Looking down at the cars far below.
23. Rappelling the route. We were back at the base of the route in an hour, and at the cars not long after that.