Chris has been wanting to learn how to lead climb for awhile now so he finally took a class. (Climbing your rope up the top of the rock.) The class was in Vantage Washington about 2 1/2 hours away from us. Chris learned to lead climb and had a blast. He really loved this spot in particular and knew it would be a great spot for us to go as family.
Since you need someone to belay you while you lead climb, Chris needed to teach me. We decided that we would head out and go to Vantage as family. It sounded like a really cool place and Ryan loves rock climbing so I was excited to go! We left just after we woke and made the two hour drive. I love drives so it was great!
We made it to the Crag we would be climbing “The Feathers” and Chris found a super easy climb for us called “Forty Bucks in the Dark” It was on the far right side of the The Feathers and all in the shade. The belay area was not far from the car and it was flat enough and big enough for the kids to hang out without us worrying about them. We set up some chairs for them and they were all set. Chris gave me a quick lesson on how to belay him while he was lead climbing. (It almost feels the opposite of belaying someone on top rope. Instead of pulling the rope tight for the climber you give them slack as they climb up.) All in all it was pretty easy and the climb Chris was doing was super easy. (I wanna say it was a 5.0, so perfect for me to belay him on lead for the first time!) After Chris climbed up and set up an anchor for us to top rope off of I was able to climb and it was super easy, even for me…which is what I LOVE!
A few weeks ago we bought me some rock climbing shoes. Rock climbing shoes are supposed to fit tight so I got them tight. When I first used them climbing I realized they were way too tight so we took them back to REI. (REI has a great return policy!) When we were at REI returning my shoes we saw that they were having their “Garage sale” (where they sell their returned items at a huge discount…about 80% off.) We figured since we were there we should look around. Lucky for me I found a pair of rock climbing shoes that fit perfectly! We felt a little bad returning shoes and buying the way cheaper pair, but its what REI does. I was so excited to have to not spend so much on my rock climbing shoes! Anyway climbing at Vantage was the first time I was able to wear these new shoes climbing and they were great!
The 5.0 was a way super easy climb even for me and the views were great! I knew then that this was going to be my new favorite place to rock climb. Ryan ran up the rock like Spiderman and Lillian even climbed her best here as well! Ryan was doing so good that Chris let Ryan mock lead climb. Ryan was still hooked into the top rope, but he also brought quick draws up with him and would clip extra rope into the wall as well. He did a great job and had a blast doing it. Lillian even tried that as well and had fun with that. The kids even practiced “belaying” each other and thought it was so funny!
We climbed on the route just to the route of the first climb we did and we had fun with that one as well. There was a bit of a ledge on it that made it more challenging than the first, but it was still a super easy climb. (not sure what it was named or rated.) We then moved to a different spot and there was a 5.4 named “Mandatory Suicide” that Chris wanted us to try. He climbed up that one no problem and then it was my turn. That 5.4 was too hard for me. Mostly my hands were so tired!!! I definitely am not a great climber and my finger/arm strength has a long way to go, but it was still fun. (I do feel like that one was rated harder than a 5.4…I did a 5.5 in Canada no problem and this one was way harder than that one. Maybe the Canadian one was rated too easy…) Ryan had no trouble with it and ran right up. Lillian mostly had fun swinging on this one!
After that climb we packed up and we headed into the town of Ellensburg for some lunch. This town was so cute and fun to drive through. We stopped and ate at the Yellow Church Cafe and it was amazing! I’m not sure if it was extra good after climbing all day, or if it was just that good, but we loved it. Since the kids were great all day we stopped at Dairy Queen for some ice cream as well.
This has been my favorite place to climb! The drive was great, the food was great, and the climbing was great. We did the easiest climbs there, but there are harder climbs as well. (5.10+) I am excited to go back!
I was searching to see if my web page about climbing McBrides rock in New Jersey had been indexed by Google yet and ran across your web page. I liked it.
The page I have is at http://donsnotes.com/mcbridesrockclimbing
I don’t know if we are related, but my McBride genealogy is at:
My 40 year son, Tom, is an accomplished climber who has climbed half dome at Yosemite, so McBrides rock was a piece of cake.
I just moved back to California after 45 years in New Jersey.