The Curious Cube 

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This one Friday Dave and I are setting out to do The Curious Cube,  the original Static Point route.

up to the spaceport

Dave needs to be home early for an IMA basketball game.  He's the captain.  Shouldn't be a problem. We'll cruise the Cube.  Most of it's 5.7.

We dump our stuff at the base of Online then head out over a couple of solo/exposed moves.  Rope up at the Lost Charms tree.  From here it's one   familiar approach pitch up and right to Spencer's Spaceport.

click to enlarge (269 kb)
p1 above looms the Cube

P1 of the Cube leaves from the next named tree, the Old Milwaukee tree.  There's a fixed pin and a purple tcu in a corner about 40 feet up then out left you go, over the corner and out into the blankness.  I tiptoe back and forth between committing to a no-holds move and retreating to the marginally better dish.  Back and forth.  Back and forth.  It's sorta like that dance you do when you really gotta take a shit.

Probably half-hour, forty five minutes, no lie, I finally go for it.  No hands balance balance to no hands balance balance to a hold.  Ahhhhhhh.  After the blankness it's easy and soon I'm at this shitty belay at one pin in an awkward corner.

The rope on the next pitch draws a big backwards 'C'.  A couple of marginal bolts sketch out a backwards L, then pinching some flaky overlaps back left completes the C.  Dave leads the next pitch to the great relief of my frazzled mind.  Dave's  pitch actually has some good pro but his feet are well above it at the blank-move climax  just below the next belay.

Now I'm doing a pitch I've been on before.  I know the first move which pulls through a small roof to a stance at a bolt. I remove a bail sling from a past foray then contemplate the unknown once more.  It's a steep blank spot with black lichen and some bitty flakey things out right, above the roof .  Since the hard move is right at a bolt it's relatively casual.  Done with that, I wander up a black slab with two bolts over the next 120 feet.  It's pretty heady but I'm able to keep the lid on.

black lichen slab

hawing at the black bolt

 

Now we're under this big roof under another big roof.  Bring tricams for the belay.  I traverse down  below the first roof and find these cool razor-sharp granite cracks and a tiny wafer-thin flake leading up to beneath the other big roof.  A burly move onto a big chickenhead on the vertical bulge and there's this black bolt hiding in the black lichen.  You can see about 1/4 inch of its rusty 1/4 inch shaft exposed beneath its rusty leeper hanger.  Clip it and hope.  Without the bolt,  fall from here'd be a bad slabslapper.  This move feels like the crux of  the climb.  The watch beep reminds me it's getting late and I'm hawing, so I yard on the bolt to a knobby crack.  Load it up with tinypro before heading out again, into the blankness.  Up and right, dishes about 5.9.  Last pro is that garden of tinypro about 30' down. This climb is mind bending.

We get to the top.  The wind is howling.  It's butt cold as I belay at that fabulously curious Cube. It's getting late. We're eight raps up.  There's gonna be one uncaptained IMA team tonight.  The rapells go pretty smoothly and it's not that windy below the summit.  As we rap down Online, back to our packs,the light grows dim.  We pack and head down the 1000 vertical feet of forest with one headlamp between us.   Well, we're about 200 feet down.  Those big Washington forests can get pretty dark inside. Dave's in the lead with the headlamp and he slips.  He lands on  his butt and Poof!  We're in the dark.  Luckily, we get the headlamp working again. After that  I won't give the headlamp back to Dave. That sorta cheezes him off.

I give it back a bit later.

Epilogue: the Cube altered

Pictures by David Yanez

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