Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Well, I'm a married man now. Shelby and I got married about 4 weeks ago where else but on the top of a mountain in South Carolina. The mountains are where we have had some of our best times together as a couple. So as was probably expected, we chose a place in the mountains for our honeymoon - Leavenworth, WA. Shelby spent a summer as a raft guide nearby Leavenworth so she knew a little about the place. Bavarian town with lots of sausage and beer, surrounded by beautiful mountains with all kinds of outdoors things to do. It regularly ranks in the top 10 for Cutest Tourist Towns and Coolest Outdoor Towns, so what's not to like?

The trip started out with a delicious biscuit sandwich and the purchase of an entire king salmon at Pike's Place Market in Seattle. You can imagine that we ate well this week.

We rented a cabin 20 minutes from Leavenworth. The cabin had everything we could want for a honeymoon week, including antlers.

Our first day in Leavenworth we pretended to be tourists and checked out the nutcracker and lederhosen selection. Shelby had to restrain me so that I wouldn't buy the $200 pair of lederhosen.

The next day, the weather was a bit dreary again, so we went for a casual hike in Icicle Canyon and stumbled upon a beautiful crack climb that Shelby lead a few years ago.

We had much better weather on Wednesday, so we decided to go for a short hike till it warmed up a bit and then go on a climb. The adventure for the day would be the 3 pitch Midway route up Castle Rock in Tumwater Canyon. It was a really cool climb that got you up high above the canyon with some fun climbing. The first pitch went up a steep corner chimney that was super fun and pretty tough to the top of a pinnacle that is detached from the main wall. You get to start the second pitch by stepping across the void onto the main wall, which made for a pretty exciting move. The next pitch went up a crack system then had a fun traverse over to the next crack system. And the final pitch went up more easy cracks then to some easy runout slab to the picturesque summit. The weather was perfect, the climbing was fun and we just had a really great time climbing together and then enjoying a celebration beer afterwards on Logger's Ledge. One of the highlights of the honeymoon for both of us.

 Castle Rock from across the river

Shelby climbing the first pitch 

 Summit selfie

The view
The next day started out with a riveting game of golf on the putting course in Leavenworth. This isn't your typical mini-golf course. It was made entirely of real grass without any of the crazy loop-de-loop nonsense. Just a game of golf with nothing but the putting greens. It was quite fun, but Shelby beat me soundly.

Shelby got an eagle on this hole and subsequently whooped me

Once it warmed up a bit that afternoon we headed to Icicle Canyon again for another multipitch rock climb. This time we'd be climbing a route called R&D up Icicle Buttress and this time the wind decided to harass us the whole day. The climb started with 2 pitches of forgettable slab climbing on licheny rock before the climbing started getting interesting. At this point I knew I didn't want this climb to last forever because of the wind, so I climbed a full rope length pitch up a blocky step, along an easy slab, to the base of a chimney. The anchor here was at a very small ledge in the middle of a relatively steep face, so it wasn't super comfy. Next up was a very short pitch to the top of the chimney, which was pretty fun and easy and I found a nice spot to set up an anchor that was out of the wind finally. Enjoying being out of the wind, but ready to finish the climb I didn't wait long before heading up the next pitch. It had a short but beautiful hand crack that had no face holds, so it was 100% jamming in the crack which was pretty new to me and a lot of fun! The final pitch had an easy traversing undercling crack which led to easy slabs to the top. The descent was pretty annoying because we opted to walk down the back side, which was very loose and steep. We were pretty tired by the time we were done, but overall the climb was still pretty fun thanks to the top few pitches. After the tough climb we treated ourselves to a beer at Icicle Ridge, which was quite satisfying. 

Licheny slab climbing

 A cozy belay at the top of the slabs

Smiles less authentic than yesterday, but still having fun despite the wind

On our last day in Leavenworth we decided to live high class. So, we got massages, which of course was very nice and we went to a "wine tasting" at one of the local wineries (there are a lot of them). I didn't learn much about wine there, but I did learn that I'm pretty content with cheap wine, which is convenient.

And that concludes the honeymoon activities. Now we're back to normal life again, enjoying our new home in Lakewood and enjoying figuring out marriage together.