Weekend of Obscurity

Platypus (5.5) and "Lichen Every Minute of It" (5.10a)

After changing our mind a few times about what we were going to climb (Index, Squamish, Kangaroo Temple, then our final plan), on Monday Sept 29, 2003, Jeremy Holleman and I (Ania) climbed Platypus, and top-roped a 5.10a.

You may ask: what and where is Platypus? An excellent question! It's a big rock just south of Kangaroo Temple (which is very near Washington Pass), described in Beckey's book in just a few lines as having a 3.5 pitch 5.7. It goes up the "lefthand chimney". That's about all Beckey has to say about it. Not even a picture.

Anyway, up we went. We're pretty sure it's the same route as in the Beckey book -- there's nothing else on the rock resembling a 5.7. And the only other chimney-like thing on Platypus is the gulley between it and Kangaroo Rock, which looked 4th class at the bottom; then didn't appear to lead to any easy way to the top of Platypus. We simul-climbed the whole thing and didn't find anything harder than 5.5 along the way. I lead the first 100m or so, and Jeremy lead the last 75m. The most difficult moves were on lichen. The pro was alright, predominantly trees and bushes, a few cams both small and large. A pleasant climb and we didn't see a soul. You can see the beginning of the route in the photo below; the rest of the route is obvious. :)

We rapelled off the SE face of Platypus. We saw no rap slings at the top nor anywhere else along the way, so we're guessing no one's climbed the thing for ages. There was no walkdown other than the way we came.

We still had some day left and were feeling pretty mellow. There's a lot of good rock in the area so we decided to explore and either lead something easy or top-rope. There's a big hump in the gulley usually used to approach the NW face of Kangaroo Temple -- right under the red dots in the photo below. On the side facing KT -- the side you can't see in the photo -- is our route.

We walked to the top, set a trad anchor, lowered down, and belayed from the top. It turned out convenient to have the belayer NOT in the path of the extra holds the climber cleaned off the route. It's a nice climb. I don't see why anyone else would have come out there to top rope, so until told otherwise, I'll amuse myself by believing that we have a first ascent on this route. It's about 5.10a and we named it "Lichen Every Minute of It". (Jeremy got the first ascent -- grumble.)

The larches turning yellow, and looking back towards the road on the hike out:

© Anna Mitros
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