Who's Out There? Doing What?
Moses Lake Coulee Climbing
Trip date: 09/16/2006
Reported by: Roland Lamarche
September 16th started out bright and sunny for our trip to climb the Coulee’s around Moses Lake. We decided to explore a site developed by Rick Labelle, and featured in his book “Rock Climbs of Central Washington.”
Mark Stambaugh, Matt Ellis, and I left early to make the most of our day. We traveled to Moses Lake and 10 miles south to Goose Lake in about 2 hours. The directions, printed in the book, were exact. Mark Stambaugh and Matt Ellis at the Hall of Frustrations Crag
We arrived at the Hall of Frustrations Crag as the sun hit the Wall. My face lit up, as I scanned over 50 traditional routes on the ¼ mile long wall. We paused long enough to add water to our packs, and pose for a quick photo. We anxiously hit the trail, keeping eyes down, aware that there were rattlers in the area. (Fortunately we found none) In less than 20 minutes, we were at the base of the climbs.
Mark is one of the Directors of the Lead Climbing School for this year and Matt is one of the students. Although we were anxious to start climbing, we spent time explaining to Matt how to safely and efficiently place protection and how to construct reliable protection systems. We spent another segment on multi-pitch anchors.
Matt needed to pass a competency exam prior to completing his first Traditional lead. He demonstrated excellent skills in placing pro and in explaining why each piece was directionally placed. (He passed.) Mark and I were impressed - observing Matt’s first trad lead. He seemed comfortable on lead--most likely the result of confidence gained by taking and passing the Lead Climbing Class.
We spent the rest of our afternoon, swapping leads and stories. We did find several old pitons still in place from past decades. We had this whole wall to ourselves, all day. Since there are few bolts in this entire area, we practiced building traditional top anchors as well. Mark even showed us how to rappel off of sagebrush!
This area will offer great climbing into late fall, and warms up early in the spring. We anticipate a return trip soon.