Seeking the climbing experience that we all desire…Infinite Bliss
Moving over stone
“I just want to move over a lot of stone” said Mick as we were talking about getting out and climbing together. It seemed reasonable enough, there’s plenty of stone to move over in Washington State, I’m sure we could find a suitable objective. We began talking, a climb was mentioned called infinite bliss on Mt. Garfield. It’s a large route, 2,400 ft. in length. It’s approximately four times the height of the space needle and only 40 miles from downtown Seattle! It’s hard to imagine a face a large as Yosemite’s half dome in our own backyard. Though, it is as large as half dome the climbing style is much different. Half dome being mainly a crack climb, while Mt. Garfield is a face climb. This climb can be a hot topic in the Washington climbing community because it is a bolted climb in the mountains. There are pros and cons to bolting mountains and not bolting them. Today, we’re going to focus on the stories from the route and not stories of the route.
Before I knew it Mick and I, as well as two other KAF Adventures guides we’re at the Bellevue park and ride loading up. We made the obligatory stop at the North Bend Starbucks, then we were on the infamous middle fork road. Music blasting, we had transformed. Once four respectable adults, now, screaming banshee teenagers, singing and yelling to the radio all the way to the trailhead. After catching our breath, we racked, packed and made our way to the base.
The route starts with ten pitches of really fun slab climbing. Mick and I simul-climbed through these pitches and they just blew by! We were able to climb as quickly as our legs would take us. Before we knew it, we had made it to the pitch ten ledge. Mick and I took a break as we waited for the other team to reach us. We basked in the morning sun and started at all the stone that laid ahead
The pitches cranked by, one through ten became a blur and the continuous movement kept my mind churning. Mick was kind enough to mentor me through the systems of moving fast. He never said too much, but kindly mentioned ways to be more efficient. His approach was very supportive and always motivating. It was very enlightening to see how the systems work for moving fast on big routes.
The summit came and went, we took in the views while enjoying the feeling of reaching the bittersweet half way point of the day. Once we were all grouped on the summit, Mick proclaimed “sure was a lot of stone!”. A large laugh and sigh we’re simultaneously released as we prepared for 16 rappels. Mick being no stranger to taking multiple people on big adventures led us off. The mountain zoomed by as pitch by pitch we reversed our route down the face.
As Eric, a fellow KAF guide and I set off on the next set of rappels, we reached the knots at the end of our rope. Our dream of stretching to the next anchor was just that, a dream. We were going to be about eight feet short of our next station. This left us dangling in space as we planned our next move. With a little strategery (a combination of strategy and tom foolery) we fashioned our selves a new rappel station. We told Mick to use another rappel station to get down to us. This way he would avoid having to implement any strategery. Eric and stuck our thumbs out and waited for our ride down the rest of the route.
We all rejoined and finished the route by putting on our mosquito masks. We did battle with apocalyptic swarms of mosquitos the rest of the way down. After reaching our gear we made it back to the car in no time. Touching the hood made our car to car time twelve hours flat, we were stoked! It’s not the fastest time but it was a great time with a great group of folks, not soon to be forgotten!
Big Thanks to Mick Pearson, Andy Stephen and Eric Crosby for a great day out in the mountains!
See you in the hills