Wet Scramble at Mt. Erie
I couldn't take it. The rain was all around me, and it was my Monday off with absolutely nothing to do. After scouring throgh weather sites I found a small 4hr window south of Anacortes that looked like the sun would come up. I packed up my gear, and headed out to get my scramble on!
I decided to use the opportunity to explore the south face of Mt. Erie. It's a popular rock climbing location that has a huge honeycomb of marked and unmarked trails skirting almost the entire southern face of the mountain. I've been here a couple timings climbing before, but really didn't have a good enough appreciation for just how many small walls and climbing sections there are.
With my guidebook called "Rockin' on the Rock - A Guide to Mt. Erie Climbing" in my pack, as well as a digital copy in the Rakkup (amazing GPS integration btw) I started off from the base of the mountain by the lake. Being able to lay my current GPS location over the trail map in the Rakkup app was both awesome and yet sometimes very frustrating. Lets just say the trails are very "approximate", and with a lot of tree cover you have to be very patient with getting lost for short sections. See, the trails out here aren't well traveled and wide like a lot of trails. They're goat trails at best, and often gain and drop elevation very quickly making it VERY easy to get lost. Since it was a bit of an exploration day I really didn't mind. I had a list of walls I wanted to check out, and as long as I eventually got there I really didn't care how I did. This actually made the day kinda fun. I did a lot of off trail scrambling, and even played on some class 3 and class 4 sections being very cautious of the wet rock, algae, and moss.
I took notes on which walls looked great for climbing with kids, some for experience and technique, and others for just plain awesomeness. I eventually reached the summit parking lot, and worked my way back down what I thought was another trail stopping for a minute to admire the sun poking through the clouds and the two bald eagles soaring overhead. I was wrong on where the trail was, got cliffed out 3 or 4 times, and eventually just gave in and started bushwacking in the general direction of where I thought the trail would be. I really believe there's a lot of value in doing stuff like this. While I most certainly couldn't find the trail at that moment I wouldn't say I was lost. I wasn't in any danger, but I forced myself to put away the GPS, grab my compass, and work on some triangulation. It was fun being lost!
Eventually I met up with the trail, and bombed my way back to the car checking out a couple more routes on the way. I ended up with 4.37mi and a couple thousand feet of gain. Not too shabby considering about 3/4 of that was scrambling. Overall it was a great trip for a 4hr window of no-rain!