Peshastin Pinnacles State Park is located near Leavenworth, WA. We spent one of our days in this area doing some rock climbing here. We had seen the sandstone slabs on our way in to Leavenworth and thought it would be worth checking out. There are numerous rock formations. We decided to do a route called the Martian Diagonal on the Martian Slab formation. Although a local guidebook called this a 5.6, K thinks the this route may be a bit underrated. It’s interesting how some 5.7s elsewhere have seemed so much easier (not to mention that after climbing 5.9s, and 5.10s/5.11s in K’s case, in the gym we realized that climbing outside is always tougher), but then there’s probably some wiggle room in these ratings. It could also have been that the slabs are in full on sun, and we could tell that was very draining on us after awhile.
This is a three pitch route. After the initial slope the climb begins almost directly upward until you gain the diagonal. Gear placement was a bit tricky and K had to get creative and try several notches and cracks at times. Slab climbs often seem to be that way. Before we started climbing, we noticed chipmunks scurrying along some portions of the diagonal, and while climbing, we could at times hear them scolding us for being in their terrain. It made us especially wary of placing our hands in any spots we couldn’t see into.
I thought the crux of this multi-pitch climb came just below the first belay station, but K was there to cheer me on, which makes a difference. The second pitch is shorter than the first, but took us up to the shoulder of the Martian Slab. The belay station at the top of this pitch was heaven sent – a cave, in the shade! From there, the third pitch tops out the ridge, then continues over a somewhat airy traverse, and then a short downclimb to the rappel anchors. Since the hillside rises along the length of the Martian Slab, the rappel was relatively short compared to the height we had gained from the start of the route.
We enjoyed this climb; it challenged us, and we had great views while doing it but we sure were glad to get down and out of the sun! We’ve decided slab climbing isn’t our favorite, and the quality of the rock was somewhat iffy in places, but it was still a good day. If you’re in the area this is a fun climbing site but be sure to also check out Icicle and Tumwater Canyons.