Rock Climbing: Vantage, Washington

Last weekend, I went climbing in Vantage, Washington with Women Climbers Northwest. I haven’t been climbing since I graduated from Oregon State (that was two years ago! I can’t believe it!) so I definitely am not in “climbing shape”: weak fingers, feet not used to being shoved into climbing shoes. It was really fun to get outside on a gloriously beautiful weekend and enjoy the sunshine.

I drove over after work on Friday, driving out of the rain into the sun, stopping in Spokane to buy necessities for the weekend: lunches, breakfast, and a bottle of wine (Firesteed pinot noir!). By the time I got to Moses Lake I was quite hungry—I wasn’t really sure what I was in the mood for but the options were somewhat limited. Just as I considered heading back into the city center for some Subway (which I’ve had plenty of on EMT class nights) I found Woody’s. I was a bit turned off by the idea of $6-8 burgers at a hole in the wall but I was hungry and a shake sounded good. The burger, a bleu cheese burger, was worth every penny of its $6.75. The shake? Softserve based and not so amazing…

After eating my burger and shake over looking the odd pothole that is Moses Lake, I drove the last thirty miles or so to the climbing area. I’d actually driven right past the access road last year when I tasted wine at Cave B cellars on my way home from R2R. It was one of those awesome drives where you immediately drop down out of plain old desert into something fantastic.

It took me a few minutes to locate the pink flamingo marking our camping spot. No one was there (those who arrived early were out climbing), so I took a walk down the road. I wish that I would have known about the mesa top trail but even walking down the asphalt felt good—being in the sun was such a pleasant change!

When I returned to the campsite, others began trickling in and the others returned from climbing. After all the introductions and camp setting up, we gathered around the campfire. I cozied up in my bed in the Cherokee, feeling quite at home.

In the morning, I was roused by light streaming into the Cherokee, crawled out, ate a bagel, assembled another couple for lunch, and gathered my climbing gear. I was totally nervous. I wasn’t sure how this was going to go. I wasn’t really sure how hard core the other girls were…

As it turned out it, it was fun. I didn’t keep track of exactly what routes we climbed (Laurel would know exactly what they were)  but I had a lot of fun. Funny how I enjoyed some of the harder routes we started with than the easier ones we finished with—a combination of being fresh and being able to use my height to my advantage I guess.

Me, climbing. (Photo Courtesy Laurel Fan)

Mid afternoon, Allison and I (the novice climbers) were quite tired so we headed back to the campsite. After simply relaxing in the sun, we decided to head down to the river for a bit. It was so nice for me to simply sit around and talk. Back at camp, we all settled in around the fire for the evening. The wine tasted good after the long day and the conversation was awesome. I fell into bed, tired and happy.

On Sunday, we climbed a few more routes (I was definitely sore and residually tired). After I couldn’t climb anymore, I headed back the the car and decided to go on a Beth winery adventure. I wasn’t quite sure where to go so I headed for Cave B (known location about 6 miles north) to get a locate on another winery or two. Cave B was really busy so I skipped tasting there but identified another few wineries further north.

I decided not to take main highways (as is my general mode of operation) and I’d driven miles down a dirt road only to find a sign that read “End of County Road.” I was afraid I’d reached a dead end. Instead, I’d stumbled upon Quincy’s Ancient Lakes. Apparently these lakes were formed by flood waters from glacial Lake Missoula and are tucked up on a bluff above the Columbia. The road passed along side the lakes and I popped out on Highway 28 just like I wanted to.

I tried to visit White Heron Cellars but they were apparently “out on the property” and attempts to reach them via their radio were unsuccessful. After this, I headed back to Quincy and stopped at Jones of Washington (review available here). Tired, sore, and happy, I headed home.

5 Replies to “Rock Climbing: Vantage, Washington”

  1. I miss these kinds of adventures. When I first moved to Utah I was in a gang of girls (not THAT kind of gang, just the kind that always hung out and always had the best time. I’m still in the gang, we just have kids now and it is more complicated) that went on camping adventures almost every weekend. We’d see something on a map and go. Little planning, lots of joy.

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