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About Us > Adventures > Kangaroo Temple

Kangaroo Temple 8/24/02

Six of us headed out from the cars at the hairpin turn near Washington Pass to make our way through the valley to climb Kangaroo Temple. It’s a climb I’d wanted to do since 1999 when friends first told us about the dramatic exposure and airy rappels, and I’d heard it described as one of the more challenging of the Mountaineers’ “basic climbs.” David Simpson lead the climb, Doug was assistant leader, and I was the third rope leader; our scheduled Basic students were Susan Sayers, Adrian Schwausch and John Rollins, though at the last minute Jeff replaced John. There was only one other party ahead of us, and they were headed for an intermediate route.

The day started out clear and gorgeous, and we made it up to the notch in about two hours, where we took a short clothing break and checked out the valley on the other side. Getting to the base of the climb took another 75 minutes or so, and required skirting below and just right of several steep slabs. We picked our way up the scree slope after donning helmets, and then scrambled up to the first belay station. Doug led out with Jeff following him; I followed with Susan, and Dave led the third team with Adrian. The first pitch has several possible climbing routes; you can go right up the rappel route, or, as we did, head slightly left around a large boulder and up. We recommend taking 60m ropes, as going left, Doug’s 50m didn’t quite reach the first belay station. The second pitch is absurdly short, yet it has its own challenge: a bulging rock to traverse with a foot ledge below it that makes you feel the exposure more than there really is. And the start of the third pitch is a wonderful blind step-around move that is a little unnerving but fairly straight forward, and the low crack near your feet is a great place to put a stopper once you’ve made it around the corner. The only challenging portion for some was the crux crack on the far side of the traverse that requires a high handhold on the left. KT has wonderful sound rock, and we each placed maybe 2 or 3 pieces per pitch. One of the unique features of the KT basic climb compared with the other Mountaineers Basic climbs is the need to build your own anchors, as the first and second belay stations don’t have trustworthy trees or natural horns to loop like many of the other climbs.

We all reached the end of the third pitch successfully and scrambled up to the top for pictures, views, and lunch, and noted the clouds coming in from everywhere. There was another twosome heading up behind us, and several Outward Bound groups to the north near the Wallaby climbing area, and just after we completed the second long rappel, Mother Nature chimed in with thunder. Good timing! I called up to the skies, “Is that all you’ve got?!!” and was rewarded with rain not too long after that. It had been months since we’d had any rain in western Washington, so it actually felt nice to have some rain, especially since we’d already finished the technical portion requiring dry rock. We beat a hasty retreat and made our way back through the scree and brush to reach the cars before 5 p.m. For Susan, it was her graduation climb, and for everyone, it was a pleasant day in the mountains, topped off by a visit to Clark’s Cabins, fondly referred to some as the “bunny place”, since there are always so many bunnies hopping around outside their restaurant. KT was worth the wait, and a great one to include in anyone’s repertoire of easy alpine rock climbs.

Following are pictures in order taken.

View of S. and N. Early Winter Spires from hairpin turn, at sunrise

Liberty Bell massif at sunrise

Susan and Adrian heading up trail to the notch

First belay station on Kangaroo Temple

Doug offers belay advice to Susan and Jeff

Go Doug Go! leading first pitch, toward left rather than up rap route

David and Susan at first belay station

Wallaby, to north

Where do I go now? Court leads around the airy corner

Susan makes her way around the airy corner of pitch 3

Whew, that wasn't TOO bad

Made it! Now if I can just get past this ledge

Look ma, I did it! David leads out as Susan finishes the ledge

Doug at summit of Kangaroo Temple

Lunch break below the summit

Court and Doug at the summit of Kangaroo Temple

Court stares off toward the south

Court poses on the summit block

Outward Bound groups on other outcrops to the north, near Wallaby

Jeff and Susan wait for their chance at the first rappel


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