Route of the Week: U3

By Blake Herrington, 21 October 2013

  • DATE

    21 October 2013


    Blake Herrington


    Rock Climbing

U3 might be the area’s best intro to Trout Creek’s steep columns and unusual style of routes. The climb can be stemmed, chimneyed, or straight-in jammed, and easiest ascent of the route will probably involve all three of those techniques. It’s a great route for learning just how much to trust the friction between columns, and dialing in the feel of a perfect hand jam or finger lock as you chimney up with your feet and back holding you in place. Since there are always two cracks at your disposal, U3 does not require having a huge number of the same-sized cam, but if you continuously alternate gear placements between the two splitters, it does require a half-dozen slings, something that would go unused on most lines up the wall. If you find yourself cruising this vertical 5.9, your options for quality harder routes are numerous in either direction. If U3 gives you a run for your money, the far left (north) end of the wall is comprised of lower-angle slab columns, where a few 5.8 routes let you work on crack skills while letting you stay on your feet.

For more beta, check out’s page for U3 [LINK].

Go-To Gear For Climbing At Trout Creek:

Men’s Vagabond Pants [LINK]

Women’s Vagabond Pants [LINK]

Men’s Echo Tee [LINK]

Women’s Echo Hoody [LINK]

Men’s Transcendent Hoody [LINK]

Women’s Acetylene Jacket [LINK]

Blake Herrington

Leavenworth, WA

Blake Herrington learned to climb as a teenager while working for a small bakery in North Cascades National Park. His first trips into the mountains instilled in him a familiarity with untraveled alpine choss and a love for remote peaks. Now in his mid-20s, Blake has lived in Denver and Bellingham, before recently settling into the mountain town of Leavenworth, Wash. He has established over two-dozen new alpine routes or first free ascents from Alaska, to Colorado to Argentina.

Blake is also a widely-published author, having contributed articles to Alpinist, Climbing and Rock & Ice. He has climbed sport and traditional pitches up to 5.13a, but considers diverse alpine routes the most engaging and inspiring sub-set of climbing. Despite savoring the alpine cooking of many climbing partners, he counts himself among the best camp chefs he’s had the opportunity to climb with.

Rock Climbing