Route of the Week: The Footless Traverse

The fine-grained boulders on both sides of Hwy 2 through Leavenworth’s Tumwater Canyon provide some of the best, most concentrated, and most historic problems in the area. From the riverside Swiftwater picnic area a few miles west of town, you can quickly work through a huge variety of problems without spending too much time lugging your pads around on a steep, dusty trail. The classics of this area include Premium Coffee (V7) and Royal Flush (V1/2) but my favorite problem in the area, and an all-time local classic, is the “Footless Traverse” (V4/5). This problem is the farthest west of any of the boulders at Swiftwater, and it is visible for an instant off to the left (non-river side of the road) as one drives toward town from Steven’s pass. It consists of a low right-to-left traverse on flakes and smooth feet, culminating in a powerful overhanging crux sequence, still fairly low to the ground. The problem gets shade for much of the day and benefits from cool breezes off the river, making it a good summer project. The continuous nature of the climbing, and lack of height, make it a good one for folks on a solo-circuit or with only one spotter. It can be done statically, keeping your feet on the rock, but I’ve found that the counter-intuitive best beta does indeed involve cutting loose and going footless.

For more info and photos, visit the MountainProject Footless Traverse page [LINK].