style & equipment  
Darrington:  About:  Style & Equipment
Outings here are multipitch, on granite slabs, walls and aprons, generally two to ten pitches in length. The rock is so solid that, while cracks and flakes are commonly used for protection, entire pitches ascend unbroken slab or knobby face where bolt protection is the only option. On most recommended routes there is adequate protection to prevent disasterous falls from the crux moves, but sometimes the leader may see no obvious route ahead and may have to suck it up and go on, hoping to find unseen protection or other sign of the route somewhere above. Long falls are possible and careful judgment is required. While this may be unnerving, the climbing is very rewarding and, beyond just being a great place to climb, Darrington is an excellent training ground for alpine rock routes where slab climbing and rounouts are not uncommon.

Lead racks should include everything from tiny stoppers to large cams and nuts, though active camming devices are generally more secure than nuts when placed under overlaps or behind flakes.  Over the years, pitons and bolts have been upgraded on many routes but they still cannot be completely counted upon and standard precautions should apply (of course).  Up to twelve quick draws may be required on some leads, and long runners are useful for reducing rope drag, tying off bushes, or setting up a retreat.  Two ropes are needed to rappel almost any climb in Darrington, and “walking off” is generally a poor option. 
  Safe Sex, photo by Gary Yngve