The Big Tree
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Pitch 3 of The Big Tree Route, Darrington.
The Big Tree is one of the first routes climbed in Darrington. "Big Tree I" has been revised slightly over the years, and most modern parties do not actually climb to the big tree itself.
The first pitch takes an obvious crack with a zig zag and a move right into a larger crack and then reaches a set of ledges with rappel slings on a medium sized tree. A better belay is perhaps ten feet up and left. From here, pass two bolts and climb a short corner to reach a horizontal traverse left (one pro bolt here). The last move of the second pitch is a downward step to the left. Thence climb upward on flakes and corners, watching for an opportunity to move out right onto a slab that is out of view. If you find yourself eying a grassy seam that may have an old piton sticking out of it, it is time to look right and get onto the bolted slab. The chains at the top of this third pitch are maybe fifty feet below and left of the obvious "Big Tree." A final short pitch would lead to the Big Tree itself, but unless you really want to bear hug this spectacular piece of nature, it is best foregone in favor or a rappel directly from the chains at the top of the third pitch.
Description and Topo: www.mattsea.com/Darr/three.htm
Three O'Clock Rock is home to about thirty routes in addition to The Big Tree. To reach the crag, drive five or six miles up the Clear Creek logging road from the Mountain Loop Highway southeast of Darrington, and take the right (main) fork. In less than another mile, parking is found on the left and a bulletin board and trailhead sign is just off to the right. Hike the Eightmile Creek trail about two miles, at first along an old logging spur and through second growth but eventually entering big timber with some impressive old cedar tress. Just before reacing the crag, the trail exits the trees and crosses an old overgrown talus slope. Straight ahead the trail runs into and skirts the base of the North Buttress of Three O'Clock Rock; for the South Buttress, an unkept climbers trail heads up and left into the maples, part way accross this talus slope and 100 yards before the trail reaches the North Buttress.
To find the route, locate some obvious cracks just left and within 100 feet of the point where the South Buttress access trail reaches the rock.
Gear to 3" and long slings will be handy. The better location for the first belay has no chain or pre-set anchor, but you could belay at the rappel station.
BETA PHOTO: The start of Big Tree One (zig zag crack left of t...
The traverse at the end of pitch 2
Looking up the third pitch of Big Tree One
Climbing Big Tree One pitch four