Trip Report
Borderline/Angel's Crest/High Plains Drifter- 15p. Another Squamish classic. (TR)
Sunday August 11, 2013 4:57am
Borderline climbs up the smooth grey wall left of the badge until the ...
Borderline climbs up the smooth grey wall left of the badge until the major tree ledge where you join angel's crest. High plains lurks up & right in the shadows.
Credit: RyanD

So I haven't climbed much over the past 3 weeks. Just resting and doing a lot of work, both at work & at home which is nice in it's own way- or so i've been led to believe. It's given me a lot of time to think about climbing & life & whatnot. It's been an unprecedented summer around here with so much great weather & climbing going on! I was just reflecting on the last route i did on the Chief about 3 weeks ago so i thought i'd share it with you as it is one of the funnest i've done.




Kieran & i had a chance to do one of what i think is one of the coolest, most varied long routes in Squamish. It combines three different routes, all in fine situations on the north walls of the Chief. I had been on the route a few years ago & had an excellent time but took some flails and hangs & really wanted to come back & do it in a better style. As well we had skipped the first 5.11 crux pitch on borderline like a bunch of weenies last time & took the 5.8 up to the terrace. I was stoked to give the route a shot in it's entirety.



The day started auspiciously enough with some good sunshine, Brownie sauntered down from his compound & showed up at my place around 930 or so. With optimism of a shady route as well as being a tuesday encouraged a casual pace for us to finally get going. Once we got on the move we took the 5min drive to the trailhead & made pretty good time up to the wall & were probably climbing around 1030-45.

i think.

Borderline P1
Borderline P1
Credit: RyanD

Borderline starts with some delicate 5.10 moves & good climbing up a fun corner. A nice varied pitch. Brownie tapdanced his way up this pretty quick & set up a sweet tree/gear anchor right next to the chains that were tucked away outside the corner system. lol.

Borderline P2
Borderline P2
Credit: RyanD


Next up was the 11c crux which climbs a pretty, steepening corner to a roof with cool moves & some small Squamish tufas (roots, trees, etc.) to yard on. Some tricky moves getting up to the first bolt that i tried to figure out for awhile ended up in me having to hang on a red c3 which was a bit of a bummer but i had no idea what to do?? I got back on the rock & found a neat high step bouldery move to stand on the arete & clip the bolt.


Borderline P2
Borderline P2
Credit: RyanD

A reachy move up into some burly underclings lead out past another shiny one to a bit of a blind reach, i ended up punching it a little too hard and greasing off the wrong hold here as well! When i got back on i found a cool sequence with some undercling hand matching & managed to reach statically to the proper holds. After this i thought it would be over but then you end up on a kind of slopey hold with sh#t feet, luckily i found a sneaky foot out right & was able to rock up. A really good, harder than it looks pitch! Kieran did well on it but had similar issues in the 2 places i did.


Borderline P3
Borderline P3
Credit: RyanD

After this Kieran took us up one of the funnest pitches of the day, the excellent 10d bolted face traverse into the pretty 10d finger crack. It is on this pitch that you get the feeling of being way above the forest & enjoy the views.

Me seconding Borderline P3. Please note Squamish Tufa in foreground.
Me seconding Borderline P3. Please note Squamish Tufa in foreground.
Credit: Brownie


Brownie styled it of course & luckily for me there wasn't too much gear to clean so i was able to join him at the belay swiftly.

Brownie on P3 of Borderline just jammin away!
Brownie on P3 of Borderline just jammin away!
Credit: RyanD




I took us thru the neat 10a groove with a little roof on top which is fun. Brownie did some of the strangest beta and managed to surmount the roof ass first.

Brownie ass first on P4 of Borderline
Brownie ass first on P4 of Borderline
Credit: RyanD




It seemed to work out pretty good for him & soon he spun around & bopped up to the anchor.


Pretty fun!
Pretty fun!
Credit: RyanD


Above is the weird bolted, OW chimney thing face climb not but sometimes pitch.




So last time i remember staying out of the OW & climbing on the face & it felt tricky but was done with way quicker than humping up the slot. I wasn't sure what brownie would do but had a feeling he would find his way up inside the maw. I tried not to say too much.

the wyde pitch on borderline P5
the wyde pitch on borderline P5
Credit: RyanD

After taking a minute to strategize he laybacked his way up in there and grinded his way up, almost ripping the poor stump out above the OW with a mantel dyno, this tufa will fall off the wall soon i have a feeling. A really good onsight by Kieran, this thing is so strange!

Being a true gentleman he skipped the gear belay & linked it with the 10d slab pitch above. There was a bunch of rope out & i guess brownie took a fall & caught the rope? or something cuz i didn't even notice until he yelled down & said he was climbing again.



Somehow my strategy to not go inside as Brownie had gotten foiled as i couldn't find the holds to pull out onto the face after the initial layback?? Instead i ended up putting my leg in & proceeded to hump my way up, since i hadn't planned on going inside I didn't move my shoes or water bottle to the outside of my harness. Duh. Obviously the cap blew off my water & it ran down my leg abunch, as well the toes of my running shoes got rammed up my butt, lol. Rookie move.


After the slab I met Brownie at the ledge where borderline ends, grabbed the sharp end & ran the rope out for any easy pitch to join Angels crest & up thru the woods where i set up under the 5.9 corner, Brownie showed up & took off up the pitch again running the rope thru the woods and up the hill, I scurried up again not having to deal with much gear cleaning & enjoying the free ride.


Credit: RyanD

I returned the favour & whipped up the next little 5.9 flake thingy beside that big dirty OW with the cool finger locks & funky groove above. We met up in the woods below the acrophobes where i coiled the rope & tied in short. We ripped up to the top of the first tower where Brownie rapped off of my weight, when he hit the ground he untied & i threaded the rings & had him lower me down. He untied again & pulled the rope, grabbing the sharp end he took off again & 30m later i was chasing him. We linked 2 or 3 easy pitches here by simulclimbing & eventually met up on the beautiful ledge 13 pitches up @ the base of high plains drifters first pitch, a beautiful 10+/11- 35 M splitter handcrack, such a cool place!!


Credit: RyanD






Said Chief on another thread:


one of the finest hand cracks in the known universe



High plains drifter
High plains drifter
Credit: RyanD



And he is right!!



So the thing about high plains for most weenies is that it is the crux of the day & being 30m of perfect hands you will want 5-7 blues or golds. The rest of the climb requires 1 gold so it's a lot to carry for just the one pitch. Luckily geniusism had kicked in, Brownie had taken a friend up Angel's crest the day previously & before he left i suggested he stash our quiver of Blues & Golds somewhere up there before it traverses over to high plains. No extra cams to carry until the last 2 pitches?!!? Excellent!




So Kieran stepped up & gazed up towards the crack that leaned ever so slightly towards him, he grabbed the stash of blueygolds from me & once he was fully strapped he clambered up the initial flake in full lazer jam mode. He was looking a little shaky but that changed after about 15 feet when he got to the top of the flake & started to get his groove on. Once at the base of the splitter Kieran started doing the front crawl up it for 25M or so to it's end where the crack jogs a wee bit & gets a little thinner.

FAROUK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
FAROUK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Credit: RyanD


Karate chop Jamming like a hero most of the way, he found some wide stem where the size changes & was able to get it back enough to make the few final pulls to the chains for a proud onsight of probably the nicest handcrack in all the land!! He told me after that he had swam across the lake at murrin the day before a few times & when he started jamming up high plains it felt the same, as if he was swimming thru water. What an awesome nutbar this guy is! So cool to see someone just going for it like Kieran is always doing!!


Me seconding P1 of high plains.
Me seconding P1 of high plains.
Credit: Brownie

I jammed my swollen feet up to the end of the hands & tried to fart around & get into the brownie stem. It was a little wide for me so i took my jams out and stabbed my foot onto a rugosite, it crumbled & i punted since i took my hands out of the crack like a dummy! I jumped back on and just jammed my way past the BS & showed up to a grinning Brownie @ the chains.


High plains P2
High plains P2
Credit: RyanD


The final pitch loomed above, the crux of the day possibly. It climbs up a steeper than it looks layback to a no hands rest in a stem before a traverse into a flare that offers good handy fist jamming for a second. A few more pulls & the crack starts to arc parallel to an arete that looms up & right that you must find a way to acquire. I placed a bomber yellow alien & cranked up to a good finger lock, i placed my foot up on a little black edge & started to rock up. Pop! The foot blew & i was off for a decent ride! i screamed & Brownie laughed & it was just a great big surprise party.


I went back up & did a few tricky moves & placed a few cams & hung. I was feeling pretty pooped from the day & probably the unsuspected 20 footer, but needed to figure out the way to the arete. I took another fall trying to go straight out left on the crack & a few hangs before realizing i needed to use the crack as an undercling! i Flipped the left hand & stood up making a big reach to a full span decently crappy sidepull. I tried to swap feet & fell again because the body tension required was really difficult to hold & way off balance. I tried a few more times & took a few more whips & was getting kind of vexed. I realized that i was only 5 or 6M from the belay, then just one 5.0 pitch to the top. Time to figure it out, this felt way hard so i knew i was blowing it somehow & needed to go up there with an open mind.


More high plains P2, look at that heel hook. Silly boulder-ers.
More high plains P2, look at that heel hook. Silly boulder-ers.
Credit: RyanD


I got back on & gripped the undercling & reached out right, instead of grabbing the sidepull tho i reached a little further to the right to investigate the options. Lo & behold, there had been a nice pad & a half incut there the whole time, duh!

I swapped my feet with ease, matched, & did the awesome move out to the arete where you get to rock over & get the feeling of the entire height of the chief looking up your skirt.

Enjoying the airtime
Enjoying the airtime
Credit: RyanD

I belayed Brownie up from the awesome stance & he fought like a champion, eventually succumbing to the overhanging pumpy moves & takin a few hangs. We had a fist bump & yahoo at the belay & saw some dudes over on Polaris which looked awesome.



Brownie scurried up the 5.0 & set up a belay on a little tree right next to the station again lol & When i met him there we drank some water & got stoned before enjoying the view for a bit. We topped out around 730 so it was a pretty big day after all & even though we didn't totally send we were really stoked about our efficiency with both climbing, seconding & setup/teardown of belays as we averaged about 30min/ guidebook pitch. A super fun day & a very cool link up with great positions the entire time & some really fun varied climbing. Hands, corners, fingers, face, & slab. This route has it all & you get to do what i think is one of the funnest parts on Angel's crest- the acrophobes.

The killer belay stance on top of the 2nd pitch of high plains
The killer belay stance on top of the 2nd pitch of high plains
Credit: RyanD


A big thanks to Chief & Ghost for putting up these gems BITD. Maybe Hamie or Glenn had something to do with Angel's crest as well?


I'd love to hear a little more about the FA's or stories of these routes from their early days if you boys or girls happen to catch this one & feel like sharing. Or anyone else that knows anything for that matter.


This route could use a little more traffic & is a great summer option as it stays pretty cool all day, we were in the sun for a minute while on easy terrain on Angel's crest. I would say it is of greater quality overall than Millenium Falcon/sunset strip or Milk road at a comparable difficulty & not as scary as the gauntlet but much longer than all of those. As good as the grand i will actually state in a bold fashion.


Thanks all, Have a good day!

  Trip Report Views: 2,146
RyanD
About the Author
RyanD is a climber from Squamish.

Comments
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MH2

climber
  Aug 11, 2013 - 10:43am PT
A high-value linkup. If you get stories from Borderline, Angel's Crest, and High Plains Drifter, you may be able to write a book.

"I'll have a beer. And a bottle."
~Clint Eastwood in the movie
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
  Aug 11, 2013 - 11:45am PT
Stories later if anyone wants them. We're off to the hills.

But damn! I sure wish I'd tried HPD back when I was still climbing well enough to have had a chance of doing it. Looks amazing!
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
  Aug 11, 2013 - 11:52am PT
Just a GORGEOUS area and TR!
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
  Aug 11, 2013 - 12:04pm PT
Wonderful place and great photography + irresistible title/route name - High Plains Drifter being one of my favourite westerns.
harryhotdog

Social climber
north vancouver, B.C.
  Aug 11, 2013 - 12:25pm PT
Exciting report and action shots. When you read about the falls in print it sounds so casual but in reality they certainly add a bit of adrenaline to the day don't they. Good job!
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
  Aug 11, 2013 - 12:56pm PT
Nice work buddy!! Thanks for this! Damn that looks fun!! Hopefully next summer i'll be up for it!!
Chief

climber
The NW edge of The Hudson Bay
  Aug 11, 2013 - 01:10pm PT
Ryan and Kieran,

Nice work!
The High Plains Drifter hand crack still stands as one of my most cherished FA's.
A light brush on the first rap in and send!
Must thrash myself into shape for the proud link up.

PB
MH2

climber
  Aug 11, 2013 - 07:45pm PT
A light brush on the first rap. We aren't going to get a book out of that. If Ghost tells us about Borderline it will more than make up, though.

Here is a small personal story.



I agreed to go with a friend who wanted to do High Plains Drifter. Here is the info we had:







Once up there we saw signs that our info might be out of date. Fortunately.







Among other talents and interests too numerous to list, my friend is a mathematician. After the climb I think his internet address/username became Hyperplanes Drifter.







His hands the day after the climb.




harryhotdog

Social climber
north vancouver, B.C.
  Aug 12, 2013 - 01:15am PT
Those are Slovenian hands, I can tell by the delicate skin.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
  Aug 12, 2013 - 01:23am PT
I'd love to hear a little more about the FA's or stories of these routes from their early days if you boys or girls happen to catch this one & feel like sharing. Or anyone else that knows anything for that matter.

Not really a story, more a request for a story (as in: "anyone else that knows anything...): When we were working on what became Borderline we were living all over the continent. I was in Vancouver, Susan was in Seattle, and Eric was in some kind of suburban hell just outside Atlanta. Which meant I was up there scrubbing and working by myself a fair bit. Including pretty much the entirety of the fourth pitch.

It wasn't that dirty, and I was making good progress, but when I got to the little roof I found a nest of gear. Hexes, set up as a rap anchor. No idea who had been there, or why. The only thing I can think of is that someone had rapped down from the Angels Crest to scope things out, left some nuts as an anchor, and never returned.

The slings were pretty faded, and the placements were kind of mossed over, so it had been a while. But since it was hexes, not pins, it had to have been sometime after the mid-to-late 70s.

There was no evidence anywhere else on the entire route that anyone had been there. We were putting in over 100 hours per pitch to clean, and would have noticed any sign of passage.

But someone had dropped down through at some point, and I'd love to hear about it.

And for what it's worth, we left the hexes untouched. A shrine. Or something.
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Author's Reply  Aug 12, 2013 - 01:28am PT
Thanks for reading & commenting everyone. I like your mini tr Andy!


Perry, thanks.- I was really hoping you & ghost would chime in.

Perry, Did you originally scope high plains from angels crest & just walk over & rap in? Or hiked up with it in mind. I'm guessing P2 was looking dirty or uninteresting looking at the time so u let it be? Take the low hanging friit & run, you must have been laughing the whole way up that thing.

Good eye man, you should cherish that one!

Have u done the second pitch?



Ghost, I'd love to hear more about borderline! Was it one quick rap like Perry did or what? Im guessing you guys spent a bit of time up there. It's such a varied route, combining with Angels crest & High plains makes it one of the most complete routes in Squam IMO. Killer views & position, great rock. Every type of granite climbing we got: steep face, fingers, slab, corners, hands, OW even! A bit of ridgey stuff & hiking on angels crest rounds out the adventure. Great efforts & vision by you guys.

When I compare this route we did to the other 5.10/11 multipitch in Squam it stands out a lot. The line moves all over the wall in a somewhat indirect but aesthetic fashion giving you many perspectives of the chief & the mighty surroundings we are so fortunate to have here. Just mega.


I really can't wait to go back!

:-)

Relic

Social climber
Weenie
  Aug 12, 2013 - 01:35am PT
FAROUK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Author's Reply  Aug 12, 2013 - 01:35am PT
Haha thanks David,we posted at the same time. That's interesting stuff. Did you guys explore via angels crest or did you guys approach from the bottom?
Impaler

Social climber
Oakland
  Aug 12, 2013 - 01:19pm PT
Good stuff Ryan! The last 2 meters of HPD is definitely the crux of the day. Way harder than the trickery on Borderline! Great job!
this just in

climber
north fork
  Aug 13, 2013 - 11:53am PT
High plains drifter looks amazing. Awesome tr Ryan.
MH2, that looks like some painful hands, probably wasn't crack climbing for a couple weeks.
caughtinside

Social climber
Oakland, CA
  Aug 13, 2013 - 01:38pm PT
nice, thanks for the pics. High Plains Drifter might have been the best two pitches I did last year.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
  Aug 13, 2013 - 02:33pm PT
Did you guys explore via angels crest or did you guys approach from the bottom?

It was ground up.

Not in the way the Supertopo Morals & Ethics Committee uses the term, but we did start at the bottom. Sort of. At least on the upper pitches.

The experience that Perry had on HPD is a once-in-a-lifetime thing at Squamish. Our experience was the usual backbreaking, get-filthy, vertical landscaping.

First approach was via the old double fixed lines on Philistine Groove, then a bit of mud aiding up the ramp to the top of what is now the belay at the top of p. 2. From there we cleaned downward. Took us a year of weekends to get the first two pitches into climbable condition.

After that, we worked upwards on what we expected to be the next pitch, until just about the time we had it finished and realized that there was a cool-looking crack hanging up there to the left. So (if I remember correctly) we tension-diagonal-rappeled over to where that crack started, aided up the crack to set a station, and then down-cleaned what is now p. 3 in the hope that the traverse over to the crack would be doable. From that point on, it was all upward again. Aid a pitch, clean it, climb it, and repeat.

Plenty more stories if anyone wants them, but for now I should give a mention to that third pitch that turned out to be a false start. It is a terrific pitch that probably doesn't get done much. If at all. It's technically easier than the 11c pitch (p. 2), we could all TR it without falling, but none of us had the courage to lead it. So we brought in our friend Robert Cobb (a gifted climber from the Seattle area that no one ever heard of) to do the job for us. Which he did. So we called it "Hired Gun."

The apparent crux is pulling the roof, above which the angle eases. But it turned out that the roof was only 10c/d, while the lower-angle crack above was pretty much continuous 11- all the way to the belay. No stopper moves, but no rests, and protectable only with fiddly little wires. Robert was climbing solid 12 back then, and was able to keep his sh#t together well enough to get the gear in. We were at the outer limit of our abilities at mid-11, and just didn't have what it took to head off into what we knew was coming above the roof.

But someone should get up there, give it a dusting-off, and climb it. And check out the possibility of a continuation.
MH2

climber
  Aug 13, 2013 - 11:13pm PT
But someone should get up there, give it a dusting-off, and climb it. And check out the possibility of a continuation.

Your should is our maybe. Yesterday we met Eric H. and Caroline(sp?). One of us quizzed Eric about that pitch and the possibility of a continuation. Eric had helpful information - an anchor up above that pitch somewhere. When asked about stories, he said, well, the less said the better. He also said something that surprised me: that Borderline was the first of the new wave of cleaning long routes at Squamish. I realized that it probably was before Ultimate Everything, which I had thought was the start of that. Eric said that the new Diggers have notably advanced the cleaning methodology. One amusing example was the lack of much need for advance notice/tape/perimeter control during trundling on Borderline.


edit:

Right you are, Harry.
cultureshock

Trad climber
Mountain View
  Aug 14, 2013 - 12:55pm PT
Ryan,

Rad TR. Wish I could have spent more time in Squamish. Great to meet you.

Thanks for the belays and the beta.

I'm gonna try to plan a much longer trip next summer!

 Luke
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Dec 6, 2013 - 12:29pm PT
I missed this one?! What the hell?
Amy Ness

climber
ND
  Dec 10, 2013 - 03:54pm PT
What an awesome nutbar this guy is!

Awesome guys...I climbed just a few pitches with Kieran in Pine Creek this summer, and I was thinking the same thing:)
cant wait to get up there this summer!
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Author's Reply  Dec 10, 2013 - 05:31pm PT
Thanks Amy, if u guys need any beta for your trip feel free to reach out. Cheers!


Edit- survival ur slipping!
Relic

Social climber
Weenie
  Dec 11, 2013 - 05:19pm PT
Kieran is a nut bar. What kind of grown man boulders in his stripped long undwear? He must be on acid.
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