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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It seemed to work out pretty good for him & soon he spun around & bopped up to the anchor.
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.
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.
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!!
Said Chief on another thread:
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.
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!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!