My friend Reuben S. and I had been working on this project off and on for three years. We completed the first ascent in August 2007. Polaris ascends the Zodiac wall of the Chief on the opposite side of the North Gully from Angel's Crest. Here are some photos from bottom to top on the FA, enjoy!
Kris Wild following the first pitch, 5.10c. You can see the recently rock-scoured North Gully below. This pitch was originally (still is) Nostromo 5.2, A2, 2p.
Reuben starting the steep second pitch, a 55m marathon. 5.11c (5.11a, A0)
Here's Reuben beginning the fourth pitch. Don't worry, it's only 5.10c (tee-hee)and you don't need anything bigger than a #5 camalot. After that it's bolted.... Sorry to the purists, but there's probably only a handful of people in the country with a rack big enough for this pitch. I've seen the grumbling on several other threads about bolted wide cracks. No b!tching allowed until you've climbed the pitch. where it's wide there are four bolts in about 30m of climbing. That'll keep you honest.
This is how big the crack starts out as at the belay:
And here's how big it is 40m later at the top:
Reuben chillin' out on turtle ledge before pitch five. So named for his uncanny ability to always have to take a crap when he got here...
Reuben staying serious and getting in touch with his inner Ninja after the crux of pitch six, 5.10c. Visualize if you will a no-hands dynamic stem into a corner before you can actually reach the crack. Very ninja. If you don't make ninja sound effects it doesn't count, and your partner is allowed to pull you off.
Here I am following the same pitch. I think this is some of the steepest perfect 5.9 hands in Squamish. (But I'm probably biased...)
The seventh pitch bears a striking resemblance to Astro-logger, but I think it's easier. 5.11b It's one of those frustrating tight corners that you can only get one hand into at a time because your shoulders don't fit.
Pitch eight is is a sport route. 45m of bolted face climbing. 5.11b The roof looks a little daunting from this vantage point!
Here's the business: If you weren't tired already, pitch nine is the crux. Here I am stepping into the crack that begins the pitch. It quickly shrinks from hands to a knifeblade seam, which leaves you bear-hugging an arete as you battle up to the rest below the final roof. The Acrophobes of Angel's crest are visible in the background. 5.12a (5.11a, A0)
The cherry on top, although easier, is the roof just before the belay. That tree I'm standing on has now fallen over, so it's either a tricky boulder problem, or a all points huck to the jug above the lip of the roof.
Here's Reuben following the crux pitch. Taken from the belay above the roof.
Reuben following the last (tenth) pitch. 5.10c
Exhausted celebration as we put our three year project to rest!
We hope you've enjoyed the pics. Here's a copy of the topo for ya' too. Make lots of copies and hand them around!
5.12a (5.11b, A0) 10p
FA Kris Wild, Reuben Shelton, August 6, 2007
Approach: As for Angel’s Crest. 200m up from the entrance to the North Gully. (100m uphill from the “tree start” to Angel’s Crest) It’s on the left and it’s the only corner.
Gear: One set nuts, double set cams up to #2 camalot size, one #3, 4 and 5
P1. Up right facing corner, past ledge (old belay) up the next corner through roof and out right to belay. 5.10b, 50m (This pitch was originally Nostromo, 5.6, A2, John Manuel, Bruce Fairley, 1982.)
P2. Start left of station and climb into the steep open corner, (pulling on the bolt at the top of the corner will drop the grade to 5.11a) then face climbing and cracks to a large ledge. Watch your rope drag! 5.11c, 55m
P3. Out left past flakes and up a widening crack to the base of THE corner. 5.9, 20m
P4. Up! Exit via the chimney and use the right-hand station to belay. 5.10c, 40m
P5. Scramble up the chimney on the right behind the large pillar, then on top of it and across the balanced boulder. Discontinuous cracks and face climbing lead up and left to a belay beside the main corner. 5.10a, 30m
P6. Tune in to your inner ninja for the puzzling crux entering the corner (or pull on the bolt and skip it, you sissy), up the corner to belay at the cedar tree. 5.10c, 30m
P7. Up the corner passing 2 trees. At the roof, head left past 2 bolts to belay on a ledge. 5.11b, 55m
P8. Face climbing up the white wall, out right to belay. (One #3 camalot optional.) 5.11b, 50m
P9. Step right into the crack. Follow it with increasing difficulty until it is possible to clip a bolt and step left to a ledge. (Pulling on a couple of pieces of gear and the bolt make this about 5.11a.) Traverse up right to a perch below the roof, then pull wild moves through the roof and left to the belay. 5.12a, 30m
P10. Up nice cracks to the final belay. 5.10c, 30m
Descent: Either rap the route with 2 ropes or walk up and right the same as for Northern Lights.