Trip ReportThe Grand Wall 13a (11a A0) lite Squamish
I posted this to my thread back in May when we did the deed, but I thought it might stoke a few road trip fires.
Ever since I started climbing with my ex-girlfriend in 2001 I've wanted to climb this classic. Some may view my progression as slow, and yes maybe by some peoples standards it was, but considering where I was when I started I'm pretty happy to be where i'm at today. Plus I'm still alive which is always a bonus.
So when Luke said he was going to go up there this weekend, and Nathan was bugging me to go do something it was a no brainer.
I picked up Nathan promptly at 7 and actually beat Luke to the parking lot for the first time in my life. I was STOKED! We racked up slowly and Luke arrived and jumped out of the car ready, and him and Aislinn ran ahead.
On the way down I had informed Nathan that I had lost my water bottle yesterday and I was bringing my camera so we would need to bring a backpack. He agreed and never said a word about it, even though he hates backpacks.
We got everything together and took off running (in flip flops) through the boulders and up the trail to the Escape Flake and across to the belay at the base of Merci Me.
There was a party ahead of us of course and Luke and Aislinn too so we waited for awhile to get on the first pitch.
Nathan on Merci Me 5.9
Crappy cell phone photo as I was freezing in my t-shirt at the belay.
Nathan's theory was that I should lead the 10b traverse pitch so I could "rest up" for the Pillar. It actually worked out pretty well, I found the pitch awkward again but got up it clean and ran up the bolt ladder to find not very much room for me at the belay.
I found a spot on the left side of the tree and made it my anchor. I am sure it is affecting the Split Pillar but it seems more likely that other forces will be the real cause if it's demise. It makes a darn fine anchor and would be an excellent vantage point for photos.
With four people allready at the belay, Nathan chose to stand on the lowest tree branch.
After awhile Luke headed up, The Split Pillar 10b
Aislinn watches him closely.
He made it with a rest at the wide part and Aislinn struggled up it. It was a good effort and she was heard to say "This is HARD!"
Before the climb I had told Nate about my intmidation factor on the pillar as a result of my previous history with it. He told me that every time I clipped a cam and climbed by it, he would yell "Like a Boss!"
We let her get to the rest before I started up. I got into the groove real quick and with Nathan encouraging me I was running up the thing jamming and tossing cams in every ten feet or fifteen feet, "Like a Boss!" and when I got to the wide part at the top, I twisted my right hand into a insecure jam instead of taking advantage of my arm and simply thought about placing a cam for one moment too long. It must have been a good 30 footer because I passed at least three cams if not four and had a beautiful soft catch.
Unfortunatly Nathan did not fare so well on the catching end when he got sucked into the anchor and his thumb was sucked into his atc. It was a minor scratch though and he got off lucky.
After a bit of a break I placed another cam and ran up to the rest. Luke convinced me that I should layback the outside this time, so I did and I found it alot easier than chimneying behind it.
Nathan chose to go for the chimney method on his clean second because he said it was more secure.
Nathan in the slot behind the top of the Pillar.
Crappy cell phone photo
Nathan and Aislinn at the top of the Split Pillar.
We waited for a bit on top of the pillar for the party ahead and Aislinn remarked that she was rather cold. I reminded her that I was stupid enough to wear a t-shirt up here and she had a fleece and base layer on so if she could kindly be quiet it would be much appreciated.
Luke pulls the mantle on The Sword of Damocles 11a
Luke gets his stem on
There was a party behind us on the Pillar, they caught up fast!
Nathan had to resort to aiding the mantle on the sword but, made it to the top of the handle before suffering a little set back right before the chains.
He was short of draws on the bolt ladder and ended up running it out
pretty hard to the anchor. I had a bit of a stinker with the slopey mantle and probably yelled take a few too many times.
Perry's Lieback 11a was my pitch, so no pictures and we had lost Luke and Ais by that time anyways. I could do the moves and linked the first couple bolts but ended up pulling out the pocket aider at the crux.
The party behind us was a nice guy named Tom and his girlfriend. They were very patient with us, although they were alot quicker.
Here is Tom topping out on the flats above Perry's Lieback.
We got to talking and he said he was from the rockies but he used to live here. Somehow Hamish's name came up and he said that he used to mountain bike with him.
The flats went pretty smooth but by the time I got up to sail flake I was done. I relinquished the lead to Nathan and he soon discovered he was pretty pooped too. He aided his way across the undercling and clambered his way out of there up the flake.
When it was my turn I tried to free the moves but ended up taking a couple times, then took the last traverse piece out and promptly fell into mid air. Hanging there, and not wanting to lower, I got my prussic cords out and aided the rope back to the last piece. I got up the flake and with that it was all over but the walking.
Nathan led bellygood and stopped to graciously offer me a belay at the narrow part. When we got to the end I took this photo.
Unfortunatly it's closed above the Sword at the moment, Falcon closures should be lifted around July 31. The Pillar and The Sword are worth the trip up there though, bring a tag line to rappel.
Recent Trip Reports