Trip ReportUncle Bens V 5.10 C2+; Hammock Bivy Style
After employing siege tactics on Wrist Twister III 5.8 C2+, then bailing of a few other routes, I was once again hungry for uncertainty. Uncle Bens is one of few 'Trade ROutes' here in Squamish, the next logical step for an aspiring wall climber.
Finding a partner for this mission was not easy, in fact I couldn't get anyone to commit to the effort. First I was able to convince Rory to come for the first few pitches of free climbing and to help hump loads, then also manage to recruit Kieran to come hang out.
On the first day of climbing I did a 60m haul up to the 'Escape Flake', and started up first pitch of 'Mercy Me', I offered Kieran the lead and off he went.
The little bit of rain didn't slow him down and he brought Rory and I up to the anchor.
I started up the 2nd pitch but after free climbing the wet holds to the first bolt resorted to hooking, several hook placements and I made it to the second bolt. Intimidated by the wet sloping holds and lack of hook placements I decided to fix back the the 'escape flake'.
After some hammock doobies and relaxing the pitch appeared to have dried out and back up we went.
The pitch went quite easily dry and I was on to the next pitch a 5.10 down and leftward trending undercling, which I C1'd my way across.
Three quarters of the way across we decided Kieran and Rory would be better off learning to follow a traverse in day light, so I back aided to the anchor leaving all my pro in place, and we rappeled back to the beer and hammocks we had stashed on the escape flake.
So I led the 'Golden Throat Charmer' and fixed my lines and cleaned the pitch on rappel and headed down for beers and the comfort of my hammock.
The Next morning Rory informed me he had no desire to continue, so I got him to stick around while I jugged the lines to release the bags and then hauled my kit under the intimidating roof.
At this point, I was too chicken sh#t to commit to a solo, and no idea who would finish the route with me, so I got everything neatly organised and head home to try and recruit a partner.
A week later I had a partner locked down Rupert Davies; strong, experienced and committed.
On the lookers right of the photo above you right trending crack(The Golden Throat Charmer) that leads under the roof, once under the roof the route traverses left and pulls the lip on a bolt.
-Getting ready to pull the roof
-One of the first few hooks on the hooking pitch.
This is still one of the best pitches I've climbed so far!
-A bomber hook a ways from any kind of pro.
Rupert and I got a late start after a morning hike to 3rd peak, so after two short pitches I was tuckered out, Rupert didn't want to lead so we fixed lines back to under the roof to set up our bivy. The set up included the static line fixed to the anchors above the roof, then redirected of the bolt on the lip of the roof (to prevent abrasion) then and butterfly knot with a set of etriers attached which we attached our hammocks; THE HAMMOCK STACK!
-HP photo of the Hammock Stack
-Rupert "The Humble Belayer" Davies relaxing in his first ever hammock bivy!
Our bivy location worked really well since one of our anchor points was out in space we avoided sleeping against the wall. Since we decided to set up early we got camp established with lots of daylight to spare and had the evening to hang out(literally).
-Photo courtesy of Mike at Hurtin' Productions
-Leading the Black Sickle!
The top of the Black Sickle pitch involved an airy pendulum to hooks, then some outstanding freeclimbing way above my pro to the anchors, the climbing was only about 5.7ish but it was F*#KIN' EXCITING!
I also used my duct tape on this pitch to protect the rope from abrading on a sharp edge while Rupert jugged, it worked out great.
The next pitch was the White Sickle, according to the topo this pitch ended at Bird Sh#t Bivy. During the weeks I spent fantasising about this route I convinced myself Bird Sh#t Bivy was a ledge of some sort, with trees and somewhere flat to cook..
As I cruised through the C2+ section I spot some anchors at the end of the corner under the roofed section, I notice the sh#t smears and realise that Bird Sh#t Bivy is nothing more then 3 awfully spaced bolts in a north facing alcove and bunch of bird crap; Not very appealing.
I didn't feel like climbing any more as I had already jugged two pitches, led 3 pitches AND hauled 4 pitches, so I made the decision that we would sleep at the base of the White Sickle. So I fixed all 3 ropes to the Bird Sh#t bolts and made my way half way down the white sickle and built a gear anchor out of the lead line and redirected the tag line and the haul line and rappel down off the natural anchor back to our evenings bivy site!
-Andy Cairns Photo
Our second wall bivy wasn't quite as comfy as the first, but this one was way more airy and the view was killer. Rupert and the lookers right side of our hammocks was anchored to the bolted station, while me and the left side of our hammocks was suspended from a hand placed anchor, then, with a generous amount of slack backed up to a bolted anchor.
-Roop Lounging at camp III
-Andy Cairns Photo
-Half way in my bivy sac while I enjoy a malty bevy.
The next morning we got right to it, I packed my stuff away and started jugging, and set up at Bird Sh#t Bivy for my second last haul, Rupert released the bag and cleaned the gear out of the White Sickle.
The Next pitch was completely horizontal, C2 with 5.10 moves, and started out with a manky old sling on a piton snapping under half my body weight.
Rupert Snapped this nice photo of me working my way out the traverse;
Once my haul system was set up, Rupert did his final lower out; the bag and all the junk tethered to it went for a nice pendulum across the rock face. We still had two more pitch to the dance platform but this station was in-line with the rap route so we left the bag here.
Another pitch of 5.10 climbing on bad rock brought me to the first mandatory natural anchor and the base of the 4" flaring roof.
I didnt have any 4" pro and we all know desperate times call for desperate measures so I had free climb around the corner until I could get inside the thing with a heinous heel toe jam that just kept slipping out of the flare while I desperately tried to find the right piece of gear to stick in... I manage to cram a cam in there and avoided an uncomfortable looking fall. Then Finished the pitch with an excessive amount of rope drag.
After a little jig on the 'dance platform' we rappelled the route and that was that.
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