Trip Report
University Wall C2
Tuesday May 29, 2012 11:39pm
So last week, Luke (thekidcormier) invited me to join him and his buddy Dave for a weekend ascent of U Wall. I was stoked to have the opportunity, as aiding has always scared me, and it would be a chance to see if it was as gnarly as I thought.
I ended up getting Friday off from work, so in the morning I ran over to MEC to pick up a hammock and some other gear. My plan was to get up to Squamish late morning or early afternoon and help Luke hike our gear to the base. I packed everything I thought I'd need (and more) and bussed up to the highway to try and get a ride.
After fifteen minutes or so (I've been getting lucky with my rides this year) a pickup pulled over and I hopped in. The guy who picked me up looked fairly young, but said he used to do a lot of climbing around twenty years ago so he must not have been that young. He asked what my plans were for the weekend, and I told him that I was going aiding on U Wall for the first time with some friends. He asked if we were going to portaledge it, but none of us had one, so I just said hammocks. He was like, hey, I got an old double wide you can borrow if you want.

He then drove me to his place on the other side of Squamish, showed me his little climbing gym in his garage (it was sick) and gave me the ledge, as well as offered me any other gear he thought we might need. Then he drove me all the way back to the Chief parking lot to meet Luke.
Turns out his name is Damien Kelly, and he was a fairly prolific climber a few years back. Put up a lot of aid routes with Perry Beckham, including an A5+ on the North Walls that Marc-Andre is working on freeing. To Damien if he's reading this, thanks a lot! I owe you a case of beer!

So I met Luke in the parking lot. He hadn't noticed the message I sent him regarding the portaledge, so he was super stoked to see that. We hiked the majority of our gear in to the base of our route in two trips. For those of you who don't know, it's an uphill 2nd, 3rd, and then 4th class scramble to where we were leaving our stuff. That was a trek and a half for sure.

After we got everything packed in, it was time for some climbing. We soloed up Rambles (5.8) into Banana Peel (5.7) then climbed up and back down Boomstick Crack (5.6-7). I wanted to go take a look at Karen's Math, a .10a climb that connects Calculus crack to Memorial Ledge. Luke waited for me up top while I went down and checked out the first couple moves, then a couple more, and before I knew it I was almost at the top. When I reached Memorial Ledge, Luke was waiting for me with his shoes on. He said if I climb Karen's, then obviously I have to climb Memorial Crack too, and he wasn't going to let me do it on my own, so then we both climbed up Memorial at (5.9)

After climbing back down Boomstick and mucking around a bit on the Apron descent, we went into town to pick up our beer and groceries for the two days ahead. While we were making dinner, Aislinn - Luke's better half saw a BASE jumper go off the Squaw, so we ran out and tried to catch a glimpse before calling it a night.

The next morning, I was woken up nice and early from a quite solid sleep by Luke - MORNING MOTHERF*#KER! We got picked up by Dave and booked it out to the base of U Wall. We actually began two pitches before our route started proper, hoping we might be able to free climb some of it, but the first slabby pitch was a little runout. Luke had to resort to jugging partway up a manky old fixed line, while I had to aid my way through the dirty second pitch.

*Pictures were taken by everyone from Luke's camera, so disregard photo credits*

Dave jugging to the first belay
Dave jugging to the first belay
Credit: TheSoloClimber

Dave wanted the first aid pitch of U Wall, so Luke belayed and I chilled out at the station.
Credit: TheSoloClimber

Dave on the first pitch
Dave on the first pitch
Credit: TheSoloClimber

Dave working the ridiculously overhanging first pitch
Dave working the ridiculously overhanging first pitch
Credit: TheSoloClimber

Dave had originally intended to link the Shadow into the first pitch, but was short on gear and tired by the time he got to the belay, so he fixed our lines and we got set to haul.

Pigs in Space: Me hauling/riding the bag up.
Pigs in Space: Me hauling/riding the bag up.
Credit: TheSoloClimber

Luke took the Shadow pitch.

Marc asks, "shouldn't we be stemming?"
Marc asks, "shouldn't we be stemming?"
Credit: TheSoloClimber

He made it up there fairly quickly, Dave cleaned the route, and I went for another mid air jug up the rope. I started my lead before Dave got to the belay, so didn't have all the gear, but I made do. The pictures that Mike has posted of us so far show us on this pitch. Aiding wasn't as scary as I originally though, in fact it ended up being kind of relaxing until two hours later when the pitch isn't even done yet. I got the lines fixed just as it got dark, the boys jugged up and we set up for the night.

Our plan was to set up the ledge off the belay, then bat hang the two hammocks off the ledge. It took a little figuring and finagling to get everything set up, but eventually it was all said and done. We shared some pasta from the night before which was tasty as hell, and had a beer before trying to settle down for the night.
It was at this point that I leaned over with my phone to try and snap a shot of the guys below me. I'm not too sure how it happened, but the instant I took the picture, one of the buckles holding a critical corner of the ledge broke, causing the outside corner that I was leaning on to drop. Luke swears that I farted and that caused the ledge to rip apart, but they both dropped a little, and I was almost pitched headfirst over the edge.
Luckily I was able to macgyver it back to almost level after they unweighted their hammocks, but it still had a downward tilt at either end so I ended up sleeping with my head towards the ground the rest of the night.

When I asked Luke what we would do if the rest of the ledge collapsed, his reply verbatim was, "then we all go for a little ride, woohoo get some!"
I was just like, dude, you're f*#ked. Then he was like, naw man I'm just kidding, I'd be scared as sh#t.

Dave in his hammock
Dave in his hammock
Credit: TheSoloClimber

In the morning, Luke woke up and got right to it. He solo aided the next pitch while we took everything apart and packed it up. He aided the thing faster by himself than either of us could do while on belay.

Dave and I jugging up the pitch that Luke did on his own
Dave and I jugging up the pitch that Luke did on his own
Credit: TheSoloClimber

The next pitch was technically the second pitch of the Shadow. Apparently it goes at only .11+ but gear is quite thin on it. Dave made it up a little ways before taking a fall almost back to the belay. He went for another burn and made it a little further before relenquishing the lead to Luke.

Shadow, second pitch
Shadow, second pitch
Credit: TheSoloClimber

Luke made short work of it, using a hand placed peckerhead to get past the thin part. My lead was next, and the majority of it was on a bunch of manky pins. It went a bit quicker, but I still took my time on it.

Almost at the end
Almost at the end
Credit: TheSoloClimber

Dave took advantage of my slow progress and caught a quick nap.

Sleeping
Sleeping
Credit: TheSoloClimber

Some free climbers caught up with us just as Luke was finishing up the final pitch. They started the climb at 1130 that morning...... it was amazing the speed at which they climbed it. We let them go up before we started to jug, and they cleaned our gear to save us some time.

We took probably close to two hours to finish off and sort the gear and everything. Then it was just the matter of getting everything over Bellygood. Luke set up the first line down to the Sail Flake, and I went to set up the second line over the thin part of Bellygood.

I led across it using my grigri, then tension the line using one of my handled ascenders. We tried to just fix the bags to the line to send them across, but due to the dynamic properties of our ropes, the pig sank down to the same level as the ledge, right at the thin part.
In what was the scariest moment of the entire climb for me, I attached my leash to the same rope, walked back across the ledge FACING OUTWARDS and knelt down right in the middle in order to tie the end of our rope to the bag.

The rest of the walk off was fairly uneventful, except for when one of the bags burst open right near the end and Luke's new camera went for a tumble. Somehow, the camera case burst open about 100 feet down, the camera landed on a soft ledge, and the case kept going. Dave was able to rap down, rescue the camera, and brought it up without a scratch.

Aislinn hiked up to meet us and take some of the weight off for the hike down. We then retired to the Brewpub for some real food and a much needed beer.

The end, although Luke will probably chime in with whatever I may have forgot.

  Trip Report Views: 2,634
TheSoloClimber
About the Author
TheSoloClimber is a trad climber from Vancouver.

Comments
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MH2

climber
  May 30, 2012 - 12:01am PT
Well done. Good to see and hear about.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
  May 30, 2012 - 12:05am PT
hey there say, soloclimber...

neat share! thanks.... say, glad the camera made it through this...
(glad you did NOT try to catch it either :O as, that kind of move, can kill folks :O whewwww, the learned 'childhood' instinct needs to be STOPPED in those cases)...


say, the pictures showed fast here, too... usually i can't see them 'til i have time to come back later, :)


thanks again...
:)
Wayno

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
  May 30, 2012 - 12:09am PT
Loved it!(ala Living Color)
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  May 30, 2012 - 12:16am PT
Really nice report. Thank you for sharing.
gf

climber
  May 30, 2012 - 12:32am PT
Nice story and a great side bar on damien to boot
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
  May 30, 2012 - 12:33am PT
TFPUAC!

Dave made it up a little ways before taking a fall almost back to the belay.

Yeah, I did that there too, proving that it is possible to fall off A1.
Capt.

climber
some eastside hovel
  May 30, 2012 - 01:09am PT
Nice! Good work. Sounds like you had a blast and came back with some good tales.
RyanD

climber
Squamish
  May 30, 2012 - 03:32am PT
Yes! Henkel sighting! Soloclimber, great little write up & pics! Thanks for sharing! I'm surprised with the low # of near epics with danger Dave on the crew for his first wall! PS- maybe it was just the way i read it but next time please just set up a pulley with your jumar & grigri on the anchors at belly good instead of putting yourself in a position that makes the readers scared for your existence, or put a tag line on the pig to pull it over. Yikes! Onsight solo of Karens math would be exciting too! Nice work boys.


edit- i just read again & maybe now that i'm home drinking a beer that doesn't seem so bad with the leash on the rope on the bellygood. Would just really suck balls if you came off when doing weird things with the pig. Again, awesome report.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Canada
  May 30, 2012 - 02:31am PT
It's great to read about all the fun you guys are having. There is some BIG fun waiting for you all in Yosemite. The Chief does keep on giving the skills to make anyone's first trip there super good.

Thanks for the TR !
thekidcormier

Gym climber
squamish, b.c.
  May 30, 2012 - 01:02pm PT
Well done on the TR Nate, as well as the the climbing, rope management, and hauling. What an awesome adventure; I'm stoked we scoped it, now we just need to get 'Way Honed', then we can free it!



You need to add Mikes Pics of you leading the 3rd pitch of the dihedral. (your first aid lead ever)

Anders; the 5th and final dihedral pitch is actually graded C2 not A1; although the length of the fall was due to a generous amount of slack in the system as Nate and I were joking around and eatting left over pasta(Four Cheese Fettuccine Pesto Alfredo).

After Daves knuckles grinded their way back to the belay Nate and I tamed the shenangens down a little and paid a bit closer attention.

Super sorry Damien; but that ledge failure (my fault for only fixing the hammocks to the two outside corners) was both hilarious at the time as well as in retrospect. I swear Nathan's fart was the straw that broke the camels back.

To anyone hanging two hammocks below a borrowed ledge: Make sure you equalize each end of the hammock to both inside and outside corners!

Speaking of Marc and The Temptation of St Anthony; Marc just established a variation pitch around the p2 roof crack so the route will go free at 13-. And he did so with out changing the characteristics of the aid route!
Driving bolts in on the sharp end.
Driving bolts in on the sharp end.
Credit: thekidcormier
This variation pitch goes at 11d around the 5.14 roof crack that has yet to be freed
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
  May 30, 2012 - 10:49am PT
yeah what Jim said

Hey -was it nice to hit that sweet ledge after all those hanging seat belays or what? I hope you saved a beer for it!
thekidcormier

Gym climber
squamish, b.c.
  May 30, 2012 - 10:57am PT
We drank the rest of our beer on the dance platform... before we dealt with getting the bags across bellygood.
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
  May 30, 2012 - 11:50am PT
Nice work boys! Sorry I didn't get those links to ya soon enough nate. You can edit them in tonight. I got a couple more of you guys near the top too! I'll try and get em done tonight.
Relic

Social climber
Weenie
  May 30, 2012 - 08:21pm PT
Awesome fart blowout adventure! I just had my own mini epic in the climbing gym. Smashed my nose on a hold, then let out a huge fart right after. Thankfully, it didn't happen with any ladies present.
labrat

Trad climber
Auburn, CA
  May 30, 2012 - 08:52pm PT
Nice!
Silver

Gym climber
  May 30, 2012 - 10:25pm PT
Why do I get the feeling were In For some great
TR 's when you guys get off parole and can come to Yosemite. It will be like the Texans where they show up and 4 walls and a ton of beer later....
dkelly

Trad climber
Garibaldi Highlands
  May 30, 2012 - 11:09pm PT
Looks like fun. Sorry to hear that the portaledge exploded. If you have whats left I can fix it.

It great to see some adventure going on.
Keep the reports coming.
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
  May 30, 2012 - 11:30pm PT
The sun sets on the Chief.

Look closey as Nate races for the anchor!

The sun is faster than the aid climber.


Day 2


Getting there..



hamie

Social climber
Thekoots
  May 31, 2012 - 05:55am PT
Good to read that you did the first two slab pitches, as not many people do those. However you missed out the last four pitches, up the Roman Chimneys. Baling at the Escape Route is called the 'High School Wall'. You'll have to go back to earn your degrees! Good effort all the same--esp doing the original start. If that was cleaned, perhaps more people would start at the bottom! and finish at the top!!

You mentioned some 'manky pins'. Not sure how pins fit with the C2 rating?
Cheers,
HM.
thekidcormier

Gym climber
squamish, b.c.
  May 31, 2012 - 11:53am PT
Hamie; I dont think we did the original start, you guys started in the bushy dihedral; we started on "the first coarse" a slab route to the left on the corner system.

The pins are fixed, the C rating means 'no more pins' I guess.
Tricouni

Mountain climber
Vancouver
  May 31, 2012 - 02:12pm PT
I'm not sure that the original start has seen a repeat ascent. If it had a good cleaning, it would probably become popular.
Fish Boy

Social climber
Squeamish
  May 31, 2012 - 02:15pm PT
Maybe C2F...

Seems like you all had a bit of fun up there...!
gf

climber
  May 31, 2012 - 06:07pm PT
"cleaning the bottom of u wall"
hmmm that might be a bit tough to keep it clean
hamie

Social climber
Thekoots
  May 31, 2012 - 06:10pm PT
Kid
Thanks for the clarification. My bad. The ledge starting to de-lam must have been a tad scarey.......esp in the dark.

I'm still puzzled by the fixed pins, more so if they are manky. "Yank the mank" is always a good motto to follow, plus you get to keep the booty. No reason for any fixed gear on this route.

That's my sermon for today.
Tricouni

Mountain climber
Vancouver
  May 31, 2012 - 07:06pm PT
"cleaning the bottom of u wall"
hmmm that might be a bit tough to keep it clean

It would be a good warm-up for a complete scrub of the North-North Gully.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
  May 31, 2012 - 08:15pm PT
As U Wall starts right at the ground, and there are three if not four pitches up the big, low angle bushy corner before you get to what some consider the 'start', it might be some effort to clean it up, and keep it clean. But maybe an alternate start, on the 'slab' to the left, would be possible? Sort of where the ice streak is some winters?
thekidcormier

Gym climber
squamish, b.c.
  Jun 1, 2012 - 11:51am PT
"Yank the Mank"
that's got a good ring to it!

Speaking on which I brought my hammer up there with hopes of bootying three stuck nuts on first pitch of 'modern Uwall'; right at the flying armbar bar; one of which was mine... None of them were persuadable and thus are still there.

But the 'mank pins' which Nate refers too are on the 2nd last pitch. The pins seemed fine but the hero loop/lower out tats are, as with uncle bens, rather manky.

...I had quite the adventure in and around that area today; when I climbed uncle bens http://thekidcormier.blogspot.ca/p/climbing-uncle-bens.html, as soon as I reached the anchors at the top of Bird Sh#t bivy I decided to shed my sweater to haul... it wasn't until the way down I realized I forgot it...

The location of BSB, under a roof with a traverse out meant, retrieval required aiding an horizontal c2 pitch backwards. The plan was to grab it on the rap down after Uwall, but Nathans tender hips decided we'd walk off bellygood. All was well though, as I had left a rope and rack on the dance platform in order to climb 'lost at sea' with fishboy. Fishboy didn't show up this week so I went on a solo sweater retrieval mission today. Soloing across bellygood required 3 passes as to stay safely roped into something. Once across I collected my stashed gear and rapped in on the uncle bens rap route and got right to it hooking sideways between pins until I could reach some cam placements then some more pins. The sweater retrieval op was a success and I continued downward with my mini haul bag.

I learned a lot about rappelling with haul bag when Rupert and I rapped the route, fixing the bags with a munter/mule alleviates the need to lift the bag when setting up your ATC for the next rap, when you're ready to go you can simply lower it out back not your belay loop.

Any ways on the third rappel I swung over to the anchors above the roof just like last time, there is a fixed locker on one of the bolts the I used as a directional so it's easier to get to the anchors. I clipped one daisy in and was about to fix the bag when I looked down and noticed my ropes would reach the chains at the bottom of the golden throat charmer and would shave a rappel of the decent. So with out thinking about the directional I had just clipped I continued downward; next thing ya know I'm suspended helplessly in space 15 feet away from the wall and 20 feet to the right of the station I wanted to be at...

'Fawwwk, this must be what that thread "supertopoians in space" is all about'

First decision was 'I'm going to have to go back up, so I need to ditch the haul bag' I had my 45m haul line suspended underneath the bag so I pulled it up and uncoiled it thinkin I was going to lower the bags to the escape flake.

The thought of asceding wasn't very appealing, since I only clipped the orange rope through the directional way out right my ropes formed a giant V shape as they left my ATC(my shunt actually, I use a back up when rapping with the haul bag).

I said to myself "what would *insert legendary squamish climbers name here* do"; and the answer was "Hammer Toss, duh". Well my hammer was at the bottom of the haul bag but I had a biener on my hip full of hooks, so I clip the hooks on my haul line and on a nice three swing count lobbed the hooks while releasing acoulple loops of slack with my other hand. The grappling hook grabbed and I was pulling my way over to the anchors when I realized I was A) abit to high and B) didn't hae anything readay to clip in with. I tried to get to my daisy chain but the hook popped and I swung back on into space.

After lowering down abit and getting my daisy chain ready I was able to grappling hook the tree, clip the anchors and make it down safely.

Sweater retrieval Op: Complete


Thread drift? Not even, the sweater retrieval was a key objective in the plan to climb Uwall, getting stuck in space was just part of the adventure!
MH2

climber
  Jun 1, 2012 - 01:20pm PT
Luke, you are in the fast lane of the hard-earned-experience get yourself in trouble/get yourself out School of Aid. Good times.
and partner

Trad climber
Leavenworth, WA
  Jun 7, 2012 - 07:23pm PT
Holy Frog lips--- the tree near the top has gotten bigger since
Bill Lingley and I did a one day piton ascent of this.... in '70. Gosh- is that 42 years ago? love- Andy Partner (aka Dave Dailey)
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
  Jun 7, 2012 - 07:42pm PT
Thought i would add a few more pics to this

Nathan leading P2 11a


Uwall glistens in the sunset

Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Jun 7, 2012 - 10:18pm PT
TFPU!
Celtics1217

climber
Newfoundland
  Mar 23, 2013 - 01:56pm PT
after some moisture.... what/where are the damp pitches/areas?
thekidcormier

Gym climber
squamish, b.c.
  Mar 23, 2013 - 02:03pm PT
Right now?

The first pitch will definitely have some dampness. The shadow is most likely dry. Then quite likely relatively dry except for a few areas.
Relic

Social climber
Weenie
  Aug 26, 2014 - 08:52pm PT
bump!
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Aug 26, 2014 - 09:59pm PT
Way to style the gnar fellas! Nice send.

Stay rad,

Scott
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