Rob Wall's Blog

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Squamish – long routes

Posted by robjwall on October 12, 2010

Well the climbing season is at an end now, but I’ve been able to do some great long routes over the summer.  Here they are as I remember them (in order, more or less)….

Snake (5.9).  A great 5 pitch route on the Apron done with Pad.  I recall it feeling runout on the top slab!  We did a couple of great single pitch routes on top of it including “Memorial Crack”.

Diedre (5.8).  Six pitches.  One of the world’s great easy routes I think.  Several pitches in a row of immaculate low angled corner crack.   A great day out in the Sun with Australian Dave, and Kira.  This was Kira’s first multipitch route

Birds of Prey(5.10a) on “The Squaw”.  Six pitches done as 3 with a 70m rope.   Not my favorite long route – but you get a good look at Pipeline (Arrrgh).  I would like to get back on the Squaw to try “The Great Game” to the right — it looks awesome

Rock On /Squamish Buttress.  (5.10c)  A good way to get to the top of The Chief.  A lot of rambling pitches up high, but the top pitch is especially fine,  I struggled, but made it in the end when someone from a party above told me I was “almost in the promised land”.  Rock On felt quite greasy to me, and had one scary move.  Did these last two routes with visiting Sweedish Filmmaker Sean.


Calculus Crack. (5.8)  A very exposed route.  Demelza and I slept at the base, and got up early.  This is the  first time I had attempted something like this with the kids with no other adult in the party.  Demelza climbed quickly and efficiently and didn’t’ seem to notice the exposure, which is very real on this route.   She seemed to have no trouble taking the belays apart and making all the right calls.   The couple of 5.8 handcrack pitches that are the core of this route are absolutely brilliant.

Borderline. (5.10d)   This was a fun day.   I led the 3rd pitch which has some incredible, technical and exposed climbing (with lots of bolts thank god), and the fourth pitch (which I fell off seconding) has the most amazing wide hanging chimney.  It was the first time I had climbed with local ex Ranger now Nurse Aaron, we decided impromptu to finish by climbing the Angels Crest.  Unfortunately we got about 4 pitches from the top when the rain poured, so we had a very long wet series of Abs to the gully.  Neither of us could remember when we had last had to retreat!

Angel’s Crest. 5.10b, 14 pitches.   A few days after backing off the top of Angles,  Peter Larose drove up from Vancouver nice and early, and we got on the full Angel’s Crest.  The climbing is not hard, but there is a lot of it!  Its a fun day out, rather than great climbing.  There are  some great positions, and a few pitches of good climbing, including the last.  You have to muck around with a short rap and some walking on the ‘towers’ in the middle.  We were a bit slow in 8 hours, I’d like to do it quicker.

Banana Peel. (5.7, 6 pitches)   Tarquin’s turn for an adventure.  We slept under the route (in colder weather) and did this in the morning cool.  Tark found the crux section hard.  I had a rope stretching lead linking pitches at one point, and we actually had to simo-climb for 5m!  Tark led the  last 5.5 pitch, and placed some good gear (he forgot to clip the rope into one piece which is something we can tease him about when he is dragging me up 5.12 one day).

Vector (5.9, 6 pitches).  Kira and I snuck this in one Autumn afternoon (Kira wanted the full dad and kid experience too), after a rainy morning, and the obligatory coffee at the Squamish Kite-surfing shop (best coffee in town)  and a quick visit to climb-on to buy a #4 Camalot .  We had intended to do the parallel route “St Vitus Dance”, so didn’t think we’d need my new #4, but we ended up on Vector.   The long off-width pitch is an amazing clean crack.  I had my shoulder and knee in at the crux, and  found my new Cam very comforting!   Kira and I had a rest on memorial ledge and then walked off just making it back to the bikes on dark…

Sunblessed. Got its own post 🙂

Generations apart: John Fantini and Kira Wall.

The Grand Wall. (5.11a, 10 pitches).  This is an incredible route.  I was due to do it with Fantini, but had to pull out because of my bike crash.  I was very sad about this.   Most difficult climbs  are either long or hard, but this is both.  I was lucky to have a strong partner (local lad Marc-Andre) so I knew I didn’t have to lead my half, but I wanted to, so I didn’t feel ‘guided’.  We had a really warm day, after a long wet spell. Marc  got us two pitches up via Apron Strings (hard start), then I linked Mercy Me in a 70m pitch, with about 6 bolts and small waterfalls coming down… mentally tough!.  I got to lead “The Split Pillar” which I really loved.  I fell off seconding “The Sword” (insert wet rock excuse here).  I got to lead “Perry’s Layback” in the usual way (resting on the bolts!).  By the time I got to my last lead, the magnificent “Sail Flake” I was so tired I couldn’t hold onto the top jugs, and took my first real whipper in Canada:  “About time” I  remember thinking as I fell some way onto a good Camalot.  TheBrew pub beers tasted especially good.

Dancing in the Light (5.11b, 6 pitches).  Marc and I did this the next day which was also a rare fine day.  He hadn’t been able to find a partner for it.  Not surprising with 10m or more runouts being the norm.  I only led one pitch of this!  The crux is maybe not as hard as they say (I can’t climb 11c slab).  Its quite a journey, but suffered a little from damp rock and moss.

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