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Archive for July, 2011

Buttface

Posted by robjwall on July 9, 2011

June 30th.  Kira (now 11 1/2)  and I wake up to light rain.  I wasn’t feeling too lucky after breaking a seat-post bolt and having to walk out of ‘The Plunge’ with Kira on a very wet day before.  Over breakfast it cleared a little and we decided to have a go at ‘The Chief’ today, as we only had a week left. Kira and I had done 2 or 3 multi-pitch routes together recently, and she was climbing well, and more importantly managing belays, cleaning and abseiling.  At 9am we left the car in the Apron lot, and started up ‘St Vitus Dance’.  We moved pretty well up the Jungle pitches, having done them a few times now.  I was really enjoying the 3rd pitch  – a super clean 5.9 hand crack, when it really started to rain.  Bugger; its madness to do this today, I am thinking…  We need to lower off, but my belay was 3 Cams and I would have to leave at least two behind.  I decide its easier to ‘fail upward’ and climb some more 5.8/9 to the top of the Apron and  walk off.  Kira came up the crack with a big smile on her face “This is Awesome” completely unfazed by the rain.  Of course by the time we got to Memorial Ledge, it was warmer and dry, so we had a 20 minute lunch (tuna and wraps!) and pondered.

Kira was keen to climb on, so I led up the fantastic ‘Memorial Crack’.  Climbing as good as it gets.  Then we had a 15 minute hike up the woods to the base of the ‘Squamish Buttress’ slab.  These easy pitches were harder and better than I remembered (we just managed to link them into 1 with a 60m rope).  More walking and scrambling and we could see ‘The Buttress’ above us.  The normal finish is a short 5.9 crack and then a no nonsense pitch of 5.10c.  But the genius of ‘Buttface’ is that you can avoid the last two pitches — instead head left through a small cave and  boulder on up  to a  bolted  wall.  Its 5.9, but a bit different to the rest of the climbing.  You have to pull on some side-pulls with not much for the feet, heading up left.  There is a bolt or two just where you need them.  Then you walk left along a ramp to a two bolt belay (pictured)The 2nd pitch heads back right to a chimney.  It looks really hard from below (can we be lost?), but if you put your back to the rock some amazing foot-holds appear and its ok, then some good cams, and a monster jug :).  Its now raining quite hard and we are expecting to scramble off, BUT this final scramble is actually loose and hard to protect — I actually thought it was dangerous, and given that there are bolts on the route, I think one here would be good.

We Enjoy the summit glow for a while before the traditional getting slightly lost on the tourist trail descent, and grabbing our bikes from the camp to ride back to the car (about 11 hours and 15 roped pitches all up).  Thanks  to Sonny and the guys who did the work establishing this route.  You can read about that here.

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