Squamish, Base of Chief, Rutabaga
Posted by sibylle in Canada and PNW (Wednesday September 29, 2010 at 4:02 pm)

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A new crack climb left of Rutabaga

After we fled high winds on the Malamute, we  headed to the base of the Chief.

Here we found three nice cracks - Rutabaga, a new route to the left of Rutabaga, and  Arrowroot. I volunteered to lead the new, middle route, which looked most my style - good feet, hand jams, some finger locks, and rest spots! I don’t know the name of this new route, but enjoyed it greatly and think it’s well worth climbing. It ends at a decent ledge with a two-bolt belay.  We then climbed the rest of pitch one of Rutabaga, but not pitch two since we lacked sufficient small nuts.

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Rutabaga, with one of the ubiquitous trees
Next we climbed Arrowroot,  a short distance to the left. It’s consists of good hand jams and face holds leading up to a fat fingers crux -  about 0.5 Camalot size, too big for my fingers!  However, the friction and feet remain decent, and I also stemmed near the small overlap. At the top, grab another ubiquitous tree and reach left for the anchors.

Squamish, Bulletheads
Posted by sibylle in Canada and PNW (Sunday September 26, 2010 at 3:47 pm)

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Another beautiful crack in clean granite!

We wanted to climb in the sun, so we headed up toward the Bulletheads on the far right side of Squamish Chief. Our first climb was Slot Machine, which starts with a fairly tricky boulder move to reach a good crack. Once in the crack, I enjoyed good jams, was able to place good nuts and cams, and ended with a tree move - as in so many climbs at Squamish.

This summer, I’ve climbed more trees to reach the rock, or as a large part of the first pitch, than in all my other years of climbing combined. I’ll have to look for a photo of tree climbing!

At the top of Slot  Machine, we scrambled across a ledge to reach the bottom of Manana Crack,  a gorgeous lieback with a thin face crux in the middle. Near the top, the angle eases off, the lieback edge gets much bigger, and footholds appear.

As always, we had splendid views of the Howe Sound and also of the Papoose.

Squamish - angel’s Crest
Posted by sibylle in Canada and PNW (Tuesday September 14, 2010 at 8:16 am)

My favorite climb at Squamish this year was Angel’s Crest. I’d wanted to do this climb for years, ever since Tristan and I climbed Squamish Buttress in 2007. We climbed at Squamish  in 2008, but during the time we were there, it was too wet for Angel’s Crest.

This year, the weather gods favored me with 17 days of sun (of 18 days).

I underestimated how long and hard the climb would be  - after Tristan and I  arrived at the top of Squamish Buttress at noon (with an 8:00 a.m. start), I thought it would be similar - long easy pitches and  some hiking through the woods.

Ian and I started about the same time - 8ish, but arrived at the top at 5:00 p.m. - it took us more than twice as long. We  did wait for  one party in front of us in two places, and saw two more parties climbing below us.
While Squamish Buttress has one 5.10 c pitch, with a relatively short crux, Angel’s Crest has six 5.10 pitches, which are at times steep, hard, and strenuous; plus several 5.9 pitches that don’t seem much easier.

Squamish Rock Guides have the best photo I’ve seen of the climb, with the route drawn in.

We started with the “tree” pitch - where I had my first difficulties. I could only reach the branch from the far left side of the large tree, but it needed to be climbed on the right (downhill ) side, from where I could not reach the lowest branch. Years of big walls and aid experience came in handy - I slung a sling around the branch from the left, got up high on the left, and , hoping the branch would hold, pendulumed around right to where I could reach a foothold and a branch. From here, the tree climbing proved fun, but click. Not trusting the “friction” on the slippery (think polished banister) tree branches, I slung many with all my long runners, happy I’d brought so many.

Getting from the top of the tree onto the rock was easier than it looked, and from there a traverse right brought me to the base of pitch two, and the rock  climbing proper.

Climbing on the Malamute near Squamish
Posted by sibylle in Canada and PNW (Thursday September 2, 2010 at 3:34 pm)

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Looking down from the Malamute onto Howe Sound

My friend and climbing partner Andy Cairns, who lives in  North Vancouver not far from Squamish,  has been taking me  to some of his favorite routes.

ON the day after we hiked and ran 34 km (about 20 miles)  near Diamondhead, he asked where I’d like to climb.

“Something with a short approach!” I replied.

My legs were sore after the long downhill run, so Andy and I went to the Malamute. I’d never climbed on this cliff, which is across the highway from the Chief. One rappels to the routes from the top of the cliff, so it helps to go with a native guide that knows the climbs.

We climbed the lovely crack above. The Malamute, like the Papoose, consists of nubbly granite like an orange peel , but rougher, with amazing friction.

After this one climb, we headed back to the base of the  Chief  because of the high winds. All the wind surfers and kiteboarders were out on the sound, which should have warned us that winds might be extreme, but we decided to check it out.  The climbs are great, with a short approach across the new bridge (from the parking lot across the top of the highway).

I’ll go back there on a calmer day!

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