Penny Lane, Smoke Bluffs, Squamish, Canada
Posted by sibylle in Spain, women, Canada and PNW (Wednesday August 21, 2013 at 5:49 pm)

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Basque climber Saioa starts up Penny Lane

This summer in Squamish started with hot, sunny days that sent us to hide in the shady cliffs at Cheakamus, followed by days of showers that made us retreat to the sunny crags of the Smoke Bluffs.

I headed to the Penny Lane cliff with Niko from Germany,  the Basque climbers Joaquin and Saioa, and Quebec native Lucie, amidst a mish-mash of languages - some of us spoke German, others Spanish and Basque , some French - but we had no one language in common.

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Saioa near the crux of Penny Lane

I’d lead the eponymous climb, Penny Lane, a few days earlier and chose to act as team photographer while Joaquin and Saioa climbed the route.

The climb starts with a few delicate face moves off the ground - on small, smooth holds. Getting off the ground  here has always gotten my attention. Right after the tiny face holds come a few layback moves on tiny  edges and smooth friction for the feet. One more layback move gets you around the corner and onto a good foot hold.

From here, I’ve seen some climbers try to layback the following corner, or like Saioa above, use fingerlocks and toe jams. I generally stem the corner while trying to get  my fingers  into the crack when I can.

After the crux start, the remaining climb consists of great hand jams that easily make up for any struggles lower down.

Penny Lane’s a great warm up for the harder climbs  on both sides, such as Crime of the Century, to the left,  or Climb and Punishment further to the right.
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Crime of the Century (5.11c), with Penny Lane visible at right

Squamish - Chekeamus - Sacrilege
Posted by sibylle in Canada and PNW (Saturday August 17, 2013 at 5:52 pm)

On my first day back at Squamish, we headed to Chek, at Chekeamus - a little out of character for me, since it’s a steep, pumpy, sport climbing area - all things I’m not very good at. But on  a hot day, Chek provides shade, and it was time to work on my weaknesses.


Here, I’m leading pitch one of Sacrilege

Photos by Andy Cairns
We found a great climb: the three pitch long Sacrilege. The first pitch of Sacrilege comprises a left-tending steep ramp that begins with off -balance moves. After the first two clips, the available footholds  are bigger, and a nice crack lends itself to jamming - of which I took full advantage!

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Pitch two of Sacrilege. Photo by Andy Cairns

On pitch two, Andy continued up the corner, on good holds to another bolted belay.  On pitch three we find the meat of the climb: lay-backing around a small bulge, and then continuing up and around flakes.

The climb is well worth  all four stars, and a great addition to the limited availability of easier warm ups.

We descended with two rappels, using a 70-meter rope.
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Rappeling from Sacrilege

Photo by Andy Cairns

At the Chek , or main, crag of the Cheakamus  Canyon area.

From the parking area, turn right and pass the Foundation Wall , shoot to Kill Wall, Negative Wall, and Toxic Lichen Wall. Just before the the Circus, look for a ramp that trends up and left to bolted anchors. If continuing on to the second pitch,  pass the first bolted anchor and head left to belay at the second anchor.

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