The run-out pitch 1 of Merci Me
photos by Andy Cairns
In the heat spell last week, we opted to climb in the shade, which, in the morning, includes most of Squamish Chief.
Andy suggested Merci Me, one of the approaches to the epic Grand Wall, which I quickly agreed sounded good.
Pitch 1 of Merci Me is rated 5.7 in one of the guidebooks, with the first bolt 30 feet above the belay ledge. The new Squamish Select guide rates it 5.8, which is more how it felt to this visitor, climbing the pitch on sight.
Belay at top of pitch 1
The climb follows a prominent dike for two pitches, and diagonals left to end below a large roof. The second pitch of Merci Me also starts the approach to the infamous Grand Wall — about half-way up the pitch, instead of follwing the dike left, instead, head up and then right to the small roof below the Split Pillar.
Pitch 2 of Merci Me
While I’ve led runout friction pitches on the Glacier Point Apron, and in Tuolumne, this presents a different type of climb. It’s much steeper, and not smearing on friction, but face climbing on flakes and edges formed by the dike.
Equipment is simple:
3 bolts on pitch one
4 bolts on pitch 2.
Not much gear to carry for this climb!