A selection of Squamish climbing news, new routes, featured routes and climbing tips.
Squamish has seen a huge amount of new route development since the last guide book was published. The best crags that have recently been developed include “Top shelf” (two photos below) which is located about 25min uphill from the Mamquam service road and the “Quercus Cliff” hidden away in Murrin Park. Both these areas have full topos available elsewhere online and with a quick search you can work out which routes are best suited to you. Instead of looking at an area in general I’m going to feature a single climb in an area; either the jewel of the cliff or one which has the best story. Each of these lines will be something I have red-pointed or am attempting to send. I will share my journey of exploring these new lines with you and hopefully capture some pictures and videos along the way.
Featured Route: Demon Sweat 5.12d FA Jason Green Aug/2013
After visiting “Top-shelf” crag a few times and attempting to on-sight or flash the classics of the area i was offered a top-rope lap of a new line on the first cliff at top-shelf.
It is by far the best line I have climbed at this amazing crag. It is 40m long with an established 5.11c/d 25m pitch as the entry point into the crux head wall. The 11c/d is called “Meltdown” and is amazing on its own but combined with the head wall it makes for a long gear battle The crux is balancy and strenuous with gear protection but clean air if you blow off the moves.
Jason red-pointed the route after numerous days off effort and named it “Demon Sweat” – a tune from the band ween.
It is now open to everyone so come on up and catch some traditional air. I have yet to lead the line as Jason rightfully deserved the FA but it is now on the tick list.
Here is a picture with the two pitch line (which should be climbed as one)
The grade would bump up-to 5.13a if you combined the lower half of “Shock Collars for Christmas” into “Demon Sweat as this eliminates the no hands rest.
Featured route: Boogie ’til You Puke (aka poop)
This in your face off-width sits high up around the back of the Chief at the Cirque of the Uncrackables. The approach takes about 30min up the regular trail towards the third peak and is famous for being home to the “Cobra” one of hardest cracks in Squamish. ‘Boogie’ is 30m long with and every crack size from full Bombay chimney to enjoyable hand size crack at the top; originally graded at 10c was upgraded to 11b making it one of the harder off-widths in Squamish. This line was made famous by Jason Kruk wrenching and losing control of his bowels whilst being filmed for the mountain film festival (It’s all on line and hence the “Poop” reference)
The line, despite its now infamous reputation, is one of the best/longest off-width pitches in Squamish, the other notables are Pipeline and the crux pitch of Public Image. The first 10m involve easier back and foot chimney technique with a 4 inch crack deep in the groove to place gear. After 10m you get a good rest, place your number 6 cam in the back and prepare for battle. The crack squeezes down to 5 inches above your head just as it overhangs and to makes things harder it flares outwards and downwards for the feet. It spat me out a few times on my on-sight attempt and had to TR it to unlock the sequence of stacks and bars. The crux 5 feet involves double fist stacks above your head while stacking your feet in a heel toe whilst applying pressure with your back foot being pinned by your leg. To reset this position I had to arm-bar with the right arm and wrap the lip with the left and cross push and re-cross the legs and then re-stack them… just repeat five times and an amazing ledge awaits you. The remaining 15m is standard 4inch grovelling until it tightens to perfect fists and hand sizes. I didn’t puke or poop but I certainly took a good beating and will head up again to red point this line.
If anyone else out there enjoys a good off-width battle, please call me and we can head up with long sleeves and rolls of tape!
Climbing tips and tricks:
* Fall asleep thinking about the exact movement of your project, hold by hold and foot hold by foot hold – From the ground to the top. You will accomplish two things 1) you will have mentally completed the route from the ground many times in your head before you red-point and 2) you will body will memorize the movement while you sleep, making your next attempt more efficient.
* Don’t be lazy, there is no short cut to hard work, if you want to climb hard then climb all the time, on everything all year long…There is no magic pill.
* Train your rests – Whilst checking out the route on top rope work out all your rest positions, try them and dial them in. You’ll be surprised where you can recover and where you can rest.
* Campus training- sometimes there is no substitution for power; if your not injured you should be adding campusing to your routine.
* Relax – “climbing is not that important” and by tricking yourself into believing that you will take the pressure off and are more likely to send. I use humor to accomplish this and will be fully engaged in crag banter before heading up on a red-point attempt.
After Zombie roof I went looking for Squamish roof cracks and Colin Moorhead (Local climbing oracle) mentioned he had recently looked at a line climbed by Peter Croft back in the 80s that had not been repeated. I headed out one day after guiding and gave “Baby Bum” a try. I had intended to be home in a few hours but ended up in a gear rescue mission in the dark. The line traverses out from a rope swallowing flare and around a steep roof into vertical bushwhacking; no anchor had been installed. I led up and after getting shut down had to aid the roof. Once around the roof, rope drag stopped me moving, I had to down climb lower off a piece and my partner had to climb up removing gear and eventually getting to my high point only to find a nest of marginal gear as an anchor point. To make things worse I had Felix with me at the base and as it turned dark sent Darragh around to the top of the Papoose to rappel in and get the gear. I had to get Felix home.
I contacted Peter and he gave his permission to add an anchor but no protection bolts; I rapped in later that week fixed up the anchor, gave the top a scrub and worked out the gear. I also worked on the trail as I hope others might head up around the Papoose and try it. I spent a few days working the crux roof and eventually solved it with a painful upward shoulder press – I have the scars to prove it. In the end I had to use double rope technique to reduce rope drag and fix the crux nut as placing it on lead was impossible. Here is a quick clip of Baby Bum, good luck working out the beta from this!