Is Squamish Soft?

Everything and anything to do with climbing in Squamish.
pbeckham
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Re: Is Squamish Soft?

Post by pbeckham » Thu Sep 13, 2012 8:38 am

Good question,

I don't get out much and when I do I realize the older I get, the better I was.
First of all what are we comparing Squamish grades to?
It's the YDS system and Yosemite is the reference point, not Index, Josh, the Needles or UK.
Having said that, it's hard to compare Squamish climbing to the Valley because in general, we navigate lower angle laybacks and face cracks and conversely, you can't swing a dead cat in the Valley without hitting a wide crack.
Back in the old days Apron Strings, The Pillar and Exasperator P1 were considered benchmark 5.9. Snake was 5.8 and Brunser was 5.10. After we'd spent some time in the Valley we realized there was some grade misalignment and these classics were upgraded.
Compared to the Valley, the Calling "Enduro Corner" at 11d, Pillar Left Side at 12a, and Pitchin' Time at 10b seem representative of the YDS grade.

The Alaska Highway P2 at 11a, Roman Chimneys Direct at 11a and Genus Locci at whatever it was graded were examples of inadvertent sandbagging and subsequent adjustment.

I'm in favour of the PG13, R and X qualifiers.
Merci Me is 5.8 R or X in my books, the Roman Chimneys pitch above chockstone 10d R, the Cruel Shoes "Arch Exit" 5.9 R, the lower traverse on Snake 5.8 R. Fall off any of these sections and it's a car accident.

Some might remember the short lived S grade system which attempted to model the UK E grade system. Made for some great rants over beers and pipeloads.

Grading systems are at best, subjective efforts to objectively quantify unique and varied personal experiences on the rock. Well traveled routes that provide agreed benchmarks are key to meaningful and consistent grades. Route grades tend to creep one way or the other as broader consensus develops and I'm in favor of letting them drift a bit and using shading (ie. 11 a-b). Intentional sandbagging, loud downgrading and egregious inflation are symptoms of incomplete emotional development and poor social adjustment.

The Squamish grading system is based on the YDS so let's avoid the trap of attempting to compare apples to oranges.

PB
Last edited by pbeckham on Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:27 am, edited 5 times in total.

BK
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Re: Is Squamish Soft?

Post by BK » Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:09 am

The Alaska Highway P2 at 11a,

I was wondering when someone would mention this pitch. 11a? I'm glad I missed that ruthless understatement. I thought that 11c was a cruel joke. Whats it graded these days?

pbeckham
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Re: Is Squamish Soft?

Post by pbeckham » Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:19 am

bk,

I was climbing as well as I ever had when I sent that pitch first try.
It doesn't lend itself well to a straight on approach and my aptitude for inventive back and foot technique, "Jerry Lewis" bridging and "baffling footwork" made the pitch feel easy.
I struggled over whether it was 10d or 11a and erred on the cautious side at 11a.
My understanding is that it's now well established at 11c for most.
It's definitely way easier than the 11d enduro corner on the upper Lights.

Tricouni
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Re: Is Squamish Soft?

Post by Tricouni » Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:22 am

Marc's new book has it at 11d and "Prepare for battle."

BK
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Re: Is Squamish Soft?

Post by BK » Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:28 am

well i guess my aptitude never really found a home, but i have to say sending that thing after a few efforts stands as one of my fondest climbing memories. I remember watching you casually stem out that finishing bit of thin hands and realizing I had a lot to learn. I don't know who came up with the title "See Stars and Puke pitch" but that pretty much nailed my experience right there!

Then came the rest of the route....

pbeckham
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Re: Is Squamish Soft?

Post by pbeckham » Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:29 am

11d? Interesting.

BK
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Re: Is Squamish Soft?

Post by BK » Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:47 am

I always liked to say it was somewhere between 11c and 12c. Yeah I know, thats a stretch, but it still pretty much summed up how it feels at the time.

I understand the usual way off the belay these days is firing the steep right hand undercling as opposed to the flare.

Incidentally, I remember the 11d enduro going a damn sight smoother than the See Stars pitch. Different strokes i guess. Anyway, anything in the smoke bluffs isn't going to give you much hope up there ... but as far as the topic goes, besides the bluffs, I think squamish grading is pretty much comparable to most any other area I've been to. Maybe not JT though.

scrubber
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Re: Is Squamish Soft?

Post by scrubber » Sat Sep 15, 2012 9:17 pm

pbeckham wrote:I struggled over whether it was 10d or 11a and erred on the cautious side at 11a.
My understanding is that it's now well established at 11c for most.
It's definitely way easier than the 11d enduro corner on the upper Lights.
Really? Wow Perry. I think the enduro corner on The Calling is easier than that battle on Alaska Highway. I have never in my life been so close to puking on a route than when I flopped onto the ledge at the top of that pitch.

I have plans to clean up the first pitch of AH this fall or winter. The stump and roots are finally ripe enough to come out. I had a partner pitch off and hit the stump this summer and it wasn't pleasant. Looks like the crack will be splitter .5-.75 camalot. Hopefully no more than 5.10+

BK
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Re: Is Squamish Soft?

Post by BK » Sun Sep 16, 2012 7:51 am

Thanks for the affirmation chris - I'm glad in a saddo-masochistic sort of way that it isn't just me!

Incidentally, i'd like to nominate Right Wing for See Stars and Puke for the 5.10 crowd. Highly recommended if your idea of a good time is being beaten soundly with a two by four.

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