supafly wrote:On another note.. why did this climb lie dormant for such a long time? what were the keys to unlocking it jeremy? was it purely a chance occurance or were you actively looking out for squamish moderate potential?
Routes are everywhere. But the work involved in unearthing something like this is verging on monumental. I would hazard to guess that most tree and bush filled grooves and corners around here house decent (maybe not continuous) moderate climbing. To get a single stump out of a non-bottoming crack sometimes takes a couple of days. So take that and apply it to a few pitches...
The key to making something like this viable, once you've committed to how much work its going to be, is traffic. The route might be amazing, but if it doesn't get enough traffic to keep it clean it will grow over FAST. Fast because these things are usually low angle catchments for all forest detritus blowing down the cliff. A season of pine needles and leaves packing into a crack will be sprouting seedlings and weeds the next Spring.
Why was it sleeping? Probably because it had such a warm blanket of vegetation on it. This picture is of the top of the 2nd pitch. The belay is hidden in there somewhere.why did this climb lie dormant for such a long time?
It took me 9 months to unearth the climb. Scrubber captured it well. The amount of work was huge. How many people would want to put in that kind of effort? Very few.
A mattock, an addiction, and an enjoyment in the process. That and many little lessons learned from the 40+ other pitches I'd developed in Squamish.what were the keys to unlocking it?
Very little about Skywalker was a coincidence. I was out looking to put up the easiest multipitch in Squamish. I missed the mark by a bit but generally succeeded with my mission. I want my routes to be of value to climbers. I want people to climb them and have fun. My interests are aligned with the interests of the Everyclimber. If the grade is too hard, they won't even get on it. So I went big (or deep; at one point, at the base of pitch 2, I felt like I was digging for China until I hit the belay ledge).was it purely a chance occurance or were you actively looking out for squamish moderate potential?
I originally looked at extending Klahane Crack into a 3-pitch line. The crack is there. But it would mean dumping debris on Local Boys and Klahane Crack. After Milk Road, I didn't want to go there again. I hope that no one gets any ideas about that line. Some routes are better left undeveloped. What Squamish climbers need most is moderates. But it goes both ways (like Scrubber said): the moderates need climbers. Climbers keep moderates clean.
If someone out there is feeling inspiration to develop the next Skywalker, I strongly encourage you to learn from the experience and mistakes that people like Scrubber and I have made. I can't speak for Scrubber, but I'd be happy to consult. Picking the line is absolutely critical.
It certainly was time well spent to bring this beauty to the light of day. The line-ups at the base Sunday morning attest to the thirst for multi-pitch gear routes at the sweet spot 5.8 grade.Optimally-Primed wrote:It took me 9 months to unearth the climb.
P1 is nicely varied with the crux seemingly to be getting past the wet spots. The Flue 2p is full value and may be a bit tricky for the beginner gear aficionado. Persevere since it gets easier the higher you get. P3 is just plain fun with a 'how do I do this?' exit to the belay. The Skywalker pitch is unique with excellent gear throughout. I did not find it particularly exposed since your bent over poking your head low to find placements. Next time I'll take a moment to look the other way and remind myself why climbers do the crazy things we do: hell yes its exposed but its glorious. The final pitch was a bit of a disappointment: I wanted to climb more crack but instead was met with easy slab. (I'm not criticizing -- you take what nature gives you -- but suffice it to say that I find the third run-out pitch of Local Boys a satisfying slab ending. OK, I did it once and I was most satisfied when it ended!)
A great climb and a day well spent.
Warning: a small bear was rummaging through packs at the base of Skywalker Sunday afternoon. It might be wise to travel light and bring all your stuff up the climb and leave nothing at the base.
Here is a nice shot of the Skywalker traverse pitch from Nick Elson's blog, an ACMG Assistant Rock Guide in Squamish.
When you reach the top, keep climbing -- Zen proverb
UPDATED SKYWALKER TOPO
A few comments:
1. There was a steady procession on the climb, and I'm sure the last climbers finished in the dark. Be prepared, either to consider alternatives, to descend if a party ahead of you is too slow, or have a headlight.
2. The gate for Shannon Falls Provincial Park says it will be closed at 9:00 PM. We got back at about 9:15, in time to chat with the parks contractor. They seem to understand what's going on, but obviously it's still a concern. They half-closed the gate, then went up to Murrin to take care of the gate and late climbers there, then were going to come back and close the gate at Shannon. I understand that if they lock a gate, they leave a note on cars with their number. Still, if at all possible, get back to your car before closing time.
There are other possibilities for such moderate routes at Squamish. They perhaps need not involve quite as much work - I like climbing trees, using them for anchors, sitting in their shade, and admiring them (especially cedars), and totally deny wicked rumours that I'm just too lazy to remove them. (Some believe that it isn't a true Squamish climb if at some point you haven't relied on a tree for progress, an anchor, or both.) But a stout effort is always required, even if only 'necessary' improvements are made.
cheers, and thanks again.
A while back, I posted a link to offer your suggestion about grades. Eight people completed the survey (in some part).
- Split Decision. I call it 10a on the topo. It got an even mix of votes for 5.9 (3) and 10a (2).
- Skywalker, pitch 2 (The Flume). I call it 5.8 on the topo. Five said 5.8 with one 5.7 and one 5.9 vote.
- EPB variation to pitch 3. I called it 10a on the topo. Three responses: 2 for 5.8, 1 for 5.9.
- Skywalker, pitch 4 (Skywalker). I called it 5.6 on the topo. Five votes for 5.4 and 1 vote for 5.6
By the looks of it, I didn't sandbag any pitch. Good. I hate being sandbagged myself. So I made a point of not doing it here.
Regarding bolting, my inclination is to leave the climbs "friendly-bolted" to encourage more traffic. Whether or not climbers choose to clip them is left to their own discretion. As Anders correctly suggested, this area needs traffic for it to stay clean (hence, the convenience bolts). It may need a rap-through with a nut tool each spring...
5.8 leaders should be wary.
my $0.0195 (US)
Thanks for the hard work Jer.
All this rain? Eye candy time! These from my 7th lap up Skywalker. A friend of mine has made 6 laps and another has made 4. I wonder if I hold the world record....
top of pitch 2 (wow did it get squeeky clean fast!)
top of pitch 3 sting in the tail
The last time i was at Shannon there wasn't a soul in sight and the trail was all grown over. I climbed klahanie and cardhu crack and top roped dirty dicky and they were dirty! Well kalhanie was realitively clean but not squeaky clean like it was today!
It was busy today. There were about 7 parties when I was there this afternoon. One party got pooped out after the second pitch so rapped to the bottom of that pitch causing a road block for the next party. Then another leader unaware of this situation started up and got stalled at the tree stance before the first slab. So we decided to go to the crag and warm up on kalhanie. There were three parties here.
We finally returned to skywalker and things had sorted themselves out a little. The stalled party was stalled again most of the way up the second pitch at the left belay. We passed another party on the way up there who bailed because of this situation.
We made our way up the first pitch and setup camp at the first belay for a bit. Did a casual changeover (my girfriend wasn't leading anything), and the next party was still belaying at the lower anchor. I asked the guy if it would be ok if I started the pitch, knowing if he wasn't gone I could use the proper belay on the right. He said "yes"
Second pitch is awesome. Old school 5.8 at it's best. Secure if you know how to wedge yourself in there but definetly scary for those lacking technique. Building a few characters with this pitch. there was definetly one party over their head today.
Liked the sting in the tail on the third pitch, very interesting. Skywalker pitch was fun. I sewed it up for my girlfriend so she wouldn't be scared of the swing.
Very nice work sir! Put all the anchors on the topo, that's all I gotta say!
awesome route. thanks jer for all the hard work.
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