Pitches 3 and 4 of 'The Raven' climb the impressive white pillar left of pitches 3 and 4 of Polaris (the wide offwidth dihedral leading to Astro Ledge. I first noticed the potential for free climbing on the route when I rope solo aided the route in 2013. These two pitches have now been free climbed at spectacular 5.12+. Access is by rappel from Astro Ledge. Descent is by rappel with two ropes. There are fresh rap rings at every anchor.
The best options are either: a. climbing the first four pitches of Polaris and traversing Astro ledge 15 meters to the rap station at the top. or b. hiking up North North Gully and crossing Astro Ledge well beyond AK Highway to reach the top (exposed with some fixed ropes, option 'a' recommended)
With the consent of Perry Beckham, a few bolts have been added to the third pitch of 'The Raven', which was previously A3+. The crux A4 pitches of the Raven are unaffected.
The route is very atypical for Squamish in its steepness and the positivity of the holds, with some of the movement being more akin to indoor bouldering than the typical 'granite wizardry'. It could certainly be linked into one 70 meter pitch at 12d or 13a. The route is of very high quality, is safe but airy and is a prime contender for many repeats. I hope others enjoy it!
(FFA - Brette Harrington, Martin Lopez-Abad, Marc-Andre Leclerc). Also thanks to Luke Nuefeld for joining me on my first free attempt in 2013.
Pitch one - Technical corner work leads to very athletic and airy climbing on positive holds. At the top, a short but burly endurance layback provides a stiff sting the tail. This pitch ends at a hanging belay. 5.12c. 35m. 9 bolts and gear to blue metolius/red c3/.
Pitch 2 - Above the belay, and exciting and strenous pancake flake gives way to unbelievable double finger crack in a gently overhanging white dihedral. Pass the roof above on the right to end at Astro Ledge. 5.12b. 30m. One bolt and gear to 0.5 C4. Many micro cams (Triples or Quadruples in blue metolius/green alien/red C3)
The pancake flake on the 12b. The photo doesn't show the position unfortunately.
More photos coming soon... hopefully.
Those were two of the better pitches on the Raven, the next two up the "Wingfeather Pillar" being the main event on the original aid line.
I'm confident The White Pillar is still a good adventure for people doing this route on aid and a great new outing for free climbers.
Martin following the 12c.
Trying to remove a tricky black alien, before the enduro finish. A bit like a 5.12 version of the top of the sword!
Starting up the 12b flake on P2.
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