The Grand Wall 13a (11a A0) lite Squamish
Ever since I started climbing with my ex-girlfriend in 2001 I've wanted to climb this classic. Some may view my progression as slow, and yes maybe by some peoples standards it was, but considering where I was when I started I'm pretty happy to be where i'm at today. Plus I'm still alive which is always a bonus.
So when Luke said he was going to go up there this weekend, and Nathan was bugging me to go do something it was a no brainer.
I picked up Nathan promptly at 7 and actually beat Luke to the parking lot for the first time in my life. I was STOKED! We racked up slowly and Luke arrived and jumped out of the car ready, and him and Aislinn ran ahead.
On the way down I had informed Nathan that I had lost my water bottle yesterday and I was bringing my camera so we would need to bring a backpack. He agreed and never said a word about it, even though he hates backpacks.
We got everything together and took off running (in flip flops) through the boulders and up the trail to the Escape Flake and across to the belay at the base of Merci Me.
There was a party ahead of us of course and Luke and Aislinn too so we waited for awhile to get on the first pitch.
Nathan on Merci Me 5.9
Crappy cell phone photo as I was freezing in my t-shirt at the belay.
Nathan's theory was that I should lead the 10b traverse pitch so I could "rest up" for the Pillar. It actually worked out pretty well, I found the pitch awkward again but got up it clean and ran up the bolt ladder to find not very much room for me at the belay.
I found a spot on the left side of the tree and made it my anchor. I am sure it is affecting the Split Pillar but it seems more likely that other forces will be the real cause if it's demise. It makes a darn fine anchor and would be an excellent vantage point for photos.
With four people allready at the belay, Nathan chose to stand on the lowest tree branch.
After awhile Luke headed up, The Split Pillar 10b
Aislinn watches him closely.
He made it with a rest at the wide part and Aislinn struggled up it. It was a good effort and she was heard to say "This is HARD!"
Before the climb I had told Nate about my intmidation factor on the pillar as a result of my previous history with it. He told me that every time I clipped a cam and climbed by it, he would yell "Like a Boss!"
We let her get to the rest before I started up. I got into the groove real quick and with Nathan encouraging me I was running up the thing jamming and tossing cams in every ten feet or fifteen feet, "Like a Boss!" and when I got to the wide part at the top, I twisted my right hand into a insecure jam instead of taking advantage of my arm and simply thought about placing a cam for one moment too long. It must have been a good 30 footer because I passed at least three cams if not four and had a beautiful soft catch.
Unfortunatly Nathan did not fare so well on the catching end when he got sucked into the anchor and his thumb was sucked into his atc. It was a minor scratch though and he got off lucky.
After a bit of a break I placed another cam and ran up to the rest. Luke convinced me that I should layback the outside this time, so I did and I found it alot easier than chimneying behind it.
Nathan chose to go for the chimney method on his clean second because he said it was more secure.
Nathan in the slot behind the top of the Pillar.
Crappy cell phone photo
Nathan and Aislinn at the top of the Split Pillar.
We waited for a bit on top of the pillar for the party ahead and Aislinn remarked that she was rather cold. I reminded her that I was stupid enough to wear a t-shirt up here and she had a fleece and base layer on so if she could kindly be quiet it would be much appreciated.
Luke pulls the mantle on The Sword of Damocles 11a
Luke gets his stem on
There was a party behind us on the Pillar, they caught up fast!
Nathan had to resort to aiding the mantle on the sword but, made it to the top of the handle before suffering a little set back right before the chains.
He was short of draws on the bolt ladder and ended up running it out
pretty hard to the anchor. I had a bit of a stinker with the slopey mantle and probably yelled take a few too many times.
Perry's Lieback 11a was my pitch, so no pictures and we had lost Luke and Ais by that time anyways. I could do the moves and linked the first couple bolts but ended up pulling out the pocket aider at the crux.
The party behind us was a nice guy named Tom and his girlfriend. They were very patient with us, although they were alot quicker.
Here is Tom topping out on the flats above Perry's Lieback.
We got to talking and he said he was from the rockies but he used to live here. Somehow Hamish's name came up and he said that he used to mountain bike with him.
The flats went pretty smooth but by the time I got up to sail flake I was done. I relinquished the lead to Nathan and he soon discovered he was pretty pooped too. He aided his way across the undercling and clambered his way out of there up the flake.
When it was my turn I tried to free the moves but ended up taking a couple times, then took the last traverse piece out and promptly fell into mid air. Hanging there, and not wanting to lower, I got my prussic cords out and aided the rope back to the last piece. I got up the flake and with that it was all over but the walking.
Nathan led bellygood and stopped to graciously offer me a belay at the narrow part. When we got to the end I took this photo.
Unfortunatly it's closed above the Sword at the moment, Falcon closures should be lifted around July 31. The Pillar and The Sword are worth the trip up there though, bring a tag line to rappel.
I decided to just get right to business and go for Who's Your Daddy. It starts up a diagonal crack with good jams and good feet before getting to a large blocky type flake thing that you can rest up for the cruxy bits.
I stood there for a while; I could see where to go, but just wasn't sure how to get there. There was a great jug up and about seven feet over to my right, but it looked tricky to get to. I tried climbing directly up in order to traverse over to it, but the in between section was blank, so I reversed back down to my previous stance. I ended up going directly right from where I was standing, using some sidepull/layback type moves. Somehow, I pasted my right foot on a little nub, shoved it into the corner I was pulling off of, and BAM! Flying kneebar!
This allowed me to chalk up both of my hands and reach up for a little slot that allowed me to establish my feet, before making another reachy move to that jug.
Then it was just a matter of clipping the one bolt by the large downwards facing flake, using a shoulder cam to milk a rest, then a couple more reachy moves (using another pseudo kneebar) to reach the final jugs at the end of the crux.
That's been my first .10d onsight this year, and second overall. I was STOKED. I imagine it would be a bit more difficult for a shorter person.
I also tried to get the short .10d crack right on the trail towards Ronins Corner, but it spat me off. It's a lot like Gord's Block; short and burly.
Afterwards, we went to the Apron parking lot to try and block Luke in, but our plan failed when they didn't show up. We checked out a rather high boulder problem that Relic is interested in, and then I went and got my third .10d onsight in the first pitch of Mickey Mouse.
Anyone else feel like the bolts on there we placed in the most awkward stances ever? Like, they are each about one to two feet higher than clippable, forcing you to make at least one more insecure move off the good stance before clipping. It was tricky.
Anyways, that's my ridiculously long for only one pitch TR.
Had a quick after-work session at Murrin Park and tried (among others) Jugs, not drugs 5.8 -- but very steep -- on Betazoid crag.
This is a super fun, moderate, bolted climb for the average Jane and Joe who want to pull on a steep, but good, jug haul. One of the many gems in the new Select Guidebook.
I did Skywalker today ... led the odd-pitches and seconded the even. This is one of my favourite moderate multipitches ... fantastic. What a great day.
Was Skywalker busy Jipstyle?
Yesterday my buddy Ben and I did Stairway to Heaven. It was really fun. Lots of cool slab pitches through the Bulletheads,
Then an exposed walk along the top of the Tantulus wall,
Up to Bellygood. Traverse out onto the ledge,
and go up Millenium Falcon for a couple of pitches. Not too hard, a couple spicy moves if you don't bring some hand size and a couple finger size cams.
Then Universal Key, which was fun but the bolts we a little akward for Ben on lead. I got the Traverse of the Gods lead and linked it all the way to the Black Dyke. Ben had to simul a bit on a wide ledge for me to make the anchor with his 70m rope.
The view from the Black Dyke is pretty spectacular.
We skipped Mr Ciechanowsky and Ladies First because it was getting pretty late and we were STARVING!
Highly recommended. Better like slab, take a few hand size and finger size cams to be well protected.
It was less busy than I'd expected for a Saturday but the day started very cloudy, so I imagine most stayed home.Was Skywalker busy Jipstyle?
We arrived at the base of the climb around 9:30 to find one party on the 2nd pitch and one on the first. A second party of four arrived after us and followed us up most of the route ... half their party split off to do the bolted slab to the (climber's) left of Skywalker.
I'm got a nice deep sun 'tan' because I wasn't expecting the sun to come out ... I guess I'm a sucker, too.
Thanks for those reports. Definitely hop on Jugs, Not Drugs when you get a chance. It is really fun, well protected and as you mentioned, rare to find an easy jug-haul in these parts.
Nice photos from Stairway to Heaven. Thanks. How is that "Traverse of the Gods" pitch? Very spicy?
I got my old-school runout buzz on yesterday, with Sparrow and Pig Dogs on Parade en route to Butt Face (and new start variation to Buttress). Both of those routes (Sparrow and Pig Dogs) could use more traffic...
My only real gripe with the route was that the fifth and final pitch was a little dirty. I'm not sure if that's from a lack of traffic, or because the developers were starting to get lazy, but either way, nice job on the line.
This past Friday I went up a little earlier by myself. I had plans for the Grand the next day, so didn't want to do anything that was physically too hard. I figured I'd give Snake a go, as I had climbed it about a month previous and found it enjoyable. I did the first couple pitches easily. There was a party at the base of the main corner, who I hadn't been able to see from the ground, so I waited for them to both reach the next set of anchors. The crux made me think a little on this pitch, but still not much of an issue.
That party let me pass them at the belay, and I continued on up towards the crux traverse. This is where it starts to get thin, for those of you who haven't climbed it, and even roped up, gear is minimal. This was also where, for the first time, I've ever felt truly insecure on a solo. Every move was just pure concentration on making my feet stick, and the only moment of relief I had was grabbing the downward flake just before the traverse.
After that slabby scary bit, the traverse didn't feel quite as difficult, although still insecure. From the ledge there, I was able to finish the rest off easily.
I continued up Memorial and down Boomstick, then I ran up Diedre. I hadn't climbed Skywalker before, so I went and did that as well (which was quite enjoyable) before heading home.
POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOR GRAND WALL - READ WITH RISK OF BETA
The next day was my big trip up the Grand. I had found a friend who was willing to let me lead every pitch, so I could go for my redpoint. My first time up it last year, the only pitch I led was the Pillar, and I spent so much time worrying about having enough gear that I tired myself out and didn't get it clean. I got the rest of the pitches clean on second except for the top of the Sword and Perry's.
My second time up it is in Lurch's TR, and it was too early in the season for me to be strong enough. I didn't lead the Sword clean, aided Perry's the entire way, and aided the majority of the Sail Flake.
This round, it was go time. I had a lot of unfinished business, and it was time to clean house. I wanted to go right from the ground, so I led up Apron Strings easily. No pump by the end of the first pitch. I linked both pitches of Merci Me, and then led the traverse over to the Pillar for my first time. I think it's easier on lead than second.
Now sh*t gets real. I went for the Pillar straight away, starting with a green, laybacking up to where I could get a rest and put a red in, then straight up. I ran it out about twenty feet, threw a cam in that was completely useless, but gave me confidence, then ran it out another fifteen feet before putting a good gold in. Where it got wider, I places both my blues, went into the desperation layback, grabbed the jug. Victory!
Scampered up the rest, brought up my second. Bitches been pissing in behind the Pillar btw.....
After a short break, I started up the Sword. I had really only been hoping on getting these two pitches clean, so this was goal 2/2. My problem last time I led this was a fixed nut right at the crux. I couldn't clip it without grabbing the draw after, so I figured I would just put two pieces in a little lower and go for it. It worked, and I was able to make the mantle no problem.
The next crux for me before had been stepping out onto the face, but this time I just clipped the bolt and sent it without even thinking. Ran it out up the face crack before putting a couple pieces back in the corner, taking a moment, and going for it. Grabbed the chain at the top, clipped it, success!
Now I was happy no matter what happened, but still determined. Up the bolt ladder, brought up my second. Using my beta, he was able to get the Sword's crux clean for the first time.
Perry's: I was worried about this one, cause I hadn't even been able to second it clean before. I also had failed to bring enough draws for the entire pitch. No matter, I started up, skipping the first bolt on the traverse over to the start of the layback. Clipped the next bolt, started laybacking, clipped the second, skipped one, clipped and skipped again. Now here is the crux, where it slopes in and you really have to get in and reach to find a positive hold. I was pumped out of my mind.
I clipped the bolt and went for it. The feet had gotten a little better, and somehow my body positioning allowed me to sneak my knee into the crack. Using this kneebar, I was able to reposition my hands just enough to let me stand up into the chimney rest.
Who does that!?!? Who gets a kneebar on Perry's Layback!?!? I was so stoked, I was just screaming, WHAT THE f**k JUST HAPPENED?!?!?
Hit the anchors, brought up my second, we highfived, sang, danced. It was a joyous moment for
me, and I wasn't even done yet. However, there was nothing that could stop me now. I raced through the Flats, took a moment, then went for the Sail Flake. I hadn't realized that the feet were as good as they are, so I was able to protect it adequately without getting pumped, then hauled to the top.
Woohoo! First time leading every pitch, first time getting everything clean, and perfectly too! No feet slipping, nothing going wrong. It was the perfect day. We even beat the sun!
I don't think I have a reason to ever climb again.....
After reading the topo in Bourdon’s new Select guide, I am wondering if he has even climbed the route.
But great climbing nonetheless!
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