Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The professionals review our route.

As you all know, the Squamish Mountain Festival is coming up and a few of the legendary climbers who will be presenting and/or teaching clinics have already started trickling into town. And, by a remarkable coincidence, a few other legends have been around at the same time. Many of them have heard of our route and have come out to look at it and thrash on top-rope.

Here are what the world-famous have to say about our line.

Peter Croft: "Wow! I can't wait to free this! it is definitely going to be one of those routes that lives in your dreams! I am gonna drink three litres of Peet's Coffee before I try anything as crazy as THIS line!"

Lynn Hill: "If I weren't so damned busy with my new teach-yuppies-to-climb business, i would commit to a few months on this monster, which inspires me even more than trying to free the Nose did."

Simon Yates: "Ranks up there with my own routes as among the hardest, most dangerous and of course most committing in the world. Hopefully neither of the FAs will have to cut the other loose when it finally goes"

Derrick Hersey: "I was in the pub when I saw this line. I would have done it before this pair of cunts, but I had me pint and me fish and chips to eat first, right? And now I'm fucking dead. More's the pity."

Will Stanhope: "Anybody can climb 5.14 on gear. The new frontier, really, is going to be low 5.12. Especially bolted 5.12. The line looks totally amazing!"

John Bachar: "Well I'm fucking dead too now, aren't I? But if I weren't you can damn well bet I would be onsight soloing this thing. But for all the people in the world who aren't me, well, good for these guys, this route looks awesome and at least they are doing it ground up."

Sonnie Trotter: "I did seven hours of yoga, three hours of coffee drinking, and had ten hours of sleep, and I STILL couldn't get up the nerve to try this route, it looks so hardcore. I need to lower my fitness level from 5.14+ to 5.12-- not an easy feat, let me tell you-- to be able to do this route."

Will Gadd: "Ok, now, everybody knows I am the greatest climber in the entire world. And not even *I* could climb a route like this. Next year I am giving up ice and mixed climbing, my family, my sponsorhips, my flying and indeed all of my material possessions to train 25/8 for this route. Yea!"

So the route should be pretty good, if all of these world-class types are raving the way they are. All we have to do now is finish it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pitch info etc as of July 28

Grades and lengths are guesses.

Aborted/delayed P1&P2 (55m) Aided & fallen off of by Chris. Partly drilled by Chris & Napoleon.

P1 25m 5.9? Aided by Chris & Kasper. Cleaned partly by Tony McLane.
P2 30m 5.10a FA Chris, cleaned (somewhat) by Chris & Kasper.
P3 30m 5.10D/5.11a? Aided by Chris, cleaned Chris, Dylan Connelly
P4 30m 5.10a (?) Aided by Chris, cleaned by Chris
P5 35m 5.12a? Aided/drilled & cleaned Dylan Connelly
P6 30m, 5.7? Cleaned & drilled by Chris
P7 20m 5.12a? Aided by Dylan, cleaned (somewhat) by Chris
P8 15m 5.10a or 5.10c? Aided by Chris & Dylan, cleaned by Chris
P9 30m 5.9? Aided & drilled Dylan

Monday, July 27, 2009

Day 9 &10:

After the nut and the cam ripped, and I fell backward 8 meters into space, the stove-sized flake I'd been standing on cracked and tumbled toward me.

* * *

Dilly and I arrived at the route Saturday in Napoleonic style: neither of us had had coffee, water or breakfast that morning, so thank God for McDonalds, with whom we are in negotiations for sponsorship. We are, by the way, selling sponsorships on the route. Basically, the harder the pitch, the more money we want. McDonalds wants the 12- dihedral so that will obviously be Open Big Mac. Dolce & Gabana are interested in the long crack so that will be the Damn I look Hot! pitch etc.

Here is a picture of the Shit Pillar, a death-waiting-to-happen semi-detached feature that thank God we don't have to climb past. Dilly is jugging up and is praying that the Shit doesn't come down on him.

This is a view down the route. Here, Dylan is about 10 meters below the start of the dihedral pitch. The bushes up and left are on the Green Line Ledge.

This is aid climbing...clusterf**king with wads of gear.

Anyway we sweltered up to the base then jugged to the trees, finisahed the water, then I set off on lead. I wore 1 trad rack, 1 drill, a shitload of bolts, yadda. Basically, leading on aid is to regular climbing what being in the Army and doing a forced 50 nmile training march (with full gear) is to going for a nice 10k.

I swung like a spastic, sluggish moneky through two trees, at which point above me came into view a massive knife-blade hanging flake. So I aided around it along the steep, overhanging left-trending v-slot. At its top I put in an A1 #2, then reached out and slotted a cam behind the top of the death flake, and then a nut and a cam higher. After I bounced them, I climbed free over the edge and found myself standing ona small shelf. Then my foot slipped and I tumbled backward toward the trees. When I stopped, the highest nut and cam I had placed were at my waist. I looked at Dylan through the tree branches.

"Hey," he said, putting down the binoculars, "those people over there on that other route, they are watching you. They just saw your awesome fall! Oh, and are you ok?"

I climbed back up, and tried slotting the nut and cam back in. Weirdly, they were too small for the crack where I'd placed them. So I pulled two bigger ones, stuck them in, and mantled over the lip again. I drilled, then pounded in a bolt. As I reached for the hanger, my foot slipped. I fell backward off the lip. And as I fell, I heard the nut and cam rip, and when I stopped, I heard a crack, and the stove-sized block above me blew and tumbled down.

Aid falls, I would realise later, are either no big deal, or deadly. You don't have time to be scared cos, unlike trad leads, you have no idea your pieces or feet are going to blow. And so you just fall-- no anticipation-- and either it's ok, or you get hurt. The huge block whooshed two feet from me and when it hit the wall 50 meters down, our position trembled. I asked Dilly to take over, then said "fuck it" and went back up-- the danger was over. And the irony was, the cam that had held two hug e ones was...the cam behind the death flake!

I finished the bolt, clipped, breathed, and headed up. eight feet up, I slotted in another cam, moved past it, and fell AGAIN. The cam ripped but thank God for the bolt. I handed the lead off to Dilly and belayed, dazed, stunned.

Dilly did a couple of dicey hook moves and then drilled a belay at the base of a loooong beautiful corner. We stashed our gear and rapped as a sick yellow light and odd swirly wind whooshed sround us. When we got to the car, a curtain of water ripped across the road and we headed for the pub.

On Sunday, we awoke to sweltering humidity and in true dirtbag style cooked brekkie at the base of the Grand while a series of climbers pulled up, glanced at the wall, and bailed when they saw the insanity of last night's rainstorm still coating the walls.

I jugged to our high point-- ah, only water and drill to haul today!-- but poor Dilly had left a jug on top, so he was humping with one jug and a gri-gri. No fun if you have a pack. At the high point, I discovered that Dilly had forgotten to anchor his jug and the think about my massive block-ripping fall from yesterday. I hadn't noticed the crack widening. Dilly forgot to tie his gear down. I put it down to dehydration. No food, no water = dumb climbers.

At this point we had to decide-- up the dirty corner, with possibility of poor/no pro (read: slow and loads of drilling) or up the handcrack stuffed with loose flakes. We opted for the corner, which looked like this.

I know, it doesn't look awesome...but that's cos it's filthy. You wait till you climb will be very pleasantly surprised.

Dilly set off up the dirty but beautiful corner while the gri-gri belayed him and I hung on my pitch from the day before, ripping out blocks and scrubbing. At day's end, I jugged up to the patch of forest where Dilly had built an anchor, and saw that he'd led upa magnificent corner that will go at 5.9 or so when it's had a scrub. We couldn't see a damned thing from the forest and we had the ladies waiting for their menfolk, so we stashed the aid rack and hardware, and sailed down.

Here's a pic of the dihedral, pre-cleaning, from our current high point.

Now, thanks again to Kevin McLane-- we will need his photo to see where we go next. I am hoping to get some climbing in in the Bugaboos, then back on he route mid-Aug. Blicker has said he will get on it soon, good, we need P1 and P2 cleaned, and...yea. We are nine, count 'em, NINE, pitches up! When this is done, we will have a 12-15 pitch 12- (or 11-A0) free route on an unclimbed part of the Chief. How cool is THAT?

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Electric Pepper Grinder

Ok, so...I am lying on my belly on the Green Line. Around my neck are a trad rack, a drill, and what feels like 50 other things. I am crammed into the last 20 feet of the Green Line and I can't move. And all I can think about is...Stovo's electric pepper grinder.

At breakfast, Stovo-- who remains fodder for all of our status-envy yuppie-cunt jokes-- busted out an electric pepper grinder. It whines, it grinds, it looks like a sex toy, and of course he got a really good deal on it, otherwise he would never have bought the damn thing. As I am lying on the ledge, I want an electric pepper grinder to clean the masses of bush and munge that are clawign at my waist. I want this to be quick and easy but instead I have Dilly laughing as I crawl thrash and snip.

"Hey are you sleeping there or what? How's that nice comfy ledge?" as he plays with his new iPhone. Fuck, they should make an iCleaner that deals with iLedges. Here's the view.

I took the rack off, hung it on a bolt, and thrashed forward. Looking back this is the Green Line munge-fest.

After a buttload of snipping, I fired in an anchorand brought Dilly over. It looked
something like this. Come to Papa, Dilly-boy! Yea baby. WORK that cave!

Dilly then started up the next pitch, the left-trneding overhanging hand crack. Whiel he led, the gri-gri belayed him and I clean the Green Line. There is a pleasant rhythm to the day-- you scrub, heave, trash-talk your partner, swig water, repeat. It's not the adrenal thrill of sending, but it's engaging. As Dilly neared the top of his pitch, I looked back, and the Green Line was clean. Satisfying. Good necessary work done.

Dilly fixed the newest static which belongs to The Filth, Dilly's brother in law. The Filth is currently travelling with his wife (hard to believe but this wonderful woman married him) in Nepal. The Filth's Patagonia organic hemp static line twanged down to Dilly as he pendulumed back and forth trying to get to the dihedral belay. I jugged an A1 probably 5.11+/12- pitch which other than a wee bit of moss is basically ready to climb.

At the belay I craned my head back as far as I could and saw only possibilities...up and left into a long corner? Up over an overlap into blocky cracks? The great joy of ground-up is that every day is new discovery. We could be doing this top down, but then it would just be filling in the obvious blanks. Colouring inside the lines. Following a blueprint. This way feels like we are going somewhere new.

Finally here is Dilly on rap at the middle of the 50m handcrack.

We rapped down and packed up. How awesome a feeling-- a traverse pitch drileld and cleaned, a new pithc led, mostly cleaned, and fixed. We now need only 3 loooong jugs to our high point, we have probably 2 mid 10 pitches to easier ground, and then it's wonly traversing to the V-slot. Stay tuned-- more on July 25th and 26th.