Friday, August 28, 2009

Day 15: The Longest Biener Chain in Squamish

Today's question: where are we going to PUT things? Where will our line go? Will it go where we think it will? Do we have enough ropes etc? But first...

Ihe Apron parking lot, at 9AM sharp, was the scene of may weirdnesses.

First, Tony McLane was a new item of clothing. A bright pink hoody. Wearing-- err, I mean, "rocking," this with one of his usual Valley-Dirtbag-Circa-1977 headbands (today's coloured orange-- McLane may be poor, but the man has a quiver of bandanas ready to deploy at a moment's notice). I have never seent his man with anything not second hand. So I thought perhaps he'd been seduced by the dark side of a climbing sponsorship, or maybe Gotten A Girlfriend, or perhaps been abducted by (and replaced with) an Alien (the creature, not the cam). But no, apparently his Mother took an interest--let's not speculate on the reasons-- in her son's usual melange of cotton, polyester and duct-tape, and got him this stylish hoodie.

Second, there were NO CLIMBERS on this perfect bluebird of a day.

Third, Napoleon was on time. And he had already had breakfast, lunch, water, coffee, yadda. This occurence is usually about as likely as, say, my psycho ex girlfriend being civilised, or the moon turning green, or all the hipsters suddenly disappearing from Main Street as their fixie bikes all mysteriously catch a deadly infection at the same moment.

So after taking it all in, we loaded up and started the hike up the Chief. Today's mission: rap the route from the top, clear away brush and boulders, and connect to Driller and my high point.

So as we "hiked" we passed the usual clusters of tourists, and were passed by one trail runner, adn then we ran smack into the ass-end of a Lady Train: two English of a certain age, and their twentysomethign offspring. Of course Napoleon and I moved immediately into flirt-with-stranger mode. My tactic which is not rally a tactic, since it's the only thign I know how to do, was to shit-talk. Since Miss Offspring was a kinesiology student from Toronto, I asked her why she was walking so slowly, my impression being that Kinesiology grads were basically ex-jocks who when not lifting weights were busy training for triathlons. When she said "hey, you guys are climbers, you should be fit, move faster!" I told her to run ahead, I was about to take my shirt off, and I didn't want any woman chaos. I got a few giggles for that.

Napoleon tried an older strategy: "Oh, you're from Toronto TOO?" He didn't get a giggle but he got the usual exchange of what-did-you-study. Then Miss offspring turned on her inner deer and bounded up the trail, giving us a clear view of her tail. Now it could be because my girlfriend is not only the hottest woman I have ever been with (and smart too, well, smarter than me at any rate) but because she also has the finest ass in the Universe (yes, Angelina Jolie, you are a distant second; suck it up, Pitt) but Miss Offspring's butt didn't do much for me. Napoleon on the other hand was convinced that not only was she flirting with him, but that her assets were in fact of finest quality. Well, she was aiming for the first, second AND third summits, one of which we would reach, and so, said Napoloeon, he would work his angle later and see if she could be invited out for a beer. Obviously I am not on the market, but if I were, dear Readers, who would have a better chance with the young lady? Post a comment and let us know!

OK, back to climbing.

Here is Napoleon rapping off the very top.

What followed was basically the construction of the world's longest biener chain. With a few chunks of fixed rope added. We rapped the V-slot and the right side looks STUNNING-- it will be a perfect large-hands crack, in a cool position, in a really interesting feature.

Under the v-slot is a leftward undercling under a massive roof. Under THAT we got into serious gardening and rock trundling, with a freaking-out Napoloen bellowing about short-fixes while I blithely sailed off into thickets and snags. It didn't help that cutting one too many big branches finally destroyed my beloved pruning shears, and so for the rest of the day we thrashed downward, making intermittent progress, like a Platonist in a conference of post-Modernism, or like a stoned dirtbag in the candy aisle at 7-11. We also had about 200m too much static line-- which weighs a fucking TON-- so there was a lot of clusterfucking with ropes, yadda.

Here is Pitch 11-- removing two bushes and about ten feet of moss will make a cool 5.10+ o/w pitch (well a layback really).

The exploration ended with an epic thrash through brush to Driller and my high point.
Napoleon looked like a stoned racoon with dirt and sweat rings around his eyes. I looked like a prisoner of war loaded with a thousand pounds of gear and the route looked like a massive gardening project.

So finally we had the answer to the first question: where is our line? The route is now more-or-less set, with just a few things to figure out on 2 pitches. We have 90% of our bolting done. What will emerge is an 18-pitch free route that goes to the very top of the Chief, with some 5.12 on it, a huge variety of climbing, some serious exposure in parts, and you could potentially lengthen our route by adding a few others to it.

Here's me and Young Napoleon ready to shop for some Work Wear

Much like Mexican machistas, who at cantinas keep the evening's beer and brandy bottles on the table to not only help the server keep track of the tab but also to show the rest of the cantina how manly they are for drinking so much, Napoleon keeps all of his Starbucks garbage IN HIS CAR just in case anybody fails to see how much he REALLY likes Starbucks. And HERE was the end of our day...we knew where the route would go, but where was I supposed to put my goddamned feet?

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