Monday, August 31, 2009

Days 16 & 17: Bolts, Bombs and Bottle Rockets

The weekend's theme, it would turn out later, would be idiocy. We, being idiots, did not know this as we set off with a thousand pounds of water and gear to the top of the Chief.

After explaning to about fifteen parties of hikers the purpose of the massive gardening shears and crowbar attached to my pack, like an itinerant tinker's last-minute must-sells, we staggered to the top and suited up. This basically meant taking most of that thousand pounds out of the pack and strapping it to one's harness. Driller and I then rapped into the V-slot, past the undercling and to the top of what we called (for now) The Munge Pitch, so named because, well, it is a mass of shit that is more suited to planting a garden or meditating in than climbing. I rapped off that and onto the Top Traverse, and started clearing the top traverse. Driller hung on the Munge Pitch and began cleaning.

It was at this point that a voice floated out at us from climber's left warning us that we were bombing the ground. Now, we had been under the impression that nobody (except Perry Beckham, once in May, when sending his newest project) used our access trail. There are no routes in or under our line. So we have not worried about rockfall. But this fellow seemed concerned, so we laid off the trundling and got back to drilling chopping and scrubbing.

This is the undercling pre-cleaning in evening light.

The day ended up being rewarding despite our sudden feeling of "oh shit we could have kileld somebody." We got the munge pitch 1/3 cleaned and it actually looks cool-- it will be gear and a sporty bolted finish at 5.10+. I got the top traverse walkable, and we ended up on the slab traverse, which we cleaned and to which we added two bolts. This one will have cool sideways move son friction and small incuts, with a bit of heady exposure-- you are traversing over a roof 300m off the deck! Here's Driller on the traverse.

So we jugged back out as the hazy ari turned smoky orange and then purple, and on the top of the Chief we guzzled water, whiskey and then curries and dals. We got drunk enough that i decided, wooo-hoo, let's make the whiskey bottle full of gas and Molotov-cocktail the fucker off the wall, which proposal the Driller ixnayed tout de suite. We then set up our five bottle rockets. One of them made it off the wall, two fizzled, one backfired into my pack, and one-- even after I soaked it in gas-- refused to light. So the evening's idiocy ended. We called Jewels, who put up a "warning-- rockfall" sign on the Badge trail and on for us, and then we found sleeping places and passed out.

On Sunday we did more of the same: the V-slot was my job.
Four hours got the V done, then I headed over to the undercling and scrubbed that. Driller finished off the Munge Pitch, whihc is no longer full of crap-- it has 3 bolts finishing off a layback/stem crack and it will be pretty decent. With that we jugged out and walked off. On the way down, I stopped to wet my hair in the stream, and ended up falling in, much to my delight. Twenty-eight degrees and stoopid hyoomid, and I made a good show for the couple who were marvelling at how cold the water seemed...which to me felt like a warm bath.

Here's the Driller, meditating at the awesomeness of our line and the beauty of Squamish, slowly turning into a resort town for yuppies like me but also richer than me!

Today I spoke with Napoleon, who tells me that we have to be more careful regarding trundling: our access trail is apparently being used by guides taking clients to do The Ultimate Everything. So from now on we will post more warnings, online and physically, to make sure others are safe.

As of today, we have what I imagine will be six man-days left. We have to clean P2 and P9 (easy), clean the bottom of P11 and possibly install one bolt (if it's wider than 6"), clean the Munge Traverse (P10) and then remains the Mystery Pitch: P11. Napoleon and my fixed lines bypass this, so Driller and I will head up with a lead line and do this one ground-up. Plus the fixed ropes need to come off.

So, a good few days, a cautionary warning to us, and ever-closer to actually going climbing!

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