First, a couple of things about Squamish “14” It’s a shame that I will only get up here once in 2014, and a further shame I haven’t visited since 2010. I was once again swept up into the resort-like atmosphere similar to Red Rocks, and Yosemite. Big plans were made and re-made to suit the situation.
I signed on with Alpine Mentors with my friend Steve because I love to teach, and I tend to do that anyway. I was happy to join our 3 (already very capable) students and 4 mentors to a perfect fall weekend in Squamish. Ryan was first to experience my “fail forward” approach, as we tried to find Bulletheads East, but ended up on Krimo-Liquid Gold instead. We enjoyed doing the pitches without knowing the grade. It was a tough and fun outing.
Next up was Alex and Jon, and we had originally wanted to try Freeway, but came down to earth a bit and went for Borderline-Angels Crest-High Plains Drifter. This amazing link-up is the finest outing I have had in my 5 visits to Squamish. 15 or so pitches with distinctly different flavor, climaxing with the incredible position way up on the high plains. I let Alex and Jon do nearly all of the leading, but requested 1 lead up there. I got the 1st of the 2 on High Plains. It is an enduro hand crack that will make you wonder how much is left in the tank for the last pitch and its dyno for the top. Almost everyone struggled with it, and the leader cannot A0 through it either.
Of course I compared the climbing to my favorite local crag, and I must admit that I prefer the finer coarse crystallization, ambience, and the pitch for pitch wonder of my home crag. This will not keep me from more trips to the north for the long and beautiful routes I have still to see.
Laser beta for HPD crux: Dont go up the thin crack too far as you will miss the best hold for the reach to the right. Wind up and extend to the hold, but dont try to slap for a higher one. Step out right, then match hands. Rock onto foothold. the arete gets better up higher.