Heaven’s Gate ’16

9-11-16 Heaven’s Gate, UTW Index 5.11a/b 4p, 1 fall w/ Priti

I was eager to lead the crux pitch after following it clean back in 6-9-13. Steve was going for his 3rd try at leading it clean back then. It has a super steep finish capped by 2 back-to-back roofs!

Heavens Gate is an incredible face/sport route that starts again with the great giver, 1st pitch: Lamplighter. I am getting to the place where I need to repeat routes at Index, and this one was high on the list. Everybody on Mt.proj gives it 4 stars. Priti, a delightful, up-and-coming climber, picked this route on my list and we were off and running on my only day off again this week. She spared me my 5th straight lead on Lamplighter by getting her first red point on it. I then took the remaining 3 pitches(P2 is Hard!!) and systematically (slowly) worked each of them until the top of p4:  I got off route on the roofs twice, and couldn’t recover the 2nd time taking my own whip off it like Steve did 3 years ago. Makes me even more excited to climb it yet again, after easily dispatching the crux after my 1 fall. Beta is approach each roof from the left then moving right after over the lip with the arms. Stay leaned off to the left.

I have a bad case of Upper Town Wall syndrome and will probably be on Lamplighters trio many more times.

Heavens Gate

Thompson/Fuller Memorial

The Crimson Eye

Blake on HG

About David Gunstone the first ascensionist

Scroll past photos for specific info on the accident.

lesson to be learned from the accident:

Squamish Chief newspaper, Friday 28 May, 2004:

Quote:


Climbing death ruled accidental by coroner
‘Breakdown in communication’ cited in 2003 death on Grand Wall
By John French
Reporter
Like many days last spring, May 31, 2003 was a great day for climbing.
While it may have started as a good climbing day for David Christopher Gunstone, it certainly didn’t end that way.

Gunstone was in Squamish, visiting from Seattle, to do some climbing on that Saturday afternoon. He was with a group of friends and they were climbing a route called Exasperator at the base of the Grand Wall area of the Stawamus Chief. Exasperator is a popular route with a moderate difficulty rating. The route is described as a two-pitch crack climb.

Gunstone, 41, finished a top rope ascent at just after 5 p.m. He was on his way back to the ground when things went fatally wrong. Gunstone fell 25 metres to his death.

Coroner Jody Doll investigated what happened leading up to Gunstone’s fall and determined his death was accidental. Doll’s report was completed May 6 of this year.

Doll determined that Gunstone fell when his climbing team failed to tie two ropes together. Essentially, where two ropes were needed to lower him to the ground, there was only one in place and he fell to his death because he ran out of rope.

According to Doll’s report, Gunstone and his friends arrived at the bottom of Exasperator and met two other climbers already on the route. Gunstone’s group had met the other two climbers through previous encounters in the climbing area. The two climbers completed the first pitch on Exasperator and said they wanted Gunstone and his group to join them and lead the climb up the second pitch.

In consultation with climbing experts, Doll determined that two ropes were initially used to begin lowering Gunstone. One of the ropes belonged to Gunstone while the second one belonged to the other group of climbers.

“Mr. Gunstone and his group planned to leave after Mr. Gunstone was on the ground,” Doll wrote in her findings. “Their rope had to be removed from the system during the knot pass and replaced with a rope from the other group. When Mr. Gunstone’s rope was untied, the replacement rope was not attached in time. As a result, the rope passed through the belay device and Mr. Gunstone subsequently fell to the ground.”

Gunstone and one of the other climbers were using a belay system. Gunstone was on the wall and the helper was on the ground with a mechanical belay device attached to his harness. Gunstone also had a harness and the rope was securely attached at his end.

According to Doll, rock climbers have to look after their own safety and share responsibility for the safety of all the other members of a climbing party. “It is an accepted and common practice for climbers to double check knots and harness configurations, confirm instructions and vocalize plans,” she wrote.

“When a climbing situation develops into a social atmosphere, as is often the case when larger groups of acquaintances congregate at the base of a climb, and especially in a controlled top rope situation, a relaxed atmosphere often evolves,” Doll wrote in her report. “In these situations, the direct line of communication and psychological connectivity between the climber and the belayer is interrupted by exchanges taking place in the group on the ground.”

Doll found that a number of factors contributed to the fatal accident that spring day last year. “There was no well-communicated plan to complete the transfer of the ropes and there was a break down in the communication between the belayer and the rest of the group on the ground,” Doll wrote in her report. “The belayer instructed the third member of Mr. Gunstone’s group to complete the rope disconnection and reconnection process. The belayer stayed focused on Mr. Gunstone and assumed the rope reconnection had taken place. The belayer began to lower Mr. Gunstone and continued without noticing that the approaching end of the rope had not been reconnected.”

Doll learned that confusion developed between the two groups in the minutes before the fall as 60 metres of uncoiled rope lay at the base of the climb.

“This created a confusing mess of multiple untied rope ends that could not be easily identified and separated,” Doll concluded.

Gunstone’s resulting fall caused massive head trauma. After the fall a call was made to 911 and local emergency officials arranged for an air ambulance helicopter to take Gunstone to hospital in Vancouver.

Hwy. 99 was closed at the base of The Stawamus Chief for a short time while the injured climber was loaded into the aircraft.

“His injuries were catastrophic and he was essentially dead [from the impact],” Doll said in the days after the accident. “When B.C. Ambulance got there, people were performing CPR on him. Some of his body processes were shut down.”

 

Oregon Adventure Climbing

 

Oregon Adventure Climbing

Black Spider in topo.

The Center Drip, Black Spider, Mt Hood

Oregon Page
Welcome to my Oregon extreme climbing page. This  is where I learned to climb. I have a deep romance with the place as a result.
Oregon”Backwoods”climbing has a very distinct edge of adventure to it. Though it may be an acquired taste(and skillset), those who enjoy it can reap great rewards. Be careful here though , The rock isn’t always great.
Always carry extra gear to get down, and wear helmets.
           

Ice-Columbia River Gorge-the Black Dagger WI5+, FA

Black Dagger

 

 Oregon and more Access Page 

Tim’s New Book!!: NW Oregon Rock Climbs 1st edition

Mt Hood Guidebook!!

tme

Monster and Rabbit Ears

My Favorite Oregon Adventures:
Trout Creek
Turkey Monster    My report     Bens Red Bull Report
Rabbit Ears
Steins Pillar
St Peters Dome
Monkey Face
Beta: – Find The New I-rock Topo!
Portland
Rock
Beacon
Beacon Rock Stories
Abraxas- the Monument
Picnic Lunch Wall
Ice Climbing in the Gorge (When and if)
Mt. Hood: OPB Special
The Black Spider
it is a 1000’Norwand
Illumination Rock-Some of the best mixed climbing on the west coast. SW Ridge in summer. SE Butt in summer

illumination-rock-12-023

I-rock, Pitch 2- photo by Beau

Steele Cliff -mt Hood

Glacier Caving
Razor Blade Pinnacle
Lamberson Butte
Wolf Rock –Jeez!
Opal Rock, vast potential

TMGuides Cascade Classics
The North cirque of Thielsen is very beautiful!
Oregon Pinnacles Page
     St Peters Dome bit:
It was June of 94, right in the middle of my divorce. I went on a series of near suicidal climbing trips to test my mortality. An avalanche ridden solo on Johannesburg, an 80 foot unbelayed fall off Wind mt. .Eventually a solo of St Peter’s dome was the only success on the trilogy of trauma. The Dome was a great climb. Finding the start and good anchors was a challenge. When I got to the start ledge I was greeted by a selection of railroad spikes . They came in handy for the belay and one of my first aid placement. Working my way up on bugaboos exclusively, I was convinced for a long time that I was off route. There were no pin scars  to be seen. I later realized that an entire layer of rock had worn off since the last ascent in the 70s. Watching the blocks shift as I pounded, I could see how this happened. After a short free finish to the crux pitch, I found the belay sings rotted off the bolts and sitting on the ledge with the rap ring still through it. The traverse was exposed yet easy . The final pitch was difficult to find and very loose, When the angle eased off it became a foot thick carpet of moss. I tunneled under it for holds until it could support my weight. The summit was exhilarating and a forest had grown there that wasn’t in the old time photos I had seen. The register was a fascinating history of  those who dared the venture. As time wore on, I copied all the entries and enjoyed this amazing and exclusive summit . The descent was uneventful until I heard voices in the forest across from me. It seemed Bud Young was leading a party on the Mystery Trail. What an unlikely party we had at the saddle. Truly a bright spot in a difficult part of my life.
Part of a Mazama Annual Journal.

Update On St.Peters Dome!!The Big SPD got its (approx,) 20th Ascent!! Here is the Trip Report on Cascade Climbers!

Dave Jensen Photo Of SPD

Right before Christmas in 2005 The Columbia River Gorge became windy and cold enough to freeze its many waterfalls. One of the unclimbed prizes was a route behind Ainsworth state park. It  had seen many strong attempts, including one where Bill Price and I reached within 30 feet of the top.
During the brief 05 cold spell I looked at the route through binoculars, only to see Marcus Donaldson about to finally be the first to succeed on the amazing route.
That left only one unclimbed route to do: The Black Dagger (photo).

Ice Dec. 2005 040
I rushed back to Portland to tell my friend Lane Brown of our new plan. It included him buying new ropes , and us leaving at 4:00 am to try this extremely steep and exposed water course. As you can see the ice cicles do not reach the bottom of the cliff. In complete darkness I led up the loose rock and moss to the right . The way left evidence of previous attempts both to the right and straight on. A steep mixed traverse allowed me to reach the ice proper . With Lane and I committed now , we struggled up its overhangs and busted away the many smaller icicles that impeded progress. Most waterfall ice climbs are tucked away in corners or gullies. The Dagger is out on a prow, offering a steep and tremendously exposed position. 3 wild  pitches left us feeling like the climb had given us a tough go, but at the top we found the easy looking finish to be very tiring.
Reaching the top was so much more than a consolation for missing out on Ainsworth. We both agreed it was perhaps the best ice either of us had climbed. Our joy was cut short however on our last rappel down when one of Lane’s new ropes got stuck. Going with our new-found luck though , He got it back days later when the pillars melted away.
Lane confided when he took the picture , that he may not have been willing to try this route if he had previously seen it!

Oregon has a surprising amount of adventure climbing, as well as sport climbing. It is conveniently located between other great states for climbing. Often overlooked as a result, it does make a great place to live and play. Enjoy Oregon !!

1

Wayne's site

Black Spider in topo. The Center Drip, Black Spider, Mt Hood

Oregon Page
Welcome to my Oregon extreme climbing page. This  is where I learned to climb. I have a deep romance with the place as a result.
Oregon”Backwoods”climbing has a very distinct edge of adventure to it. Though it may be an acquired taste(and skillset), those who enjoy it can reap great rewards. Be careful here though , The rock isn’t always great.
Always carry extra gear to get down, and wear helmets.
           

Ice-Columbia River Gorge-the Black Dagger WI5+, FA Black Dagger

 Oregon and more Access Page 

Tim’s New Book!!: NW Oregon Rock Climbs 1st edition

Mt Hood Guidebook!!

tme Monster and Rabbit Ears

My Favorite Oregon Adventures:
Trout Creek
Turkey Monster    My report
Rabbit Ears
Steins Pillar
St Peters Dome
Monkey Face
Beta: – Find The New I-rock Topo!
Portland
Rock
Beacon
Beacon Rock Stories
Abraxas- the Monument
Picnic Lunch Wall
Ice Climbing in the Gorge

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“Free ” Mojo, S. Early Winter Spire

In my never-ending quest to climb every long rock route at WA Pass, Free Mojo rose up the list for this recent mini-weekend. I dropped my tools at work Saturday 2pm, and rushed off to meet Doug at my place, soon to be camped out at my usual haunt. Immediate relief followed once getting settled  back into my favorite mountains for a few relaxing hours. Doug is always good company too.

Blakes 2013 fa at the bottom of his page:

mojo

From Blake’s page, Free Mojo on left.

Dawn always arrives though and soon we were headed up with the masses to the busy town on the West side of the Early Winter Spires. First up though, I dumped 2 liters of water inside of my pack.

We had confidence we would be the only party on this obscure route “put up” only a few years ago . The condition of the rock was an immediate issue with lichen and patches of kitty litter on the rock surfaces. We figure the route had maybe been climbed 5 or so times, perhaps less. Doug made good on the headey first pitch with only 1 take, and I barely got the tr-onsight of it with cold fingers.  I had not climbed in several weeks, but was stoked about my chances at cruising the next pitch. I danced through a tough intro, but came off just above the first roof for a 15 footer. I sure haven’t taken a fall in the “alpine” in a long time.  I figured out that sequence, but the rest of the pitch was quite difficult too, and had me grabbing gear a couple of times at the tough, thin finish. I kept the lead going all the way to the top of p3. It didn’t seem to offer a good anchor where the book suggests, belaying atop p2. I suggest bringing 2 full sets of brassies for the lead too. The rest of the climb is very fun: p4 is $$ for 5.9 fun. It then joins the SW Rib for social time. Key beta is the N. face now has a rap route to the packs(single 60m).

For the most part the rock quality is good, and if more people climb it, cleaner conditions will arise. I will also suggest being prepared for a very difficult climbing experience. Much more difficult than the West Face of N. Early for example. For me though, it is fun to climb routes that are over my head. That is where the ambitious climber should find themselves from time to time.

Some photos courtesy of Doug. click to enlarge

Update from my friend Jeremy 8-20-16:Got on this today and a couple of thoughts: great route with a ton of potential but man it needs more traffic and needs to be cleaned. I’m wondering if it’s OK to take a small hand saw and take out some of those smaller trees to prevent all the crap from filling back up the cracks (I did a little crack excavation today). Pitch 2 and 3 are easily linked with a 70m. (Wayne: I did it with a 60m)Just save a .5, a small cam, and few small nuts for the heady ten section right before the belay and a 1, .75 and small nuts for the belay

My favorite Index pitch: Up’er Zipper

“Thanks for the work developing that climb! Tom”, I said as we hiked down the Upper Wall trail. He yelled out “You’re welcome” He was arguing with his friend over the FA of the route and renaming it.

“It” was and old 7 pitch aid route on the Cheeks formation, that now goes mostly free. Many people enjoy the 1st pitch of the (lower)Zipper, a total sandbag 10b. Just above that is a A3 roof that is mind blowingly big, steep, and thin. Above that is some dirt scrambling to reach the ledge called the Beach, an airy perch that is usually reached by traversing “the Perverse Traverse, 5.5” via ferrata style. There lies the war chest that Tom and friends use to scrub some of the steepest rock at Index. A few years ago they scrubbed and bolted the upper part of the Zipper route, and rumors floated that it was one of the best long pitches at Index. I went up there early last year with Jeremy and it was too wet. Last Sunday, I got my first shot at it after the usual spend Saturday-in-bed-rest. Doug was fresh off a one year sabbatical, and raring for the plan once I told him of the obscure and hard to get to adventure.

http://www.mountainproject.com/v/uper-zipper/108146751

It totally lived up to the hype. I made the mistake of not warming up on another route, but it was supposed to rain that afternoon. It got up in the face with steep powerful movement right off the ledge.Welcome shake out rests occur about 7-8 times along the way. What a way it is too, when combining the 1st and 2nd pitch into an mega 60 meter lead! Alternatively breaking the lead up into 2 pitches though leaves the party at a hanging belay, then leaves a committing start off the belay as well. It seemed more natural to do it in one long push. After spending 5-10 minute at each rest, I joked that I did the lead in 8 pitches. I got up it with 2 hangs to de-pump in an effort that took way more than an hour to get up. It is such fun that is hard to describe. You will encounter: every size crack, with flakes, knobs, sustained, steep difficulty, and an unbelievably classic pitch that will not easily be forgotten. As Chandler says: “I climb at Index because it is the highest quality climbing I have ever been blessed to experience. As far as the individual routes go I can’t imagine there being anything better in the world”.

‘Nuff said, enjoy some pics:

Crimson Eye, and a small ratings bubble.

Before I go into a rant about sandbag grades, let me first state that the 2 new lines on the Upper Town Wall are just fantastic, and are/will get much deserved traffic on them. Super technical, thin, and very bouldery, Thompson/Fuller Memorial and Crimson Eye offer some of the best face climbing you can imagine. It is so great to have even more outstanding choices at my favorite place to climb.

Mt Project Page: http://www.mountainproject.com/v/the-crimson-eye-/111804803

Yes, Index is an amazing place to rock climb, but everyone knows how the ratings are stiff in most cases. That’s the tradition here, and I get it, but do we want to keep raising the bar? My last 2 recent reports highlight 2 routes that deserve such ratings scrutiny. I believe the FA team are well suited to do routes much harder than the pair of routes, so maybe that is a factor. Bouldering has allowed the average climber to do incredibly difficult sequences, and develop far greater finger strength. Maybe my job and age are making climbing more challenging to me? I have always felt that routes should be rated for the on-sight first go at them. If you get it wired then maybe you have Index ratings? RIGHT next to these routes is a route called Heaven’s Gate . It is supposed to be 11a/b, and is way more doable than either of the pair to its left. Make your own judgement by doing these amazing climbs (if you can), but be ready for some tough climbing.

Details: p1: I led Lamplighter for my 4th time overall 10c. P2 then Jeremy got shut down and offered me the crux 2nd pitch, which I fell on, then sent, but grabbed the draw after crux to clip it. note: if you can clip the bolt after the crux move, go for the hidden jug to the right of it first, then it is more clippable.-felt 11d.  P3: Jeremy did an amazing job sending the stiff sequence on p3 (rated 10-. I fell 2x tr-ing it! We mistakenly went left? felt 11b/c, I am told there is an easier way to the right. Gear handy at finish. ). P4: I was amazed that I got through the 4th pitch without falling or having a mental breakdown, because it is such a crazy and awesome pitch -felt 11b, 36 meters.The climb took us 6hrs! Thank gosh that there are rest stances peppered along most of the pitches. What a ride!!

click images to enlarge

Brett Thompson and Scott Fuller Memorial Route, UTW, Index

Lane and I picked the perfect spring day to do one of the best new climbs at Index.

The Brett Thompson and Scott Fuller Memorial Route is a recent addition to the top of the fabled Upper Town Wall of Index. After a couple of steep old school trad pitches, it eventually gets up on one of those steep, and exposed slabs you find at Index that can have incredible face climbing.

p3

p4  photo by Lane B.

Here the rock can have features like: patina, tortoiseshell, thin seams, stegosaurus spiney craziness, with an occasional crystal pocket. I had to take some time to figure out the sequences, as they were neither obvious nor effortless. It felt like a never ending boulder problem, fitting perfectly with why I like climbing at here. Great challenges can yield great rewards.

 

“Bouldering with a rope” . Blake Harrington knocked it out of the park for me when he described what Index is to himself. The modern climber cannot deny the influence that bouldering has had on the sport of climbing. Bouldering demands intense concentration on ever smaller holds and figuring out some tricky sequence to solve a typically complicated body riddle. Get rid off the fiddle and extra weight of gear and of course you can find the sport at its most difficult. It is bringing up a generation of power house athletes that if they do rope up, will find routes that are very difficult indeed. Being an old schooler, I struggle with this influence at the gym, at the crags, and occasionally when I boulder. I am used to the slightly more natural lines, but do enjoy the prospect of pushing myself. Bouldering, and sport climbing are good ways to do just that.

The first ascension team named the route for a couple of close friends that took their own lives. The route is great and I hear the 2 young men were too. I’m told Scott was the master of slang and super strong boulderer and Brett the laid back trad guy with a sweet spot for Darrington. I am getting to know the fa team and I wish them peace and closure with their friends departure. Thanks for the huge effort it took to put up such a long outstanding climb and bringing your burden and collective memories to the community.

 

Another bout of Labor Pains

Ah early season. Stoke runs high, conditions are weird, and people forget to bring things. Plan “D”is often in play. Due to unfamiliarity and spectacular snow cover, it can be such  an amazing experience though, just good luck figuring what to do. Limited possibilities can crowd routes, but this Memorial Day, the weather kept many parties away. Monday was the only day it wasn’t snowing, so we made for the shorter West facing lines that got sun once it warmed up in the afternoon. We had picked Free Mojo, but the sun wouldn’t hit it before 1 pm. Labor Pains it was, even though Lane and I just had done the route last September. Would it be as fun as I remember?

I was rusty and the rock was damp, so I was not as relaxed as last time. The gear felt worse too in the damp cracks. I combined the last 2 crux pitches this time, and had the worst rope drag possible. Barely able to pull the crux and exhausted with drag of the 2 ropes, I still say that it is a great climb with a chip on its shoulder. I wish the pins could be replaced with bolts, and a good belay could be added to the last 2 pitches. It is dangerous to move off that belay there now with the way the bolts are. Don’t let my whining take it off your list though. Just bring long slings, Revolver carabiners, and some nerves.

click images to enlarge.

 

.

Index 4-16: Big weekend, and close call

4-15-16: Little Fire, and partner takes a huge fall on Law and Order, walks away with sprained wrist.

4-16-16: Solitude, and And Say.

Getting my first 2 day weekend in months had me amped to go big at Index. I had Paul lined up for plan of doing a wild route called Little Fire on Duck Wall. A fairly new route, the first ascentsionist  pulled the 5 hangers from the crux pitch bolts last season. There are thin gear placements to be had, but it makes for a bold, testy route that only a few elite climbers could onsite. I can understand why the fa team made the decision to do that, but it will keep me from repeating it unless it is restored. It was a very fun route to climb except for a couple of dirty pitches. The p2 hand crack is stellar, and the crux is just wild. I really hope to get a good shot at freeing it, but took aid for safety when we did the climb today.

After the spanking we received on that, I thought we should bring down the ambitions, and I suggested that we do Law and Order. Paul was hot to try it for his first 5.10 lead of the season. He did great getting through the crux thin crack, but came off while trying to clip a bomber .4 camalot. As the belayer, I instinctively reeled in an arm length of rope, locked off hard, and waited to see if his gear was going to hold. When I heard the first(of 2) C3 pop, I jumped off the dirt ledge and careened towards Private Idaho cliff top below. I fell 6 feet when the bolt finally caught him, his force pulled me halfway back up. He ended up taking a 40-50 foot fall and came down head first inches from a ledge.  We both had some bumps and scrapes. We called it a day, grateful that worse things hadn’t happened. When I retrieved the gear I noticed it was damp and dirtier than when I did it 2 weeks earlier. I had never used the jump-down belay save that I did. I know it puts extra shock on the system, but I knew the bolts would hold. I also knew he was 20+ feet above them. I think it was a good move at the time.

 

Well, I was not expecting to climb Sunday, but Jeremy was trolling, and I couldn’t resist another sunny day out. We started by repeating Solitude. It was as good as I remember, but dirty from the early season too. I got to lead the only pitch I had not yet led: the last pitch=such a money machine- and a bit edgy too. Jeremy had a bone to pick with And Say an “under construction” route that currently has 3 pitches. 2 of which are very good. The crux is so rad yet doable for the grade. Quite a weekend. I just checked in with Paul, he is doing great with a sprained wrist being the worst of it, phew. Live and learn.

Little Fire p2

Little Fire p2

Little Fire crux p4

Little Fire crux p4

Law and Order from about where partner fell.

Law and Order from about where partner fell.

Jeremy on p2, Solitude

Jeremy on p2, Solitude

Solitude p4

Solitude p4

And Say crux p2

And Say crux p2

 

4-4-16 index 6 p to 10d w sean

Running journal entry:   4-4-16 index 6 p to 10d w sean

Those words would ordinarily just blend in with my running climbing journal. But not this time. Due to my job schedule, I had not rock climbed for the past 4+ months. If you view my running journal, I wouldn’t expect any sympathy, however. I had lots of time to think about what my ideal first day at the crags would be. The best trip to Index would always include: Accommodating my partners ideas, doing a pitch or 2 that I have never done before, and repeating some of my favorites. Also not climbing for so long led me to be a little out of shape. So I would have to moderate the burning desire once I returned. The plan we came up with involved six amazing pitches on 3 crags:

Princely- Dr. Sniff– Beak, Beak- link up on LTW. Felt great for my first lead of the season being Dr. Sniff! It was so tough to leave the pull of the LTW. ” We must stay true to The Plan!”

Law and Order on Lookout Point. Great, long pitch that raps to 2 more classics: Baby Tapir, Strange Boar, for some shameless top roping!

The Snake. One of the most fantastic leads on Rattletale Wall. Small gear and dicey moves go on, on, and on .

It was Sean’s first time to Index. He did so well, I had to ask him if Index seems easy for him. He said it was not. Now its back to work 6 days a week again until September. Cant wait for my next mini vacation to Index for another day of magic!

Act of a Strange Boar

Act of a Strange Boar

 

Squamish 15.3

I am very excited to have gone to Squamish 3 different times this year!! What a great venue for long routes with low commitment. I can see why so many people are flocking there to climb and live. I hope the town and area handle the growing pains ahead.

I just finished 3 weeks off from work and was frustrated by the weather and lack of partners. I was able to get a great trip to Leavenworth, and finally a great trip with Lane to Squamish right at the end of it.

At the top of the list was Life on Earth on the SW Face of Mt Habrich. We took the Sea-to-Sky Tram which takes you just over half way up the mountain. A few easy miles, then long steep up-hill trail, leads to the split heading to the right in the trail, then the base of the route. Look for a red rope heading up to the base of the climb. The first pitch is very fun with cracks and face moves. The rest of the route has an occasional hard face moves with decent rock the whole way. We were surprised to see many parties up there even on a Friday, but we never were slowed down. We teamed up with the party behind us to double up our collective ropes and rappel the route. Much better option than going down the other way in rock shoes. Thanks to Gary and Elise for the option. Great day in the mountains.

Next up on Saturday was the big prize: Milk Road and its legendary 4th pitch endurance corner. It was wet at the start of the route, but still fun going up the 2nd pitch with its arch and face moves.. but before we knew it, I was headed up one of the best pitches in Squamish determined to on-site it. It got to where it seemed silly to do it in the best style because I got very tired, and the lead took a long time. I should have just hung on a piece of gear, but I was not giving in, and got to the top under what was left of my own power.. The rest of the route was pretty forgettable except for the super crazy 8th pitch. What a wild ride it is, with delicate foot mantles and insane exposure. Once again I was determined to get it clean, and thanks to a great climbing season, I did!!

We topped the long weekend off with Bulletheads East, a 4 pitch romp that has great fingers and hands the whole way up on good rock. I am very grateful to have had such good weather and climb 3 long routes as I am headed back to a work project that will last 12 months with no more breaks. (regular) Life goes on.

Habrich Beta Mt. Project.  cc.com report

Milk Road beta

Bulletheads East mt proj

click images to enlarge…