photo by Bradford MacArthur

Monday, 29 September 2014

East ridge of Alpha, Tantalus Range

Marc- Andre at the lovelywater dock at noon just before we split to opposite sides of the lake.
Yesterday I solo scrambled the East ridge of Alpha for the first time.  It apparently goes at 5.8, but the crux section is super short, only about 20 feet or so... and the rest is a nice 4-5th class scramble.  From this photo you can see the summits of Niobe and Omega about 1000 feet below (where Marco was climbing).  Car to car, including the cable crossing it took us about 9 or so hours.  I passed a team about half way up the ridge who decided to bail due to lack of time, and were surprised to see me arrive so late in the day to do a casual scramble.  I explained that going solo is much faster in situations such as this.
Heres a nice photo of the integral ridge of Alpha.  For whom it may concern, there is a complete marked trail through the dense forested approach up to the ridge, but the carins are hard to spot, and the decent is flagged with yellow and pink tape, but keep an eye out. 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The Shadow

The shadow, what to say about the shadow... well, its one of those routes where I found myself in a unique place I have titled the ‘self-encouragement stage’.  That special point where you have to verbally encourage yourself to keep pushing on. The thing about stemming, I have found, is that the longer I spend in one position the more likely I am to slip. Thats how this route goes, its unrelenting.  Fortunately my mental games worked and I was able to send the pitch on the third go ground up on lead. I made two attempts on sunday with very close calls and some fun runout whips into the corner (they were all clean falls)  We returned on the next day for the send.  
Photo by Anders  Ourom. The Shadow 12.d or 13a? The sheer dihedral which hangs high on the Squamish Chief, the direct line of Univeristy Wall- both esthetically and stylistically eye-catching.  

I also want to mention that I wasn’t on sighting, I had climbed the route on second last fall but wasn't ready to lead it. 
The corner has small pockets for gear but they are quite spaced which requires some exciting run outs.  About half way up the pitch the crack widens to #1 for about a meter which is the only rest on the route. However the transition move out from the jam and into the stem is what I found to be the crux. The walls are slightly undercut at this point making both my hands and feet insecure. The rest of the route is protected by stoppers which are run out, but super solid if they are placed right.

Saturday, 6 September 2014


Yesterday I was able to send my project up at Gonzalez Creek in Squamish at the Fferys Wheel crag.  I was lucky enough to have Marc Andre jug up my fixed lines to get some cool shots while our buddy Luke gave me a belay.  The route is quite complex with a lovely crack climb leading into various roofs, stemming, sport and dihedral techniques.  The actual grade, i'm not completely sure of, but a consensus has led me to call it 5.12c.  The gear needed for the stemming is super key,  A blue alien cam, some rp's and a single set up to #1.  I'll add a topo shortly and can give gear beta for anyone who is interested.  
Some laybacking on thin cracks leading into the stem corner. 

The stemming corner

The top of is a cool chimney feature into a #1 crack to the anchor