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Trip: Squire Creek Wall - Slab Daddy V, 510+, A0 Date: 9/20/2008 Trip Report: On August 22 and 23 Bill Enger and I made the 4th ascent of the Squire Creek Wall route I have been working on since just after the last glacial epoch. The original ascent was made by Bill and me along with Dan Dingle last September but we had a punch list of pitches to straighten out, ¼” bolts to replace and odd moves to free before the route seemed ready for prime time. As usual we spent a couple of days up there, enjoying the cooler temps and more reliable friction. Look online for the upcoming article in the Northwest Mountaineering Journal. Slab Daddy lives near the northern end of the mile-wide rampart of Squire Creek Wall and is reached by a fairly civilized approach along a decommissioned logging road followed by a shallow creek crossing and finally a 600-foot hike up through steep but largely brush-free old growth forest. The climb, which has tempted me since the previous century, turned out to be 22 pitches of pure Darrington joy. About half the pitches are 5.8 or 5.9 and the balance some sort of 5.10. While there is lots of bolt-protected slap and pray climbing that Darrington is famous for, there are also a good number of pitches on the wall that require gear, and one of them to at least four or five inches. The route reaches 5.10+ in a couple of places but still a short section of the 20th pitch has kept us grabbing at the draws. Yarding by two or three bolts in this fashion should see regular mortals (like me) through the difficulties without recourse to standing in slings. We’ve been getting by with a rack up to #4 Camalot and a few doubles in the .75-2.5 range. Having one #4 assumes a willingness to run it out a bit on 5.8 laybacks. The approach involves walking up the remains of the old road for about a mile and a half and then descending to Squire Creek at a point just opposite the route. To start the approach one walks across the landslide and regains the old road and at the far end. There are two points at which the roadbed has been washed out at culverts. The first has only a small bit of pipe exposed and the second, perhaps a half mile further on, reveals the entire metal pipe lying in the eroded creek bed. This is the signal that you are getting close. After 150 walking steps up the road from the corrugated metal pipe one will be able to see that, 1. The road (trail) gently starts to angle away from the creek (left). 2. The sound of the creek reveals that it is about as close as it is gonna get and, 3. There are three stones about 8”-10” across naturally embedded in the right edge of the roadway. (this isn’t a cairn and is pretty subtle the first time past). Descend to the creek in only a couple of hundred feet and hopefully arrive at a expansive gravel bar immediately opposite the slide alder swath coming down from the wall. If it’s the right spot there will be a truck sized boulder in the creek with a small bonzai tree growing out of it. On the other side of the creek, at the confluence of a small feeder stream and about 100 feet upstream from the crossing, is a largish bright boulder almost hidden in the brush. Climb over the boulder and follow a path across the fern forest for a hundred feet until a short 15-foot uphill leads up and to the left and into the old-growth forest. The path is not marked but we have walked the same way many times and a keen eye will be able to discern most of the path. Annual blowdowns and such do tend to obscure the path in places. At about 2/3 height a short rock slab and obviously avalanche-shattered tree will be visible 100-feet off to the right. Generally the route goes just far enough into the forest to stay away from the avalanche track out to the right. Stay in the big woods until just below the toe of the formation. Some years the bottom several pitches are buried in ice and avalanche debris until sometime in July. When the little ice field has finally melted back one can walk up the boulders past the very lowest portion of stone until cleaner ramps lead easily out left to the first bolt. Three thousand feet of climbing later one will pull over the summit ridge and marvel at the madness. The start of pitch 11 Otto on pitch 19 On the summit Rapping past pitch 19 Topo (large file) to follow. Gear Notes: Gear to 6” with multiples .75”-2.5”, 12 draws, 2-50m ropes recommended