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[TR] Squire Creek, Illusion Wall - New Route: Epic Tail of Sir Norbert 10/31/2015

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Trip: Squire Creek, Illusion Wall - New Route: Epic Tail of Sir Norbert


Date: 10/31/2015


Trip Report:

I have been meaning to post up here for a while, as this route has been done for 1.5 years now.


This here is a "new-ish" route on the Illusion Wall. It shares existing pitches from a route put up by Crazedmaniac and friends in the 70's.


This route starts 30 feet to the right of "Schizophrenic" Lined in purple on this photo.



This route was a great adventure for us over the past 3-4 years.

It covers old and new ground and offers a surprising amount of crack climbing combined with some nob and short friction sections.


All pitches have bolted rap anchors except for the start of pitch 9. Here is a link to the mountainproject write up for more of the story, topo, and pitch-by-pitch. I will let the photos and my friends mountain project post to tell you the rest.

Mountain Project




Matt following pitch one. Two bolts have replaced those terrifying pitons.



Pitch two



Pitch 2 chimney finish!



Lower pitch 3



Upper pitch 4



Lower Pitch 5



Cruxy and amazing pitch 6!



Upper Pitch 7






Pitch 8



Ken Strong bolt?



Lower pitch 10. Anyone see what is scary in this photo?












On our first complete ascent of the route we climbed a very nice hand crack on the right-hand side of this detached flake. Upon approaching the Illusion Wall the following Spring we noticed some of the trees at the base of the wall had been beheaded!

There is now a large white scar the size of a medium sized car where the flake used to be. I am so happy it is gone!



FYI the upper pitches are still a bit dirty with some small loose rock potential especially pitch 8.


We plan on making another trip up there to clean and replace a few old bolts that need replacing this Summer.





Gear Notes:

Double rack .3-3, single 4 and optional 5 for the short chimney.


(This does not seem like a standard Darrington rack! :rawk:


Approach Notes:

See the mountain project page

Edited by mountainsloth
Wrong beta

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hey Chris.... DONE? it took us (Ken Strong, Mike Rose, #1, and Walter Brischgi from Switzerland) over 4 years doing everything from ground up, on this route Ken and i called, BAD SIGN. Cause every time we went up there, between 93 and 96, we saw a "BAD SIGN"! Not the 70,s, started climbing up there regularly in 1986. (THE skitzo route used to be called 7 pins, as it was done once with just 7 pitons, and other reasons). This means, putting in all the bolts, ON LEAD. Have watched you over the years hanging from the ropes drilling bolts and guessing, replacing ours. Sure you missed some of my 3/16 button heads, cause i used to, all the time when leading out 60 or 80ft on a small 1/4" bolt, and get totally terrified, looking at a 120+ft tumble and scrape bounce. We have done all but about 30 or 40 ft the way you did. Also, the top of the 3rd pitch (our 3rd)was where i said to Ken, look at this, this wall is an Illusion, which was how it got its name. The last 2x,s we went back to climb it again, i could not lead out to the 1/4"bolt i could see, with NOTHING BUT QUICK DRAWS, that i drilled many years earlier, with over 40lbs of gear on. Tried 4 or 5 times, only to come smearing back or slide to the end of the rope. I cried, (literally) cause it meant i wasn't the climber i used to be...say, A.G.E.? Ken told me then and there, "yup, you used to have major balls and bold grips". Guess i have no excuse to go back now! Have also climbed many pitches (about 10 or 13) between BAD SIGN, and 7PINS. This route is also the place where Ken rapped off the end of his rope, FALLING OVER 50FT onto a small ledge, bouncing 3 times with a old 300ft 5/8 fixed line in his pack we had up there for 2 years. We were rapping back down, after solo freeing "PRIMAL SCREAM, on the south face, and kens screaming while falling was how that got it name. I also was rapping down a old black fixed 3/8" static line one night, 3rd pitch(after major rock cleaning way up on the wall) and the rope turned white going thru my robot at high speed (rope got cut by rock)then i was free falling to my death, only to have the 2 climbing ropes "appear" next to me, as Ken had thrown them off the belay before i went off the end of the rope, saving my life ... AGAIN!

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how hard, esse? :)


gotta get back up to d-ton sometime - nothing like the smella pine n' a whole lotta nobody....

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Love it! The history, the brush, the fire on Jumbo, the death blocks, all of it. Darrington to the core. Thanks and keep up the good work!

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Hey crazed,

This is Chris's friend Jeremy. We all met at the trailhead a little while back. Yes, we are basically done. Still a couple of older bolts up there but they are still in pretty good shape and surrounded by either gear placements or new bolts. It's much safer and cleaner than it used to be but think it still holds some of its original character (someone stated that it was "gently" bolted). It is certainly one fun and unique line. Thanks for letting us play on a bit of your history. Hopefully you'll get a chance to climb it again with a bit less daring needed.

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We think it's that magical Darrington grade of 10+

I have climbed the crux pitches 3 different times and they all felt different. Summer sun makes it feel 5.11, yet autumn coolness made it feel a mere 5.10. It's protected well either way and as of last summer, the pitch 7 crux was home to the only lead falls.



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Hello Crazed! Chris here. You have some amazing stories about this area! Sometimes I think you are like a cat with its 9 lives! How many do you think you have left? I remember our conversation vividly about the area of this route specifically. I too have my own stories of excitement that I can share the next time we see one another. We definitely saw a handful of your bolts on either side of this line. Most of what we did was clean following crack systems all the way to the top. We definitely could not have done it without your pioneering.


We had high aspirations of doing this route on lead, however we also wanted to create a route that people would climb and was safe. Thus, we ended up bolting a few pitches on rappel to protect the difficult sections. We think it's pretty safe now, and would love to climb it with you someday.


All that said, I think this route, after a bit of traffic and cleaning, will be, a classic route on par with the likes of Dreamer and Search for the Holy Greyall.


Ain't no doubt, Darrington is one of the best and most unique climbing venues in the world!





Edited by Nowurys

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