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dberdinka

TR: Life on Earth and Ashlu attempt

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After looking through the new KM guidebook I got excited about trying some of the alpine rock climbs around Squamish.

Headed up Thursday morning 7/26 to climb Life on Earth, a 5 pitch arete climb on Mount Habrich that KM raves about in the new Squamish Guide. The roads getting in there were rough and I'd hate to try it in anything but a 4wd-HC vehicle. With a heavy foot I was able to get around the road blockade and drive the last 5 sttep km before the trailhead. This made a what would have been a long day into something short and pleasant.

The overgrown logging road/trail is well marked and after about 20 minutes a cairn marks a path that leads up to Habrich. This is one of the steepest trails I've ever been on, but it's easy to follow. It took about another hour to get to the base of the route. The climb was 5 pitches almost all of which are rated 10c. Even by Squamish standards I'd say it was pretty soft. Most pitches felt more like 10a maybe 10b in spots. The climb, while good, is not as stupendous as the guide book makes it out to be. After a steep start, it's generally low angle friction/face climbing on a broad arete, a bit contrived in places. At the top a short scramble leads to the summit. Views throughout are excellent.

After fooling around at the Malamute and the Brew Pub in the evening we headed for Ashlu, an 11 pitch 10a on an 8500' peak described as excellent. The road mileage in Alpine Select was wrong so we made a number of mistakes and only arrived at short cut creek at 1 AM. Get a recreational road map if you haven't been there before.

Basically from the Squamish River Valley, cross the Squamish river on whats signed Bridge #1. Now your on the Ashlu Main follow your nose to avoid spur roads. Way back in there, maybe 13-14 miles from the bridge, the road forks. The left fork leads down and cross the river then up to an abandoned crane (wrong fork!) the right fork is steep and waterbarred. Follow it for 4 miles to a partially washed out bridge. Serious 4w driving. This is Shortcut creek. The description in Alpine Select for the approach is accurate, however 2 hours is ridiculous more like 3.5 to 4 hours from car to route. The country is beautiful, open forest, lots of glaciers, a beautiful lake, heather meadows.

We ended up wandering around and getting lost in thick clouds once we got to the high ridgeline. After climbing a couple pitches of excellent rock on what we later figured out was a steep tower on the lower SW ridge, we bailed in the pouring rain. A long wet bushwack led back to the car, another visit to the brew pub and a long wait at the border, the rain never letting up. Definitely a route to go back to, now if I could just get someone else to take their truck....

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You should check out the Pup Buttress on Harvey that is worth doing too. And short access you can be climbing 4 pitches up on that thing in the time it takes you to drive to Habrich!!

The Nose on Habrich (see regular Squamish guide) is well worth doing despite McLane's comments, too. And its 5.9 not 10b.

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