Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • olyclimber

      WELCOME TO THE CASCADECLIMBERS.COM FORUMS   12/08/21

      Thanks for visiting Cascadeclimbers.com.   Yep, we are still going!    Just put a new coat of paint on the site. Still the same old community of climbers, skiers, and people who love to get outdoors. Hope you had a great 2021, and wish you the best for 2022 and beyond.  Thanks again for stopping by.
Sign in to follow this  
DavidW

first ascent [TR] Squire Creek Wall - Slab Daddy V, 510+, A0 9/20/2008

Recommended Posts

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

2-Pitch11David.jpg

 

Otto on pitch 19

1-Pitch19Bill.jpg

 

On the summit

3-summit_photo.jpg

 

Rapping past pitch 19

4-Rappel19David.jpg

 

Topo (large file) to follow.

 

Gear Notes:

Gear to 6” with multiples .75”-2.5”, 12 draws, 2-50m ropes recommended

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

wow! thanks for the awesome looking line. I bet that was just a ton of work and money. Thanks again, looks awesome

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is an interesting photo taken by David Gunstone, years ago, with a medium format camera. The Slab Daddy route overlaid in red.

 

daddy_diagram.jpg

photo: David Gunstone

Edited by DavidW

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow! I can only imagine the logistics and work it must have taken to get those upper pitches in. Looks like an absolutely incredible climb, I can't wait to get on it. Thanks Dave and company.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sweet Dave! Let the lineup begin. :)

 

thanks for the tremendous work you and your friends have put into making the great lines we get to enjoy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great effort Dave and all-

 

I really hope to get up there to sample the goods this fall. Thanks for the energy, time, and passion it takes to play on this giant wonder!

 

:rocken:

 

 

M. Hanna

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice work Dave and Co.!

It is really great to see the area getting some quality lines with real thought and the appropriate gear, so that others may enjoy such a spectacular area.

Great job and much thanks for all the effort.

Tyson geBauer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice job David et al, glad to see that you guys finished a line on that bad boy!

 

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
is there a good bivy anywhere along the route? seems long for a day climb :)

 

The ledge at the top of pitch 11 is big enough for a few people. Check out the topo on the previous page.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

 

This is the boulder you're looking for.

 

boulder.jpg

 

Slab Daddy Stoke

 

slabdaddy1.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beautiful topo. Looks amazing. Thanks for all of your hard work and investment. Any idea how hard the A0 will be when it goes free?

 

According to some logic floating around here, the person who frees those moves can rename the entire line and claim the FFA :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did the approach with my 12 year old yesterday, just to check it out. She read the approach info from here, and found our way up there no prob. Pretty easy, short approach for a D-town big wall.

Kinda curious if the first pitch ever really dries. The first bolt was in the water course yesterday.

Anyway, thanks to Dave and crew for all of their hard work.

If anyone wants to jump on this any day in the next week or two, let me know.

 

Cheers.

Jimbo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sloth asked about bivy ledges on the route, and Argus mentioned the high ledge. David and Dan were pleased to find this great ledge at the top of what is now pitch 11, just below the Feature. It proved to be the key to spending large amounts of time within reach of the upper pitches. It is called the Balcony Bivy. Here is a typical morning coffee time on a typical working day, June 24, 2008:

 

BalconyBivy1WEB.jpg

 

Zack and Otto packing up to go down after the same work session. Note the yellow river-rafting dry bags lined up at the storage bolt in the bush. First two bags were purchased and deployed, found useful, and then another, and yet another. We didn't leave them up over the winter, but they worked out great during each of the last two seasons.

 

BalconyBivy2WEB.jpg

 

The ledge is broad and flat in three places, for comfortable sleeping. There is not a lot of water available on it, with just a little puddle, but there are good pools two pitches down. We fixed lines and jugged back up with 2.5 gallon bottles filled to stock the ledge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Climbed the Slab Daddy on Saturday, 9/12 with Geoff Cecil. Besides being a bit hot, we had a great time. Our plan was to climb/bivy @ balcony/climb mostly because we weren't quite sure what we were getting into, but the first half of the route goes really quickly. We ended up climbing the whole route on Saturday, leaving packs at the top of 11, and bivying on the way down. We arrived at the top with barely any light left, and rapped back down to crash and finish the rappels the next morning. As nice as the Balcony bivy is, next time I'd take one small pack with lots of water, and do it all in a day.

 

Here's some pic stokage (I'm working on editing the bit of video I took):

 

Racking up the night before

 

IMG_0532.jpg

 

Looking down the first two pitches...

 

IMG_0533.jpg

 

...and up at the rest of the wall

 

IMG_0534.jpg

 

Early on

 

IMG_0536.jpg

 

IMG_0537.jpg

 

Start of Pitch 11, the '50 meter headwall'

 

IMG_0538.jpg

 

Did I say it was a bit warm that day?

 

IMG_0539.jpg

 

Umbrella Tree and top third of the route

 

IMG_0540.jpg

 

Looking down at the Balcony bivy

 

IMG_0541.jpg

 

Following pitch 12. Packs are left behind!

 

IMG_0542.jpg

 

Another view of the upper wall. Actually, only the last three pitches of Slab Daddy can be seen in the right portion of the pic.

 

IMG_0543.jpg

 

Finishing up pitch 12

 

IMG_0544.jpg

 

Savoring the shade of the pitch 13 corner. It was short lived.

 

IMG_0545.jpg

 

Finally. Full time shade around pitch 18

 

IMG_0546.jpg

 

Easy, wide layback. Pitch 19

 

IMG_0548.jpg

 

East Face of Whitehorse

 

IMG_0549.jpg

 

Whooped!

 

IMG_0553.jpg

 

The approach and other beta from Dave is great. We had a 3.5 and old 4 camalot, and would have been fine with just the 4.

Super fun route with a great partner.

 

Thank you again to David Whitelaw and company for their huge effort in seeing this vision through, and sharing with the rest of us.

Cheers.

Jimbo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×