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markwebster

[TR] Squamish - smith - trout - running from the rain 9/1/2013

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Trip: Squamish - smith - trout - running from the rain

 

Date: 9/1/2013

 

Trip Report:

Now that the rains have arrived I've slowed down enough to post some pictures from my 18 day road trip.

I get 9 weeks off a year, and these breaks between quarters are so long I seem to live two separate lives.

Not that I'm complaining though. I vividly remember my job hopping years when I was lucky to get one week a year.

 

My plan was to find one partner to accompany me the whole time, but that fell through.

I ended up climbing with 9 different partners over the trip.

So without further adieu, here is the story and pictures (Canon 6D)

 

I started Labor Day weekend in Squamish with a new partner I met here on CC.com. Internet dating at it's best!

 

I'd never met Aaron before,

but he had climbed with Laurel, and any friend of Laurel is a friend of mine.

 

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Aaron and I warmed up on cat crack at Neat and Cool, Smoke Bluffs.

I saw this guy doing a fine job leading Flying Circus. He said he was a local, but we never managed to hook up so I could get him these photos.

A couple weeks later when I was warmed up I also led this fine 10a finger crack, with twice as much gear.

The moves on this one are super fun. It looks impossible until you get right up to the jams,

they are mostly tiny, just big enough for a couple finger tips. Fortunately the feet never disappear completely.

 

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Chris had a spot at the rec center, these guys had an outdoor movie, screen, projector and chinese lanterns.

 

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Aaron's friends Andrew and Sheila met us at Penny Lane. Here they team belay Aaron.

Earlier that day Andrew had cleanly led Yorkshire Gripper 11b and Crime of the Century 11c.

He tried to onsight Split Beaver later that evenin, but the Beaver doesn't give away it's charms easily.

I've led that thing twice with a couple hangs and was surprised to find it easy while cleaning Andrews gear.

I think I'm ready to lead it cleanly.

 

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Chris came up with her growing family. It's always awesome to see her.

She has two kids now, but she still manages to make time for climbing.

This girl climbs *hard* off the couch.

MD, mother, wife, amazing crack climber, I don't know how she does it all so well.

 

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Right before the rain chased us all out of Squamish Chris and I did some sport climbing on the dry cliff under Big Show roof at Cheakamus Canyon.

I led Savage Beagle 10a, and she led Kigijiushi 10C. I caught some whippers on that one, brave lead!

She is wearing my antique helmet, having forgotten hers. That Sterling 10.7 she is tied into has lasted over a year...it's heavy but super burly.

 

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With all my partners gone, and rain in Squish, I drove to Tacoma, picked up Kyle and Kevin and headed to Smith.

 

Kevin rapping off Lions Jaw 5.8. Both these guys are firefighters, I'm assuming they work out. His friends call him *Sir Abs-a-lot*.

 

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We spent a day at the lower gorge beating ourselves up on Cruel Sister and her cousins.

Someday I will lead that darn route clean.

 

Kyle led on sighted Karate in beautiful style.

 

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I've been hearing about Trout Creek for years. Sketchy and Laurel offered to give us a tour. Sketchy following a 5.8 at Trout Creek

 

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Trout is nice but what they don't tell you is that the approach is so long and steep that you need to leave your gear at the cliff when you leave at night.

We only spent one day there, but I didn't feel it was that much better than the lower gorge at Smith,

or Royal Columns at Tieton, both of which have much shorter approaches. Distance wise, the car is about where the farthest glimpse of the river is in this photo,

though it is actually to skier's right.

 

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Kyle leading a 10- at Trout

 

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Laurel hanging out at Trout. Between Sketchy and Laurel, I'm guessing one of them knows every rock climber in the state.

 

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The weather was improving and Kyle had to go back to work. I drove back to Tacoma and picked up James for the return trip to Squamish where we met Marty and Ed. Ed had just returned from a 9 day backpacking trip in the North Cascades with Yoder.

 

My friend Marty is a pretty amazing guy. He led Liberty ridge on his 60th birthday and climbs hard right off the couch.

 

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Someone is on a cool road trip at the smoke bluffs parking lot:

 

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Marty leading Delicious Dimples 10b right of Deidre. It's a bit runnout, but seems relatively safe for an apron slab route.

 

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Ed following the 10b. Ed has been climbing since Lincoln was president. I used to tease him about bringing lawn chairs tent camping. He's upgraded now to his Airstream Bambi, but he still pulls down pretty hard. He rescued me off a run out slab climb in the city. Guy has some brass ones.

 

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After Ed and Marty left, James and I got 3 pitches up Rock On before chickening out. We heard since that you can french free the crux...shoulda' kept going.

 

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Next day we discovered the awesome St. Vitus Dance 5.9. This may be the best long hand crack I've ever done. It goes and goes and goes, yellow and blue camalots for over 120 feet. I got over confident, running stuff out since it was so easy, and then it went to offwidth...yikes. Man I love that crack, far better than Calculus crack.

 

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James following the stellar layback flake called Karens Math 10a. It ends on Memorial Ledge, right below Memorial Crack, which would put you 8 pitches up. Not a bad pitch in the bunch, and nothing harder than 10a, most 9 and under.

 

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Memorial ledge gear sorting and lunch break.

 

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James leading Boomstick crack, a lovely 5.8 flake above Broadway ledge.

 

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These friend folks had just done Banana Peel, they were celebrating with a beer on top in the evening light:

 

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There is a nice Camp 4 like community at the campground below the cheif, the views out over Howe Sound are breathtaking.

 

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We made friends with Dave from Seattle, and they guided us over to Malemute the next morning

 

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Yuki (and Will) from Ontario, following a cool 10a crack at Malemute. The winds kicked up and got nasty this day, shortly followed by rain.

 

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We drove to Leavenworth and spent a fun day on Castle climbing Canary, Damnation and South Face. Damnation felt easy after all that crack climbing at Squamish.

 

On our last day, we climbed Bale-Kramer. That start is getting slick as hell. Six years ago it felt 5.9, now it's more of a desperate boulder problem.Here James is topping out on pitch 2. I had always avoided leading that one after backing off several times. Thanks to Squish it felt easy.

 

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James following pitch 3. That 10b crack is stiff when you are rusty, but so easy when you are warmed up. Love that thing.

 

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James led the last pitch, which I thought was hard was hell. That thing is desperate for 10a.

 

 

 

Gear Notes:

I had my standard rack of doubles up two 4, plus a 5, two big bro's and a #9 valley giant. I have 4 yellow #2's for long hand cracks. Regarding border crossings: Don't bring citrus fruit or firewood across the Canadian Border, or if you do, don't admit it. We had a charming visit with the US customs service as they searched my truck for another deadly orange or potato.

 

Approach Notes:

Spend a small fortune to buy gas between Squamish, Smith, Squamish, Leavenworth. Someone needs to build a retractable awning over the lower town wall at Index.

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Always enjoy your trip reports and the reflection they provide of camaraderie on the road and at the crag, thanks!

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James leading Boomstick crack, a lovely 5.8 flake above Broadway ledge.

 

You know if you walk across it instead of handrailing it it's 5.4 right?

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Love the climbing life for sure. I'm too old to worry about climbing hard stuff...friends don't let friends climb elevens!

 

Still it's awesome to get comfortable on stuff that usually scares me. I got so I could get in the zone pretty much on demand, and that's hard to do as a weekend warrior.

 

Regarding Boomstick, I did not know that. Be harder to place gear bending down, plus that thing is a super fun handrail. James didn't place any gear for 60 feet, which would have meant a deck for me...but it was so fun I didn't care.

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What's the best guidebook for Squamish?

 

The Marc Bourdon book on Amazon is over $80... what's up with that? Is there a better book?

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Jake,

 

REI has the new Marc Bourdon guidebook for much cheaper, I think I picked it up for about $35 about a month ago.

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The pleasure was mine. I like sharing my photos, and it's a way to give back after enjoying the trip reports from other peoples adventures.

 

I'm sad to report that my skill is already fading away.

 

I've often thought that climbing skill is like cabbage in the refrigerator. Cabbage is best eaten fresh, though you can still use it up to about 2 weeks. After that, forget about it.

 

And the fridge gets worse as you get older.

 

Got spanked leading Brass Balls this weekend. Got up it...but jeez, quite the sh*t show.

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the fridge might be getting older but i saw you out in squish and in leavenworth this last weekend. Always restocking the fridge I see.

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Yupp, I go through a lot of cabbage.

 

Say howdy next time. It's fun to put a face to the name. I feel like we've met out there somewhere...

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we were at the same campground the last two labor day weekends. And i ran into you at index a couple times. also a couple times in the icicle. It is easy to spot you cause you use your real photo. and sharpie your name on your haulbag pack.

I use a strange cat so I understand the difficulty of spotting my name to a noncat face. I am all ninja n shite.

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Very cool, and great pictures! Squamish is such an awesome place, and I was fortunate enough to spend a bunch of days there this summer. You're pictures are making me yearn for next summer already! St. Vitus to Karen's Math is one of my favorites. Such a great climb! I can see myself doing that over and over and over...

 

I think we may have run into you at the brewery your first Saturday evening? I know we sat with Aaron, Andrew, and Sheila after the rest of our friends bailed on us (although it was almost 9PM by the time we got down, so I can't blame them).

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I've often thought that climbing skill is like cabbage in the refrigerator. Cabbage is best eaten fresh, though you can still use it up to about 2 weeks. After that, forget about it.

 

Remind me to bring some kimchi next time I see you

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