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[TR] Squire Creek Wall, Darrington - Excalibur 6/20/2016

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Trip: Squire Creek Wall, Darrington - Excalibur


Date: 6/20/2016


Trip Report:

Given the weather predictions Friday, TW and I decided on a steep adventure climb for Monday given that the slabs *should* be dry. This TR is for Excalibur, though we did Total Soul on 3 O'clock Rock the day before (Sunday) and found it dry and in good shape.


Excalibur (5.10+, Trad, 10p, 350m, Chris Greyell et al.) is an amazing line ascending the Illusion Wall of the Squire Creek formation. It has a worthy (read; intricate) approach (details below), perfect bolting (appropriate room for gear, bolted belays), and fantastic and varied climbing.



There is good beta in Blake's new book, but here is our take-away. We built some cairns to reinforce directions. Park and hike in as described (feasting on berries and singing for bears). When finding the third washout, it REALLY is the third wash - they are significant. But if you still want more, two things will signify; there is a log bench just after the third wash with a cairn on it (probably) which marks your randy onto the climber's trail (starts right there) AND you've gone too far if you hit this sign


(50m past third wash, turn around). Follow beautiful climber's trail down to creek (swath through moss). Just before the creek you'll run into a sandy dry tributary bed and the trail becomes less defined. The big log crossing trail starts 3m into this bed on your left (cairn) and starts with 20m of brushy walking. Regardless of the travel in this area, the log crossing is unmistakable (we cleared a lot of overgrowth off it) and enjoyable.



Cross and travel upstream for 30m, finding the first dry tributary bed and following this for 400m (10min hiking maybe) till you see a "well established" climber's trail on your right. We built a stick "X" over a heard path that was not it, and a cairn for the correct path (it is decently easy to spot). This trail is BEAUTIFUL and ascends up the forested slopes towards the wall. Gawk at the old trees and soft undergrowth. You'll eventually reach an unforgettable bivy spot that you wish you were camping at. From here on out youll be going through brushy trails and upwards and left towards Illusion Wall. Go up the first slabs you encounter, finding some rap bolts then a hand rope up through a step (visible here above wet streaks)


Follow ill-defined trails at base of impassible sections or up small slab steps, going very leftward and up, looking like this


Youll find cut and bent branches, trodden soil, a few more hand lines, and barkless trees enticing you towards the correct direction - almost fun navigation - getting eventually to an obvious sandy bivy ledge and the base of the route (again, very left from the first initial slabs - dont go too high up). From the good bivy this took an hour, so factor that in. We also found some seeps to drink/refill from in this section. Youll see bolts! Climb on! The Excalibur flake pitch is the prize (knee-bar that shit, look around and laugh in triumph, giddy with exposure and awesomeness), but I do not want to detract from the other gold pitches offered here. Well worth the effort!



Gear Notes:

Wires, singles from tips to #3, 15 alpine draws, two 60m ropes.


Approach Notes:

Read TR again.

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have "camped" there ... called "big tree", at the base of "go no go slab", way over 50 times, getting there way after midnight. The big cedar tree that the place is named after, is long gone. Like many of the VERY old cedars on the "new way" to the base of illusion, and many of the blueberry bushes that we used to feast off of. There are still about 20+ pitches on illusion that are still NOT bolted up, (as of 2010, that we did in the early to mid 90,s) that can be a lot of fun, if you know how to build your own belays, and when to stop for/at a good belay place... AND have an OLD SCHOOL (clean climbing)SENSE OF ADVENTURE!!! Left plenty of loose rock for others to enjoy sending off .... one of the best things about squire... lot of loose flakes.

"holyGreyhell" USED to be called, "7 pins", because it was done with just 7 pins ... and other reasons... long live Chris! i think it is the "best/most fun way" on illusion, even if it has bolts now marking the ... way.

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