Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Grand Wall

Will and I decided to climb the Grand Wall on the Chief in Squamish on Wednesday, with the weather forecast calling for rain the rest of the week we thought this might be our only oportunity to climb this classic route. I had done the route 7 years ago and it was nice to go back and climb such as great susuatained free climb with pitch after pitch of quality climbing on excellent rock. We did the Apron Strings start to the route with will leading off with the first pitch, a great 10b layback crack to get you warmed up for the above climbing. I led the 5.9 second pitch with contained some sustained corner climbing to easier hand crack. We linked the 2 pitches of "Merci Me" together (5.7, 5.9), I then linked the next 2 traversing pitches 10b with a bolt ladder at the end. I led off again on the Spilt Pillar pitch which is an amazing corner crack starting off with finger size and ending with a chimney at the top. The pitch is long, steep and sustained, I started off lay backing the off finger size, till the crack opened to about an inch then I was able to jam my way up the remainder, running it out between pieces to keep moving fast and avoid pumping out, the overhanging fist section was full on endurance to the chimney where I got a good rest and wormed my way up inside the chimney to the ledge for style points. One of the best pitches of rock climbing I have ever led.........amazing!!! The remainder of the route does not let up with the sword pitch containing steep powerful lay backing, then Perry's Lay back really get the pump going with steep traversing lay backing up a huge flack for 20m. The next pitch contains some slab climbing up to 10a up to the base of the last pitch "the sail". The Sail is a 10c underling to a finger crack ramp, strenuous under clinging for about 15 feet on slick feet to a good hold a finger crack to the ramp. I actually fell off after grabbing the good hold, I relaxed thinking I was done, had a foot slip and took a nice fall. We then traversed Bellygood Ledge off into the trees, we had thought about doing the Upper Black Dike finish to the top but decided to call it day. Another fine day of Squamish climbing! Today it is raining which means a rest day and the forecast does not look good through the weekend.

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