Angel's Crest, Rock On and The Squamish Buttress

Squamish BC, July 5-8, 2002
Ambrose Bittner and Ryan Allen  

In part of our training for Lotus Flower Tower, Ambrose and I decided to take a long weekend and try our hand on some longer routes in Squamish.

The Squamish Chief, BC Canada

On Friday, we got up early and went for The Angels Crest, a 12 pitch line, with climbing up to the 5.10b rating. The great appeal of this route is that it tops out on the second summit of the Chief, something neither of us had done before. The first pitch was rather uneventful, mostly root and bush climbing mixed with a few 5.8 moves on rock. This put us on a nice platform at the base of a beautiful 5.10a arching hand crack named after the route itself, the Angel's crack. This pitch alone is worth going to do, even if that is the only one you climb! Immediately following Angel's crack, was the crux of the route, a 5.10b face with two bolts for protection. The topo suggested the face is slow to dry, and sure enough, the face was sopping wet! Un fazed, Ambrose boldly took the lead up the slimy and slopey holds.


Ambrose leading up the wet Crux.

Needless to say, our goal was to summit the Chief, and not practice our wet face climbing techniques. A few pulls on some gear and Ambrose had the wet face toped out. Even following, I pulled on the gear. The pitch looks very nice, and I'll have to go back there some day, and do it when it's more dry.


Ambrose past the wet crux.

The rest of the climb went fairly un-eventful, save a very wet 5.9 finger and layback crack. We both agreed that was the real crux of the day. Higher up we got to the Acrophobes Towers, a prominent feature, easily identified from the ground. It gets plenty of sun, and offered a really fun and exposed traverse to the top of the central tower. This reminded me a lot of many features on the North Ridge of Stuart. From the top of the tower, the route takes a rappel down the back side, to the rest of the route. A few more pitches led us to the final two pushes, a long and steep .10a hand crack high up the wall to an awkward 5.8 chimney, leading to the top of the chief. I squeezed myself into the chimney, and somehow became really stuck. I'm not sure if I actually did any moves, but with enough wiggling, I somehow managed to get out an into some nicer climbing. I have no idea how Ambrose followed that pitch with the back pack on, but somehow he made it up! 


Ryan on the top of the Angels Crest, Mt. Garabaldi in the background.

We explored around the top of the Chief, ate some
food, and hiked down the back side trails in quick style. Our time from
car to car, was a good 12 hours. Not record breaking time, but within our
goals, considering 12 pitches, a rappel and a lot of hiking in-between. We
were feeling pretty good about our accomplishment!

Saturday was spent hiking around the Upper
Malamute area and Murin park. We did one pitch, a 5.10c and decided we
should really be resting for another long day on Sunday. A trip to the
local pool for some showers ended up a dud since the power went out throughout
all of Squamish. Oh well, it didn't take us long to realize the brew pub
can still serve when the power goes out.

Another early rise on Sunday found us in the
Apron parking lot once again, but this time our goal was to link up Rock On to
the Squamish Buttress. A bit of bushwhacking, and some sweaty scrambling
along the Apron north side walls, took us to the base of the route. It was
not that difficult to find, and looked dry! Within minutes, we were roped
up and Ambrose started up the 5.8 pitch. I lead the next 5.9, then Ambrose
took off on the next, slightly awkward 5.9, placing him on a comfortable
platform with some bolts. Every belay on this route turned out to be a
very comfortable and flat ledge! I started leading up the crux .10a pitch,
and was very disappointed after pulling a slight bulge, at how wet everything
was! Yuck! I kept on plodding up, and placing more gear than
normally necessary, but was slightly concerned because of the water everywhere.
Feeling pretty good about the progress so far, I kept going, but the climbing
seemed to get more difficult and more steeper the further I got. I kept
going for chalk, which did nothing but turn the stuff into a paste ball and
exposed how habitual chalking up really is! Towards the top I resorted to
pulling on a piece of gear, but just to place a piece a few feet higher.
For some reason, I felt the urge to do every move free, even if I had to pull on
gear to sew the thing up. The great thing about this crack was it took
gear so readily, every piece I placed I said to myself "that's as good as it
gets!" A very balancy and tricky move across a flat ledge placed me on a
superb, exposed and dry (!!) platform to sit and belay on. I was so
glad to be off that lead. I hadn't realized how wet everything was until
then, when I noticed my shirt looked like I just jumped in the lake! Yuck!

Lucky for I, and not so lucky for Ambrose, the
next pitch was even more wet, and quite awkward. He did a stellar job
climbing to the top, getting us out of the wet north side of the Apron.

We un-roped and hiked to the base of the Squamish
Buttress. I took the first pitch, which had one exciting and thin move
with the only bolt a little below your feet. The rest of the route was
quite simple, and involved scrambling a few pitches with the move or two of 5.8.
We ran up the thing, until we got to a large and exposed platform at the base of
the crux pitch, the 5.10c pillar leading to the top. This time it was
Ambrose's turn, and he marched right onto the thing. Wow, it looked hard!
Ambrose was sinking gear like crazy, breathing hard, and sounded quite excited.
When he topped out I could tell he was pretty psyched he had made it. He
offered to haul the pack, which I was very happy about after giving the thing a
go. It felt stout! I couldn't believe the crummy finger locks and
lack of foot holds! Somehow, I pulled and chimneyed up to the top, and sat
down next to Ambrose in amazement. We were both feeling quite mellow and
humbled after that one! Anyhow, time was a wasting, and we had another
easy pitch to the top of the first summit. After some food and a quick run
back to the cars, this time the round trip was 10 hours! Another stellar "training" day spent in Squamish!


Ambrose on the Summit of Angles Crest, Mt. Garabaldi in the background.

Category: Adventure Rock
Sunday, December 17, 2017
Text Size