Rock On (5.10A) to Squamish Buttress (5.10C) – 5/9/2015

I had been looking at climbing “Rock On”, and then some way up to the top of the Chief for a while. I had never been up the top of the Chief. Hiking that trail seems tiring! Climbing is always a better option.

People say that “Rock On” is hard and steep, and… Whatever. Just listen to people, but don’t let them discourage you. I consider myself a pretty safe climber, and definitely able to do a couple of moves of 5.10A at the moment. So I decided to link “Rock On” (4-5 pitches, 5.10A), to the “Squamish Buttress” (5 pitches, 5.10C) to the top of the Chief. A pretty exciting goal for me!

We headed to Squamish on Friday 5/8 in the evening. Set up camp at the Chief camping around 11pm, and set up the alarm for 6am.

I hate my sleeping pad. I have to blow it up five times a night. That, waking up imagining bears everywhere, and being stoked for the next day did not help me sleep.

But we made it to the Apron Parking lot around 6:30 am, stuffing ourselves with homemade delicious waffles with peanut butter. We were the first alive car at the parking lot. Good news!

Headed up the trail to the base of “Rock On”, which consists in a short walk, and then a walk/boulder hopping on gully for about 30 minutes if I recall. Not too bad anyways. Mosquitos were biting at the base of the climb. I was eager to go up and hopefully find less of it.

Aaron linked the first two pitches (we have a 70 meter rope). By that time two Australian showed up. One wearing flip flops. What a hell…He seemed really agile with his flip flops!

“Rock on”, p1&2
The first two pitches of “Rock On” are quite vertical, a little weird climbing, but good anyways. I then lead the awkward chimney pitch (5.9), it was really fun. I got lost after the Chimney: I knew I had to traverse left to an anchor, but I didn’t think it was so early. Instead, I clipped a gigantic boulder equipped with a sling and a rap ring. This was already off route, but I didn’t know. I ended up a route called “Bastille”, then climbed down, and finally found my way to the anchors. I was still way ahead the flip-flop Australians. Ouf.

Once Aaron up, I started leading the next 10A pitch. I found it really enjoyable, a little wet near the crux, but nothing too alarming. Looks like the Australian got lost too after the Chimney pitch!

“Rock On”, p4
I could have linked the 10A pitch and the last 5/6 pitch with our 70 meter rope. That would have made “Rock On” a 3 pitch route! Next time I’ll do that.

“Rock On” done, we started hiking up the trail to the base of “Squamish Buttress”. Another party was already at the base, so we took our time and had lunch.

Aaron headed up the first two pitches. It consists in a 5.8 kinda little roof and to easy slab climbing. We then simul-climb the next pitches, rated 5.7 and 5.5 because the climbing wasn’t exposed at that point.

When we got to the base of the 5.10C  pitch, the party ahead of us  had already started and the girl seemed like she was having a difficult time. She kept falling, falling, falling, until she was probably frustrated and exhausted. It got me worried a little, since I was supposed to lead that one. Am I able to do it, or will it end up in a shit-show as well? She finally lowered, leaving some of her gear on the route.

My turn up that 5.10C. The start is ok, balancy and tricky to protect those flaring tiny cracks. I thought it was 5.9. Then step left and the real business begins. A steep double finger crack with butt rests. I definitely used the butt rests to my advantage, doing several hand free clips (if you see what I mean). It was definitely sustained hard climbing, and pushing it, but it went globally well, and I didn’t create any shit show, just a lot of grunting, and maybe swearing.

Squamish Buttress first lead
“Squamish Buttress”, 5.10c pitch

Aaron lead the last 5.6 pitch, kinda awkward. We then enjoyed the view atop of the Buttress for a bit. Eating and discovering the selfie capabilities of my phone. We were at the top of the Chief around 3pm, I think.

Feeling peaceful at the top of the Chief

The Australians had gone up. One of them put his flip flops back on. I was amazed by how quick he ran down the trail in his flip-flops, the Australian way. I am not even that good with approach shoes.

Overall that was a really rewarding day. Beers and burgers were earned.


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