Finally out in Squamish for a little vacation! The weather looked warm, with potential showers. Aaron and I headed to the Squaw (Slahanay), with “Birds of Prey” as goal for the day.
The hike up is short but steep. We missed the trailhead but joined it onroute after a little of bushwacking and finding some sacrifice ring (awkward!).
The base of “Birds of Prey” is easy to find. Head left at the base of the cliff and you’re at the base of the long slab handcrack splitting black granite. Aaron heads up the first pitch and builds an anchor midway up the slab (5.8). I followed, and then lead the second pitch (also 5.8, but seemed slightly easier than the first) to a bolted anchor.
The following pitch is a steep crack (5.10B), followed by an exposed 5.9 traverse according to the book. The climb starts with a fun boulder-y move, then up a steep right facing corner. I’m loving the stemming challenge and the reassuring hand jams.
Once up the corner, I head up a ramp until I realized I went too far up to start the traverse. I down-climbed a bit to scope out where to go. The move up the traverse was definitely exposed, and the long fall potential was scaring me. I knew I could do that without falling, but the exposure was raising doubt. After climbing up the ramp again and other shenanigans, I decided that doing this move was actually my only option, so I sucked it up and did it, climbing like an afraid cat.
After so much fear, comes the deep calm for me as I was belaying Aaron up. He sounded like he hated it. I most likely scared him from being scared myself.
Once up, Aaron headed up an easy short section (5.2?) to the base of a long sets of weird double crack / corner (5.10B) with a chimney at the top (5.8). I decided to try leading it as a long~ 50 meter pitch, get it done! I was secretly hoping this 5.10B pitch would be less sustained than last one. And it was, thankfully!
The climb was enjoyable, the chimney was awkward, by nature.
What a nice first day of vacation!