Apparently, Squamish has a lot of rock climbing…
Well, you probably knew that. I did too. I just didn’t realize the extent of it beyond the 10-15 classics that make the typical Mountain Project tick-list: Grand Wall, High Plains Drifter, Exasperater, and Crime of the Century. Over the last month or two, I’ve spent a lot of cumulative time cragging and multi-pitching on routes that deserve more attention and might help you to avoid the crowds.
Some of the most enjoyable climbs I have done in Squamish recently that DON’T MAKE the MP top 50:
Babies in Kailand, Slahany, 5.11B – The first three pitches are pretty outstanding, particularly P2 and P3. P3 is quite sustained between the cruxes where you must transition between crack systems and it eats up gear. If doing again, I would bring single X4/purple Metolius, doubles -> #2, 1x #3 #4, and then a couple extras in .4 – #1. As the pitch traverses a lot, slings are helpful. It is pretty engaging until the very hand, so save a thin hands piece (.75 or #1) for the last bit and use your gear sparingly. After this, the pitches are lesser in quality though still fun. A good slab climber can link 4 & 5, and maybe even P6 on a 70m rope. Rappel Photophobia.
Alaska Highway, The North Walls, 5.11d – Maybe I am one of a few that is somehow attracted to those routes in a guidebook that sound horrifically difficult but yet somehow attainable. This was certainly one of them and has had my attention for years. Holy shit was it an ass-kicking. It took Sarah and I two days to recover from this beast. It is super steep and even the ‘easy’ 5.10 pitches are intimidating – it’s not over once you are above the 11d, but hard or not, its an extremely high-quality adventure. The North Walls feel very different from a majority of the other areas at Squamish as they are near-vertical. Its definitely worth hauling the pack, which makes sense as you need a second rope to handle the long rappels down the blank face to the left anyway. We brought two #3s, #4, and a single red x4/purple Metolius cam. I used every piece on my harness leading the 11d, except for the #4, which was unnecessary. As it is sustained until the end, save a purple C4, a few nuts, and a blue Metolius (lots of other stuff would fit too) for the last 10 meters.
The White Feather, Slhanay, 5.11d – Okay, this one probably gets more attention than the others, but I still haven’t been up to the Squaw when there is a party on it. Do the 11a variation off the ground, where the crux comes between the first and second bolt. The next pitch is5.10 fun. The third pitch will give you a new understanding of what you can stand on in rock shoes. Unfortunately, we bailed here as we were tired from the previous day, but I’ll be going back soon. Word on the street is that you need just 1x#4 for the the Feather pitch.
Sunblessed, The Solarium, 5.10 – This one problem doesn’t make the Mountain Project shortlist because it requires a 45 minute approach, but when you see the second pitch above as your near the base of the climb, you’ll see why it gets a Top 100 rate in the latest guidebook.
Quagmire Crack, The Malamute, 5.10 – This climb sits on the Lower Malamute and you must rappel into it, but its definitely worth it. We had to make two rappels on a 60m rope (the second being just 10 ft or so off our own gear anchor in the same pitch). I felt as though the crux is the very start off the anchors, and it is moderate 5.10 crack climbing from there!
Grub Street to Rosebud, The Malamute, 5.11a -> 5.10b – The descriptions routes in the Squamish Select book fail to give these two pitches much credit, but if you have a few hours to kill, rap into this section of the wall and enjoy the ambiance. Both the ratings are a bit soft so maybe its a good way to end the day after you’ve gotten your ass kicked on Overly Hanging Out like did. If not, these pitches are still quality and deserve attention. A single rack is plenty, just make sure you bring the small cams and a few tiny nuts
Squimishness, Slhanay,, 5.11 – A bunch of 5.10 climbing that is in need of a little more action, and guards one of the best 5.9 pitches anywhere in Squamish to cap it all off. I admittedly got a bit off route on the third pitch. Be sure to head out left on P3 after the 5m of laybacking off the belay. A bolt marks the traverse but I was in go mode and missed it. After pulling through the crux, I was pretty happy to have the #4 and #5 we brought up to protect the last 10m of climbing on this pitch, as the rock quality deteriorates after you slam in these large cams.
Causasain Eyes, BulletHeads North, 5.11a – Even though Eurasian Eyes looks like a pretty special climb, I am just not there yet. 5.13 continues to remain outside of my wheel house for the foreseeable future. Fortunately, one can settle for Caucasian Eyes, which provides similar climbing on an arrete way above the ground. The position combined with quality moderate climbing that leads to tips layback similar to the Sword on the Grand Wall make this route. Go send it and feel like a rock star. Belay this single pitch from the platform at the North end of the Bullet Heads, reached by ascending the gully beyond Exasperater.
Bullet to the Head, North Bullet Heads, 11c
Since you are in the area for Caucasain Eyes, check out this one two. You need to take the 5.9 traverse to get there from the ledge mentioned above, but this one trick pony is worth a good tick. It involves moderate climbing to a fun, short boulder problem with a bolt to protect. Worth your time if you are in the area, whereas the 10c to the left is scary and burly.