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Ascent of Stawamus Chief on 2019-09-29

Climber: Patty Cokus

Others in Party:Sean Albert
(The Dog) Ava
Date:Sunday, September 29, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Stawamus Chief
    Location:Canada-British Columbia
    Elevation:2303 ft / 701 m

Ascent Trip Report

Sean, Ava and I made a last minute decision for my bday weekend to head up to Squamish for some low key climbing outdoor fun. As snow was predicted most everywhere in WA and we both are still recovering from colds the sunny nice forecast for Squamish seemed like an almost too good to be true option....but a lovely weekend it was.

I packed a Friday night while Sean was st a baseball game, we left Sat morning in light rain through Bellingham but then as predicted it dried up and cleared up the more into Canada we went. Turned out the reason Mamquam was booked was it was reserved for UVC adventure club with like 300 college kids or something like that. We easily got a spot at Brennan and it turns out this is the last weekend they are open for camping. Plus lots of signs and reminders bears are extremely active in the area this time of year. Ok...

With spot secured and lunch grabbed we figured on Smoke Bluffs even though the parking lot was nearly full... decided to try Pixie Corner. Some cracks were wet so Sean settles on the 5.8 Pixie Corner Crack which was solid and crux seemed to be getting up over the bulge. Plus at least for me always being in shoulder seasons the pine needles are aplenty and really fill those cracks! Next we went to look at Funarama where we saw Doug, Barb, Renaand some others...turned out the Alpine Ambassadors prep workshop came to Squamish after all! It was snowing in Tieton... Lucas and others were at a different spot. I managed to sneak in a lead of the **** 5.7 Squatters Rights which went well...it’s been quite awhile since I’d led anything! Then we continued up looking for a 5.9 route for Sean but it was stacked a few teams deep so he led a 5.8 funarampa that was a bit tricky at the start heading up right then it totally zags left up a crack that you kind of walk your feet on with hands too.

Then we headed over to the Apron since Sean suggested we check out the new route he had climbed during alpine Ambassadors which if you only do the first 4 pitches is a low key 5.8 route, Reading Between the Lines. I thought we were just looking at it to see if it was wet or not for doing on Sunday as it was a bit late to me to start at 4pm. But he insisted we could do it. Anyways I said let’s just look so we made the 5minute hike up and saw it looked goo, was in the sun, and a team of two was just starting on it. I looked it up on MP and thought I might be able to lead the first pitch and he said, yeah and you can do the whole thing! I wasn’t sure about that but ...then he kept saying how it was a perfect time to do it with the sun and all and that we could get it done. So back to the parking lot we go to quickly rack up. Of course another couple were racking up and turns out it was for the same route but they were basically pros, the guy used to guide in Squamish. So we head up and starting now just before 5pm I managed to lead both P1 and P2 which was good for me. Super grippy rock since it’s brand new cleaned unclimbed rock...bolted belays or trees. The finish on P2 was mentally challenging for me as the crack disappears for a slab finish with one bolt to protect it. Of course I placed a cluster of cams as the crack petered out thinking if I’m going to take my first fall on gear more is merrier so at least something should hold...it’s all there if course and it’s just a mental crux to leave a crack and trust your feet ... talk to the crystals!

As I was concerned about daylight and all I asked Sean to lead p3 and 4 which he combined as P3 is more to move the rope just up a bit then right aver a corner to a fun lie back dihedral which is super grippy for feet and fun! Except it hurt my back... maybe as I was wearing Sean’s pack and since it’s big I can’t put my head back easily. Anyways a #4 is nice for the start since it’s big and then it narrows down. So at first I couldn’t use my left foot in the crack until it got smaller. The whole way up you can have left hand on top of the arete so supposedly this is much more comfy and more fun than Deidre. There are two sets of anchors which if not doing the p5 5.10 pitch and are going to rappell you can leave the corner for the lower anchors to rap from. Raps go down climbers right of the route with some trees between so it isn’t easy to see. The couple that had started on route before we decided to commit to climbing it was rapping with a 60 m rope and having trouble getting off as they were on there rope end knots...we luckily were using our new 70m. Sean was incredibly efficient with setting up the raps and we were down just as it was getting dark. (3 raps total). Then you scramble down skiers right the easy crack ramp To get to where you started. Super short hike out and we were back in the parking lot with no headlamp needed about 7:20pm.

Oops, Sean had a text that someone had our guidebook from Smoke a Bluffs... Thank you guys! We picked it up at Mamquam then headed to the very busy Howe Sound Brewery. Chatted with Jordon, then Lucas, Doug and Nate. Good food and drinks then headed to the campground.

Sunday....slept in a bit then Sean described hoe with the van current issue we only had 16 starts since the light had turned on and by his count we had already used half! Hmmm...so must be careful on what we plan to do....

Sea to Summit trail was closed with major caution tape and fencing as they are working on the cable cars after they had been cut down earlier this summer. So since neither Sean nor I had done Pk 3 and I thought it was dog friendly we opted for that. Trail branches off not far from the sea to summit / Shannon Falls trail and you do leave some of the crowds which was nice.
Hike to Stawamus Chief peak 3 which is the highest part

Very dog friendly and easy. Due to downed trees and debris a little harder to follow but there are lots of little triangle markers and also pink flagging which us helpful. Very cool trees up top and a fairly large somewhat deep blackish looking pool of water. Fantastic views of surrounding big mountains looking lovely in a fresh dusting of snow apparently from Friday. We opted not to head over to peak 2 even though I’ve heard it’s fine for dogs...you need to return this way as going down peak 2 towards peak 1 includes the ladder that stopped Ava and so last time. Decided to save that for another visit which I’m sure will happen.



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