After getting up Rock On clean and boosting my confidence a little, I had to try the Split Pillar, the famous 10b pitch on the Grand Wall. Getting there is rather exciting too, with a nicely run-out Mercy Me (as i did not dare go up Cruel Shoes - excuse there being my new Miuras hurting like hell) and a strenuous traverse to get the spirits up afterwards. The Pillar is wonderful though - especially if you handjam it. I'm sure i could have gotten that one if i had an extra big blue cam - but i did not and rested at the crux. Oh well, it is still an excellent pitch and it makes me proud to have led it. We rapped after the Sword pitch as the sun was going down and my partner was feeling weak. As i was doing all of the leading that day, I didn't mind much - although finishing the Grand would have been sweet. Bring 2 ropes for the rap though!!!
Here is another stellar crack - one of the most chalked and famous ones too. It is at the base of the Grand wall, easy access, and lots of traffic. Called Exasperator for a reason, it is a 2-pitch wonder. I dared lead only the first pitch, where already i had to backtrack and shovel with cams. Having only C3 2 and 0 and one or two TCUs, i chickened from the second pitch, but that's the way life goes...Me in full action:
Best part of that day - top roping Clean Crack, this is my partner on this exciting line, an 11b finger jam, totally worth it. Lower Malarmute all to ourselves, we had lots of fun exploring there - the layback climb to the right of Clean, and another jewel - Hand Jive, which i mercelessly handdogged to the top. Wow, that one hurts!!! It's been a while since my feet in the crack made me cry - this was the one. A definite must for cragging at Squamish, a beautiful view on the bay - and fearsome logging debris and train rails in the proximity. The best of both worlds.
Not to forget - Olympics are going to take place in Whistler in 2010, that's what is pushing the economy in the area up, and the road construction. Squamish is as busy as ever, and the blasting (at night) around the road construction sites makes the campground one of the worst i've stayed in so far (with the one in Red Rocks still being on the top of the list!).