American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, British Columbia, Squamish Chief, Bald Egos, New Route

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2001

Squamish Chief, Bald Egos, New Route. In June, Conny Amelunxen and I braved rain, long falls, the unknown, and more rain in an attempt to put up the longest aid route on the Squamish Chief, Bald Egos (5.9 A4). We climbed the wall in impeccable Squamish style using an “anything goes” combination of siege tactics, fixed lines, and capsule-style pushes, climbing the wall in ten days spread out over a three-week period (anything to insure that we always climbed in the rain, for which we achieved a remarkable 80 percent success rate).

Our route links 1,500 feet of discontinuous features over two distinct walls, venturing onto a previously unclimbed section of the Chief for the second part of the route. It was here that we committed to capsule-style climbing when a friend who had joined us for the two previous pitches rapped down, taking our two extra ropes with him from halfway up the wall. It seems that the extended forecast of rain promised more good times than he could bear. Conny and I spent many hours discussing this mystifying behavior that night as the rain hammered down on the ledge.

We topped out after a day of climbing perfect straight-in knifeblade cracks in beautiful sunny weather, which tainted the experience and completely ruined the summit photos. But you can’t have everything.

What I learned on the route? Two things. Copperheads will work in wet granite and always bring TWO umbrellas, not just one.

Adam Diamond, Canada

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