Thursday, September 18, 2008

Diedre 5.7, Squamish - Climbing Beta

Climbing the 6-pitch Diedre outside of Squamish, British Columbia is a blast. Late Thursday night, my cousin and I cruised up from Seattle to Whistler for a three-day weekend in British Columbia. He wanted to introduce me to downhill mountain biking at Whistler, and I thought I'd introduce him to outdoor rock climbing in the world-class climbing venue of Squamish. I decided to try out Diedre or Banana Peel, both 5.7, on the Apron, whichever route had less traffic when we got to the base. From reading other people's trip reports, I figured most people would try to get there at the crack of dawn, so I thought getting there late morning would be the best bet to not have to wait in a queue at the bottom of the route. When we got to the base of the routes, no one was on Banana Peel, and the first two pitches of Diedre were free. Two British guys arrived five minutes behind us, and they said they already did Diedre and were going for Banana Peel. At that point we decided to do the 6-pitch 5.7 Deirdre. Getting there late moring seems to be the best time. Here's a nice photo of Diedre and Banana Peel.

1 set of cams from small fingers up to #3 Camalot
1 set of nuts from medium to large
half dozen quick draws
half dozen slings

The trickiest part of the entire climb was finding the climb. From the parking lot below the Apron, take the trail about 30 feet until you see a dirt trail going into the forest on your left with a huge log with steps cut into it. Take that trail up to the base of the Apron and traverse left along the base for approximately 50 yards. You'll find a right traversing cut in the rock going up and right at about 40 degrees. Scramble up that cut about 100 yards to the base of Diedre and Banana Peel. You can see a birch tree about 40 feet straight up from the base of the climb.

Me on top of the crux third pitch.

Pitch 1 and 2 are slabby runouts. I was able to place a few pieces on pitch 1 and sling the birch tree. Pitch 2 was a short slab traverse to the left with no place for gear. Pitches 3 through 5 were very long and followed a right-facing corner. Pitches 3 and 4 are very similar in difficulty and take plenty of gear. The angle lessens on pitches 5 and 6 and the crack pinches down in spots making 20 to 30 foot runouts necessary. Pitch 6 is short and at such a low angle, you almost don't need to use you're hands on the handholds. We walked off the ledge to the right without roping up at all, which led to a long descent through the forest and back down to the car.

My cousin, Brett, enjoying the view from the top.

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