You know what’s more fun than building climbing equipment? Climbing! Especially putting up new routes or problems.
Morgan and I set out early Saturday for the emerald wall in the Crowsnest pass. We were hoping to put up a new line but didn’t have a clear objective in mind. We weren’t sure if we would go ground up or top down, but we knew it would be mulitpitch and bolted (this wall tends to offer few gear placements and most of them are in absolute choss).
After considerable deliberation in the parking lot we settled on a line we had eyed a few years ago on a previous excursion. It starts left and up the scree slope from the line, Rags to Riches, that Morgan put up last year. It aims for a, more or less, direct line from the scree cone to the ledge with a big lone tree, starting maybe 40 feet left of plumb.
Since we were bolting on lead, with all the neccesary gear tethered to the leaders harness, we decided to lead in blocks. Just to save time at the belays, moving gear. I took the first block and the crux of the day ended up being a bulge only about 15feet off the deck at around 5.9 or maybe 5.10a. (the grade will likely change as following parties tear off more of the holds) Though, the real crux was getting the first bolt in about 8 feet off the deck, the stance got super pumpy while drilling. Morgan may have given me a bit of an boost while drilling.
I got up about 2.5 pitches before the battery in our drill ran dead and we swapped leads. Aside from the early crux the climbing was all nice, cruisy 5.8ish slab, with decent quality rock. From there Morgan lead the next pitch and a half to the big ledge with the tree.
There was some pretty poor rock quality through some of the block Morgan led. We hucked off a lot of choss and there is a lot more to go. But there is some steeper climbing with nice movement that will be awesome once it has been cleaned up. Here are some pictures from the top of pitch four. Including me with a sandwich.
There is another pitch or two above that we would like to add to this route. (they will be awesome, definitely great rock) But our hardware supply was dwindling so we elected to head down and add a couple bolts to the earlier pitches to make them a little better protected. While rappelling and adding these bolts, however, we managed to bust the tip off our drill bit (no spare packed) and run the second battery dead. Soooo, the first pitch is presently pretty run out and the crux of the route. Morgan hopes to return very soon and rectify this.
*Update July 7, 2016* Morgan went out yesterday and added bolts to the first and second pitches to protect the previously run out sections. So it should be reasonably well protected at this point. He also added an alternate first pitch (5.5) to make the route more accessible and consistent after getting on the first pitch again and deciding it was closer to 5.10b.TOPO HERE!