Grand Wall
Climbing Squamish's classic 'big wall' with Andy Donson in July 2005
As a new (seasonal) resident in Squamish, ticking the omnipresent Grand Wall seemed an urgent task. Though luring Andy up from Colorado made success almost guaranteed, I surprised myself by leading a respectable proportion of the route.
The Grand Wall on the Stawamus Chief, seen from the Squamish estuary
Andy leading the easy, runout slab on pitch 3. Like most people, we started on Apron Strings. The climbers ahead are at the anchors above pitch 4
Andy on pitch 5 traversing over to the start of the Split Pillar
Toby starting the 40m Split Pillar pitch. Key beta for inept crack climbers is to use jams only in the friendly-width central section and layback the rest, without wasting too much energy placing gear.
Andy following the Split Pillar, demonstrating how a proficient crack climber can jam easily up the wide-hands section ... The climber behind is finishing the brief aid moves on pitch 5
Andy leading the Sword, pitch 7, one of the two successive 5.11 pitches
Toby on Perry's Layback, pitch 8 This violent diagonal undercling is the end of the main difficulties, though the last two pitches aren't trivial (particularly if you wrench your back on the undercling ...)
Post-industrial shores: Squamish's evolving waterfront seen from the wall
Howe Sound from the summit of the Stawamus Chief