Monday, September 06, 2021

Waterton New Rock Climbing Routes

 The last few weeks of August have seen a couple of new routes go in or old routes 'fixed' up.  Activity has been concentrated on the Bear's Hump lower tier.  Personally I really like Pins and Needles.  I also suspect the new protection and belay station on Skyline will make that mini cirque more party friendly.  I suspect a few more direct finishes will go in on the terrain to the left.

4e Right of Stakes* 
5.5 25m 
Rock 3/4 
Pro 3/4 bolts + gear 
Moves 2/3 
Setting 2/3 
 F.A. Chris Goble in 2018 

 This climb goes up the dark rock just right of Dirty Stakes first pitch, and a few feet left of Mother’s Day. The first bolt is above the first ledge (ie the one at the 10 foot height). This makes is nearly impossible to see. Start on the scrambly ramp right under the Dirty Stakes corner and tend right. A good horizontal break on the ledge is the first piece of gear. Above this is the bolt. A low first bolt wasn’t placed due to the rope drag that would create. This route has two short sections with mandatory gear placements. One section is at about half height (0.5” to 1” cams). The other is right under the roof and to its right (#3 or #4 BD stopper and a small TCU or small tri-cams or nut). Two bolts have been placed above the overlap on the right hand side of this bulge. This enables a semi-direct finish to a bolted anchor behind the bush. Or you can continue along under the overlap with some awkward feeling positions which eventually lead to a wonderful slingable horn right at the exit. This right hand exit isn’t recommended as you end up with a finish whose protection standards are out of character with the rest of the route. Right of Stakes can be used to get to Pins and Needles’ bottom anchor (and hence the Central Que to Beeline bottom ledge). Cut left at the last bolt under the roof. Cross Dirty Stakes and head along the left hand face on reasonable gear. 

5b Pins and Needles*
 5.8/9 30m 
Rock 2/5 
Pro 3/4 bolts + gear 
Moves 2/3 
Setting 2/3 
 F.A. Chris Goble in 2021 

 This is the furthest right climb on the Warmup / Beeline / Central Queue ledge. It is continues the line taken by Right of Stakes’ leftward exit. Look for a line of tightly spaced bolts about 10 feet to the left of an old angle pin and biner (leave these in for history). The closely spaced starting bolts are nice because the crux comes just off the deck, and the rock, while generally solid, gives off a hollow vibe. But that may just be an artifact of weird pulls on dolomite horns. Once you figure out how to get past the low crux (don’t bail right into the loose stuff), the top kicks back quite a bit. Up here a few pieces of gear get mixed in with some semi-hidden bolts. The top has a 2 bolt anchor (no rap rings currently). The route is reminiscent of an easy Burly Bear P2 without exposure. Keeping the bottom on-grade takes some good rock reading and position deciphering. But, it’s short. As with most Goble routes, not a lot of cleaning has occurred since the climb was first led. I suspect a 30m rap will get you down, but I haven’t checked. 

10 Skyline* 
5.5 (5.8 variation) 20m 
 F.A. Paul Sloan and Craig Albright in the 1980’s 

This old rambly Sloan route has recently been adjusted by adding a bolted belay stations, a bottom bolt, and a bolt to protect an exposed traverse. I suspect it’s popularity should increase, even if it still looks deceptively easy. The route starts on the low angled rock about 30 feet to the left of Beeline. Two different approaches, protected by two different bolts, both lead to a low angle flake crack. A zig-zag section at 2/3 height enables two distinct exit options. The original route traverses right (5.5) before the short fist crack seam and is now protected by a bolt. At the ledge head up a great left trending corner fist crack (or go right to Doozle Day anchors

Over on the Crandell Slabs a short half pitch route adds a bit more climbing to the Labour of Love combo.  The best approach for this area post fire is to leave the Hump trail early while it is still low angle and follow the avalanche / scree gully up to the base of Loose Noose.

5e Calamari The Lower Cabbage Patch Slab** 
 5.5 15m 
Rock 3/4 
Pro 4/4   7 or 8 bolts 
Moves 2/3 
Setting 2/3 
F.A. Chris Goble and Mike Vilimek bolted ground up in 2021 

 This climb end up on the ledge which runs to Sick Day’s white water groove. On the right of the slab is a big ugly left facing chunk of overhanging rotten brown rock. This route stays away from that. It heads up a bubbly cabbage patch slab on tightly spaced bolts. Left of the bolts has easier climbing but a few friable sections. Right of the bolts is harder but the rock is better. Do whatever you want. The top ends in a gear (and horn) belay. You can walk off (climber’s) left, or walk right to get to Sick Day. I’m not sure if Sick Day has rap bolts on its bottom. It might… If so, you could do a top belay from those.


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