The Split Pillar Right 5.10b Grand Wall Squamish Chief
The dream of most Squamish climbers at one time or another is to ascend the Grand Wall. Several different routes lead to the base of the main feature ?The Split Pillar?.
One can only imagine what Cooper and Baldwin thought that hot July day in 1961 when they sat atop the pedestal and wondered how they were going to do the remaining 9 vertical leads. They may have felt a bit apprehensive after hearing the hollow sounds as they banged their pitons into the crack below.
During the last ice age the granite pillar remained intact refusing to fall victim to glacial plucking. For the last 15,000 years erosive forces have done little to help remove it from its airy perch. Now climbers carefully caress its finely textured surface and place less intrusive clean protection like cams and nuts that are less liable to jar the pillar. Try not to take a fall or you could in fact speed up the geological time scale and cam the pillar into one of the house sized boulders that lay at the base of the Chief?.with you on it.
The right side of the pillar is rated 5.10.b with the psyche grade a bit higher because of its ?out there? location. It does however get a bit easier near the top at which point the crack widens into a chimney. Mere mortals can do this route. But if you have trained like a beast and want to justify that ?No Fear? sticker on your SUV, and want to become a climbing god, you might want to flail at the left side of the pillar which is even more committing at 5.12a.
The approach is similar to Exasperator up the trail to the wall. You can climb via Apron Strings almost right from where the trail comes out of the trees. It's almost 250 metres to the base of the pillar. Or you can eliminate the first 100 metres of the Flake and follow your nose, scrambling to the top of the Flake to Merci Me. The pillar itself is one pitch so that puts you up above the base of the wall proper, about 300 metres; add a hundred or so more metres for the distance above the highway....so the view is pretty good.
The exit... climb higher to Bellygood Ledge in 5 leads and go home or rappel with double ropes to the bottom of the wall.
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