Summer as an adult is incredibly misleading. When you're a kid you think it lasts forever, and that mentality has somehow carried into my later years. Each time spring ends I trick myself into thinking THIS TIME it's going to last. It never does. I have so many dreams of places I want to go, people I want to see, and climbs I want to cross off the list, but now it's the end of Aug, and I've managed only half of what I had hoped for. Still, I'm proud of that half, it's just that I need to pack in the other half into a quarter or less, if I want to feel truly satisfied when fall sets in. I can't help it, I'm goal oriented.
Sonnie Trotter's Busy Summer
Most recently I've given up climbing hard only to equip NEW routes. The weather's been hot here lately and I've come to the conclusion that saving my skin and putting the work in now, is going to pay off double time in the end. So away I go, with drills, bolts, rakes, ho's, haul bags, static lines, water, and enough dark chocolate to keep the passion alive. Hours of hiking, hauling, drilling and jugging. It's exhausting work, something I don't recommend, but it's an addiction I think. I can't leave them alone. I have more projects than I'd like to admit. ha ha ha!
A couple of weeks ago we released the news of our easiest creation, the North Face of the Squamish Buttress, 5.9. It's a four pitch variation to the existing 5.10c, and now makes for a terrific beginners climb, or a soloists delight. It took five hard days of work, and over 70 combined hours, but with my friend Ben Moon, we polished it off fast, and opened it up to the masses. Just a few days ago, I counted ten people on the climb, all at once. It was incredible to see the traffic, and the enjoyment people are getting from it. And the funny thing is, of the hundreds of new climbs I've established, The Squamish Buttress will no doubt see more ascents then all of them combined. Two days later, Ben and I climbed the route again, from bottom to top all solo and I wore my Daescents the entire way. But, to really set things in motion, we invited a list of our stone monkey friends to enjoy the ride. Cedar Wright, Alex Honnold, Mason, Time Emmet, Andrew Boyd, and Jeremy Smith. 8 of us in total group-free-solo'd the 12 pitches to the summit of the Chief and had a beer bash with the setting sun. It was a wonderful two hours of climbing and the best way I could think of to put closure on the epic amount of work. Cold beer never tasted so sweet.
On the more difficult front, I now have at least three 5.13+ multi-pitch projects, and three 5.14+ single pitch projects, and they are keeping me plenty busy.
One of them is 10 years in the making. My good friend Jesse Brown, who's been living in Squamish for over a decade, has been trying to establish the plumb line up the Prow Wall. Thinking the crux pitch of a 7 pitch climb would go at 5.13a. I thought, 'great lets do it'. I onsighted to a stopper move. Then it took me half an hour to solve, which I'm pretty sure weighs in at 5.13c. The upper 5.12d pitch is more like 5.13a. A sandbag yes, and classic yes, a complete success, not yet. I have to go back and clean the start, replace a bolt, move an anchor and redpoint the crux, which I call an overhanging slab. YIKES.
Tomorrow I am going back to it, wish us luck. The Chief in summer is a dream, a golden nugget, there's more potential here for hard rock climbing than anywhere I know of, and the work is only just beginning. Thanks to you Five Ten, for giving me the shoes to get the job done right :)