The Ultimate Everything

September 25th, 2002

Emily and I headed up to Squamish to check out the new (as of June) route that climbs the height of The Chief. The Ultimate Everything (5.11 or 5.9+ A0) climbs the steep wall on the far side of the South Gully, past the Squamish Buttress and above the Apron.

We arrived in the empty Apron parking lot around 7:15 am and figured that things would be more enjoyable with a later start. So, after a hot drink in town, we roped up under Diedre (7p 5.8) around 9:00. We decided to lead in blocks for the climb, so Emily lead all of Diedre. This was my second time up the route and it was quite nice to be the only ones on the whole Apron!

Emily starts up the 4th pitch of Diedre.

The sustained foot cramp of Pitch 5.

... and she manages to find a piece on the 7th pitch!

As we ate lunch at the base of Boomstick crack, a party that had just zoomed up Diedre passed us. The reason for the hurry? It was now noon, and this Husband/Wife team's daycare closed at 5:00! I was able to lead Boomstick with only a #4 friend (#3 camalot sized) and in one full 60 m ropelength. This creaky flake really is a unique feature!

We hiked along the Squamish Buttress trail until the obvious turn off left (at a marked tree) into the South Gully. Contouring out onto the Central Summit's wall was a handline and a short trail to the base of the route.

The first pitch is one of the hardest, and certainly the longest. The first 25 meters involve crimpy face climbing past little seams and corners. A #1 metolious is needed to protect the first set of moves. Above the bolts you gain access to the large 5.7 open book that you follow until the top of the second pitch.

Dave on The Ultimate Everything's 1st pitch.

Each pitch has a nicely bolted belay at the top with rap chains. However, sometimes a belay off a tree is best oriented for leading the next pitch without moving. The stations are positioned just right for rapping off though. The 3rd pitch climbs a short and crimpy 5.9 face past a few bolts.

Finally into the sun on the third pitch!

The next pitch was pretty wet and unappealing 5.7. It starts with a mantle and then through some blocks to a large left trending ramp. This dyke/ramp is the natural water course and was still pretty wet long after that last rain. After a tree belay, we moved the ropes up a short trail to the base of a small and heavily cracked wall.

Dave on the nice handcrack of pitch 5.

The route truly was the "ultimate everything" with quality climbing of all types. This pitch delivers with a sweet strait in handcrack over a bulge. After that it is a ledge walk over to the next pitch.

The 6th is the second 5.9+ pitch and has two cruxes: one on gear through the initial crack, and the second past a bolt on a sweet finger traverse. A very clean and varied pitch!

The initial thin hand crack on pitch 6.

The route seems to follow an easy pitch, hard pitch alternation. The 7th pitch follows this with fun juggy climbing up a dyke. There were all sorts of pro opportunities on this pitch including slung protrusions of the dike!

On pitch 7. Go up, then left.

At the end of the long traverse of p7, you are below a steep wall of dyke-y rock. The bolts are hard to spot on this pitch because the blend in so well with the rock! Also, seeing as the route follows the ethic of traditional gear when it's available, you could easily climb right past one (as I did, of course!). However, once you see the way, it is a fun and varied face pitch with a short lie-back at the top.

Trending right across the dyke on pitch 8.

The 9th pitch is just a walk up a slab to a short 5.6 section below the final pitch. The final pitch, rated 5.11 or 5.9 A0 if you pull on the bolts is a short one up a steep wall. I moved right off the belay and placed a piece before reaching the first bolt. The moves past this felt .10ish up into a crack above. You follow this up to a small horizontal ledge with which you have to make a difficult mantle. Once you stand up you can reach the next bolt and the start of the .11 section. Thoughts of a free ascent soon exited my mind once I found that I would not be able to on-sight it. The sun was already down behind the peaks and we were losing light fast... and so the ugliness began. All sorts of yanking and standing on bolts allowed me to aid past the two cruxes and then free up a short flake to the belay bolts on top. Woohoo! (I needed a #3 metolious cam and a .75 camalot for pro between the bolts.)

Dave on top. "Wow, it really is getting dark!"

It was our first time on top of the Chief and we enjoyed the beauty of a sunset over Howe Sound. We also enjoyed the beauty of trying to find the trail down with one headlamp. We ended up taking a spur trail over to the North Dome trail and following that rocky ass gully down to meet the main trail. I hear that traversing farther South over the Central summit leads to the standard (and established) Central summit trail. At least there were sporadic reflective tags along the trail we followed, so it was relativly easy to stay on track.

Emily leads the way through the darkness. Don't forget a headlamp (or two)!

It took us 10 hours or so to climb to the top. The route is pretty long with it's 17-19 pitches in all, depending on what Apron route you do, and how much you run pitches together. The 10 pitches of Ultimate Everything really are quite enjoyable and it is sure to become the moderate classic that the route's "inventors" hoped for. We brought a medium rack up to 3 inches, including several single and two double slings which were useful for hooking features. Of note is that having a few duplicates of small cams is nice for protecting many of the dyke pitches. Our hat's off to the first acentionists for all their hard work!

The topo from Also available at Valhalla Pure in Squamish.

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