Monday, 29 September 2014

Grand Sentinel 2014

Tuesday July 1st - Grand Sentinel Trad Route 5.8

Synopsis: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. A fantastic location with a great approach and 4 (3 really) very fun pitches. The 5.8 (old school) pitch under the roof was the most fun I've had leading in a couple of seasons!

This was an ACC trip I lead for purely selfish reasons, I hadn't climbed it in about 10 years and wanted to go back and lead the 5.8 pitch. Seana and Andrea agreed to come along and it worked out well.

We left the parking lot at 8:30 am, fortunately there wasn't a group size limit in effect (although there was when we got back). As you can see, I made the ladies carry the ropes, so much for chivalry!

I had heard that there was still a lot of snow on the way up to Sentinel Pass and there was. We came prepared however in the end there was good, firm buckets in the snow so we made pretty good time. The three of us were at the pass, a gain of a little over 700 metres, in 2 hours.

Once at Sentinel Pass, the Grand Sentinel is obvious and not far. It did take us an hour to make our way carefully through the snow.

A warm day, it was definitely going to be sloppy on the way out! We were geared up and climbing by noon. I split up the first two pitches however in retrospect could have easily combined them and gone all the way to the base of the 5.8 corner.

Once past an initial bit of ruble the climbing is blocky, well protected and a lot of fun. Andrea and Seana simulclimbed as seconds and made fast work of it.

As mentioned the third pitch, the 5.8 corner capped with a roof was the most fun I've had leading a rock pitch in a long time. Definitely an old school grade but well protected and moving left under the roof and over was fantastic! Here's Andrea making it look easy.

The last pitch has a 5.9 option, feeling pretty full of myself I checked it out but backed off and scampered up the 5.4 finish. A lot more fun than I remember, including an airy step across.

All of this followed by the mandatory top of the pinnacle shots!

Four single rope rappels put us to the base and we were back at the base at 5:30 pm. There were two Americans from California who were on their way up and kindly helped us rap through. They did have a few questions for us: why are Canadians so happy? Why do we drive so slow (they haven't been on the QE2!)? and why can't they get a rare hamburger in Canada? We really didn't have many answers for them, however suggested some better places to eat.

We were back at Sentinel Pass at 6:30 pm with smiles on our faces. With the snow down could have been significantly faster than up, however we took our time and were still back at the car at 8:00.

Glorious day, great friends, fantastic climb!