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Borderline 

YDS: 5.10d French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 21 British: E3 5b

   
Type:  Trad, 6 pitches, 600', Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10d French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 21 British: E3 5b [details]
FA: Susan Bolton, David Harris, Eric Hirst (May-Aug '97)
Season: Shady until late day
Page Views: 3,728
Submitted By: Andy Laakmann on Aug 17, 2008

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Nearing the top of pitch 3. Photo courtesy of Mik...

Description 

Borderline is a quality climb featuring a variety of climbing and excellent protection. You get a little bit of everything on this baby, including a burly – but bolt protected - squeeze chimney. Highly recommended.

The bad news? You might have Madonna's song running through your head like I did...... I was even whistling it without knowing it while climbing. Fortunately nobody was around.....

I read an interesting post on cascadeclimbers.com from the first ascent folks. They debated the bolts on the chimney, since – in theory – it could be protected with big bros, but ultimately decided that if big bros were required, the climb wouldn’t get done, and then would get grown over and forgotten to obscurity. Because of the bolts, the route gets repeated – which keeps it clean. The bolts were placed on lead from, apparently, sketchy big bros.

A great route that I imagine required a mighty cleaning effort to establish.

  • P1 (10b) Start on the far left side of the bushy ledge at the end of the approach/scramble trail. There are anchor bolts to belay here. The first bolt requires a move or two to reach, but there is bomber pro at your feet. Make some technical face moves and trend up left through cracks until you reach the obvious corner. Continue up the corner and pull around a big tree. Your belay bolts are here, but around the corner to the left – not visible unless you look for them. 45m.
  • P2 (5.8) I chose the 5.8 version, but there is also an 11c version. Head up the corner until it is possible to traverse right about 10’ and gain another crack. Up this crack, pull on the tree, and then climb through the dirt a bit. If you continue up, you’ll be on the Terrace below Blazing Saddles. Instead, take the cracks/corner up and left past a single bolt to the anchor. 30m.
  • P3 (10d) Climb up the ramp and traverse left about 40’ to the first bolt (some gear is available midway). The next 4-5 bolts offer sustained mid-10 face climbing with quality, fun movement and plenty of bolts. The bolts end at a splitter finger crack. Charge up the finger crack for quite a ways to the anchor. The books calls the finger crack 10d, but it felt more like 10b/c to me. It is sustained though. A long, varied pitch. 45m.
  • P4 (10a) Easy climbing up the ramp ends at a fun roof. Pull the roof and continue up about 40’ to the anchor. Above you looms the chimney…. (about 25m)
  • P5 (10a) How often do you get to arm bar and clip bolts at the same time?????? Step one, clip the bolt. Step two, figure out how to start the chimney. Step three, arm bar away! Apparently you can layback the chimney, but that wouldn’t be near as much fun. Thanks to the F/A folks for placing the bolts, otherwise this climb would never get done (the squeeze chimney is about 8" wide). Finish the chimney and head around right up a layback crack. We built a belay about 10’ about the snag, way too much rope drag to continue. (about 30m)
  • P6 (10d) Fun, well protected bolt clipping to the top (about 20m).

Location 

Start on the far left side of the approach/scramble trail. To find the trail, drive 0.5km on the Mamquam (sp?) forest road. In 2008, the trail was marked by a cairn and after entering the forest a giant BC Climbers Association sign indicates “Sheriff Badge Trail”. The tail to Angel Crest begins nearby, so be sure you are on the right trail.

Protection 

Nuts, doubles TUCs to #2 camalot. One #3 camalot.

Descent 

One can continue into Angel's Crest (8-10 more pitches), but we rapped from the top. P3 requires a bit of a traverse/pendulum, but it was doable since there is a small ledge system. We didn't rappel the first two pitches, and instead rapped onto Terrace Ledge and then did the standard rappel from there (can be done with one 60m in two raps). A trail through the bushes (steep at the end) from the Terrace leads to the first set of chains. The next set of chains is about 60' down. The next rap is a full 30m.


Photos of Borderline Slideshow Add Photo
the squeeze!
BETA PHOTO: the squeeze!
Pitch 2 (the 11c version).  Photo courtesy of Mike...
Pitch 2 (the 11c version). Photo courtesy of Mike...
P5 looks intimidating for "5.9+".  Photo...
P5 looks intimidating for "5.9+". Photo...

Comments on Borderline Add Comment
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By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From: Bend, OR
Jul 30, 2009

Climbed it again. As good as I remember. The 10d pitch is just wonderful. And the offwidth is burly. Expect a struggle getting in. Thank god for the bolts!
By Eric Fjellanger
Aug 3, 2009

I hadn't heard a lot about Borderline prior to getting on it last week. It is now one of my favorite multipitch climbs in Squamish! The face climbing is fun and well protected, and the long finger crack is excellent. The bolts on the OW make it not scary to climb, or french your way through. This should be on your tick list.

We rapped from the top with two 60 meter ropes straight down the face. Anchors were plentiful and we ended up with a final full-length free-hanging rap off the left side of the Badge and into the trees. Somewhat gnarly and from what I read now, not necessary... but I guess it's an option.
By Eric Hirst
Sep 29, 2009
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b

Thanks, Andy. I agree with your pitch ratings, even though I spent years telling people the OW was 5.9+, then giggling about it afterwards. Rope drag is definitely a concern on p5 -- one less obvious trick is to use a very short QD or even a single locker at the first bolt.

I love pitch 3. The long splitter above the bolted section is sustained, but definitely not 10d. With the p2 bypass variation, I think the hardest single gear-protected move on the entire route is about 10a -- nothing as hard as the Blazing Saddles crux for example.

The direct (11c?) version protects well with a single set of cams, thin to 2", and a few smaller nuts, so you can offload about half of your rack onto your second before starting up. When I first led it, I laybacked the top of the arete (!) because that was the only sequence I'd figured out on TR when we were cleaning it. Fortunately, there are easier and less terrifying options for that bit.

In retrospect, I probably would have put the p1 anchors in a more obvious spot, and the p2 anchors a little further L, just before the start of the p3 difficulties. Lots more vegetation and loose rock to obscure the view at the time.
By Mike Teschke
From: North Vancouver
May 17, 2010

I climbed this on Saturday, fantastic. We topped out on Angel's Crest it took about 10 hours car to car.
The finger crack is probably easier than 10d, super fun. The offwidth is a beast. The 10a small roof is great fun.
By Scott W
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jun 15, 2011
rating: 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a

Best when linked up with High Plains Drifter, awesome long day. Possibly soft for 11c/d or whatever the grade is once you've dialed in the beta on top rope...but I think that could be said for 95% of climbing. Felt accurate on onsight.
By khoa
From: 303
Aug 21, 2012

There's a huge deathblock at the top of the last pitch, perched (and maybe held in place) by the dead tree sticking out of the wall. I accidentally kicked it, and it wobbled like crazy. I wouldn't be surprised if it came loose on its own after a few seasons of rain
By DannyUncanny
From: Vancouver
May 12, 2014

I thought I was a solid 5.10 climber, but I ended up aiding the traverse and the squeeze.
By AJV
Jun 1, 2014

I think you could call the chimney pitch 11a and have very few people argue with you. Even the moves to get into the actual chimney are 10+ in my mind. But super safe at least.
By Eric Hirst
Jul 15, 2014
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b

When I originally suggested 5.9+ for pitch 5, I was trying to put in in the context of other Squamish offwidths. My references were March of the Kitchen Utensils (5.9), p2 of Berrycup (10a, next to Crescent Crack), Split Beaver (10b), and Boogie 'til you Puke (then 10c).

The entry moves can be baffling and don't really feel like 5.9 to me either. After that it's pretty much textbook blowfish technique. Savor the moment.