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As good as it gets!
The Calling boasts one of the best splitter dihedral cracks in Squamish. You can get there by climbing Alaska Highway to Astro Ledge then traversing left 30' or by taking Astro Ledge instead of climbing AK Hwy. If you only climbed P1 - 3, this would be an absolute 5 star classic. The pitches above are dirty and chossy and detract.
P1 (11d): Starting from Astro Ledge at a two bolt anchor go up the obvious corner with a hard move off the ledge. Mostly bolted and past fixed pins/wires, plus a small piece or two to a two bolt anchor (hanging belay).
P2 (11d/12a): New books upgraded this pitch to 12a. This is the classic splitter corner on the cover of Alpinist 35. Fingers to off fingers to .75 camalot to #1 to #2s to a bolted anchor (hanging belay). If you really want the mega pitch, link P1 & 2 for full value. You could place 3x #1s on this pitch but not necessary. Alternately, the book shows that you can link this pitch into the next one in 50m. You could use 3x #1s if linking this way. You probably cannot link P1,2 &3 into the super-mega-pitch.
P3 (5.10+): If you belayed on bolts at the end of the last pitch, get back into the splitter for 30' then up into the chimney roof. If you only brought 1x #3 then bump it as you pull the roof and leave it above. You could bring a second #3 if you wanted. Don't wear a pack in the chimney. Climb to the top of the splitter and traverse on undercling fingers to a bolted belay (hanging belay).
Side note: a partial linkup variation of Alaska Highway to The Calling but ending here at the end of P3 on the Calling and rapping out is called "Southern Lights". This is my recommendation. This way is an absolute 5 star classic. The following pitches aren't that good and get REALLY dirty. Seemed like you could rap off with a single 70 but I'm not positive. Might want to bring two ropes if rapping. Linking AK Hwy and all of the Calling is called "Northern Lights".
P4 (5.12a): Sport pitch (maybe a gear placement). Right around the corner and into the dihedral (tricky start). Continue up this rather dirty corner past bolts then left up onto the face and a stance. Pull the crux (maybe 12a for a tall person but way harder for a short person, or A0). Pass a few more bolts to a bolted anchor on a super dirty slab with 6" think moss everywhere and be perplexed as to where you should go to navigate the dirtiness on the next pitch.
P5 (5.10 moss & choss): From the belay there are two bolts. One is out right towards a cool looking crack but the slab seemed plenty harder than 5.10 and runout (and was really dirty and mossy friction climbing). I don't think the route goes this way as the book says "rock continues to deteriorate in the bushy corner above". Look up and slightly left of the belay. There is a bolt about 25' up hiding in the moss. You will see an old pin with tat on the vert wall above it. Go up that way (there's also two bolts next to the pin), clip, go right into the bushy corner. Climb poor quality rock up then left across a loose 4th class ramp to a ledge. Belay here on gear in kitty litter or on a tree or off an old single smc bolt.
P6 (5.10+): Another pretty dirty pitch with subpar rock takes to you the top. Start up the corner, then past the pins on the face, back to the crack, pulling the #2 roof, then right through one more roof with undercling lock. Mantle the sandy ledge. Belay off a tree.
Descent: Go straight right along the cliff edge for 5 minutes (past the big cave/chimney) until you're forced up and into a switchback. Go to the Chief summit and walk down the Chief trail.
On the North Walls starting above Alaska Highway on Astro Ledge. Just Left of Yukon Gold. Approach via Alaska Highway or scramble up via Astro Ledge. If you do top the route out, go straight right along the cliff edge for a while following a well beaten path (go around right of the massive chimney cave thing, do NOT switchback after the first 50m of walking). Make a switchback after about 5 - 10 minutes of walking. Follow the well beaten path past red tape. Take this up to the summit area then wander back down via the Chief trail.
The guidebook rack says 2x 1/2" to 3.5" with 3x 1.5" - 2" and 2 sets of wire, RPs to 1". Now that the first pitch is mostly bolted, you can get away with less. I think a standard double rack from green alien to #2 camalot plus a #3 camalot would be fine. You could take a third .5, #1 or #2 camlot, especially if linking the enduro corner. Also take 12 draws / shoulder slings. All anchors are beefy bolts until the last one on route and the topout.
BETA PHOTO: Before and after rockfall pics from Mike Cowper sh...
By Jesse Huey
Sep 9, 2011
This route deserves all the stars in my opinion. A comparable route to Astroman. Some pitches link nicely. Pitches 3&4 with a 70 meter rope. If you are feeling spry, I suggest linking pitches on the calling. The 11+ sport pitch into the 11+ corner with a 60 meter rope (This works well if your partner does not want to climb the calling) because you can rap from here with one rope. Linking pitches 2 (long corner & 3 bombbay chimney) are the most logical with a 60 meter rope but you will need to save a number 2 & 3 for the roof. Linking 1,2,&3 is also possible but REQUIRES an 80 meter rope. I know all combo's have been done. So good!
Starting the Alaska Highway Crux
The 11a traverse on the AK Highway.
pitch one on the calling being climbed Russ Clune.
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By Luke Stefurak
From: Seattle, WA
Aug 9, 2013
If approaching from astro ledge look for a two bolt anchor right above a roof that goes over the trail. The first bolt of P1 is about 15 feet up.
For P1 bring doubles green alien to .5 camalot and single .75 to #2. 10-12 draws. There are currently 4 bolts, 3 pins and a fixed nut or so. Rad pitch!!
For P2 I thought it was nice to have doubles from yellow alien to #2 camalot with an extra .5 and .75 camalot. Super enduro pitch, no moves as hard as P1 but the corner goes on forever.
No need for a #3 camalot unless you are going higher than P2.
You can easily rap from the top of P2 with a 70m rope. Seems like P2 might be more than 30m long. P1 is only 20-25m.
We thought these two pitches were 4-5 stars. Amazing! The fixed lines across astro ledge could use some love.
Apr 20, 2015
A major rockfall on April 19, 2015 damaged the upper pitches of this climb and several other routes to the right. The 10b and 12a pitches have been severely affected. The route should be avoided until further notice.