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Teetering on the Brink of Madness

5.11a/b, Sport, 400 ft, 4 pitches,  Avg: 4 from 6 votes
FA: Not sure
International > N America > Canada > British Columbia > Squamish > Chief > Apron
Access Issue: Illegal Camping Details


This route is awesome, so sad it doesn't appear to get climbed more. No pitch feels particularly harder than the others, just fun moderate slab, though slightly terrifying if you aren't used to it. Spot on for the grade in my opinion. Finish merging with last pitch of Unfinished Symphony.

Pitch 1:Start Snake, at first anchor head straight up, going left around a large tree. Belay on top of the tree.

Pitch 2: Climb 5.8 hand crack forever, it will thin out, gear to blue metolius. Clip bolt and traverse left to another bolt, then straight up through scoop.

Pitch 3: Climb straight up for a bolt or two, then straight right around the corner, bolts will great you on the other side, meet back with the headwall and pull a small bulge to get back onto the slab, traverse to anchors.

Pitch 4: Climb delicately and meet up with the last real pitch of Unfinished Symphony.


Head up first pitch of Snake, instead of traversing at the first anchor head straight up the crack at 5.8. My advice, setup first belay at past the tree...I didn't and had the gnarliest rope drag ever for the 11a slab pitch.


Bolts, well spaced slab attack. Small rack for the first pitch of snake and the 5.8ish crack leading up to the slab.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] This route is mossy, so heads up... Jul 29, 2013
geoff georges
Seattle, Wa.
[Hide Comment] FA: Carl Austrom, July 1984 Feb 12, 2015
[Hide Comment] Another classic Apron slab outing that's only scary in just the right spots. The route is currently in pretty good shape, with some dirt and moss in and around the easier part of the crack on P2 but little or none thereafter. The first little runout on P2 is a bit of a wake-up call and the bolts zig-zag a bit (bolted on lead, I assume), making the lead a bit draggy; it would be best to put a longer sling on the second bolt, but at the same time I really didn't want to. P3 is interesting because there are two bolted belays and what I assume to be an off-route bolt out left of the second of the belays. I believe belaying at the first set of bolts is best, but either way there's an easier (than the rest of the slab) but still exhilarating runout involved during which you must not fall. P4 is incredibly classy. I think the pitch feels a bit easier on this climb than on Unfinished Symphony, since on the latter you mantle directly onto the glacier polish and must abruptly turn on the magical footwork, whereas in the case of the former you get a smoother transition into the crux. Very fun! Aug 3, 2016
Tim Bonnell
[Hide Comment] Here is how I pitched out the route:
p1: The first real pitch of Snake, ending with the 5.7 face traverse left to the anchor (40m - 5.7).
p2: Move up and into the groove, follow a dirty crack for a bit and then belay on top of the tree (10m - 5.8).
p3: Follow the long easy crack, clip a bolt (long runner) then move left and clip another before trending back right to the anchor (40m - 11a). This is probably the mental crux of the route as you are pimping 10+/11- slab moves a fair way above the bolt
p4: Weave back and forth through scoops, with a definitive crux at the 3rd bolt (11a - 30m)
p5: Run it out of the anchor, aiming slightly right to another set of anchors. Clip a draw on these anchors and move RIGHT around the arete, before eventually clipping a bolt LEFT of the arete just before the anchors (10d - 20m)
p6: Move right, clipping about 3 bolts before merging into Unfinished Symphony (11a/b - 40m)

A note about what I call p5 - there is an off-route bolt up and slightly left of the 2nd set of anchors....DO NOT head for this. I did and ended up having to climb a pitch of the Crossing before tensioning back on-route.

Also, on p2 it might make sense to continue 10-15m up the easy crack before establishing a belay. Doing this would help rope drag on p3, which is difficult to avoid if the belay is lower since the crack wants to pinch the rope as it steepens.

Great climb, but you wanna wait for cool slab temps. I thought it was similar in difficulty to Dancing in the Light - perhaps a bit less heady (not much) and a bit less physically difficult Jun 1, 2017
[Hide Comment] Correction: P1 -- climbs the slab on the left face of the snake/unfinsihed symphony corner & continues to tree belay (grim reaper & teetering on the brink of madness) ... 5.9 & 5.10a with 2 bolts in 145 feet! FA was done with double 9 mm ropes (150 m) Jan 23, 2018