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Snake 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

   
Type:  Trad, 5 pitches, Grade II
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: R. Willmott and P. Botta, 1962
Page Views: 12,759
Submitted By: John Bradford on Nov 19, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (128)
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Climbing Snake.

Description 

This a really good route, and a nice option to avoid the crowds on Diedre, with only a few moves that are harder than climbing the latter. There are a couple of undercling traverses that are high in the grade.
Pitch 1: (5.7) Up the obvious corner off the ledge to a bolted anchor
Pitch 2: (5.9) Continue to move left, I followed a finger crack to the next belay, called "the stage"
Pitch 3 (5.9) Up the corner to next ledge.
Pitch 4 (5.9) This for me was the crux pitch. Up and to the right, traversing around a small tree and pulling the corner to the next bolted belay. The feet are thin!
and the hands not so good.
Pitch 5 (5.7) Continue up the corner, then across the face to a loose gully. Belay here, then scramble up to Memorial ledge

From memorial ledge, it is possible to walk off to the left, following small ledges and trees (Broadway) to better ground. A grade 3 option would be to climb Memorial Crack, then continue up the Squamish Buttress, finishing on top of the Chief.

Location 

Same approach as for Diedre, straight up from the parking lot, past the toilet, and go left where the trail splits. Watch for the small ramp above the trail, it is hard to see, but if you are looking for something you wouldn't normally see on an approach you won't miss it! Climb this (easy 5th) up and right to a dirt ledge. From here, if you go right, you will come to the base of Diedre. Go left and up some more easy 5th to the base of Snake.

Protection 

Standard rack, all of the belays are bolted. Gear up to 3 inches, though nothing really big is needed.


Photos of Snake Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 4
Pitch 4
Rock Climbing Photo: On the crux pitch, July 2014
On the crux pitch, July 2014
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 4 traverse
Pitch 4 traverse
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 2
Pitch 2
Rock Climbing Photo: Start of the route
Start of the route
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 5
Pitch 5
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 3
Pitch 3

Comments on Snake Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 13, 2016
By Evan Stevens
Jun 26, 2008

Snake is an old, old classic, not from Jeff, et al 2001! Jeff has contributed a ton to Squamish climbing, but this one was established by R. Willmott and P. Botta in 62 (as per the guidebook.)
By Peter Spindloe
From: North Vancouver, BC
Jun 30, 2008

Thanks Evan, I updated it.
By Matt Desenberg
From: North Berwick, ME
May 10, 2009

Skip Diedre and do this instead. I don't remember the .9 sections being too difficult, and it's a way better route with half the crowds.
By Mike Teschke
From: North Vancouver
Jun 8, 2009

I climbed this on Saturday, we were the only party on the route all morning, there was a second group about half way up the route by the time we got back to the parking lot. Only a stones throw away on Diedre, there was multiple groups at each of the first couple belay stations... :(
Snake is a great route, and totally a better alternative to Diedre if you are up for a grade harder climb.
By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From: Bend, OR
Aug 7, 2009
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Great route - but expect lots of low-angle liebacking (big surprise for the Apron!)

P1 - Long pitch, 55m, up the corner and then out the dike to the bolted anchor. You can't really protect the dike traverse (you'd hit the slab below with all the rope stretch), but it isn't terribly hard if you find the right feet.

P2 - Traverse left. I did the lower slab option, and found it engaging considering your protection is 30' to your right. After finishing the traverse, you can protect your second by climbing up and then right and placing a #2 camalot.

P3 - Crux pitch IMO. The final moves to the anchor are thin and high in the grade. A small nut and blue mastercam protected this move fine though.

P4 - Guess what, more liebacking! You even get a bolt on the way. The traverse right to the anchor didn't seem cruxy to me. Plenty of gear options on the traverse.

P5 - Guess what, more liebacking... only easier :)

I brought a double rack of small cams (green C3) to #3 camalot and nuts (including small) and it worked perfectly. I found the climbing to be engaging for the grade.
By AndySkol
From: Seattle, WA
Jul 14, 2014
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

Safety beta: I almost decked off of the unprotectable dike traverse (5.7), which is the most dangerous part of the route. My mistake was going too high on the traverse and making it into 5.10 climbing, if it feels hard you are probably too high - stay low and find a great right sidepull as you traverse left. It should feel like 5.7. The last pro I had is a #2 camalot in the short vertical crack (which held my fall), but if you have a #3 you can place it marginally higher, maybe only a foot or two, behind the flake to the right of the short vertical crack. I don't think I missed any pro opportunities above that. You'll figure it out, just make sure you have a 2 or 3 left before the dike traverse on this long pitch.

With respect to other climbs being perhaps excessively popular (Diedre), the description of this climb in the squamish select book is accurate: a step up in difficulty from Diedre, [featuring] thin, technical laybacking. (read: slab feet with thin fingers layback or face edges), so take this into account if you are pushing your limits. Also, I found the protection more sparse.
By climber57
Nov 4, 2014

I can second that the dike traverse was difficult and ended up being run out.
By Greg Kuchyt
From: Richmond, VT
Aug 20, 2015
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Thoughts after doing the route

The approach listed here up left above the dirt ledge is actually broken into a roped-up pitch in the Bourdon book. It's reasonable either way depending on your comfort level; I'd say mid-5th up until the main 5.7 corner/dyke pitch. Go until the last tree ledge before the continuous corner.

All belays are not bolted, but no gear belays are needed as trees can be used. This caused me confusion early in the morning trying to find the bolted belay at the base of the corner of the dyke traverse pitch. Check your tree, some are doing better than others.

Dyke traverse is 5.7 PG/R depending on how you want to look at it; shorter climbers may find it more unnerving. Where to exit out of the main corner should be pretty obvious from the start of the pitch.

First 5.9 traverse pitch, high option is probably the better option. You get gear at the one move crux and can protect the second with a high bolt at the top of the stacked blocks/flakes and then another piece a bit below them at the easy down climb.

Second 5.9 pitch slaps you in the face right before the anchor, save small gear.

Third 5.9 pitch is the most technical and sustained pitch on the route; good technique should make it feel pretty secure though. Taller climbers will think the traverse at the end is easier than shorter climbers will as the good feet are more easily reached.
By Anfarwal
From: Denver, CO
May 31, 2016

Just did this classic route ! The 5.7 dike traverse move at the top of pitch 1 (or 2 in the Bourdon book) is pretty slick after all of the traffic. I would suggest heading straight up the dihedral to the tree with slings all over it and building a belay there, then pitch it out from the flake to the bolts (you can get a few pieces into the dike traverse). Won't completely help with the slab fall if you blow it, but it does help reduce rope drag/stretch and the belayer can see/hear you as you make that move.
By Serge Smirnov
Aug 7, 2016

The bolt on the traverse pitch (first 5.9 pitch - high option) is rather high and may be scary to clean if the follower isn't tall. There is basically no protection between that bolt and the anchor, so if the follower fell after removing the quickdraw, it would not be pleasant. (Taller people can remove the quickdraw from a good stance, which makes a fall unlikely).
By Daniel Bookless
From: Portland, OR
Aug 17, 2016
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

Save a finger sized cam (metolius blue) for the crux on pitch three directly below the anchor. Both my nuts popped and likely wouldn't have caught me had I fallen. This actually was the most technical part of the entire climb in my opinion.
By Erik Dutilly 1
Sep 13, 2016

Great route. Recommended for the 5.9 climber. A few things .

Pitch 1. From the base of route (see guidebook), climb up into a ledge and arch left. Dirt climb up to tree belay.

Pitch 2. Ascend nice corner above you to a tree belay. You can see this belay from top of pitch 1.

Pitch 3. I think there are variations. I stepped left and along some flakes and ledges. You're quickly confronted with run out climbing. However, if you're good with gear you can fiddle in an alien or (even better) a c3. Face Climb up and left out what should be an apprent line of weakness. Above you will be a double bolt anchor. Clip it for your second. Keep traversing left quite a ways until you hit a dirt ledge where you can set a belay beneath a right facing corner.

Pitches 3-5 are well described elsewhere. The high crux on pitch 4 is well protected with small purple #4 black diamond nuts. It's reachy and right before the next anchor ledge. Send it!

Pitch 4 is the psychological crux for sure. So glad that that bolt was installed. Hand traverse is fun to figure out and protects very well.