Chris Barrington-Leigh and I had a fantastic time climbing the route, Life on Earth, on the southwest prow of Mount Habrich. The two main climbing routes, Life on Earth, and the less travelled Solar System are located where the shadow ends in the photo above. It’s a beautiful line on a beautiful peak, following positive holds and cracks on good mountain granite.
I’ve always wanted to climb this mountain, especially as you can see Habrich every time driving south through Squamish. Unfortunately Nick, my usual ropegun for these type of things, had already climbed the route, and I was left on my own to try to climb it.
Without a 4×4 HC vehicle, we parked the car at the start of the Shannon Creek branch, and started walking up towards the boulder blockade. The last time I was here, we pushed bikes up the road and rode most of the flat sections and had a relatively fun time biking down the road. But Chris didn’t have knobby tires on his bike, so we just walked instead. Hiking up from the Habrich Spur to the base of the southwest face was a good grunt. We were able to follow a trail most of the time, but eventually lost it due to snow near the top of the gully and ran into some cliffs. We managed to find the one break through the cliffs and continued to traverse on snow across the base of the southwest face to reach the route proper.
Unlike some other alpine climbs that I’ve done, this one was fantastic, and super fun. The climbing went by very quickly, with many quality moves. The rock was generally great, routefinding was straightforward, with lots of good face climbing. I think I’ll actually go back to climb this one again in the future. We brought along 60m half ropes to rappel the route, and a standard sized rack. I found that I used most of it somewhere on the route, especially the finger size pieces.
Chris following Pitch 1 and 2. Pitch 1 is just a little bit of scrambling (and really isn’t a pitch), which is followed by some strenuous moves in the corner before moving back onto the face. I looked at the direct start, but the roof undercling was still seeping. Chris thought this was the hardest pitch, though I think the crux on Pitch 5 was more technical.
Looking up at Chris on Pitch 3. It started off going through a bulge with the help of some cracks, followed by a decomposing groove with kitty litter. Lots of postive features on this fun feature face.
Me following the third pitch. This part to the belay requires some fun stemming. Photo by Chris Barrington-Leigh
Looking down while leading up on Pitch 4. I followed the cracks on the climber’s right side of the arete. I didn’t even notice the two lower bolts on the arete until I was higher up.
Chris leading away on Pitch 5. The crux is just above him, involving a few face moves well above the last bolt.
A great day to be out in the mountains.
Chris on the Shannon Creek branch. We didn’t bring bikes, which meant for a long walk up and down from the bottom.
Next time, with mountain bikes and a 4×4!
More photos here