Thursday, July 15, 2010


I figure at least once a year it's worth it to head up Cheekbone Corner.

Interesting Fact: This used to be termed 'the Nose Buttress' as per this early topo of the area:

This year the occasion was that Anders is soon moving back to Norway and he really ought to climb it before he leaves. We left town Tuesday after work with that objective in mind, arriving at the base of the 1st pitch ready to go around 7:00. On a good day, I figure I could lead this in around 2 hours... leaving plenty of time before dark. The plan is for Anders to lead it.

He ties in and sets off, knowing that the 1st pitch is easy climbing but poorly protected. About half way up the corner he decides he doesn't like the look of things and bails; down-climbing back to the ground. No big deal. It's now 7:30 and I decide we're here anyway so let's go for it. I rope up and move to the alternate 'Pete's Retreat' start. Before leaving the ground I say to Anders 'don't forget your head-lamp'! He replies 'What? I don't have it today'. Who heads to Cheekbone after work without a headlamp? Oh well... 1 is enough... and I'm off.

We traded pitches up to 'pigeon shit ledge' (which is nicely clean now thanks to peregrines) and I bring him up while enjoying the sunset. Now in the twilight, I send him to lead the last pitch for the photo hanging off the needle. He cruises it, but can't find the route afterwards. Just go up! After some time he makes a tree and I follow up, now in the dark.

After walking off and getting back to the packs it's now at least 10:00. I call Jill:

'Jill... I'm ok... I'm just not going to be home for at least another hour and a bit', says Chris.

'Where are you?', replies Jill.

'I'm at the base of Cheekbone Corner', I respond.

'Well... that is stupid!', she explains... and shortly thereafter hangs up.

Needless to say... this isn't the first time I'll be returning home from this route around midnight.

While on the way home just pass Sunnyside, I hit a skunk. Dang. The car now smells like burnt skunk. We roll up our windows. Another 20 km down the road we hear the sound of a big motor gaining on us quickly... but no lights. We roll the windows back down and Anders realizes that it's an army helicopter right above and behind us... following us down the middle of the highway... in the middle of the night... at 110km/hr... with no lights on. A little unnerving. I'm sure the pilot was training for how to blast me away... but this ain't Afghanistan and I ain't no Taliban. Please strafe somebody else. It followed us for about a kilometer then broke off and was gone. Very weird.

What a great night!


  1. haha

    Now I will have to find another adventure before Anders leaves. That was exactly what I had planned for him. Thanks Chris for stealing my idea ;)

    Mel P


  3. Great adventure. Since early 2000's I've kept a headlamp in my pack 100% of the time I go climbing, even if I planned to be back before dark. Too many times have I needed and not had or needed and had a headlamp.

    Maybe the chopper saw you guys climbing and then decided to track you for a while?