Chicken Hawk 5.11c


Sweet splitter. Crux pitch of Chicken Hawk 5.11c

Sweet splitter on the crux pitch of Chicken Hawk 5.11c.



Chicken Hawk combines the first 3 pitches of Birds of Prey with 3 pitches of new climbing on the clean open wall on the left side of the formation. The character of the climbing is thin and technical, the rock is typically perfect Squamish granite. The crux, a thin crack splitter, is truly a standout pitch of the Squaw.



In 1970 Coast Range climbing legend Dick Culbert partnered with Alice Purdy breached this section of the Squaw establishing Pinline, the thin nailing was the antithesis of the wide and terrifying 1966 Pipeline. Along with Fred Becky`s 1967 Right Wing the central section of the Squaw had only 3 routes for over a decade. The crux aid pitch of Pinline remains a future challenge for free climbers.

The early 1980`s saw a free climbing explosion on the Squaw. The FFA of Right Wing, FA`s The Great Game, Jungle Warfare, and Birds of Prey (FA Jim Campbell and Bob Milward, 1983).

In 2007 Robin Barley set about establishing a new line in the vicinity of the upper pitches of Pinline. He recruited Harry Young as a rope gun, Harry recollects having to resort to several points of aid on the upper pitches due to dirty rock and difficult protection. Despite having to aid several sections Robin claimed this route as free at 5.10d and dubbed it Birds of the Sun getting it billed with many stars in the latest guidebook. Along with false free ascent claims, a drilled out crimp at the crux is part of Robin`s legacy on this section of the cliff.



Coco on the technical dihedral of pitch 5, 5.11a.

In 2016 Colin Moorhead and Conor Hurley spent a couple of days establishing Chicken Hawk with the focus being on the amazing splitter that is highly visible when climbing Birds of Prey. The splitter ended up being easier than anticipated with good finger pods and smattering of edges, what looked like it would be 5.12 turned out to be classic 5.11. An additional half pitch of new climbing led into a dihedral climbed by Young and Barley (this is likely part of Pinline), the last pitches were cleaned to a free climbable standard.


Although a bit mash up of new climbing, aid routes, and not freed free routes, the team thought that this is the dominant and logical line on this section of wall and likely the first free ascent and thus deserving of its own name and description.



Crux splitter. Click to enlarge.

Pitch by Pitch:

1. 5.8. 70m. Climb the first pitch of Birds of Prey (aka Eagles Domain). One 70m pitch takes you to a bolted anchor on a ledge to the left of the crack, this eliminates the need for an awkward hanging belay.

2. 5.7. 20m. Continue up the finger crack, a couple of different options take you to belay at the bottom of a steepening dihedral

3. 5.10a. 18m. Up the classy crux dihedral pitch of Birds of Prey, make an airy step up and traverse left.

Pitches 2 and 3 could easily be combined.


Move the belay to the base of the obvious splitter on the left wall.

4. 5.11c. 15m. Face climb past a bolt until it is possible to mantle onto a stance at the base of the beautiful, short splitter. Crank up the well spaced but positive tips pods with half decent feet most of the way. A super fun pitch!

5. 5.11a. 25m. Climb the right trending ramp past a bolt to gain the obvious left facing corner, the technical stemming culminates with an exhilarating crux sequence.

6. 5.10d. 10m. Pinch up a shallow offset crack  into an arching feature, a final, tricky mantle gains the summit.

Rack: Single set of cams from tips to #2 BD, small wires,  and few extra small cams may be useful.

Descent: A straight forward fixed rap line leads back down the route in 5 rappels with one 70m rope.



Frayed Ends of Sanity 5.11b


Frayed Ends of Sanity tackles an impressive line up the overhanging side of the dominant prow that gives the Squaw it’s distinctive shape. Once gained the overhanging wall treats the climber to startling exposure and excellent positions. Commonly climbed as a dead end 5 pitch 5.11 because many climbers were not capable of the 5.12+ finish. A new finish has been worked out that takes the line to the top of the cliff without significantly increasing the grade.


In 1991 Colin Moorhead and Will Dorling started up Birds of Prey, over two days the pair climbed to the top of pitch 5. With little experience or know how the teenagers managed a bold ground up effort, hammering in a few pitons from free stances and accepting large runouts above marginal pro. They managed to free everything with exception of one hang at the crux of pitch 5.

In 1994 Peder Ourom and friends tackled the line, reportedly believing they were doing the first ascent, the team ignored the obvious signs of of previous passage (fixed pitons and bolted anchors) and drilled several additional protection bolts. Billing themselves as staunch traditionalists with strict ground up bolting policies, the addition of these chicken bolts seemed fairly hypocritical. Particularly galling was the fact that Ourom had recently chopped Will Dorling’s Grand Wall base route Funnelator claiming that rap bolted routes had no place on the Grand Wall.

In 1998 Marc Bourdon, one of Canada’s best climbers at the time, set out to finish off the
line. Using a top down approach, Bourdon bolted the spectacular final arete and sent it in short order. Marc dubbed this pitch Heart of Darkness perhaps in reference to rap bolting tactics that were still distasteful to the small but vocal Squamish crew.



Marc Bourdon on Heart of Darkness 5.12c


In 2014 Andrew Rennie, along with Charlie Long, unveiled a new finish to Frayed Ends of Sanity. His route followed an obvious slanting corner to the right of the Heart of Darkness. Accessing this corner via a wild down mantle maneuver off the belay ledge, the corner offers an unrelenting testpeice of technical “holdless” granite climbing. H.I.A.B. Corner clocks in at 5.12a and has spat off some worthy contenders. Marc Leclerc snagged an early repeat and showed how he is just better than everyone else by linking Pipeline into an onsight of the HIAB in one long pitch!


William Dorling 1973-2016

During an early repeat attempt of HIAB  I realized that Will and I had really blown it all those years ago. We could have done the  down mantle maneuver and accessed the relatively easy finish of Pipeline, we would have had a proper top out and a route at a pretty consistent grade. Better late than never I figured and put it on my to do list. The spring of 2016 an opportunity rolled around to do what in my mind was the true Frayed Ends of Sanity. I knew that Will, who had moved on to bigger things than climbing, would still be excited to hear about the proper line going down. What I didn’t know is that Will had just been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer and that he was fighting for his life. Will passed away on August 29th, 2016 at the age of 43, he bravely chose not to burden many people with the knowledge of his terminal illness and his death came as a shock to me. I hope that this continuous line to the top of the cliff can become considered the complete Frayed Ends of Sanity in loving memory of William Lyall Allen Dorling. Rest in Peace Brother.

Pitch by Pitch:

1. 5.8. 70m. Climb the first pitch of Birds of Prey (aka Eagles Domain). One 70m pitch takes you to a bolted anchor on a ledge to the left of the crack, this eliminates the need for an awkward hanging belay.

2. 5.7. 20m. Continue up the finger crack, a couple of different options take you to belay at the bottom of a steepening dihedral

3. 5.10a. 18m. Up the classy crux dihedral pitch of Birds of Prey, make an airy step up and traverse left.

Pitches 2 and 3 could easily be combined.

4. 5.10c. 20m. Climb straight up off anchor up a tenuous slab past two bolts into a distinct overlap feature, undercling right and continue liebacking up a narrowing ramp which suddenly becomes quite exposed as the edge of the main prow is reached. Belay on  small ledge with great veiws of Pipeline.



Scar making the step across on pitch 6, 5.11b

5. 5.11a. 20m. Surf up the overhanging edge of the great prow feature, linking incipient flakes and small corner features passing several bolts and fixed pins. Exit right into short left facing dihedral capped by a perfect pedestal.


6. 5.11b. 30m. Clip a high protection bolt and down mantle the right side of the belay ledge. A desperate crack match/foot kick move gains the right trending ramp of H.I.A.B. (helpful beta: protect the second by looping a sling through the initial protection bolt, the second can then complete the whole crux sequence and stretch back to retrieve the looped sling)   Continue up the ramp past a couple of bolts until it is possible to step down into the top of Pipeline, climb the beautiful 5.7 offwidth finish of Pipeline using your mind for protection.

Rack: Single set of cams to #3 BD, wires,  and few extra small cams may be useful.

Descent: Rappel Chicken Hawk or walk off.

Harry Eyeball 5.11c

A challenging variation to the crux of Birds of Prey. Harry Young climbed the F.A. of this pitch onsight and rated it 5.10+. Repeats have pegged it at full number grade harder, this blue collar pitch should be spitting off climbers half Harry’s age for years to come.

5.11c. 18m. From the belay at the base of Birds of Prey crux climb up overhanging hand crack into the steep flared corner, squirm up the corner into an awkward rest underneath block/roof. Extricate yourself from the awkward rest exiting the roof on the left side, increasingly desperate moves lead up the shallow corner, a desperate lunge will reward the brave with a good jug just in time.


Heart of Darkness 5.12c

Frayed Ends combined with direct finish up the final arete is the most elegant finish and arguably the best looking line on the Squaw.

5.12c. 20m. From the belay on top of pitch 5 of Frayed Ends layback up a ferocious arch to radical crux sequence right on the arete, it is both powerful and delicate. Power through some more laybacks to a balancey finish on the left side of the arete.


Headwall Detail

H.I.A.B. Corner 5.12a

H.I.A.B. is another excellent finish to Frayed Ends which takes the immaculate and awesome corner to the right of Heart of Darkness.

5.12a. 25m. Clip a bolt out right from the belay, down climb with wild exposure on finger lockers to make a big span right to a jug to gain the corner. Climb the corner via a wide array of side pull, arete slapping, down-palming trickery to reach the jug finish. 9 bolts, a couple finger sized cams for the top.


Wondering what the hell H.I.A.B. stands for…


I would like to thank the Climbers Access Society of British Columbia who generously supplied hardware that was used to for new protection bolts and anchors and updating older anchors on these climbs.



Descent topo

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