Episode II

The Empire Strikes Back


 The ubiquitous 5.9+ offwidth.

 Darth puts the choke on.

On a sunny June day I found myself below the maw of the ubiquitous 5.9+ offwidth. A group of us were well up on the lonely North Walls of the Squamish Chief. As I studied the pitch, I was filled with a heavy sense of the moment. Finally, I was faced with the real deal, and I knew it was time to pay the piper.

An easy dihedral led upwards until capped by a large roof, at which point one would push on through via the large, offwidth crack. I worked up to with brave composure, figuring that I could shoot up through the enormous roof crack, but I was quickly denied. The roof spat out every manner of chicken wing and arm bar before I fell back to reclaim my wits. I was already sweating profusely; the angle was more than I had anticipated. Breathing heavily, I stared ahead until I saw an imaginary line of weakness that would allow me past the roof and into the wider, body sized crack above. I returned with confidence and vigor, but my plan was shortly dashed. I was spread eagle across the dihedral, body pressed against the roof and arms piled uselessly into the slot above. All upward progress was halted by the simple fact that my entire body was in the way. I was dripping sweat and trembling with impossible anger. I clawed my way up, falling twice, pulling a bolt once, stepping on it twice, before I found myself in a sweaty, cheese-grated heap at the top. I was humiliated and disturbed; it seems that I wasn't a hardman after all.

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