Drew Marshall and Jacob Cook finished a new ground-up slab route they had been projecting above Bellygood Ledge on The Chief in Squamish. They named their new route Inner Fire 5.12d. “This climb has taken two years to make and I am both very happy with the finished route and a little sad now it’s over,” said Cook.
Cook started the project with Tony McLane last summer, bolting from natural stances on lead. “Sometimes the stances were very poor indeed,” said Cook. “We inched up the wall discovering its intricacies slowly, bolt by bolt. The process was mentally challenging but very satisfying.”
Marshall joined Cook this year and completed and they managed to climb through the stopper-crux and drill a bolt from a small stance after the hardest moves. “We wrote the final chapter by making a continuous ascent of all five pitches,” said Cook. “The route is very similar in character to Marc-Andre Leclerc’s Labyrinth on the Tantalus Wall and I’m proud to contribute in a small way to the history of ground-up slab climbing in Squamish.” See Marshall use a tree for bolting assistance:
The Story of Labyrinth
The Tantalus Wall is one of the most stunning pieces of rock on The Chief, with a large roof mid-way, dykes and a shear upper wall. For years, there was a section between Cerberus and Wrist Twister that had no routes.
In the winter of 2013, Marc Andre Leclerc and Luke Neufeld started to climb what would become the Labyrinth. They established the line ground-up through a number of February hail storms. They took a number of big whippers as the aid climbed the first ascent.
By spring, the route was prepped and they pieced together the first free ascent. The five-pitch 5.12c has taken on a legendary status in terms of hard Squamish slab climbs. Be sure to donate to the Sea to Sky Development fund here.