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Riden’ With Biden is Squamish 5.9 Climbed in 1979

The first ascentionist retro-named a Smoke Bluffs' trad climb after Joe Biden became president

It might be the longest a route has gone without a proper name, but a short climb at the Smoke Bluffs in Squamish now has an official title. A lot of rock climbs are called “No Name” or “Unnamed,” but we’re not sure how many times one of them has been retro-named by the first ascent team 41 years after it was first climbed.

Ourom completed his first route on The Chief on Dec. 31, 1972, at the age of 16., and once did an Ironman in Hawaii.

Anders Ourom, Squamish climbing legend, gave one of his 1979 climbs a new name after Joe Biden became president. He said, “After due consideration, and now that it’s legal to climb it, I’ve decided to give ‘my’ route a name. It is named Ridin’ With Biden.”

On Jan. 20, Joe Biden became the 46th president of the U.S.A. and Kamala Harris became the first female, first Black and first South Asian vice president.

Ourom’s old climb is right of The Zip by the Blind Channel and was referred to as No Name Route in guidebooks. He said it’s “a modest route, with much to be modest about. A nice little crack, maybe 5.9, at most 15 metres. I did it in 1979, the same day we did Crystal Ball 5.10b [at the same crag]. Probably it could do with a bit of sprucing up, although industrial tactics seem inappropriate.”

Riden with Biden is the most-right crack

About the above photo, Ourom said: Here’s a recent photo of the the Zip wall. If you can believe, its still being (re)cleaned. Youthful energy… The Zip was discovered and unearthed by Blake and Ward Robinson in about 1979, and quickly became popular. (It’s the left hand crack.) For the first while there was a stump in the middle, at the jog in the crack. Anyway, the rappel route was from a tree, more or less where the blue rope is. The first time there, I noticed some interesting edges and cracks under the rappel rope, and soon after returned to clean it up – Crystal Ball, so named because it foresaw numerous other routes of its kind elsewhere in the Little Smoke Bluffs. Although TBH it does have a natural line. Anyway, having gotten started I also cleaned Riden’ with Biden, enough to climb it anyway. It’s the crack on the right. In the context of 1979 it wasn’t likely to draw crowds, even had it been buffed. Dave Nicol and I did Crystal Ball, and while he was rappelling, I scampered up Riden’ with Biden. Although as I believe that the second rule of solo club is not to talk about it, never made much of it. (First rule: don’t fall.)

He’s has been documenting West Coast climbing for 30 years. After the rockfall on The Chief a few years ago, he said, “There was a rockfall on (off?) The Chief in January (before the tremor in March). Climbers leaving the brew pub, senses perhaps moderately enhanced, saw it and report spectacular fireworks.“

Watch Ourom give a presentation at Feat in 2012 below.

Anders at Feat