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Sam Lambert Opens (FFA) 5.12+ Trad Route in B.C.

It's now likely the most difficult trad route near Terrace and found on Copper Mountain

Copper Mountain in Terrace, B.C., has a lot of great climbing up to nine pitches on some solid and loose granite. There are slabs, cracks, wild traverse pitches and ledges that break the big faces up into smaller walls.

Sam Lambert has made the first free ascent of Friends in High Places, a 5.12+ trad route, which photographer Alexandre Choquette said is “one of the hardest trad routes to date in the area.” It had been attempted by other climbers over the years. Ray Hawkes put the anchors in and got it clean on toprope, and it was followed up by Shane Spencer climbing it clean on TR. Lambert was the first to lead it free placing gear.

Spencer reached out to Lambert after the FFA, and said, “Nice work freeing Friends in High Places. Al Monroe and I first aid climbed the line in 1998, He passed away in an avalanche at work in 1999. I named it Friends in High Places as a tribute, then worked my ass off trying to free it. Never got there. I had to fight off a few people wanting to bolt it.”

There are a few 5.12+ sport routes in Extew Valley, including Black Leather Monster 5.12+ and Sofa King Extension 5.12+, but the next hardest pure trad line might be Big Red 5.11- at Perching Wall on Copper Mountain.

Over the years, Lambert has repeated a number of bold routes such as Remembrance Wall 5.11+R/X on Ha Ling and the second ascent of La Media Docena 5.11+R/X, which was first climbed by Jorge Ackermann, Tomas Aguilo and Nicolas Benedetti in 2014, with Sonnie Trotter in 2017.

With Lambert at Copper on the day of his FFA was Sarah Hart, Kris Pucci and Tim Russell. Be sure to follow Choquette below for more B.C. adventures.