Will Stanhope has sent a multi-year project in Squamish and called it Heavy Fuel 5.13+R. The hard route follows a series of cracks in the Western Dihedrals near the classic Freeway 5.11c.
With Stanhope on his send was Whitney Clark, who he’d just spent time in the Bugaboos with making the likely second free ascent of Men With Options, an 11-pitch 5.12 opened by Joshua Lavigne, Simon Meis, Crosby Johnson and Chris Geisler in 2014. See a topo here and read about the FA here, in which Meis writes:
But what to climb? On our previous few trips to the Bugs we had been churning through the spectacular free climbs on the East Face of Snowpatch Spire. Climbs such as Sendero Norte, East Columbia Indirect, Labyrinth and the Minatare are the product of a “Golden Era” of free climbing on Snowpatch in the last decade. Established by a dedicated crew of locals from nearby mountain communities, these routes are labours of love; scrubbed, equipped and forged up the wall over multiple visits spanning weeks, months or even years.
Heavy Fuel combines pitches from an old aid route called Stellar System first climbed by Colin Moorhead and Kai Hironen (read about Moorhead’s new Squamish 5.12c Freudian Slip here). There are a number of nearby free routes close by, including Shaken Not Stirred 5.11b, Gin and Juice 5.13a A0 8p, and Warriors of Wasteland 5.12b 8p. Stanhope said his new free route is “an amalgamation of a handful of routes, the centrepiece being the pitches of Stellar System.”
Stanhope is known for his hard big wall routes, including the Tom Egan Memorial 5.14a 13p in the Bugaboos (unrepeated), repeat of El Corazon 5.13b 31p, and link-up of the three west faces of the Howser Towers in the Bugaboos with sections of 5.12+ over 2,000 metres of climbing.
About the Howser Towers link, he said, “Leo Houlding and I free climbed the three west faces of the Howser towers in a 23.5 hour push last summer. I’ve had this project in the back of my mind for eight years, and it was a joy to complete it with Leo, one of my original climbing heroes.”
Stanhope has also free-soloed hard Squamish climbs, including Zombie Roof 5.12d/13 and Sentry Box 5.12-, as well as repeated 5.14 test-piece lines like Cobra Crack. Listen to Stanhope on The Nugget Podcast below, where he talks about a serious finger injury and his bold climbs, and watch him free-solo the Zombie Roof.
Read Stanhope’s story about the climb in Gripped’s February/March 2022 issue.