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New Five-Pitch 5.14 in Squamish Took Four Years

Jacob Cook says a continuous ascent of Call of the Sirens would be a "true masterpiece of slab wizardry"

Jacob Cook has freed all of the pitches on Call of the Sirens, a five-pitch 5.14a slab on the Tantalus Wall on The Chief in Squamish. Marc-Andre Leclerc told Cook about the project four years ago.

The Tantalus Wall is one of the finest pieces of rock above Squamish. The top is shear with few crack systems and a roof guarding the upper headwall. There are dykes that zig-zag and features that catch the climber’s eye.

“The crux pitch really tested me,” said Cook about Call of the Sirens, a contender for the hardest multi-pitch slab climb in Canada.

“An unlikely sequence of very low percentage moves… This is far from a continuous free ascent. In fact, I’ve sent exactly one pitch every year for the last three years. A continuous ascent would be a true masterpiece of slab wizardry if anyone ever climbs it. Either way, I’m thrilled to have brought some of Marc’s vision to life and I’m proud to leave a testpiece for future Squamish slab pilgrims to try and maybe improve on my style.

The first route on Tantalus Wall was Cerberus climbed in 1976 by two of Squamish’s most visionary climbers, Darryl Hatten (big wall pro) and Eric Weinstein (gave Squamish its first 5.12 with Sentry Box the same year).

In the mid-1980s, Dean Hart and Randy Atkinson added bolts to Cerberus on lead and turned it into one of B.C.’s best 5.11d multi-pitch routes. Over the years, other routes like Wrist Twister were aided up Tantalus.

In winter 2013, Leclerc and Luke Neufeld began establishing what would become Labyrinth, a four-pitch 5.12c. Neufeld and Leclerc established their line ground up through February snow, on scary aid and took multiple big whippers when hooks blew.

They freed the line in spring. It’s become one of the must-do 5.12+ Squamish climbs.

About Labyrinth, Leclerc said, “The climbing is similar to, but generally harder and more sustained than Cerberus, and while it would be biased to claim it to be ‘better’ or ‘more fun’ than Cerberus, it is certainly not ‘worse’ or ‘less fun’ than Cerberus. Overall an extremely fun and high quality outing.

“A direct start that will share the last two pitches is still a project.” Call of the Sirens is the direct start to Labyrinth that Lelcerc was referring to.

In fall 2019, Cook and Drew Marshall completed a single-push ascent of their new route Inner Fire, a five-pitch 5.12d above Bellygood Ledge. Cook said, “The route is very similar in character to 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.”

Call of the Sirens is one of the most difficult mutli-pitch routes in Canada. A continuous free ascent awaits.

Marc-Andre Leclerc on Labyrinth Photo Paul Pride