Get in the car and drive to Squamish nowFreeway
is simply one of the best climbs anywhere. Stare at the line from the Chief parking lot and it looks impossible: a series of overhanging dihedrals leading to an enormous roof and then a sharp arete topping out on the Bellygood Ledge.
The money section is a 100 meter long series of dihedrals, usually done as two pitches of sustained 5.11 climbing with several crux sections up to 5.11c.
The standard route (which omits the first slab pitch and takes the Express Lane finish) is 10 pitches, six at 5.11, the rest at 5.10. There's no actual 11d move but the sustained nature of the climbing and two 11c cruxes bump the rating up.
A good alternative to the full route is Freeway Lite
, which climbs the first five pitches, rapping from the Truck Stop below the roof. This gives you the best pitches of the route without the commitment of going to the top and walking off.
If the full route feels too easy, jump on Alaska Highway
, which has an honest-to-god 11d pitch that is the wildest thing I've ever climbed.
From the north end of the climber's parking lot take the trail to the Chief. When the trail forks, stay right until you're under the Dihedrals. If you get to a big blank wall, you've gone too far.
Rack up and put on shoes here. If doing the full route, don't leave anything at the base.
Scramble up the jungle choss, using trees and fixed lines until you reach the slopping belay ledge at the base of P1.
If you like 5.11 for breakfast
P1. The fun starts almost immediately. Launch up the first dihedral, placing gear and clipping a bolt that protects a 5.11 move about 10 feet off the belay. Tips liebacking and delicate smearing get you to easier but still not very easy climbing. There's some sustained face climbing and another crux higher up until you reached a bolted belay. 5.11a
P2. Reach sideways around a corner and pull into a fist crack. Follow the splitter to the belay. 5.10.
The first two pitches link well together.
P3. Make an exposed traverse, clipping bolts. Small gear for extra pro. 5.10b.
P4. The start of the business. Climb a 50 meter dihedral. Technical climbing with two distinct cruxes, the second being harder. 5.11c
P5. Another 50 meter dihedral. The crux is a steep, powerful lieback near the start. Eventually you wind up in a corner but then are forced out left for some run-out face climbing in the 10d range. Easier than it sounds. This pitch packs an enormous variety of climbing and is one of the best I've ever done. 5.11a
For Freeway Lite
: rap from the top of this pitch with two ropes, tending to climber's right.
P6. The Truck Stop ledge makes for a nice rest after the 100 meter dihedral enduro fest. Savor it because things are about to get hard--really hard. Start plugging gear into the enormous roof and get ready to crank. Pull the first roof, then crank though the second. Wild and hard climbing make this the technical crux of the route but it's all there.
P7. A crazy steep traverse, bolts, fixed pins and some gear. Hard and scary. 5.11a
P8. Take a deep breathe, things get a lot easier from here on. Move right into a corner and up, tending left. Fun, reasonably well protected face climbing. 5.11a
P9. Bolted face climbing. 5.10c
P10. Short but stout, weirdly balanced climbing up an arete clipping bolts. 5.10d
The last two pitches can be linked.
High five time.
Descent: Move right to pick up the Bellygood Ledge climber's trail, then follow it to the main Chief trail.
Standard rack with doubles, TCUs, small nuts. Two ropes if doing Freeay Lite.