About 8 years ago, I adopted out Pickle, my last Lilac Crowned baby to a wonderful couple - Clare and Calvin. At the time, they lived near Mountain Home Arkansas. It seems it'd be difficult to adopt out my babies, but when they go to great homes, it's not that difficult. I've stayed in touch all these years, but I've never had the opportunity to visit. That finally changed in the end of Oct. We'd planned to go visit in the spring, but Dave's mountain bike accident forced us to cancel the trip to Vegas and the accompanying trip to Pahrump. Clare moved there several years ago after Calvin passed away.
During a trip to Vegas to climb (blog coming...I promise!), we headed over the pass to see Clare, Pickle and Clare's other bird Data an African Gray. We greeted Clare with a bouquet of flowers. She looks fabulous!
After all these years, it was apparent that Pickle remembers me. He was happy to see me and really responded to some songs I used to sing to him as a baby. Like all of my Amazons, he was finishing up his annual molt.
Pickle's nickname has always been "Screwy Lewy." He's a bit curly due to a calcium deficiency as a youngster. He's healthy but has a bit of scoliosis as a result. He is clearly a male Lilac Crown - he showed us his tough-guy routine but couldn't help but show how sweet he is too.
Dave, Clare and I spent the afternoon visiting and had lunch at a local Chinese restaurant. It was great catching up with Clare and we really look forward to seeing her on our next trip out west. I'm not sure when it'll be, but I can assure you we won't wait 8 more years!
After Quinn left and I had a nice rest day, I connected with a local climber from Vancouver named Andy and we had a lot of fun climbing for 3 days. Here is Andy at the base of a very fun 12 pitch route called “Sunset Strip”
Me leading the first pitch of “Sunset Strip”. There is a good wake up call right at the bottom with very thin 5.10c face climbing followed by a nice 10a crack system to the belay.
Andy leading the second pitch which has a little squeeze followed by some corner climbing.
Looking down at Andy on the very cool and long 3rd pitch which has continuous 5.10c corner climbing on beautiful stone :)
Pitch 4 was also great – really nice 10c crack climbing to a corner system. Yippee!
Andy leading pitch 9 – face to crack climbing.
Mandatory feet at the belay shot – about 800’ up at this point, 3 pitches to go.
The view from the 11th belay, getting up there now!
Andy leading the final squeeze chimney to the top of the route.
Andy at the top of the route – another huge forested ledge.
Walking through the forest on the descent – a very pleasant way to get down from a huge face.
Team photo near the top of the route – great fun! Time for a beer at the Howe Sound brewery :)
On our second day out, Andy and I did a link up of “Rock On” to “Squamish Buttress” to a new 2 pitch finish. This was a 14 pitch link up with a forest hike in the middle. Very fun. Here is a pic of Andy taking pics on the 4th pitch of Rock On.
Andy coming up the 5th pitch of Rock On, a very fun 5.10a corner system.
Eating a sandwich at the top of Rock On before doing the forest hike to the start of Squamish Buttress.
Andy at the base of the crux of Squamish Buttress, a thin 5.10c crack.
Andy coming up the thin crack, several parties waiting to start below – it was a busy day on this link up!
Andy topping out on Squamish buttress.
Andy leading a new 2 pitch finish to the very top of the Chief.
Summit team selfie.
Tools of the trade…
On the true summit of the Squamish Chief – great weather!
On our last day, we did two routes in the Sherriff’s Badge area, but this photo of the 1st pitch of “Borderline” is the only pic I got that day. This was a really fun 4 pitch 5.10c with a variety of climbing.
That evening, there was a gathering of young and old Squamish climbers at the old parking/camping area known as “Psyche Ledge”. It was really fun to meet and chat with some of the long term locals.
After leaving Squamish the next morning for the long drive home, I first had to drive again through the endless urbania of Vancouver. There are no beltways or expressways to get through/around this huge city, so it takes quite a while…
The U.S. border waiting line – it was about a 30 minute wait to get to the gate, then a brief stop at the booth and I was back in the good old USA! Now, just 1200 more miles to go….