I returned to the CWM with Andrew yesterday to climb Bitter Fingers 5.6 and work the moves on Wish you where here 5.12b/c. It was just above 0 degrees C and sunny which made for a nice walk along the equestrian trail. While walking Andrew spotted what we believed to be bear tracks in the mud.
Bitter Fingers is a first generation CWM climb that I have attempted twice on lead solo. The first time, Wild weather in Gatineau, I walked away because it looked too wet. The second time, I decided it was not an appropriate route to lead solo based on the route's gear options and awkwardness. This time, on our arrival around 11 ish the climb looked damp in places but definitely climbable. The sun does not hit this side of the cliff until later in the day; in fact there were icicles still on the wall when I started to climb. The mental crux of the route started right off the ground. Starting off a boulder, four or five feet above the stream, you step across onto a small foot hold and pull into the wall on reasonable holds. Matching on a squared edge rail you can place a swallow #1 camalot behind a flake. Care must be taken to get this placement right. The next moves are tricky and committing until you can get a good cam in the above horizontal. This is not a climb for a 5.6 leader. The rest of the climb is protectable however the cracks are full of crystals and irregularities making bomber placements not as straight forward as one might expect. On top of that, the climbing is awkward. All and all it took 30 minutes for me to climb this short route.
To put up a rope on Wish you where here I lead Slippery when wet a 5.10d sport route. This slightly overhanging sport route is in the guidebook but the name is listed as unknown. If you are unsure in anyway about getting to the first bolt on this route just stickclip it. A fall here is very serious. The climb itself is fun, straight forward and the crux is well protected. As a comparison to Bitter Fingers I lead this route in less than 5 minutes.
With a TR on Wish you were here I reminded myself of the movement and crimpy holds. The route is more like a solid V5 highball boulder problem. For me the climb breaks into 2 or 3 sections. Linking them will be difficult but I believe I could redpoint this climb if my shoulder permits the necessary work. Next time I return I think I give it a go with the first two draws preclipped.