Birds of Prey 5.10b
About the Climb
Birds of Prey is a great route on the left side of the 'Squaw', which is located along the Maquam Forest Service Road, away from the busy highway. From the 'Squaw', the views of the North Walls of the Chief are simply amazing. The route is full of nice finger and hand cracks, and also includes a short but exciting face traverse. The 5.10b crux section is a short but steep corner crack, that takes protection very well. This makes Birds of Prey suited to break into the 5.10b grade for the leader.
The bottom section of the climb goes up a 5.8 finger crack splitting a steep slab. This slab is about 70m long, and there are no nice ledges or features for a belay position. This means that you'll have to build an uncomfortable belay or do a little bit of simul-climbing to reach a good belay stance. For this section, it helps if you bring a 70m rope to minimize the amount of simul-climbing.
The last pitch has superb and sustained 5.10a climbing, but it can be wet from seepage after periods of rain. However, it is possible to retreat from the base of the last pitch in case you arrive there and the rock is too wet to climb. Bring some slings just in case you need to replace the slings at the belay stations.
The routes on the 'Squaw' are generally quite short, and consist of 4-6 pitches. Furthermore, the descent is quick and brings you back to the base of the routes. This makes if very easy to climb more than 1 route in a day. Jungle Warfare (5.10a) and The Great Game (5.10d) are both great routes to combine with Birds of Prey. Both routes have bolted anchors on the first pitch, so it is possible to climb only the first pitch and rap back down if you don't have enough time (double ropes required).
Jungle Warfare (5.10a) is very similar to Birds of Prey. The crux on this route is also very short, but comes only a few feet off the ground, so there is no time to warm up. The rest of the route is in the 5.7-5.9 range, and although not super sustained, it is very entertaining.
Rock On (5.10a) also has lots of great finger and hand crack, and although it is rated easier than Birds of Prey, the climbing is more sustained.