Three Round Trips on Slesse's East Side in 12 Hours

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Brette Harrington climbing on the Navigator Wall (5.10+), Slesse Mountain, two weeks before Marc-Andre Leclerc's solo. Photo by Marc-Andre Leclerc.

Brette Harrington climbing on the Navigator Wall (5.10+), Slesse Mountain, two weeks before Marc-Andre Leclerc's solo. Photo by Marc-Andre Leclerc.

9/5/14 - Marc-Andre Leclerc has free-soloed three different routes on the east side of Slesse Mountain in British Columbia in a day, completing the round trip from his bivouac site in a little over 12 hours. Leclerc soloed the East Buttress Direct (5.10+), Navigator Wall (5.10+), and Northeast Buttress (5.9+), descending a line along the Southeast Buttress

Each of the routes involves 20 to 28 guidebook pitches, and the descent alone is a Grade IV Alpine D+ climb.

Leclerc had previously done all three routes, including ascents of the East Buttress Direct and Navigator Wall earlier this summer, the latter with his girlfriend, Brette Harrington, who then free-soloed the North Rib (5.9) of Slesse on the same day he did the triple link-up. Both the East Buttress Direct and Navigator Wall likely had never been free-soloed before. Both have sections of loose rock that make them sketchy as solos, though Leclerc said they "deserve more attention than they get" as roped climbs.

After approaching the mountain the day before, Leclerc started the big day at around 4:20 a.m. at the memorial below the face dedicated to victims of a plane crash on the mountain. He climbed the East Buttress Direct in two hours, the Navigator Wall in 1 hour 15 minutes, and the Northeast Buttress in 1 hour 10 minutes, taking about 1.5 hours to return to the base after each climb. Poor visibility and the threat of rain added to the tension of the day. (Harrington bypassed the summit because of the poor weather during her solo, and Leclerc skipped the summit after climbing the East Buttress Direct, though he tagged the top after the Northeast Buttress).

The north face of Slesse Mountain. Green: East Pillar. Red: Navigator Wall. Yellow: Northeast Buttress. Blue: Southeast Buttress of South Summit. Photo courtesy of Marc-Andre Leclerc.

The east face of Slesse Mountain. Green: East Buttress Direct. Red: Navigator Wall. Yellow: Northeast Buttress. Blue: Southeast Buttress of South Summit. Photo courtesy of Marc-Andre Leclerc.

The Northeast Buttress, the only popular route on the north or east faces, is typically climbed over two to three days, car to car. Last summer, Leclerc, 21, a Squamish local, soloed the Northeast Buttress and North Rib on Slesse in a single long day. He also set a speed record for the complete Grand Wall on Stawamus Chief in Squamish, free-soloing the route in less than 58 minutes.

You can read Leclerc's first-person account of his and Harrington's big days, and see more photos, at his blog.

Date of ascent: August 2014

Sources: Marcleclerc.blogspot.com, Marc-Andre Leclerc