Squamish. The land of enchanted forests, waterfalls, giant granite boulders and endless cracked faces...
The sea to sky country.
Part of the magic of Squamish, in my humble opinion, is that you can't climb there all year long. There is a small window of fine weather, where the rock is dry and the skies are blue (mostly) in July and August. (Maybe September, if you're lucky.) So, we like to climb there when we can.
This year, we brought some friends along. Chris Jones flew in from Salt Lake City to join us, and Tim Long flew all the way from Denver, to Spokane, to Reno, to Timbuktu, and finally to Seattle to come along. They played our travel guitar in the backseat the whole way there. Over the Hills and Far Away by Led Zepplin is now permanently stuck in my head. But it's better than Smells like Teen Spirit! (which Cody is learning!)
The climbing in Squamish is fantastic, and you can practice just about any kind of climbing there. The Smoke Bluffs have single pitch traditional climbing- which is what I'm doing here. A sweet .11a finger crack, near the Neat and Cool area.
Climbing isn't the only thing in season this time of year in Squamish. We had fresh blackberries with our oatmeal every morning. Tim talked us into a 10 kilo bag of oatmeal during our first stop in the grocery store. 10 kilos is a LOT of oatmeal. But the four of us managed to get through it somehow. I think Tim was eating at least 3 or 4 cups of the stuff every day- to prove that we could finish it in 11 days!
Here's Tim crushing the crux pitch on the Squamish Buttress. We started at the base of the Stawamus Chief and finished at the very top! It took all day, but it's nice to get some air under your feet every now and then. Most of the pitches were moderate, but this final pitch was a real challenge for all of us at thin 5.10b.
On the hike down from the top of the Chief, we stopped to cool off in the creek. After a day of jamming toes into cracks and standing sideways on ankles, the cold, clear water was bliss. Almost as good as the burgers we treated ourselves to for dinner that night.
Now, the base of the Chief, ( the granite monolith of Squamish) is surrounded with boulders- chunks of rock that have been discarded from the main feature over the course of it's formation. The boulders are another main attraction to Squamish. They lie in a dense forest, so on hot days, they're shady and cool, and if it starts to drizzle, they're protected by the canopy for a little while. Here, Tim works on Worm World Cave (V9).
Chris Jones on his first V10, Salad Shooter.
Cody sending the classic Viper (V5). Viper, like all Squamish classic boulder problems, is an arete- a mostly featureless corner feature. Viper is vertical, but there's Baba Hari Dass (V7) that is slightly more angled, and Easy in an Easy Chair (V4) that's horizantal. So, if you plan on going bouldering in Squamish, bring your sloper mitts, and some pinch strength!!
The psyche level near the end of the trip. Chris and Tim loved Canada's selection of Ruffles, in exotic flavors like All Seasoned, Dill Pickle, Ketchup, and Bacon and Sour Cream.
It was a great trip, eh?