Friday, 5 August 2011

Squamish Select

Week two was just about to begin, my fingers and skin having rested enough to give them another beasting! Having got the hang of the slopey nature of the rock there, it was now time to tick off some more of the classic problems that Squamish had to offer. Possibly the most highly renowned problem there is known as Superfly V4 and really is a truly stunning line and thoroughly recommended. The rising traverse to the left is also a fantastic problem too, although it's name escapes me.

However, just next to Superfly sits the most talked about boulder problem i got up; a small, sitting start route, a bit of a one-move wonder, this classic doesn't have a name and isn't in the guidebook. Yet, Simon, my host and bouldering companion, told me he'd never seen anyone do it. It's pictured below, and summarised bouldering for me perfectly: fun, sociable and quite frankly a little bit daft! Quite at odds with the fantastically technical V3 slab that came next - another problem where i was able to cut out several moves from Simon's beta. Still, it was quickly on to another classic, Easy in an Easy Chair V3, although my antics on the miniature boulder left me with pain in my abs, so i was forced to take it easy for the rest of the day.

The penultimate day now, and we took a hike further up towards the base of the Chief. As we gained altitude, the landings became rockier, the boulders higher, and my inclination to get on them slightly less. A few easier problems, some more milage gained, but then one of the highlights. After a few hours of falling off very close to the ground, we took a walk up to base. The sheer scale of the face is almost unimaginable, at least until you realise the small green things near the top are actually trees, and those small dots on the wall are climbers. Although i may not have gone to climb this monolithic wall, it was certainly stunning to be there and a sight i will not forget in a hurry.

The last day we went to one of Simon's favourite haunts for warming up and ticked along the classics Squamish Days V2 (massively overgraded if you want an easy tick) Squamish Days traverse V2 and Anatomy Lesson V3. Sloppy Poppy V4 is also a must for any passing climber as it's moves are truly fabulous, even if it did nearly break us all. I finished my last day down near Superfly again, trying the rising slopey traverse of Baba Hari Dos V7 once more and using the last few hours of daylight to really run the skin thin, and enjoy being in the forest for the last time. An amazing venue, and one of the most spectacular climbing spots i have ever been, Squamish and the Stawamus Chief are now at the top of the list of must-visit venues.

I spent a few days visiting some family in Thunder Bay on the way home, indulging in some non-climbing activities such as some shooting, boating (with a speed boat out at camp) and a little light hiking. While my love of Vancouver was great, my time in Ontario cemented my belief that Canadians are some of the warmest and nicest people i've ever encountered, in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

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