I originally planned to go to British Columbia in May to climb the much revered Squamish boulders in Stawamus Chief Provincial Park. I've always wanted to see Canada coast to coast and my original plan was to drive out in early May and take in the Canadian landscape. Unfortunately those plans didn't materialize and I took a flight in June instead.
I left from Montreal Trudeau Airport on June 11 with my friend Aryane and we meet up with some friends, took in the city of Vancouver for a day and headed out to the mountains on the weekend.
My experiences climbing outside of Quebec has always been on boulders. I went to Niagra Glen in Ontario and I also climbed at Horse Pens 40 during the winter of last year. I'm doing the same in Squamish, but I'm hoping to get some sport climbing in as well. If you've read this far, I haven't bored you quite yet and I hope that you'll bear with me and read on about my adventures in beautiful British Columbia.
It's my first time on a plane in years and the farthest I've been from Montreal ever! I've been meaning to see B.C since before I started climbing and I'm finally going. I can't wait to land and start climbing :)
This would be local Vancouver time and after my five hour flight, its time to see some family in Arbutus Ridge.
Do you know what my family enjoys best together? Eating! I'm so full. It may weigh me down when I climb tomorrow.
It's time to go to Squamish. Mark and Aryane are coming to pick me up. Finally, I get to see what Squamish is all about.
Out of the city and close to Squamish. The landscape continues to get more beautiful.
We're at Shawamus Chief Provincial Park and the mountain is but a stone throw away. The sky is shinning and the boulders are calling. Time to get our climb on. Woo Hoo!
What a day! I took it pretty easy today. This place is more than anything I expected. We walked around with Mark as a guide and we sent a bunch of V0 early in the day and then headed of to the Superfly boulder. I think I found my project for the trip on the backside of the Superfly. Its a slopey arrete that looks like a Squamish favorite. It's called Ali Baba something or another....I can't remember the name exactly.
Why am I always the first one up? I'm going back to bed.
Time for breakfast
Mark asked me to free solo the Apron. I've never done any free solo and even the highball problems in Niagra Glen put me on edge. Mark really sold me on the idea though. We'll be doing Banana Peel, a 5.7 multi pitch up a slab. Mark tells me there is only one move that is 5.7. Sold!
Up the slab and back in one piece. That was the most peaceful and exhilarating experience of my life.
Went down to the Black Dyke boulder. There's a nice easy highball on it that didn't phase me at all. Climbing 200+ meters of free solo will do that. Time to hit my project. I think its called Baba Ganoush.
I'm figuring out Ali Baba Ganoush one move at a time. There's always people working on the problem and it gives me a lot of beta to play with.
Now I find myself all alone. Mark and Aryane left to go back to Vancouver. They both need to bet some work done. So I put up my shelter. I wish I had a camera because its the most ghetto shelter known to man. I bought a military poncho when I was doing survival training with the cadets and it also doubles as a tarp. With a few strings and pegs I made a shelter out of it.
Whew! My shelter held up last night. I still need some sleep.
Time to find a crash pad and hit the boulders.
I found a crash pad under Dream Catcher. People stash their old pads there and its a good thing that there was one left. I found a really cool low traversing problem called Bo Bo Jones and the landings were a little sketchy. I worked out the moves one by one and when I had it all figured out I sent the problem with the crash pad protecting the hairiest part of the problem. I also found Easy in an Easy Chair. That one went a little smoother since there were a bunch of people on the problem and a stack of crash pads for me to fall on:) Now I need to walk into town and stock up on food and buy my bus ticket back to Vancouver.
So there's no where to get a Greyhound ticket in downtown Squamish but apparently you can buy it off the bus driver. I didn't take my chances, so I walked to Garibaldi and bought the ticket from the Greyhound depot. Time to hit Ali Baba....I mean Baba Hari Dass :)
8:00 a.mIt's going to be a slow day. The past few days have been absolutely amazing and the locals have been telling me that its been the best weather they've seen in weeks. Well that all went away last night and it poured rain. My shelter is doing really good only problem is that the tarp is too small and my feet got soaking wet.
I went for a walk across the highway and saw that there is a waterfall near the campground. I went for a hike to go and see them and it was a great way to kill some time. This place continues to amaze me and I wish I had my camera.
Dry enough to climb. I hope the crash pad is still under Dream Catcher.
After warming up, I went back to the Easy Chair boulder. Someone told me that there was a variation of Easy in an Easy Chair that goes straight up instead of traversing called the Palminator. Awesome heel hook move. Now I need to walk to Squamish and catch the Greyhound.
Getting on the Greyhound to go back to Vancouver. I'll be back on the weekend.
What an amazing week! I spent a total of four days camping and I had sunshine for the most part. I love B.C and it has exceeded all my expectations. The forest is mystical and natures architect has created such a landscape blending both the new and old growth forest. I would have liked to send more problems but I accomplished some milestones just the same, notably the free solo on the Apron and working on a Chris Sharma problem. I've also made it a point to climb Superfly Slab three time a day to get comfortable climbing on slab, a style of climbing that I'm not at ease with. It will be nice to have a hot shower and to sleep in a warm, dry bed back in Vancouver.
Bo Bo Jones-V3
Easy in an Easy Chair-V4
Banana Peel-5.7 multi pitch