Friday, 27 September 2013

Squamish - My review

So I have been back a few days now.
Looking back at squamish I have absolutely no regrets giving up almost a years worth of holiday on one trip. So here is my breif take on the place.
Ease of Access - the boring stuff
Once you are at squamish everything is a short drive away. I imagine without a car it would be difficult to do everything with out a lot of motivation. For example seal cove is a long way down the road from the cheif campground/squamish down town. It is an amazing and quiet location for an easy day. Hitching would be a possibilty but the notice board might not get you a lift easily (having not used the notice board I could not say).
Also if the weather craps out cheakamus is a drive away so agian with out a car its a hitching job or notice board for lifts.
Most of the crags have a short walk in which is always nice but the car park areas can be a little crowded. I went at the end of the season so probably missed the worst of it.
From the air port the drive is reasonably straight forward but I took a wrong turning both times trying to get through down town vancouver. The sea to sky is a great road to drive on.
The Crags - My take
While in squamish we tried most of the crags. Here is what I though of them.
Murrin park - It was a nice introduction to granite lots of low grade routes with harder things next to it. Also it had a really nice lake for swimming in it.
Seal Cove - beautiful but lacking in steeper angles and harder climbs. Great for a hot easy day pottering.
Cheakamus - I only went to forgotten wall but it reminded me of giggleswick south which I always thought that in another country people just would not bother with it. It is a wet day option as it stays dry but it was shit! However there was a nice 7a
Smoke Bluffs - Good climbing but too urban I felt I was climbing in some ones garden.
Shannon Falls - too busy (stupid 5.7 crack)
Bulletheads - Not the most inspiring from the base. However I did one of the best pitches of climbing I have ever done there.
Base of the grand wall - Again not overly keen. There is no real warm ups. It all starts at 5.10b but the routes look amazing if you are climbing a bit harder than I was
The Apron - A great place to get into the multi pitching. Nice easy grades did not feel too commiting and a fast drying option. Gets a bit warm in the sun.
The Chief in general - The best place I have ever climbed in my life. Brillinat climbing at every grade. Every type of climbing and amazing views. Easy access and fantastic situations.

My tick list (exported from UKC)

Climb name Grade Style Partner(s) Date Crag name
Any Lip'll Do V0   Sent O/S simon 19-Sep-13 Grand Wall Boulders
Any Rock'll Do V1  * Sent O/S simon 19-Sep-13 Grand Wall Boulders
Flourescent Black V0   Sent O/S simon 19-Sep-13 Grand Wall Boulders
Sphinx'ter Quits 5.8  ** Lead O/S simon, bex 18-Sep-13 Little Smoke Bluffs
Quarryman 5.8  *** Lead O/S simon, bex 18-Sep-13 Little Smoke Bluffs
Health Hazard 5.10a  ** Lead O/S simon, bex 18-Sep-13 Little Smoke Bluffs
Popeye and the Raven 5.10d  *** 2nd simon 18-Sep-13 Little Smoke Bluffs
Fun Gus Arete V0   - 17-Sep-13 Grand Wall Boulders
Rambles 5.8  *** Lead O/S bex 15-Sep-13 Squamish Chief
Bronze Traverse V0   Sent O/S bex 15-Sep-13 Grand Wall Boulders
Ain't Easy Being Easy V0   Sent O/S bex 15-Sep-13 Grand Wall Boulders
Banana Peel 5.7  *** AltLd O/S hobbit 13-Sep-13 Squamish Chief
Squamish Buttress 5.10c  *** AltLd O/S hobbit 13-Sep-13 Squamish Chief
The Butt Light 5.9  * AltLd O/S hobbit 13-Sep-13 Squamish Chief
Granville Street 5.8  * AltLd O/S hobbit 13-Sep-13 Squamish Chief
Zoe 5.10a  *** Lead O/S simon 11-Sep-13 Murrin Park
Jugs, Not Drugs 5.8 Lead O/S simon 11-Sep-13 Murrin Park
Squamish Days V0  ** Sent O/S 10-Sep-13 Grand Wall Boulders
Fried Ant V0  *** Sent O/S 10-Sep-13 Grand Wall Boulders
Easy Peezy V0   Sent O/S 10-Sep-13 Grand Wall Boulders
Bob Barker Cut My Dog's Nuts Off V1   Sent O/S 10-Sep-13 Grand Wall Boulders
Spotters on Strike V0   Sent O/S 10-Sep-13 Grand Wall Boulders
Squamish Days Traverse V2  * Sent x simon 10-Sep-13 Grand Wall Boulders
Bubble Buddy 5.8  ** Lead O/S simon 09-Sep-13 Murrin Park
Lost Horizon 5.10b  *** 2nd simon 09-Sep-13 Murrin Park
Future and a Hope 5.9  ** 2nd simon 09-Sep-13 Murrin Park
Barknuckles 5.8  *** Lead O/S simon 09-Sep-13 Murrin Park
The Seal Cove Traverse 5.9  ** Lead O/S simon 09-Sep-13 Murrin Park
Summer Vacation V0  *** Sent O/S hobbit, bex 08-Sep-13 Grand Wall Boulders
The Warm-Up V1   Sent O/S hobbit, bex 08-Sep-13 Grand Wall Boulders
Superfly Slab V0  * Sent O/S hobbit, bex 08-Sep-13 Grand Wall Boulders
Dyke Surfer V0  ** Sent O/S hobbit, bex 08-Sep-13 Grand Wall Boulders
One Track V1   Sent O/S hobbit, bex 08-Sep-13 Grand Wall Boulders
Nick's Idea V1   Sent x hobbit, bex 08-Sep-13 Grand Wall Boulders
Easy Traverse V1   Sent x hobbit, bex 08-Sep-13 Grand Wall Boulders
Bullethead East 5.10c   Lead simon 07-Sep-13 Squamish Chief
Forgotten Realm 5.10a  * Lead O/S bex 06-Sep-13 Cheakamus Canyon
Shaggy 5.9 Lead O/S simon 06-Sep-13 Cheakamus Canyon
Cornflakes 5.7  ** Lead O/S bex 05-Sep-13 Little Smoke Bluffs
One Scoop with Delicious Dimples 5.10c  *** Lead O/S bex 04-Sep-13 Squamish Chief
The Bottom Line 5.9  ** Lead O/S bex 04-Sep-13 Squamish Chief
The Boot V0   Sent O/S bex 02-Sep-13 Apron Boulders, Squamish
Stinky V0   Sent O/S bex 02-Sep-13 Apron Boulders, Squamish
Holiday in Cambodia 5.8  ** Lead O/S simon 01-Sep-13 Murrin Park
Power Smart 5.8  ** Lead O/S simon 01-Sep-13 Murrin Park
Oscar's Slab 5.8  ** Lead O/S simon 01-Sep-13 Murrin Park
Thriller Off the Void 5.11b  *** 2nd simon 01-Sep-13 Murrin Park

Favourite Routes

Bulletheast east first pitch. Completely brilliant route lovely moves about 40m of constanstly amazing moves.
Zoe - After not trying it on the first day to go back and do as a warm up was a fantastic feeling.
Banana Peel - As good as everyone says
The Butt lite - Exposed HVS pitch laybacking then traversing over a massive drop. Then a chimney with one of the best views in the world?

Favourite Boulders
Summer Vacation - A classic for a reason. It's high ball 5-6m but you dont realise as the moves are so good!
Superfly - I would of done it if I tried it more but was pretty intense for me.
Fried Ants - Nice easy moves and a fantastic top out
Probably the length of my ticklist. I forget when you do a big route that you normally only get one tick for it but it does reduce the number of different routes you have done.
My performance on Khalanie Crack. I can try use the hang over excuse but really I was just a punter.
Smoke Bluffs urban situation
Not swimming in murrin park lake (I did swim in Alice lake though)
The lack of sharp knivies in the apartment
The price of beer
The quality of the bouldering. I knew it was going to be good but it was ... Possibly as good as font!
Seeing a bear late at night in a carpark.

Best Part
Topping out the chief after 19 pitches by soloing a 10m slab at 600m above sea level

Other Cool things

Howe Sound Brew house - Quality!
The apartment - More like a house
The kitchen in the apartment - Massive
Making a roast dinner - I love cooking roast pork and potato's
How friendly everyone was
The people I was with

Pub - Howe Sound brewery
Breakfast/cafe - Big D's
Route - .. too many but probably Bullethead East P1 as a single pitch the upper pitches looked amazing too.
Boulder Problem - Summer Vacation

The Cost

The trip was expensive.
Flights were £600 return
Motel for 2 nights $90 each (split between two) (£55-60)
Car hire £170ish Each (£670 for three weeks)
Food £15+ per day
Drink £5-6 per beer

Would I go back


Would I go Back Next Year

Probably not.
To justify the trip you need at least 2 weeks which is half my years holiday allocation. I will go back just not next year .. unless someone turns round to me and says I am booking a trip do you want to come ... I would strongly think about it.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Everything has to come to an end

The day after the Rambles the weather came in. It was really wet all day so climbing was written off. We did nothing just sat around the house. We did nip to the adventure centre to buy gifts but that was it ..
The day after that it was still wet. So we decided to check if the boulders had been shielded from the rain. Which they had so we checked out the boulders. 
I tried lots of things with not much luck. Most of it was damp so some stuff I did not top out as it was not worth the effort. others I could not get going on. Did not feel like a spanking though. I did make progress on easy chair which was good. 
Me on Easy in a Easy Chair V4
Nice Overbite

On the wednesday the weather cleared. So we went to fast drying Smokie bluffs. I warmed up climbing a top 100 5.8 corner crack then got on a 5.10a trad route which I did with no real issue. After that I followed Simon up a 5.10d techincal corner which climbed amazingly (also top 100). The route combine a series of chimney, slab, bridging and balance moves. To make a true un british classic route. 
I ended the day doing a 5.8 with really run out bolts (you are supposed to take some gear I did not bother). It was a nice day to end my route climbing just pottering ticking a few nice routes with friends reminded me of great grit days at the crag with mates taking the piss and climbing stuff.

The final day in Squamish for me was spent on the grand wall boulders again. I fired out a load of easier problems and tried a lot of harder ones until my skin gave up. The tick of the day was probably climbing Any Lip'll Do. A great natural line using good heals and toes which are not my sort of thing to climb the problem. 

Bex on Any Lip'll Do
It has been an amazing trip but it was time to leave with the forecast coming ending the season. The pub and the crags showed the season was over in a few days the numbers dispensed so fast. I was very happy with myself on the trip I never really climbed all that hard but I got the big tick which was my main goal. To climb from the car park to the the peak of the chief over 600m above.

Friday morning I set off early to my cousins wedding near toronto. I wont give too many details of the wedding more of a story for the pub but it was amazing great to see my family and great to meet Katie and her family. 
The Happy couple
Katie and Adam
I am now in the airport waiting for my flight home. I am really looking forward to see my cat, my bed, my family, friends and the grit!! (the season cometh)!

Monday, 16 September 2013

Rest day and Tiredness

Rest Day

So the day after the chief I was exhausted. So was everyone. 
We decided to head up to Whistler for a easy day. We got there with the intention to head to the beer fest. We got there and it turned out to be $35 to get in and all you get is a pint and a quarter for that and a tiny plastic cup. 
We grabbed to some lunch and took in the views. Bex particularly liked all the bikers ... 
Anyway we quickly got board of Saturday tourist hell and headed to a local lake to rent boats. We ended up with two man canoes. 

Bex working hard

We spent about an hour out on the water before we got board of not having any swimming gear or at least a towel. So after getting attacked by a giant dragonfly we headed back. 
As we were returning to shore Simon jumped out and pushed me back out so I was floating away without a paddle. I made it back in and they sent me back out again ... Cheers guy.
We then headed to the pub. Me and Bex had a drink by the window while Simon and Hobbit played pool. After a couple we got bored and headed home leaving Hobbit and Simon in the pub (till hey got asked to leave). We headed back home and made a Spag Bol which was pretty good.


Yesterday I was still exhausted so I was not in a rush to get out. We eventually headed to the base of the grand wall where I was really unmotivated. So I watched Simon fire out the first pitch of Exasperator.
The low cloud making Exasperator look more intimidating

Simon nearing the end of P1 on Exasperator

Simon Still on P1
Me and Bex feeling uninspired headed off to look for an alternate route. We got to the boulders at the bottom of main wall path were we did a couple of problems with out pads and Bex tried to show her artistic side:
Not quite sure what is going on ... 

We headed to the lower apron where we did The rambles a four pitch 5.8. 
I did it in two pitches. 
Bex seconding  P1+2

Bex seconding  P3+4
As we got to the top just as a loud thunder clap hit. Bex seconded P3+4 fast and we abbed down fast in fear of getting drenched. We got down in 3 abs.

We got down as it was spitting so we headed back to the boulders and waited for Simon and hobbit to come back. Where I did a couple more easy boulder problems.
It gradually built to a heavy down pour then hammered it down all night today has been written off by bad weather however I did buy myself a shiny new cam though so to a total waste

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Climbing the chief

Thursday was a well earned rest day. Fridays plan was to make up for it. 
We all woke up before 7 (except Simon). 
The plan was to climb from the apron to the top of the cheif (circa 60m above sea level to 610m above sea level). 
this is the route I had planned on thursday night:
Banana Peel 5.7 8 pitches
Granville Street 5.8 3 pitches
Squamish buttress 5.8 (first) 4 pitches
The butt lite 5.9 3 pitches
Total 18 pitches.
We eventually got to the crag at 8.30 where me and hobbit set off up banana peel We linked pitches to save time I took P1+2 5.4 + 5.2, Hobbit then linked P3+4 5.5 and 5.7, I then linked P5+6 5.4 + 5.7, at which point we got stuck behind a group so we did two 5.4 pitches to the top. Nice easy warm up probably HS/VS mainly for the turn outs (20-30m at a time in places). 
At the top of Banana Peel Hobbit with the guide book
Looking down banana Peel
Next we wanted to fire out boomstick 5.7 but had a Spanish team on it so we did the same start and headed left up granville street. Hobbit did the 5.6 first pitch and I did the 5.8 second pitch. Hobbit then did the top easy pitch. Again felt VS ish maybe soft HVS. 
After this we had to walk to the base of squamish buttress. Which felt the hardest part of the day. Straight forward but after about 300m+ of climbing my legs were feeling it. We got to the base of squamish butteress to find a group on both starts the 5.8 and the 5.9. We decided to do the 5.8 start as it looked better and it was brilliant. I got to lead it and I linked with P2. TO make a nice 60m pitch. There was a thin crux by a bolt then straight forward climbing. 
Me starting Squamish buttress following a Uni Group
Hobbit then linked P3+4 together two 5.7 pitches. which felt pretty soft for the grade. but still a nice HS/VS. 
At this point we were stuck behind the queue again. We decided to do the Butt Lite which goes left and avoids the crux pitch of Squamish buttress. (Still a three star finish and has Ben Moon the First ascentionist list hero) 
I got to lead the first two pitches of this 5.9 and 5.8 which were fantastic. The crux pitch had the hard bit at the start. 
Me after the crux section on the Butt Lite Crux Pitch
It was probably HVS for the first pitch and solid VS for the second pitch. Hobbit then lead the last pitch of the day. a 5.2 climb to the top of the climbing. 
All that was left was to scramble to the top ... or so we thought. To get to the top we had one more piece of climbing. A nice blank slab to solo 5.5/6 ish 
Hobbit soloing to the top of the chief
We topped out at 3.30 pm ish pretty tired. We could probably been done a hours earlier if not for the queues on the route. 
Top out photos.
Me and Hobbit looking tired at the first peak
Bex and Simon join us at the top about about 40 mins later

We then pose for a team photo some one said jump ... 
We were all pretty tired
then we had to walk down its about a 40/50mins steep down hill track. Then a nice path back to the car

The exhausted team photo
A Great day out!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Beautiful weather and locations

Wow seal cove is amazingly beautiful and secluded.

This was the view when we arrived.
I was eager to get going after a couple of easy days and jumped on what I thought was the most prominent line at the crag. Its called barknuckle. you traverse a long the water level crack then at about 15m along it starts to rise diagonally across the crag. So I set off. Great climbing in a great setting. The routes were a good length too all in the region of 30m+. 
Next up simon in his usual fashion went after the (second) hardest route at the crag. It follows a nice blank face to a crack. It dissects a blank wall climbing over a small over lap. I followed with ease definately a harder lead as its pretty run out. I then fired out a 5.8 crack. Me and Simon then had a break relaxing in the sun and took some photos.
Taken by Si Hughes
Taken by Si Hughes
What else is there to do in such a picturesque location. The day ended with Simon leading the above route and me following.

We called it a day as we were all pretty tired. We proceeded to drink a bottle of rum and several beers between us which may have effected the state of play the following day.

Sticking with the picturesque crags we planned on going to Shannon falls. Named after the water fall that is at the left hand end of the crag.
Keen and hanging .. I decided to fire out the classic 5.7 Klahanie Crack. Or so I thought. I will be honest am not the best crack climber. So a pure jamming crack is never going to go well. 

The second picture is almost as far as I got. By this point I was just about out of gear and had some crap wires which would not hold. I was exhasted and my ankles were in agony from being torqued into jams. Sweating and facing a 10m slide down a slab I through in 3 crap bits of gear. An aweful wallnut 9 a half in camalot 2 and okayish no. 11 wallnut and got simon to slowly lower me down. 
When I got down my hands were mullered my ankles screaming with pain unable to stand up I sat on the floor for 5 mins to recover. 

I managed 18m of a 25m jamming crack. Disappointed with my performance simon ran up it leaving blood in the crack for the next person. 
I decided that was enough routes for the day and went for a walk to see the falls. Everyone else did one more route then joined me. 

After doing the tourist thing we did the british thing and headed to the pub where we decided our next plan. Which turned out to be bouldering. 
We grabbed the pads and went to the chief boulder grounds. 
Simon and Hobbit were on V4s I decided to do a load of milage again and fired outs some high ball V0's without pads then did a hard V1 over a bad landing with out a pad ... Was almost painful. 
I then ticked a few classic V0-V2s generally padless leaving the rest to work hard stuff over pads
Fried Ants Top 100 V0
Knackered we called it a night after we all did Squamish days traverse.

Today me and Simon went out with an Insect overlord (Toby of UKB fame). We did some sport climbing at murrin park in baking heat. I warmed up ticking the classic Zoe 5.10a then we tried the classic 7a (5.11d) Burning down the couch. Burning was right small crimps nad 30 deg heart don't mix. Nice route will lead it on a cooler day. Me and simon decided to have a rest and relaxed by Murrin parks lake.

Toby had been climbing with a local who had to lead so we headed back to the trees and I lead a great juggy 5.8 then tried to flash a 5.11c but failed due to exhaustion really. 
Toby then tried a 5.12b up the steepest section of the rock. 

We then called it a day I am feeling pretty physically broken. The heat is ridiculous. I am hiding in my room at min hoping the temp drops soon

Monday, 9 September 2013

Post number 102 - That many? really?

The day after we the walk to the top of the cheif was a wipe out I had nothing left in my legs. 
We checked out Smoke Bluffs it was a amazing but I wasn't my legs hurt I was physically tired and was struggling. I did a 5.7 called corn flakes then decided to call it a day. 
Turns out climbing around 200m+ and then walking up from 50m to 650m (above sea level) in just a few miles is a killer on the legs .. shocking.
The day after my legs still hurt be I was keen to get out. We went to the camp ground wall on the chief. Simon went first and did a nice looking 5.10c crack that started at fists to a rest and then in to hands then fingers. he was pumped at the end of it. For my route I decided to try a fantastic looking 5.9 first pitch to a 3 pitch 5.10c.
The route takes the obvious flake line up the middle of the picture above. IT started up a slightly damp crack for 10m then 30-40m of sustained lay backing up a varied width flake. I topped out with absolute killer rope drag. Simoned followed me up then we abbed back down. Low psyche was the issue of the day. Simon wanted to save himself for the grand wall then next day and Hobbit just did not feel like climbing so we sacked it off and went to relax by a lake. Which I went for a swim in.

Yesterday Simon went off early to climb the grand wall with toby from UKB. So Me bex and Hobbit went bouldering. I just wanted to tick loads of things. We arrived a great looking high ball slab so I fired that off as a warm up. Hobbit was trying superfly which we thought was a V2 turns out that is the arete and superfly is V4. A nice local (well from calgary 12hour drive) showed us how to do it he was warming up to try the egg on the other side of the boulder. 
After a couple of tries I realised it was not forme today super fly so I did a couple of easier things to get warm. 
I found a nice 1 move boulder problem just behind superfly at V1. It involves a powerful pull on a undercut crimp then a slap for a jug at the top. I got Bex and James to try it but they did not manage.

Hobbit continued to work superfly while the nice local (did not get his name) showed me to summer vacation which is a top 100 problem. It is a V0 high ball. Its about 5/6m high on jugs and about 30° over hanging. Its a nice indoor warm up type route. I fired that out not realising high high it was until the top out as the moves are so good and so easy. I went back to superfly and james was still trying it. He dropped the top out just as I got back there. 
2 mins later he got back on and did it. 

Next we moved on to the famous easy in an easy chair (V4) I felt the holds but as I am useless with heel hooks I gave up quickly choosing to do the V1 the other side of the boulder. Hobbit tried it for a bit but no cigar. I spent the rest of the day firing out V0's and V1's. Also falling off of a V2 repeatedly on the last move (I think I was too tall for it). Tired I left Bex and Hobbit bouldering and went to relax in the grand wall car park. I tried to take some pictures of simon on grand wall. Look for the yellow helmet at the top of split pillar.

After a while Bex and Hobbit met me and we just rested in the sun. We then headed back to summer vacation area where I showed it to them and I did the V1 variation start. 
They both then got stuck into sloppy poppy (v4) but I was tired at this point so decided just to go back to relaxing in the sun. 
I randomly bumped into Pete and tom of wideboyz fame who were looking for the boulders and dream catcher while on a rest day. I went back to Hobbit and bex about 40 mins later and they were still under sloppy poppy with some random guy sat by them playing his guitar all a little surreal. 
We ended the day at Howe Sound Brewery again where I was greatly disappointed to find they had run out of steak!!!! My first time of ordering one on the holiday as well but I had a nice burger instead. 

Todays plan is seal cove but it will be interesting to see what happens as we were all knackered last night.