Guiding, Teaching, Climbing, Learning

Cool Signs of Spring…

This past weekend was the finale of the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival, a well known local affair. The final evening was exciting not only because you could have watched The Prophet, Alistair Lee’s new film about Leo Holding and Jason Pickle’s new route on El Cap, but also because there was varied line up of presentations, all of them local. First up was Will Stanhope, always relaxed and funny, always weaving the line between comedic, motivated, on the road young rock sensation and serious, inspired explorer. The second presentation was by one of my closest friends, all round mountain inspiration Jasmin Caton. It was a double treat as I haven’t seen her since New Years and I haven’t seen her Greenland images since a wee slideshow in Squamish. Jasmin in town always gets me thinking about upcoming adventures, alpine dreams and Tequila. The images of her Greenland expedition have really made an impression on me and alls I can say is I better get saving my dollars and writing my Grants. The third presenter was Sean McColl, Canadian competition climbing phenomenon, no let’s just say climbing phenomenon because he is, hands down, one of the most amazing climbers to watch crush difficult movements. His show, about a summer spent competing on the World Cup Circuit might have left a little to be desired as far as entertainment value but the images of the walls and climbers, cool artificial features and limestone walls behind were pretty incredible. He showed a short video of himself climbing PuntX, a 9a, 14d, in Gorge de Loup France. My god did it look awesome. It was Sean’s first presentation and that’s got to drum up a little slack, it must be a nerve wracking thing to stand up in from of Vancouver’s climbing community and tell about something many don’t have the faintest clue about. The night lasted 4+ hours and any thoughts of going out after disappeared behind a bleary drive home to Squamish and bed.


Sunday was a cold bright sunny day and many of the past nights climbers hit the Bluffs and Boulders of Squamish for a desperate taste of the stone. It was a true hats off to the growing sense of community within climbing when you arrive at a cliff and it’s packed with people, all who represent the Squamish winter local scene, the who’s who of Canadian climbing covering at least two generations, world class competition climbers trying their hands at crack climbing and Squamish locals yelling beta. It was a fun zoo and the highlights were some ballistic ropeless ascents that showed supreme skill, Jasmin getting her first rock fix of the season, Sean McColl asking politely if Crime of the Century was a suitable warm up for him and bouldering with the Edge Crew on Andrew Boyd’s immaculate As Good As It Gets boulder problem at the far right end of Penny Lane. What a bit of hope during such a long snowy winter…


Two days later I hiked a snowy, knee deep circuit up to the Squaw, to the climbing summit, back behind to the saddle between the Chief and the Squaw, and then back some more to the old road that links into the Mamquam FSR which heads up to Habrich. Sonny Trotter, Lydia Zamarano, Chris Weldon and Myself braved the, at times thigh deep snow as we circumnavigated the whole Squaw massif. Now THAT’S the kind of hike that helps clear away the winter blues. I recommend this hike to anyone who needs a change from the ordinary. So much snow!


2 responses

  1. Chaz Ott

    Hey I’m looking for information on winter climbing in Squamish and I came across this blog post. Would you mind sending me the names of a few good areas for sport climbing and bouldering in the winter sun? Unfortunately I’m not a traddie yet.

    January 18, 2013 at 3:20 am

    • Hey Chaz, bouldering at the Grand Wall base is by far the most developed, most packed in a close vicinity and also dries fast. The fastest of the bouldering areas if the Apron Talus boulders, north of the Grand Wall boulders. All are in the latest bouldering guidebook. Sport areas are a bit harder. Maybe try Pet Wall at Murrin Park south of town. Vertical technical crimping is great in this cold weather but hard on the fingers. It’s in the Squamish Select guide. The smoke Bluffs have the best sun aspect but are more trad try lines. However there’s a mixture so get the Select guide and go for a walk. Lots of people in there today. Hope this helps.

      January 20, 2013 at 2:42 am

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