Touching the Rock

Anticipation can be a bitch, especially when it’s built up over a period of something like 9 months! Not that I’m comparing going to Squamish to having a baby, but surely it can’t be that different? Anyway, after a morning trawling some outdoor shops, and buying doughnuts, a blue Ford, erm, car turned up outside, and my host stepped out. Within long, we decided that while it was still damp everywhere, that it probably wasn’t damp enough to deter an excitable Englishman from his first taste of Canadian granite; we were going and we were psyched.

Preparing for my first Squamish send

Now, I’m currently sat in said car, en route back to Squamish, watching the road twist and turn it’s along the West Coast of this fantastic country, but it felt more magnificent yesterday when it was entirely fresh and truly unexpected. Anyone visiting Squamish should either be warned, or skip today’s entry, as this certainly is one of the most breath taking approach’s I have ever seen. The forty-odd foot trees lining the road on the sheer cliffs on the right, the Pacific sitting calmly to our left, and the great mountains framing the view in every direction.

After a short hour we arrived in the town of Squamish proper; a logging town in the mountains of British Columbia, and stopped for a few minutes in the gear shops (I know, I can’t help myself and I do want to get a t-shirt from round here). The air felt heavy, and ominous, almost as if the imposing cliff known as the Stawamus Chief was displaying her awesome power by making the weather brood somehow. It had obviously done this in the days previous too, as the rock was damp and slightly sticky. Nevertheless, we’d come this far…

I was given the tour, checking out Superfly, Animal Magnetism Area, and the unimaginable climb of Dreamcatcher 5.14d and the surrounding boulders, before going down to the Apron to start climbing on what would hopefully be dry rock. Simon had been keen to tell me of Squamish’s poor landings, and difficult grades, but assuming he was embellishing his local crag somewhat, I remained unperturbed. Sadly, he was right, as I quickly found myself struggling on a pair of tricky V3s. Bollocks. Oh well, stiff upper lip, blame conditions, carry on to the next area, Gibb’s Cave.

We worked some moves on a V8 for Simon for a while, before heading back, stopping briefly for a brief check of a now sodden Murrin Park. An early night and home cooked dinner beckoned, which is exactly what we treated ourselves to, and now we are heading back for another go. At least today, the sun is finally shining, and conditions seem a lot kinder, but that may just mean I need to find another excuse…


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