Busy weekend in the Pacific North West

Right, it’s been a busy few days, and getting near a computer for long enough just hasn’t been possible, so here’s your warning: this is going to be a long post…

Thursday morning, which seems an age ago, began with going for breakfast with Victoria, Simon’s lovely girlfriend. Waitress service still confuses me, as does the whole tipping malarky, and i’m sure i seemed flustered and disorientated as we went to a local coffee shop for eggs Benedict, and a nice relaxing start to the morning. I’ve been saying lately that i’m a little disappointed not to be bumming around the campground for a couple of weeks, as i usually do on these sorts of trips, but staying with friends in the middle of Vancouver has given me a different opportunity, one to do things like this and experience the life of a local in North America. It’s definitely something i’ve never experienced before, and has been a fantastic trip for that if nothing else.

Steve and MC's trailer/home - it was HUGE!!!But of course, i’m here for the climbing, which is exactly what we did on Thursday afternoon. Back in March, when i went to Fontainebleau, you may recall i made some friends, named Steve and MC, and i’d been eager to head up to Whistler to say hello. A couple of phone calls, and we found ourselves at their trailer/house; an abode almost as big as mine back home. We chilled out there briefly, before heading further North to Pemberton. As it turns out, Steve was the first ascentionist of many of the boulder problems up there, and it was interesting to get the beta from the guy who put the climb up in the first place, and of course, meant that we only hit the good classic problems and ignored the dross. After a quick look round and a play on the other side of the tracks, Steve led us down to have a look at some classic lines: In Your Face V3 being the first, and possibly best, line. I’ve deliberately not been grade-bashing on this trip, and it has been immensely refreshing, allowing me to just tick off some of the Top 100 climbs in the lower grades. Sometimes, i think, it’s an aspect i, and many people, miss on these sorts of trips, and Steve allowed me to search out quality rather than difficulty.

Simon on Pimp Slap V7That doesn’t mean we didn’t try harder climbs, and Give Her the Chickens V7 saw a few attempts, although avoiding the heinous first move with a jump start, before we ticked off the equally fabulous Pimp Slap and Into the Light V5, both of which really enjoyable climbing. The day was rounded off with McDonalds in Pemberton proper: a town seemingly set up as a film set for old Wild West movies! Still it was great to see Steve and MC again, and i hope i can catch them again today.

We headed back, and made the long two-hour drive home, ready to come back the next day. In some respects, camping would’ve made more sense on some occasions, but hindsight is a wonderful thing, and we’ve simply been playing each day by ear, so next morning found ourselves taking the Sea to Sky Highway North again, this time with Victoria joining us. We chose the Clean Boulders of the Grand Wall area as the scene for our continual rise and fall, and sent the various text messages to people to hopefully meet up with the elusive Sasquatch. In the meantime, we again searched out the best the area had to offer, although i decided that my

Reacquainted with old friends on In Your Face V3

skin would appreciate me taking it a little easier. As i type, i can feel the keys press the tender pads at the end of my fingers, but with only today left to climb, i’ll really go for it. Last Friday there was still another week to go, so after quickly ticking off some nice easy slab problems, and the fantastically named The Masturbation of Climbing V0, i decided to… get on a V7! Not the best idea really, but best laid plans and all that jazz. The heinous problem in question was Close Shave: beginning on an appalling sloper and moving awkwardly up to a small crimp. Not liking the look of the sloper, i dropped down slightly, making an entirely different but bigger move from two crimps to miss the abomination entirely. Sadly, the two available footholds were both in exactly the wrong places; the large ledge causing me to be massively stretched out, and the other that Simon subsequently used being too high. He got it, i was forced to leave it to mock me.

Suddenly out of the woods came a strange hairy creature: and his brother. After much back and forth between us, we had finally managed to get both of us, (along with climbing shoes, pads and time) in the same place and at long last i was able to socialise with my good friend. Simon went to try Kung Fu Fighter V4 and we dossed around the forest, doing what we do best (not a great deal) for the rest of the day. We did have a look at Outrage V3 but i realised my skin wouldn’t cope with the fierce crimp at the start, so relegated myself to non-climbing photographer. Nevertheless, i am very glad i got chance to see Stu again, and i am sure it will not be the last time.

The elusive Sasquatch - great to see old friends as well as making new onesAs the day wound down, there was time for one more outrageous double dyno; a showman’s climb, as it was really just a fun jump on a large lip traverse. We returned home, saying goodbye to my friends from Calgary, and came back to meet some of Simon’s mates down on the beach. It really was a great night, getting to know local people, and socialising in the city for a change. It gave me a chance to really meet the people from the culture i had been chastising in my last post, and to discover that the Canadians, as i expected at the beginning of my trip, truly are fantastic people. Although this only takes us up to Friday night, i think seven paragraphs is more than enough for now, so i’ll put another post on in the next couple of days, from wherever i find myself! In the meantime, one more day of granite bouldering in British Columbia awaits.

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