Friday, June 26, 2009


Last week Cortney and I headed up to Squamish for a little vacation from Washington. I first climbed in Squamish five years ago, when I spent the last two months of an extended road trip there. I was instantly taken with the beautifully-shaped boulders and the peaceful forest setting. After a few years climbing almost exclusively in Washington, I was back in Squamish during the summer of '07, when I made about nine weekend trips there to fulfill my compulsive need to climb an eight-foot-tall rock. Since then I haven't felt too much of a need to drive up, wait in line at the border, and join the hoardes of boulderers.

Squamish has also changed dramatically in the last few years: the parking has doubled, new gravel trails have replaced much of the old knotty footpaths through the forest, and a newer, younger generation of campground rats have made the forest their home. I've climbed so much there that most of the things left to climb feel too hard for me to ever do. Furthermore, the boulders seem like they keep shrinking - I estimated this trip that 75% of the problems in the forest are under 12 feet tall. After climbing so much in Washington, with its abundance of high, clean lines and steady stream of new problems, I've gotten spoiled. My goals heading to Squamish were to relax and enjoy the nice setting, to support Cortney bouldering, and to try and climb a couple of the truly classic lines in Squamish. Cortney had only climbed in Squamish once during a trip two years ago, when she was just starting out.

Squamish Scenery Cortney Warming Up
We spent the week camping in the North Walls, and bouldering throughout the Grand Wall Boulders and the North Walls. Cortney tried several projects and climbed a ton of the fun must-dos throughout the forest. I was really glad to climb Resurrection in the North Walls, which I had worked on for a day a couple of years ago. Resurreciton climbs a 20-foot-tall blunt arete up the middle of a huge overhanging face, and is in my opinion one of the best problems in Squamish. The landing is nice and flat, and the area is gorgeous and never crowded... it's essentially Squamish's version of one of the Camp Serene Boulder problems.

Resurrection Cortney on Largonian Bulge
Kung Fu Fighter - The Hardest Piece of Rock Climbing in North America?
I Think Yes. Forest Mushrooms Cortney on Titanic
Another problem I was really psyched to climb was Loose Change. I had climbed this problem up to the lip several times before, but could never press out the cruxy mantle high above the boulders. I definitely still had to to battle with it this trip, and it made for a memorable send - Loose Change is also near the top of the list of classic Squamish problems. As the trip wound down, we got to climb with my good friend Brian Sweeney and his girlfriend Allie, who were up from Reno for a two-week trip. We climbed together on our last full day and finished with a nice dinner at the Brewpub. On the last morning, we only had an hour or so to climb, but Cortney managed to finish up Easy in an Easy Chair for her best send of the trip. Good times.

Loose Change The Sweenis Sweeney on The Weasel Cortney on Easy Chair
Now we're back in Washington, getting into some sport climbing and developing some new stuff in Gold Bar. Check back later for some videos...

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