Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Squamish Backside Bouldering

While I'm not sure if I'm allowed to publicly discuss these matters, I don't have any new climbing pictures to post so I thought I'd post some pictures from a day Cortney and I spent checking out the bouldering on the backside of the Chief. While it's definitely not paralell to the Grand Wall Boulders, the area that we saw had some fun problems, and it was awesome to see new development happening in Squamish.

We started at 10 AM on our first morning in Squamish, meeting up with our friends Rich and Tyler, and our tour guide for the day, Mike, in the Grand Wall parking lot. We hiked for about two hours, leaving many bewildered day-hikers who staring at our crashpads as we passed. After finishing the infamous stairs and hiking another couple of miles on gentler ground, we paused for a while at Cobra Crack for a while to rest and gawk at the door-hinge-wide fissure. Apparently, people can climb this, but I'm incredulous.

Hiking Up The Stairs Cobra Crack - Harder than Kung Fu Fighter? Maybe.

After a few more minutes on the trail, and a bit of bushwhacking, we arrived at the boulders. We started with a nice juggy arete to warm up that set the tone for the area well. The rock is essentially the same quality as the typical Squamish granite, but because it's fresher, dirtier, and hasn't seen much traffic, it feels a bit sharp and gritty - which is great fun. We climbed a couple of other problems in the same cluster, which were all good, if not sharp Unfortunately, newly-developed boulders are not without their perils, as Rich learned firsthand when a watermelon-sized boulder tumbled onto his foot. He stared in shock until Mike and I were able to dislodge his foot. Injured but not maimed, Rich spent the rest of the day lying on a crash pad dealing with the pain.
Cortney Warming Up
Mike on a Fun Fin
Rich, in Pain Cleaning Monkeys

After an hour or so we were joined by Jamie and Sarah, up for the day from Vancouver, and we headed to some other boulders. One that really stood out was Tim Doyle's problem The Backside, which climbs a perfectly-shaped boulder from a head-high jug at the start of a 40-degree overhang. Too hard for me, but amazing nonetheless.
Jamie Tyring a Dyno to the Right of The Backside

All in all it was a wonderful day, but it was a long way to hike for the amount of bouldering I was able to do because of skin and time. As I say about most areas I visit, it did make me glad to live and climb in Wasington...

The Creek Rich After A Long, Slow Hike

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