Perfect Granite

Published 2009-07-13

About 40 miles North of Vancouver, where the ocean touches the land, the second largest granite monolith in North America jets virtually straight up from sea to sky. The perfect granite of Squamish, British Columbia is littered with so many beautiful features and climbing history, and neither of Loni or I had been there before. We intended to climb and experience this mystical place for ourselves. After leaving Montana late Wednesday night we made it to Squamish around 3 PM Thursday afternoon. We set up camp below the Chief. The Chief one of the cleanest pieces of granite I have ever seen and gazed upon it with jaws agape.

Once we had settled down we made the casual approach over to the area called the Bulletheads. We ventured up some fixed lines and jumped on the rock.

Loni putting a new generation Snapdragon to the test.

Starting with some cruiser stuff to get used to the rock and get our bodies loose after the 13+ hours of driving. That night it became apparent that the atmosphere in the campground was quite relaxed. It was a climbing tailgate party! People could be found cooking behind their vehicles, sharing food and beers and stories of the vertical world filled the air.

We awoke the next morning to find our friend Kevin he had driven up from Seattle Wednesday night and was laying in his sleeping bag outside our tent. After some discussion we decided to go check out some more single pitch climbs at the Smoke Bluffs area.

Loni stretching for a good lock at the Smoke Bluffs.

The skies were splitter blue and the climbing was as well, excellent single pitch cracks and technical slabs.

Kevin feeling accused on Partners in Crime (5.11)

That night Kevin and I had learned that the Peregrine Falcon closure had been lifted from the coveted Grand Wall.

Kevin and I had planned to climb the Grand Wall when we first discussed the trip back in March. We had learned that it was pretty farfetched when the wall was closed to climbing. The climb looked so stellar we knew we had to get on it After talking it over we decided the lifting of the closure was a good omen- it was a no brainer to go for it. This climb is a gem and we knew we would be off to the races the next morning to get on the route before other parties. Some beta from the nightly tailgater in the parking lot revealed that a 6:00 AM start would give us plenty time to beat the onslaught. We racked our gear and got everything dialed for the next morning.

The red line is approximate route of the Grand Wall 5.11 A0.

We woke, boiled up some water with the Reactor and devoured some oatmeal and made the quick approach to the base. The climb was spectacular and flawless. Kevin and I were both kicking ourselves the whole way up- why had we not brought a camera? Hopefully this link to the page on Mountain Project will suffice Everything went well and we made it camp to camp in 6 hours, not bad and to our amazement no one else was on the route the at all that day.

Kevin left Sunday morning- well I guess that’s what you have to do when you are trying to get into Med School. He was content with the Grand Wall or at least he said he was. Loni and I said our goodbyes and went to check out Murrin and Octopuses Garden at Smoke Bluffs.

Yours truly testing out the new XXX Trance.

Loni has a knack for choosing areas and routes that though low in grade usually are wide in size. Which is good for offwidth training but not so good on the knees, elbows, head, shoulders and back. Scrapes abound. We climbed many pitches most of which I was running it out way above my last piece of pro.

Our New Snapdragon poses for the camera.

Monday which was going to be our last day was unfortunately a rain day so we packed up and made the drive back home. Too bad because we had chose a long route that day. We now have incentive to go back. Well we had four days of perfect weather in coastal British Columbia- how much more can you ask for?