Week One in Canada

Jen on Easy Chair
Isa the dog

So here we are in Canada and its everything we hoped for, lots of climbing, nice people, big mountains and even bigger skies.

We arrived early on Wednesday morning to be met with a lot of Stanley Cup fans that later went riot around the city, burning cars and looting shops. But due to our mega jet lag we slept through the whole thing and woke early next morning for a 6 hour bus ride through the mountains to collect the van which has been looked after very kindly by some friends. We spent a day exploring Skaha Bluffs, meaning a lot of crimpy sport climbing which, frankly, did nothing but highlight the fact that my last 2 years of bouldering have only served to make me pretty darn rubbish at anything longer than 4 meters. But hopefully I can work on that in the next month as our main goals on this trip are the long and winding trad routes of The Chief. Realistically I should have had this fore sight beyond the finger and campus boards! But hey, if in the first couple of meters of the 8 pitch moderates we have planned there happens to be some cutting loose on small holds I might just stand a chance!

Anyway, now we are in Squampton and it’s amazing. On day one we arrived to rain showers but managed to get out on the exposed Apron Boulders and potter about a bit, but the next day it was more full on. We woke to heavy rain which put spirits pretty low, so it was off to the coffee shop and by 12 the sky was still gray but the rain had stopped and the roads were dry. So, leaving Jen to do some camera stuff I headed down to Gibbs Cave hoping it would be dry. It was! So I set to work on a cool boulder called The Touch, which is basically a long roof climb of about 6 meters. It starts on a big jug and climbs easily  until a stopper move on a glassy hold, then it’s easy again. With this done it was on to the classic  Gibbs Cave which was soaking wet but this guy called Israel turned up who assured me it was fine and being from Scotland I got stuck right in, t-shirt off, drying the top slopers, then I watched Israel work it with ease and got all the beta. I was really hoping to flash it…. but to cut a long story short I didn’t, sending it a couple of tries later instead. It’s pretty cool and well worth the effort but the highlight of the day was Nick Gibb himself turning up and sending the problem nearly 16 years after his first ascent. It was really inspiring, this man is a bad ass and flicking through the guide it was soon apparent that it’s harder not to climb one of his problems than it is… there are hundreds all over the forest, pretty much every classic is down this chap and we all owe him a big thank you for spending the hours making Squamish the boulder destination it is today. Later he took us to one of his projects called Front Side which is one of the best hard problems I’ve ever climbed on. It’s in a narrow corridor on little sharp crimps with only 5 holds to the top and it’s properly hard. We had a really good session and I managed to surprise myself, but  having issues with the awkward landing and the fact that it is really hard we left with no success, but it felt really close, definitely going to put more time into this one.

The next day we were up early and on the big mixed route Sparrow. It ended up being pretty good with lots of run outs and friction slabs! We then ventured into the forest for Jen to have a look at an old project Titanic Arête, which she climbed in a couple of goes and in good style. Then it was onto Easy in an Easy Chair which she did the same to, she was a little nervous as she found it really hard last time but in a couple of goes she was up the thing!

So we’re having an amazing time here and really don’t want to come home.

Here are some pictures so far.

Jen chilling after a hard days climbing.
The view from the campground.
gotta love squamish

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