I have the whole summer off until my uni starts again in October. I was going to join an expedition but that did not come to be, and I reckoned I would instead try to gain some more experience in granite trad and enjoy the dirtbag life. BC was the place to go then!
Squamish is a playground. Camping right under the Chief means you have so much incredible climbing at your footstep. Hard multipitch lines, speed runs on the Grand wall, soloing scrambles on the Apron, biking over to Murrin park to work moves on a project, living the glorious dirtbag life in a moldy tent because your stuff never really dries, sipping beers and listening to each other's stories when the night falls and all the climber people make dinner at the picnic tables :) Since June I've been immersed in the climbing completely, going after it as much as the weather permits (this is proving to be an issue actually, don't let me get started on it). Anyway the plan is to stay mainly in Squamish and make a few side trips. I am going to the Bugaboos in a few days and getting really psyched for some big stuff in 'North America's finest alpine playground' and hopefully not shit my pants.
Having a bike in Squamish owing to the generosity of Paul Mcsorley has been great for commuting around the campground, the city and the climbing. Plus, it's keeping my legs fit. The graffitti on the floor say "break free from fossil fuels", it feels almost hypocritical in a culture that is
I can not describe the amazingness of the Squamish granite. This place has some of the most unique pitches I've ever climbed on. It's the fine subtleties in technique that it demands that make it so exciting. The rock is smooth, clean cut, with great friction, sometimes riddled with a thousand bumps of little crystals where you have to pick the right smear. The Shadow, 12d is the incredible stemming corner testpiece, I've been on it once and have yet to go back to send it. The feeling of exhiliration when you take your hands off and palm off both walls with all the air below is so sick!
Flight of the Challenger 12c was a good moment right at the start of the trip when I managed to onsight it, I gave it all in a 30 minute battle of kneebarring up the tricky groove.
I also gave a few tries to the Cobra Crack which is regardless of my (poor) performance on it a great experience and for sure 'hands down some of the best stone I've ever climbed on'. The purity of this majestic line and it's mindblowing difficulty make you dream to maybe one day sign your name under the names of the Immortals on the 'Earlmaker', the little fingerboard stashed beneath it. I could see how solving this riddle is possible if I would invest a few weeks at least...and get in a kickass sport shape, lose a few kilos, let my sensory nerves in my hand die off and with a sponsorship from a Superglue and climbing tape company.
As much as it sort of resembles a sport climb in how physical it is, it is also a challenge in working out the exact beta: you have to know every move, every fingerjam, down to the last crystal. I had an inspiring session on it yesterday with Logan Barber who is coming really close to send it. Watching him cruise through the heinous fingerlock moves and getting some valuable beta from him (he's put a decent time of work in it) surely improved my perspective on it. I wish so bad I would get to see that send! He confirmes a lot about this route is putting in the effort to learn it and getting used to the pain, and I have not yet completely written off this little dream (but it may take years).
In the last few days in Squamish I got to climb with one of the new generation Stonemasters, Brad Gobright. He is just coming from Yosemite having become one of the few humans doing three El Cap routes in a day, that is enough said I think. We climbed an amazing route full of powerful laybacking and splitter cracks called Gravity Bong and had fun doing some speed runs on the Grand wall. He's definitely one of the sketchiest climbers I've climbed with - huge runouts, half-soloing the whole time and recklessly dancing up the rock. I thought the climbing soon got quite spicy, but still fun so I hope to do a few more pitches with him.
We made a short trip to Washington to climb the granite spires in the Liberty bell group in Washington Pass. Even if it was a bit of a detour from my itinerary, it was a cool trip and we did some good climbing. With my buddy Martin we climbed 'The thin red line', a 15-pitch route with a few crux pitches in moderate 5.12 range.
Second time out of Squamish, I went to Vancouver Island for climbing in Horne Lake, steep limestone amphiteatre climbing that felt quite familiar to places back at home. It's not what I'm looking for in this trip, but Horne lake is great quality and compares well with the mega caves in Europe! Dinosaur Highway 14a is one of the best steep endurance routes anywhere! Plus, we got to go caving, for real.
I am beyond psyched for an alpine adventure in the Bugs and then a final push of going psycho in Squamish to finish all the projects!
Also, look out for the next issue of Beta that we have been working on, arriving in September, themed big walls - enough adventure psyche to move El Cap!
|been climbing a lot with Martin lately and we are always crushing! so I decided to wear the same haircut!|
|dinner party at Malamute|
|Ann on The Scimitar 5.11 during the off-width day at Cirque of the Uncrackables|
|the dream line! you can barely spot it|
|resting on Dinosaur highway 14a|
|Aussie friend Daniel finds first time on limestone hard enough|
|I didn't think I could still drop knees. Sport climbing at Tunnel point, on Drop your gloves 13c|
|approaching the Liberty bell for a big day of fine granite. The Thin red line was quite a long day, we got off route and then Mikey Schaefer (the first ascensionist) shouted beta at us, we were already two pitches up his project :)|
|friend Ruben setting off on a fine arete sport climb at Squamish, Eurasian eyes 13b|
|Brad snapped this photo of me following on Gravity bong, on the first of the 5.12s, sick pumpy layback on the sheerest wall of all Squamish|
|Speleo at Horne lake!|
|Horne lake, the view from the crag. Vancouver island is beautiful, has mutantly big berries and gives a feel of wilderness. The climbing spot is unique and worth going!|
|Daniel on the South early winter Spire in Washington Pass. The scenery with the mountain backdrop and good granite is awesome, but the place itself doesn't feel very remote since the road runs just beneath.|
|epic photo of Patrick on the summit in Washington Pass!|
|Joe from OZ attempting the Sentry Box, Squamish's first 5.12, a formidable thin crack testpiece.|
|a day on Zap crack with Klemen Mali|
|Logan with blistered up finger after the battle with Cobra. It's yours man!|
|me on Made from fire 5.12 at Top Shelf - a 'locals' crag that is kinda freshly developed. It takes a half hour hike to get there, and yet it was only recently developed. Which means, there is tons of amazing climbing even closer by...|
|sending fuel - campground brewed berry jam|
|Washington Pass team|
|sport climbing at Tunnel point|
|a beach in Vancouver|
|sweet camping at Horne lake|
|dirtbag van parade|
|me squirming up the Split Beaver, the intro offwidth at Squamish|
|sport climbing on Petrifying wall|
|an imported frenchie feels comfortable on BC limestone! Thibaut on Dinosaur highway|
|looking for jams on Trippet out 5.13- at Top Shelf|
|buddy Zack on Boogie till you puke. All the knees were left intact and nobody pooped. Whoosh, what a relief.|
|just another sick splitter, Zap crack 5.12d|
|on the send of Zombie roof, 5.13a|
|Martin following on THE SHADOW|
|ferry ride to Vancouver island|
|fog rolling in to the Howe sound. view from the top of the Second peak of the Chief.|
|Masses are asses 5.12b|