/ DESTINATION GUIDE: Squamish

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UKC Articles - on 24 May 2017
Pete Whittaker on the crux of The Cobra Crack, 5.14, Squamish, 3 kbJust North of Vancouver in Western Canada, is a friendly, well-located, single and multi-pitch climbing destination. I’ve heard it being described as ‘the little Yosemite’. The area and scale of the place may not be quite the same, but the rock type and style of climbing are very similar; slick granite, splitter cracks, huge variety and ‘on your doorstep’ adventures.

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planetmarshall on 24 May 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

The place I learned to climb, bizarrely enough. Really must go back.
Martin Bagshaw - on 24 May 2017
In reply to planetmarshall:

Squamish is like the real life product of a climber who went on Sim City and created the perfect town.
SenzuBean - on 24 May 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

Nice

I did hear that the best route up the Chief for low grade climbers is The Butt Light (5.9) - which is not as well known because it was only first climbed in 2010. Here's an article on the FA: http://gripped.com/articles/the-squamish-buttress-butt-face-variation/
Offwidth - on 24 May 2017
In reply to SenzuBean:

When did 5.9 become low grade?
SenzuBean - on 24 May 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

> When did 5.9 become low grade?

Well in Canada, it sort of is. There just aren't very many climbs below 5.7 (and none I've seen below 5.5 out of perusing many guidebooks). Admittedly I've only been to a few venues so far (not logged most of them because the crags aren't in UKC database yet), but basically unless you're climbing 5.7-5.8 there's only a token climb or two for you at each crag I've been to (6 so far), if you're lucky. Explaining why would probably require looking back at the history of climbing in each country.
Offwidth - on 24 May 2017
Pbob on 24 May 2017
In reply to SenzuBean:

I'd hardly call Diedre a 'token climb'. Not too hard, but great.
SenzuBean - on 24 May 2017
In reply to Pbob:

> I'd hardly call Diedre a 'token climb'. Not too hard, but great.

Well if you check what I wrote you'll see that I did in fact not call it a 'token climb' ;)
Gabe Oliver - on 25 May 2017
In reply to SenzuBean:

Can vouch for that, climbed it last week as part of a 14 pitch link up. Quality day out!
joeramsay - on 25 May 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

I'm looking for some adventures at the end of this summer. I lead VS fairly consistently and I reckon with not a lot of training I could push that a little further but I've not quite got a handle on American grades - would there be enough stuff that I'd be able to go at here to make a trip from the UK worth it? I'd probably be on foot, so that'd be an issue too
SenzuBean - on 25 May 2017
In reply to joeramsay:

> I'm looking for some adventures at the end of this summer. I lead VS fairly consistently and I reckon with not a lot of training I could push that a little further but I've not quite got a handle on American grades - would there be enough stuff that I'd be able to go at here to make a trip from the UK worth it? I'd probably be on foot, so that'd be an issue too

Definitely! 5.7 equates to about HS, and 5.8 equates to about VS (although I've yet to meet any horrific sandbags, which are out there - as the YDS system generally doesn't 'upgrade' climbs) - and there are plenty of 5.7s and 5.8s. The climbing in Squamish is all granite, so if you've never climbed on granite it'd be wise to climb on it before heading over.
You can get a bus to Squamish easily, and there are always climbers about in peak seasons. If you do end up going and are looking for a partner there's a good chance I'll be up for climbing.
alasdair19 on 25 May 2017
In reply to joeramsay:

You should do OK though don't leave squeamish too late as it can get very wet in autumn. You need to be able to jam well for it to be worthwhile lead the file at higgar tor and you'll be fine.
joeramsay - on 25 May 2017
In reply to alasdair19:

Would August/early September be reasonable? It looks like fairly low rainfull until sort of October time...
burnttoast - on 25 May 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

Top tip: Exasperator is even better if climbed as a single pitch!
alasdair19 on 25 May 2017
In reply to joeramsay:

That would be perfect I'd have thought its one of the few na climbing destinations that you can do without a car.
sparkass - on 26 May 2017
In reply to joeramsay:

There is a fairly substantial risk of rain from mid September onwards, I got rained on for two weeks in September a few years ago, not a big deal as we'd been there a while but on a two week trip it'd be a disaster. I wouldn't risk going in September at all now. I'm heading out this August and hoping for sunshine!

Routes for everyone! Totally beezer!

Duncan
Offwidth - on 26 May 2017
In reply to SenzuBean:
Yosemite 5.7 for well protected routes on NA granite normally correspond to VS and 5.8 to tough VS into mid HVS. Granite slabs tend to be harshly graded so R rated 5.8 slabs could easily be E2 5b in UK terms. I've never climbed at Squamish but many friends have and confirm the most popular area CA granite grading is similar to Squamish (except Joshua Tree where grades can be even harsher).
Post edited at 13:49
cat22 - on 26 May 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

Squamish grading is way softer than Yosemite! But I agree to watch out for the slabs (though 5.8 usually works out to British 5a rather than 5b) - the lack of gear is often undersold in the guidebook.
SenzuBean - on 26 May 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

> Yosemite 5.7 for well protected routes on NA granite normally correspond to VS and 5.8 to tough VS into mid HVS. Granite slabs tend to be harshly graded so R rated 5.8 slabs could easily be E2 5b in UK terms. I've never climbed at Squamish but many friends have and confirm the most popular area CA granite grading is similar to Squamish (except Joshua Tree where grades can be even harsher).

I've not climbed in Yosemite, but the climbs I did do in Squamish (very few so far) all compared well with UK grades. But they were very new climbs (less than 5 years old) - so quite possibly if you do something from the 70s it will be quite a spanking.
Flashy - on 28 May 2017
In reply to joeramsay: I was worried like you -- I lead VS confidently but wasn't sure how I would find 5.8 in Squamish. I found that 5.8 did roughly equate to VS 4c but the style of the cracks was a bit different to what I was used to in the UK; they were sometimes reasonably straightforward with no appreciable crux but were very sustained and very well protected.

My advice FWIW is that you should be fine and have lots to go at. It's an astonishing town -- I think it wouldn't be that hard (if you had a 4WD) to backcountry ski, rock climb a multipitch classic *and* go kayaking all in one spring day and all within sight of the brewery where you'll do your rehydration in the evening. If you're just rock climbing then no need for a car at all.

James Oswald - on 28 May 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

Good article, thanks Pete. Does anyone have any experience of finding climbing partners out there? Is it difficult?
Ian Parsons - on 29 May 2017
In reply to James Oswald:
I recall hooking up with one of the Vancouver locals for a day's climbing. He said I didn't need to bring a rack as he had everything necessary. This turned out to be Chouinard Hexentrics from about #3 or 4 upwards, plus a few wired Clog and/or Troll hexes - not Hexentrics - in the small sizes. [Where on Earth did he get them?] Not a Stopper in sight and, being 1977, no Rocks, RPs or cams either. He then pointed me at Brachidactylus/Clean Crack [5.11c, although now a mere 5.11b] at Malamute, suggesting that it was "about 5.10". Happy days!

I'm sure that, nowadays, the locals are far more helpful/less sandbaggy!
Post edited at 04:36
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James Oswald - on 29 May 2017
In reply to Ian Parsons:

Thank you Ian!

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