One of the best perks, for me, as a mature climber, is that I get to climb with my adult children ? Both our daughter and son are excellent climbers. Our daughter, Alex, began just two years ago, but as a former, nationally ranked gymnast, it did not take long for her to pass her parents in both ability and passion for the sport. Ryan, our son, began as a little boy. He joined the climbing team for a few years, and now is working on his AMGA Rock Guide certifications.
What this means is that I have this amazing situation where my son guides the family on all the best routes, in a variety of beautiful climbing areas. Smith Rocks in Oregon, Mazama in Washington, and The Cochise Stronghold in Arizona, are just a few of the sites we have climbed together.
But my favorite, from this season, was the weekend we spent in Squamish, B.C. The plan was simple. Ryan and I drove up from Washington, on Friday and secured a campsite at the Squamish Municipal Campground. Alex and her boyfriend were driving separately to meet up with us. What can I say about this campsite? It was definitely cheap, but far from quiet!! The reality is that we did not sleep much those two nights, thanks to some extremely rude campers? However, the nearby showers made it a favorite choice for Alex and I. Seems the guys didn’t care too much about that ?. Next time, mom needs a hotel?!
Ryan and I had some daylight left that Friday evening, and didn’t want to squander a minute of climbing time! We set out to climb Star Chek
This is a pretty easy, straight forward climb. And the views of the Cheakamus gorge are phenomenal! Another unique feature of this climb is that you first descend into the gorge to find the base of the route. It is steep, but there are fixed ropes to help, we did not find it too difficult.
This first pitch (5.8) is 4 bolts leading out to the arete. Pitch 2 (5.7) is longer with 8 bolts and follows the arete to an excellent ledge. Definitely a picture moment?
Pitch 3 (5.9) is 4 bolts, which takes you to the top
Ryan took some pictures and video of me on the way up! You can really hear the roar of the river in the video ?
As I said in the video “I love this climb”! We need to return so that hubby and Alex can send it as well. Just beautiful! And, the rock quality is excellent. ?
Now that we were back at the top, we walked over to the road, and our car. Just enough time to get dinner in downtown Squamish, which has many dining options! This is one camping trip where we did not need to pack a ton of food, or a cooler. It was easier to make the short trip into town. Lots of Tim Horton’s to choose from, because you know, I had to have my coffee ☕️?!
The next morning, now that Alex and Joe (boyfriend) had arrived, we all set out for the Thighmaster bouldering area. I should mention that Alex and Joe prefer bouldering where Ryan favors multi-pitch climbing. As a result, I get to do both!
We made our way (very short approach) to the Black Mark boulder
The route you see here is Black Mark (V4, 10 ft) and beyond my abilities at this time! But not a problem for Alex!
She crushed it! Ryan and I were still warming up.
Then it was my turn ? I set my sites on Adam’s Apple (V1, 8ft). My history with bouldering is that I tend to get a move, or two, from the mantle and then struggle. This route is on the same rock, to the left in the picture above.
With the kids cheering me on, here I go!
Getting to the lip was fairly straight forward
The view from above was so sweet!?
And, only minor scrapings to show for it?
This was my last send for the that day, I was ready for more coffee☕️. Apparently Ryan was done too, so we went to downtown to shop for gear while Alex and Joe went onto harder climbs ?♀️
After lunch, and some retail therapy, Ryan and I decided to do a little hiking. Squamish has plenty to do for the non climbers in your party as well! We found a trail that lead out of the downtown area and paralleled the estuary. The Oceanfront Interpretive Trail lead out from Cleveland Street in downtown and ended at the Howe Sound.
I do recommend this easy hike/walk, as the view really is beautiful. Unfortunately, Ryan and I had to turn back to meet Alex and Joe for dinner. Next time, we will make it to the beach!
After another fine meal, and zero sleep ? we decided on how best to spend the last few hours in this beautiful place. I did some campground yoga, while the kids poured over the climbing books.
It was decided that Alex and Joe would head over to another bouldering area, while Ryan and I set out to do some trad climbing on the apron, located on “the chief“. Officially known as the Stawamas Chief, it is a giant (over 700m) granite dome. It’s just gorgeous?
We settled on two routes that would get us to the top of the apron (red arrow). This was a slab climbing day, to be sure!
We started out on Rambles, a 5.8- with 4 pitches. The approach was very short from the parking lot (love that!?) The pitches can be easily combined to 2 total. We did do the 10b variation on pitch 4.
Great view at the top of rambles!
Rambles will get you to base of several other climbs. We chose Banana Peel, (5.7, 8 pitches). The first three pitches were pretty straightforward, pitch 4 had an interesting finger crack traverse, but quite easy. The rest of the route was just a lot of smearing along various flake lines.
I don’t have a lot of pictures as we were moving pretty quickly. We still had a decent drive after this! Ryan had told me we would walk off, but I didn’t realize this meant we would walk off down the frontof the apron! ? I thought we would hike down the back, like most walk offs. He enjoyed videotaping me while I mentally worked through this!
Obviously, we made it back to the car just fine! I can’t say that it was as easy crossing the border back into Washington ? such long delays!!
So, what did I learn on this trip?
- My kids are awesome, I am constantly in awe of their abilities and I am lucky they let me tag along ?
- Squamish is gorgeous! And the climbing there is magnificent?
- Campgrounds⛺️ are still awful, I need a bed, shower and a good night’s sleep. Hotel next time for sure?
- Tim Horton’s makes pretty good coffee☕️??
- There are many more climbs here that I want to send in the future, and I am strong enough to do some harder grades
- I want to learn to place trad gear ?♀️
- I want to do more leading, if Ryan will let me!?
- Crossing the Blaine border in the summer sucks! Nexus card perhaps?
Let me know your thoughts on this amazing, beautiful climbing area!