dimanche 7 octobre 2012

Squamish Stories (Sep. 17-30, 2012)

After a great summer in the Bow Valley, an exciting side trip to Colorado with Nancy, and our dear friends Toby & Zu's wedding in Canmore, we were off to Squamish! We hadn't spent much time there and were really looking forward to getting onto granite and putting to practice the crack climbing skills we built up last fall on sandstone in Indian Creek.

We loaded up the Highlander, prepared to put another 2000 km on the odometer and set off by the northern route. After a pleasant 12 hour drive from Calgary we set up our tent in the Stawamus Chief Park campground directly below the grand wall of "The Chief". What a beautiful way to camp, below this impressive granite face, surrounded by imposing douglas fir and hemlock trees and across from Howe Sound. Each morning we'd observe the activity at the industrial docks and each afternoon we'd marvel at the kite surfers in the bay. At night, the lights from the quays reflected in the water and illuminated the bay dominated by the Big Dipper, Bootes and Hercules.

During our time in Squamish we were blessed by dry weather and had the opportunity to get on several classic routes such as Diedre, Calculas Crack, Slot Machine, The Zip, Flying Circus, A Pitch in Time and Rainy Day Dream Away. Bill patiently spent a few solos days while I participated in an ACMG training course with Colin Moorhead. During my days with Colin, I had a chance to climb Skywalker, Hairpin and Angel's Crest. On these climbs I practiced acting as the "guide" and he took on the role of super-client. The learning and tricks I acquired during these hands-on days were priceless.

Angel's Crest was the highlight of our trip to Squamish. Angel's Crest, a 14-pitch ridge climb in the North Gully, had been on my "wish list" for a while, but I didn't expect to be able to complete, what I consider an ambitious route, during our trip here this fall. 

As it turns out, I surprised myself by leading the entire route! It is a varied and enjoyable route, with short pitches and short well protected cruxes. The route covers a lot of ground and ends on the summit of the Chief's second peak. 

"The Acrophobes" Pitch 10
The most spectacular part of the route is the section called "The Acrophes" (Pitch 10). The Acrophobes consist of two towers and to negotiate this section you are required to climb up the first tower, walk along the spine, rappel down the back side, climb up the second tower, and down climb the back of it too. The spine traverse is indeed "wild", as indicated by the guidebook. Steady feet are an asset on this narrow ridge walk, but it is always possible to employ the "au cheval" technique.

As we reached the top of the route, I told Colin that this would be my first Squamish summit. And what a great way to reach it!

The following day as I was organizing my gear I realized that I forgot a cordalette and a carabiner on the summit of the route. Bill was keen to hike up to the summit for a retrieval mission. Below are photos from the Chief's second summit, with the town of Squamish in the background. 

Found the missing cordaletter and carabiner!

During the hike we marveled at the thick rain-forest-like forest, the imposing trees and the colourful granite walls. 

Too soon, it was time to head home. We had a fantastic time here and can't wait to return for more!

Til next time, Squamish!

1 commentaire:

Mamie a dit…

Et où est llama?