Trip: Squamish - Cragging
Will D. and I decided to make a run out to Squamish to find out what Canadian Cragging is all about. What we found was a slough of classics amidst a sea of friendly top-ropers.
We stuck mostly to the moderates, and hung around The Smoke Bluffs both thursday and friday; we figured if we were gonna crag we might as well get as many quick, classic pitches in as possible, and that we did.
It was no alpine epic, but the rock quality and shear volume of routes make The Smoke Bluffs an ideal place to get a mess of practice pushing your grade on trad in a situation that won't leave you high and dry if you get in over your head.
We climbed a bunch of single-pitch routes, but I'll just mention the best ones.
Will on the bouldery opening moves of Quarryman (5.8). This has got to be the most fun trad line I've lead to date, full of what the guidebook calls "exhilarating moves."
Starting Laughing Crack (5.7), a beautiful, easy handcrack.
Getting "stoked" on a slabby 5.7 finger crack slightly off the beaten path.
Two other notables that we didn't get pictures of were Octopus' Garden (5.8), a long, moderately steep handcrack that spooked me (a crack climbing n00b) pretty good, and Phlegmmish Dance (5.8), classic vertical hands and fingers in a corner system that pushes the rating a little bit and is well worth a visit, even if you do have to rap down to it because somebody's running TR laps on the first pitch.
Also, we swung over to Kalhanie Crack after dinner, which is, legend has it, "the best 5.7 hand crack in North America" only to find it sopping wet in the fading light. It's next to a waterfall, go figure.
To those who have not been, there's a lot to be said for messing around at the Squamish crags for a couple of days. And if you can't make it out on a weekday (weekend crowds are debilitating), you can always be a serious climber and make a run up The Chief.