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Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 5, 2008 - 01:29am PT
Now where were we? Yes, that’s it – the ladybug thread. It’s at You can fly over there any time, for more in a different vein.

Anyway, here is some of Squamish, and the Little Smoke Bluffs, seen from above much later. The cliffs in the Bluffs range from 10 – 100 m high, but are largely surrounded and concealed by the forest. The Squamish River is in the upper left corner.

There are several stories as to how they acquired that name, but one plausible one is that they were relatively smoke-free in the afternoons, once Woodfibre started spewing. They were first given the name in print in Gordie’s 1975 guide. Later I’ll have more stories and photos from there, but climbing didn’t really get going in the Bluffs until 1978.

Naturally, being energetic and young, we climbed other things when we couldn’t get to Squamish. Such as Dave N., here at Capilano College.

But almost every year, at October (Thanksgiving) and Easter, we went to Leavenworth (Lemmingworth), for a break from rain. It’s on the dry side of the mountains east of Seattle, and has a fair variety of climbing. Some is granitic, such as Castle Rock:

Quite a pretty spot, especially in autumn. At that time, the ersatz Bavarian village was just getting started, and camping wasn't too difficult. Here’s Angel Crack, on Castle Rock (Carl A.).

The Peshastin Pinnacles are nearby, as are Snow Creek Wall, Midnight Rock, and other delicacies. Peshastin was always good in October, as the orchard owner let us take the apples that were lying on the ground. Note shift to ‘modern’ climbing uniform. (Photo by Len S.)

Climbing at Peshastin is a bit unusual – I suppose somewhat like desert climbing. The whole place seems a bit temporary, and indeed one of the pinnacles, Trigger Finger, fell over in 1978. (Photo by Len S.)

It was part of our annual calendar, the migration to Leavenworth. One attraction was a tacky bar where you could buy a galvanized five gallon bucket of beer for something like $5. Sadly, the legal age there was 21, and many of us were under. Under age, that is – not under the influence.

Once Eric, Dave N., and their friend Andy went for a night in the bar. On the way back to Eight Mile campground, they got stopped. Eric, who was driving, did a truly comical act, attempting to walk straight on the centre line, swaying back and forth. Dave still tells it memorably.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 5, 2008 - 01:43am PT
Here is another shot of the world-renowned Mushroom. The lower crack is now a nice 5.9, but the remainder of the wall remains an aid climb. Tommy may have freed that imitation in Yosemite, but the original is still waiting for him.

Earlier, a Ghost appeared on the thread, but unlike most manifestations of ectoplasm, here he is in the flesh. Taking guidebook photos, in 1980. This is at the top of what became the Burgers & Fries cliff, long before development.

Photo taken shortly after we attempted to kill ourselves in a small airplane.

And, if you will permit me a small digression, here is a picture of a cliff in Norway, north of Oslo. It is called Andersnatten, which as you all know, means “Anders’ Cliff”. Anders was a farmer there, who was being chased by a troll. There are many trolls in Norway, and they are (if possible) fiercer than those on SuperTopo. Anyway, our hero ended up at the top of the cliff, and the only way he could escape was by skiing down the face – as is well known, trolls can’t do that kind of stuff. His skiis left the white stripe down the middle, which is imaginatively called “Den Hvita Stripa” – the White Stripe. I have climbed it, a nice six pitch 6a, maybe hard 5.10.

Werner will be pleased that there are some cows in the picture.

A long way from where I started
Sep 5, 2008 - 02:05am PT
Damn. I wish I still had that camera.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 5, 2008 - 02:08am PT
So around this time, things started to slowly change. Little by little, there were more climbers. People like Carl A., Scott F., Dick M., and John B., who all went to Prince of Wales High School. My good friend John A. was recruited by Steve M. at an Outward Bound alumni social. Definitely a keeper - he was a bit older, had a real job, and wheels! Which meant we could finally plan to get out every good weekend, and knew we'd get there. John was also nice about getting gear which the rest couldn't afford, and as a bricklayer knew a thing or two about using a hammer.

Daryl Hatten appeared in 1974, and made an immediate impact. He came from quite a different background than many of us, but we all got along fine. A loyal if at times troubled friend, and a great climber. (Photo Stewart W.)

Daryl is standing in front of the Black Dike, a giant basalt intrusion that goes from the Malemute, across the highway, up the wall, and beyond. Years later, he and others did a scary hard route just to its right, which they irreverently named "Negro Lesbian". Much later, the Chief became a provincial park. Every year they publicize the peregrine falcon closure, naming the various routes that are off limits. The list is published on the government website, and they had to get special dispensation to have such a politically incorrect thing there.

Others started to get out climbing then, often from university outdoor clubs, and some stuck. Those of us who were students usually helped at introductory climbing schools that were 'organized', and of course thereby also trawled the class for likely young lady climbers. Some were persuaded to climb, and at times more.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 5, 2008 - 02:30am PT
Another rite of passage was to climb one of the longer aid 'walls', after Grand Wall. Either University Wall or Tantalus Wall. Again, neither is more than about 12 pitches, but the use of the "W" word (NO, NOT THAT ONE!) seems to have crept in from Yosemite. Daryl called me in September 1974, to try to persuade me to climb "U" Wall. I was busy getting registered for first year and other responsible stuff of the sort that has always distracted me from climbing, and couldn't go. But two years later I did it, with Jay P.

There are one or two ugly lower corner pitches, that most bypass by some ledges. Here's the first real pitch, which we did on a rainy May morning.

It wasn't getting any drier, so we left a rope, and came back later. This meant we were REAL CLIMBERS - we had fixed a rope!
(Around here in the saga, some of the pictures are actually of me, and the quantity if not quality of my photos maybe improved. I won't say which one I was - we all had big hair then.)

A few days later it dried up. We returned, and jumared up our rope. (Photo Jay P.)

All of the first six pitches are a left facing, leaning, mostly overhanging corner. It's pretty awkward and steep.

Partway up the second pitch. (Photo Jay P.)

In 1982 the route, with significant variations, was done free. (It was originally 5.8, A3, Old Skool.) This pitch, and one higher up, weren't. Peter returned in 1988 and freed them. Somewhat confusingly, he attempted to rename those two pitches as "The Shadow". The whole route is said to be comparable to Astroman, although harder, but we never really figured out the renaming thing.

Looking down the second pitch. I take pride that my nailing made it possible for this route to be freed.

I did manage to fall twice on the route, which was not considered a sensible thing at the time.

Third pitch:

One more awkward pitch with a bit of free, and we were at the bivouac tree - a nice cedar sitting at the bottom of a little chimney.

Here one of us is channelling Mick Jagger, or perhaps a young lady who is coming to the FaceLift. (Photo Jay P.)

I'm still sorry that I lost that hat long ago, but not sorry that I stopped letting my mother choose my glasses.

Above the tree, it eases back a bit:

You can see Mt. Garibaldi in the background here, near to which many ladybugs can be found - it was lovely weather. Note accoutrements. (Photo Jay P.)

The last two pitches to Dance Platform diagonal up and right, and are a bit more broken.
(Photo Jay P.)

Thus we arrived at the Dance Platform. At that time, there was a tiny cabin there, the Errol Pardoe Memorial Hut. It could hold four to six people. However, despite our painfully slow nailing - two days for eight awkward pitches - we were in time to traverse off Bellygood Ledge, which is an extension of the Dance Platform, leading off into the forest. The upper parts of both Grand and University Walls converge into four pitches above Dance, called the Roman Chimneys, but we didn't have the time.

So we scuttled off, and tried to hitchhike home. No joy, so we ended up sleeping in the boulders yet again. At that time, people either crashed in the area where the campground is now - no one minded - or sometimes in the big rocks at Cacadomenon Cave. As the boulders were not then overrun and trampled by the pad people, we had a quiet evening. Three days later I left for six weeks climbing and hostelling in Wales and England.

University Wall was first climbed in 1966. Of the four climbers, all university students, only one passed that year.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 5, 2008 - 03:08am PT
Here's one last one for tonight. A page from Glenn Woodsworth's "A Climber's Guide to the Squamish Chief", published in 1967. Drawings by Tim Auger.

By the early 1970s, copies were impossible to find - I was lucky to get one directly from Glenn, who knew my father. But even if you did have a copy, it wasn't current, or detailed, and there were no photos.

This page is the sketch and description for Diedre - I'll add a story about that route later, one that DR will like. Note that it is graded 5.4 - although some B.C. climbers got to Yosemite in the 1960s, such as Jim Baldwin and Hamish Mutch, there was more than a bit of a misunderstanding about grading. So such free routes as we had in the 1960s and early 1970s were graded three or four letter grades 'easier' than they actually were. This helps explain the derisory way in which Daryl used to dismiss 5.10s in the Valley as "Squamish 5.7". It also partly explains why were slow to pick up on free climbing. It didn't help when you read about the 5.9s and even 5.10s being done elsewhere, when we were doing what seemed hardish routes that were graded "5.6". So it took a year or two before we figured out that 5.8 was a respectable climb, and that 5.9 and 5.10 required effort, but could be done by mortals.

The pendulum has now swung the other way, and a fair number of Squamish grades are thought by many to be a bit soft.

I've always thought that Glenn's title was just right, and pilfered it for the guide in 1980. It's surprising, and grammatically incorrect, that some guides are now titled "The" climber's guide to - as though it's the only guide that ever has or will be published to an area.

Boulder climber
Sep 5, 2008 - 03:17am PT
Great thread, can't wait to hear the Diedre story.


right here, right now
Sep 5, 2008 - 10:33am PT
Anders wrote:
"Many trip reports take some effort on the part of the poster, but fall off the front page all too quickly. Perhaps little refreshers every few days (sometimes longer) will avoid that, and keep up some interest."

"Or maybe every 100 posts or so – if we get that far – I’ll start a new thread."

Jeepers, you think those strategies will really fly?
Sheet howdy, you got the tiger by the tail now 'ole boy!!!

Hang on tight and let 'er rip...
WE crave this action, dude.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 5, 2008 - 09:38pm PT
Found in the wild depths of page 3?! Cough cough. Ahem. I'm pretty sure that Tarbuster, anyway, hasn't been contributing to the bumpalicious political clutter around here.

Having got started, I'll now to pace things out a bit - the death of 100, if not 1,000, posts. Plus it takes a lot of time to do the scanning and writing, competing with life.

I've just gone back and done some editing and rearranging, and hope to add something tonight.

Trad climber
Sep 5, 2008 - 10:54pm PT
you Rock Anders! You just made my day after a very rough day at work. Thanks for the pick me up. If your ever comming to city of Rocks Ideehooooo, and need a pardner, look me up
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Sep 5, 2008 - 11:15pm PT
Great stuff, Anders!

Here are scans of a few pages from my xerox copy of my high school math teacher's copy of the Glenn Woodsworth guide. I darkened some of the topo lines back in the day (1975), but otherwise the stuff is original.

before price inflation!

sentimental markup by my math teacher, Ron L., from his ascent with his partner Larry back in his college days at the U.W.

enlargement of one of Tim Auger's line drawings
The route lines were originally dotted, but I overdrew them with colored pencil back in high school, so I can't reproduce the original very well.

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Sep 5, 2008 - 11:34pm PT
really great stuff Anders,
very enjoyable reading and
some pretty awesome pics too.

A long way from where I started
Sep 5, 2008 - 11:57pm PT
Tami sez: Tim's line drawings are superb

True enough, but what about the ink washes in Gordie Smaill's guide? The Squamish guide that followed Woodsworth's. Done by his brother, I think.

For me, they are close to the best climbing art ever done. If my scanner weren't fuct, I'd scan some and post them. Once I get a new scanner, I'll definitely do that

Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 6, 2008 - 02:25am PT
Thanks everyone – especially Clint for the nice scans. Maybe Glenn can be persuaded to visit the thread, and offer his two cents – he lives only a few blocks away, so I’ll ask. The tales, as Tolkien put it, will hopefully grow in the telling.

The top of the Chief looks like this in mid-winter, perhaps 5% of the time. We’re on the south summit, which most hikers go to, and which is the “top” of the Grand Wall. The middle but not north summits can also be seen.

Now about that Diedre climb. Diedre is a French word which means corner - not to be confused with the English name Dierdre. In the 1960s, guidebook writers, especially for granitic climbing areas, looked far and wide for synonyms for “corner”, which got a little tiresome. Some of the alternatives include diedre, dihedral, and open book. It was natural for Canadians to use diedre. (A Norwegian synonym for corner is “diederet”.) As you might guess, Diedre is a climb that mostly follows a corner. The first pitch and a half ambles around on moderate slabs and cracks, to the base of a low angle corner, which leads in four or five pitches to Broadway. Climbs on the Apron are mostly 4 – 7 pitches long, and end at Broadway, although it is possible to continue up things like Boomstick Crack (logging term), or the Squamish Buttress. Anyway, Broadway is a ledge system, some treed, which traverses off to the right into the forest that comes up between the Apron and the Grand Wall. Some is class 3 – 4, but it’s not too scary.

Anyway, here’s a photo of the middle part of Diedre, from 1976. It then had a reasonable number of shrubs and things, including some nice cedars. (Does anyone know if ladybugs like cedars?) The climbers are Dave L., Scott F., and Perry B. None are actually doing Diedre, which is just to right of the climber with the pink shirt, but other routes come and go nearby. Later I’ll say more about them and what they’re up to.

Higher up, Diedre gets fairly low angle, and is water worn. (Photo from 1975.) Glenn graded it 5.4, but in modern grades it’s 5.7, with a move or two of 5.8, including a little step right at the end.

Diedre is perhaps comparable to Nutcracker, in terms of the nature of the climbing, and who climbs it. IMHO, it’s somewhat tedious – essentially, a five pitch moderate lieback. Several other nearby routes on the Apron are similarly graded, but have much more variety, and a bit more adventure. I’ve only done it a few times, first in 1974. But many others seem to like it. (It’s even been sort of done as an ice climb, as Tami will tell us.)

I mentioned that we got started at about the time of the ‘clean climbing’ revolution. In about 1973, when hexcentrics and stoppers appeared, and made it all believable, two quite experienced climbers thought about it, and DR’s essay. One theme of the essay was that it was sometimes better to place a bolt or two, instead of repeated hammering of pitons. So what they did was climb Diedre, and place a single bolt at each belay. The idea was that then climbers would be comfortable setting off up the route with just nuts, knowing that at each belay a reliable (1/4” x 1 ½” Rawl compression!) bolt was available, to combine with nuts to make a secure belay.

This was naturally a scandal – unnecessary bolts placed anywhere, let alone on such a moderate climb, with a good crack. So not long after, the bolts were chopped. For some years they weren’t there, but sometime (I think) in the 1980s they were replaced with double bolts at each belay. This may have been related to the appearance of commercial climbing, motorized drills, and reliable bolts. And some modern Canadian climbers are a little less ideological about these things. The result has been that the route has ever since been overrun, and is the scene of the most horrifying clusterf***s you can imagine.

Diedre is, in modern portentous parlance, a “MULTI-PITCH”. (Definitely not a lower-case noun, given the way people pronounce it.) It’s not just a climb, like any other – it’s a “MULTI-PITCH”. A BHD (BIG HAIRY DEAL), possibly a BFD. Although a 20 m fall is usually as lethal as a 200 m fall. The fixed anchors at each belay lure the innocent, the ignorant, the insecure, and the plain unprepared into trouble. It’s a classic example of convenience bolting rebounding, and having the opposite effect from that intended. It’s supposedly convenient, or speeds up climbers, to have fixed belays. But it would be difficult to safely climb Diedre, and place protection, without the ability to create reasonable belays. One bolt at each belay, perhaps, for the “just in case” scenarios.

IMHO, there is an excess of convenience bolting at Squamish, and its full implications aren’t always thought through. For one thing, climbing by definition can never be convenient, or safe.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 6, 2008 - 03:11am PT
We did do a lot of aid climbing in those days, and it was one way to get quite good at placing gear, and judging how good it was. Still strongly recommended – if you’re learning how to place gear, go out on a rainy day, ‘lead’ up moderate cracks with a loose toprope, and experiment. At the very beginning we had 120' ropes, although I mostly missed the goldline phase. 150' ropes appeared a year or two later, then 50 m ropes, which for a long time were the standard. They were generally 11 mm, but once Edelrid sold 11.5 mm ropes, which naturally were marketed as being more robust. You could barely get a jumar around them. Daryl bought one, for use on El Cap, but had an exciting time on Never Never Land or Dihedral Wall, when the sheath slipped a bunch while he was jugging.

So here are some shots of aid climbing, mostly 3 - 5 pitch routes on subsidiary cliffs.

Hallucination on the Papoose, 1975 (Steve M.)

It really did overhang, though not quite as much as it appears.

Hallucination, looking down at climber turning the roof. (Photo Steve M.)

Not sure.

Unfinished Symphony, 1977. (Len S.)

Now a free route, with some nice pin pockets. There was never enough traffic at Squamish for there to be grotesque problems, but it doesn’t take much nailing to significantly improve shallow or narrow cracks.

Add: I note that Dr. Hartouni is in fact several years older.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Sep 6, 2008 - 03:37am PT
I'm so old I can't remember how old I am... how do you deal with that sort of thing jstan?

Trad climber
London, UK
Sep 6, 2008 - 08:52am PT
Excellent stuff Mr. Hiker.

"Here one of us is channelling Mick Jagger..."

I wont dilute the great photos with an example, but don't you mean Austin Powers?
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 6, 2008 - 07:39pm PT
Austin Powers had not been invented in the 1970s, so it would have been difficult to channel him.

Perhaps later, or Sunday, I'll get some more stories and photos up. As mentioned, all stories and photos copyright © Me (that is, MH), 2008. Except those taken by others, of course.

My field is in part history, but I wouldn't claim that what I'm posting is history. Just stories and pictures, detritus from the past. One climber's perspectives on people, a place, and a time. Other have their own stories, and may even disagree at times - to which I can only say that they may be right, and I hope they post their two cents. And undoubtedly people have things to correct, and add. And maybe questions?

We did occasionally have visitors from the US (not just Washington), and it would be interesting to hear what they thought of it all. Most found the rain a bit oppressive - we had some rainy summers, especially 1975 and 1976, at a time when there were fewer things to do.

Some random thoughts, or at least reminders to myself. I have some slides of ice climbing at Squamish (really!) which might be a fun time out somewhere. No one took dogs (child-substitutes) climbing in the 1970s, although I'm sure some climbers' families had them. We did climb at Cheakamus Canyon then - the belay/rock photo is from there. It was obvious that there was lots of rock there to climb, especially as the area had been logged and burnt over in the 1960s. But we had other priorities. I won't comment on popular culture in the 1970s, and its results - clothing styles speak for themselves.

One thing to emphasize is that lead falls were then considered something that tended to happen occasionally, but not part of the routine. Falling was a fairly high risk thing to do, what with nuts pulling, less than reliable bolts, and so on. Although belayers may if anything have been more reliable than now, given the way in which they were trained - even given hip belays. Falling while slab climbing was thought a bit safer - some control was possible for the agile and quick. And if you never fell at all, it suggested you were a bit too careful. I went about 20 metres once, on the Apron, to loud cheering from the peanut gallery in the parking lot.

We did also boulder a bit, although the idea of cleaning and then climbing the boulders in the forest beneath the Grand Wall had not occurred to anyone. We camped amongst and under them, especially the giant ones at Cacodemon, and even explored the tunnels beneath them. We also nailed some of them - one popular winter route, called RURP Riot (overhangs 45 degrees), was later freed, and in that version is called Dream Catcher. (Not likely to be confused with Dream On and Dream Weaver, other routes at Squamish - both slab climbs.)

Naturally being climbers, we liked jargon. Nothing very imaginative, and mostly borrowed from the US or England. All the shoes were known by their initials - RRs (Robbins' tight blue wall shoes), PAs (Pierre Allain - not sure we ever had them), RDs (Rene Desmaison), and in 1974 the EB (E. Bordignon), which dominated the shoe market from then until the early 1980s. A classic example of abuse of a monopoly.

Sometime around 1974 or 1975, things began to quicken. There was no one cause, but slowly there were more climbers, and standards rose. We had a little bit more experience, a little bit more and better equipment, a bit more exposure to more mature climbing cultures, and a lot of fire. Maybe a bit more money, too, as people got older, and had real jobs, or were students. We got to a critical mass, and things suddenly started to happen. Which, with the usual digressions, is where we'll go next.

The other thing that helped is the discovery then that it was possible to aid climbs, or rappel down them, and clean out the dirt, shrubs, moss, and lichens, making it possible to free them. Squamish is in a near-rain forest, and most cracks that are less than vertical are full of dirt and green things. Which very much limited what was possible, given that the options were slab climbing, or crack climbing. The latter only possible if you could get your hands and nuts into them. People had been cleaning cracks at Squamish since the 1960s, at least to some extent - Fred and friends took a Swede saw on Tantalus Wall, for tree removal. But in 1974 or 1975, people suddenly started 'cleaning' climbs.

I'm fairly sure that Greg F. has been custodian of Peter's mangled jacket, since 1985. Collateral.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Sep 6, 2008 - 08:10pm PT
Nice video of Chris Sharma freeing RURP Riot, aka Dreamcatcher:
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 7, 2008 - 02:48am PT
There was probably nothing particularly distinctive about the evolution of climbing at Squamish through the 1970s. (It definitely wasn’t intelligently designed.) Energetic young people, working things out as they went along, with all the usual challenges and adolescent behaviour that goes with it. And we did have fun.

We’ll now digress again. I blame Tami. Committed rock climbers may want to avert their eyes. Some of you may think that Squamish is a summer-only climbing area. You would be wrong. It isn’t quite the Rubblies, which in winter are covered in ice and snow which, even if it sometimes avalanches, at least covers up all the ‘rock’. But we do from time to time get cold clear weather, when Arctic air spills out from the interior. Usually between late November and early February. Often three to five day outbreaks, sometimes 7 – 14 days, and occasionally longer. Usually beginning or ending in heavy snow.

I see from Environment Canada’s website that the mean temperature in Vancouver in January 1993 was -0.4 degrees. The coldest night was -14.1, and for the first eighteen days of the month it barely got above freezing. Colder in Squamish, and windier – the outflow winds at the onset of an Arctic front are chilling. For January 1969, the mean temperature in Vancouver was -2.9, and the coldest day -16.1, with 65 cm of snow that month. (We had 122 cm in January 1971.) For January 1950, the coldest month on record, the mean was -6.3. (Ask if you want the URL.)

You get the picture. Cold, snowy weather isn’t unusual in Vancouver, or Squamish. It’s not consistent or reliable, as elsewhere in Canada, and it’s less usual than it was. But it does happen. And when it does, we go ice climbing. Sometimes even up in the local mountains.

We started with pretty basic stuff – single leather boots, Salewa ice screws (not slotted), hinged crampons, Salewa ice hammers, wart hogs, etc. No Marwa killer screws, thankfully. And we just kind of figured it out. This is from Mt. Seymour, just above Vancouver, January 1976.

Another ice climb in the local mountains is at the Baker ski area:

I got a bad case of the screaming barfies on this climb – toes and/or fingers chilled to the point that it hurts like hell when circulation returns, but not quite to the point of frostbite.

We had a good winter in 1978 – 79, with a big cold front that arrived in mid-December, got very cold after the 25th, and lasted through mid-January. With advances in ice climbing, we all had our eyes on Shannon Falls, and it firmed up by late December. Everybody climbed it. It’s grade 2 – 3, but rather a novelty climb.

4 – 5 pitches, but you can continue behind what’s visible, up fun steps.

(Ross B. in all three.) Shannon Falls freezes hard enough to be safely climbable every 5 – 10 years. When it does, it’s now crowded with a full on clusterf**ck, even worse than Diedre. A terrifying bowling alley for ice boulders.

This is a short climb just left of Shannon Falls. One advantage of Squamish is that there’s lots of water around, so when it does freeze, there’s lots of things to do.

(Natty attire, eh?)

There are even some nice climbs in and around the Little Smoke Bluffs. (Jay P.)

As we seem to be on a novelty theme, one of the classic and first climbs at Squamish is North Gully, done in 1958. Class 3 – 4, mostly scrambling under, around, and through house-sized chockstones. Not a “cool” climb, but still lots of fun.

(Both Steve G.) Steve is someone I did a lot of backcountry skiing and mountaineering with, who never quite understood that despite the appearances, backcountry skiing is far more dangerous than rock climbing. I’ve had too many friends killed in avalanches. Still, when the real rock climbers couldn’t be bothered with a mere gully, he was willing to give it a try. Possibly the only route he ever climbed at Squamish – a distinction he shares with my father.

I will say no more about the possible fates of other people’s down jackets.
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