Matt and Joanne’s Page


Squamish is a small town that most people drive through on their way to Whistler to ski. But I’d rather spend a day climbing here than skiing in Whistler! 🙂

There are just endless granite crags scattered all over the hillside here, giving a climber a lifetime of exploration possibilities.

The Stawamus Chief is the centerpiece of Squamish climbing. The Grand Wall is the classic route up the middle of the face. Give me a couple years and maybe I’ll be able to climb this 🙂

We spent most of our time climbing on the smaller crags, working on shorter/easier routes.

The super-fun Klahanie Crack. It doesn’t look that long but it just…keeps….on….going. My feet were pretty sore by the time I got to the top. A 70-meter rope is OK for lowering from the top.

One of the longer routes that we were hoping to climb was Diedre, an ultra-popular slab climb on The Apron at the base of The Chief. We set off on the approach to climb the route and stopped when we saw some people starting a climb. Since we knew the route was so popular, I just assumed it was Deidre. I looked at the description and it says you climb a dihedral, then traverse left into another dihedral system. Follow this to the top. OK, this looks about right…doesn’t sound like route finding will be too hard.

So we started climbing, following about a pitch behind the other group. The route goes up a dihedral then did a somewhat scary traverse over to another dihedral system. OK, this sounds about right. On the 3rd pitch, I felt the moves were pretty thin and insecure for 5.7 and was relieved to make it to the belay cleanly. Phew! Then the 4th pitch went up and traversed under a roof on sloping holds. Joanne thought this part was pretty scary and was mad at me for picking the route.

The 3rd/4th pitches of ….Deidre??? Hmmm…something’s not right here 🙂

Well, 1 more route to the top, right? Hmm…we climbed the last route of the dihedral but that didn’t get us to the top. There was still a long pitch between us and the top. We had a picture of the route with us and were trying to figure out what was wrong. I continued up, trying to find the best route, downclimbing multiple times until I picked the most reasonable looking line. Towards the top, this route steepened and the holds became much smaller. I just couldn’t free the moves and ended up aiding past this section. I was super happy to get to the ledge at the top of the climb and start belaying Joanne up.

It wasn’t until a week later when I was at home looking through our guidebook that I realized that we had actually climbed The Snake, a route that has a surprisingly similar description to Deidre…just 300 yards to the left of it and is a bit harder!

I’m still not sure what the last pitch we climbed was, that I ended up aiding my way up. There was a a single bolt on it but it wasn’t in our guidebook (the Select book). Seemed like it might have been about 5.10-ish. I’ll just call it Snake Direct. If you know what it was, I’d be curious to know!

Here’s a fun looking climb to try, the Zombie Roof in the Smoke Bluffs. First freed at 5.12+ by Peter Croft, it’s a little beyond our abilities. Looks like it could be fun for aid practice on a rainy day!

Seal Cove is a fantastic setting: cragging right on Howe Sound. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to climb any of the routes. There was a group already top-roping a couple of them and the traverse across the bottom of the wall looked a little scary without gear.

We spent 2 nights in Whistler, resting after a few days of climbing. The hotels in Whistler are way cheaper during the offseason and you get to watch some pretty crazy mountain bikers tearing their way down the slopes. We spent part of our rest day doing this huge zipline. Here’s Joanne grabbing on for dear life as she’s cruising 100+ feet above the rapids below.

On the way back to Portland, we spent 1 day in Vancouver. We visited the Chinese Gardens and spent some relaxing time there.

Lilypads in the Chinese Gardens. Can you spot the frog? It’s kind of like Where’s Waldo?

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