Squamish: Giants on Stone

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Climbing in Autumn

    with Chris Sharma and the Campbells

Chris Sharmae
As usual, my bosses knew I was freeriding and freeloading in Whistler, so they decided to put a stop to it. When they called in, I tried to sound busy while sipping my latte in the village with my feet up.

"HEY!, Jason Campbell is on his way north and is meeting up with Chris Sharma to boulder in Squamish." "Cool, I'm on it," I said, trying to sound confident while I began pacing. Soon, I make some calls and dig the moldy climbing gear outta the back of my car.

My mission has changed 180 degrees and I haven't even finished the snowboarding story, but at least I'm still outta the office. I think about my Jell-O legs' inability to board and wonder how much worse my climbing will be. I soon find myself meandering back south to the awe-inspiring monolith that has always distracted me on my drive up to Whistler. "I've always wanted to get up close to this thing," I thought as I pulled into Squamish.

"Endless moss wrapped boulders all seem to contain at least one cleaned side with dozens of possible problems etched out in chalk everywhere you look..."

No worries, I see Jason and Tiffany Campbell's shiny new RV, bust out my plethora of equipment and begin bushwhackin' like instructed. I make the disco call, hear my response and soon find the small band of merry boulderers hiding in the massive moss laden boulder field. Here, near the base of the great monolith, the sun only splinters the canopy selectively. The endless moss wrapped boulders all seem to contain at least one clean side with dozens of possible problems etched out in chalk everywhere you look. They hang atop of each other and foot paths wind through them on the lush B.C. forest floor.

I soon realized that I was not only the rookie of the bunch, but I was being shown up on the techno-weenie end as well. The maker of the classic bouldering vid, Free Hueco, Josh Lowell and his brother Bret are here on tour with America's premier boulderer Chris Sharma and former NYC homeboy turned San Diego bouldering bum Obe Carrion. They quickly set up to shoot, busting out some sweet lenses and extensions. Now I'm really worried. Then the silent but deadly Sharma begins to work things out and his NYC posse cheer him on as I stare in bewilderment.

Tif Rocks
It was just nutty. I spent the weekend with my jaw dragging on the undergrowth, not just over Tiffany's biceps (see picture), but these American aliens who cling effortlessly to anything, hanging onto crystals to levitate over stone. Of course they busted out a few firsts ascents, but you have to wait 'til Rampage (Jason's next rockin' video) comes out in November.

It seems that burly boulderers gravitate to their own and throughout the weekend we were flushed out of our rock caves by local rulers who wanted to see what the big names in rock were swinging on under their canopy. We all delighted in watching local bouldering guru Nick Gibbs throw down some stiff dynos until his hands were a-flapping with torn skin. Just for the fun of it.

But you don't have to be a Sharma or a Campbell or have an ace video crew to boulder here. There's a bevy of moderate problems available, so all you'll need is the will to pull down and for some of the landings, a crash pad. Camping is available only yards away at the provincial park, showers are at the Squamish Aquatic Facility and Squamish is full of eateries ranging from cheap to steep in price. Be aware of one thing, though. The two full-serve grocery stores in town close at 9 p.m., even on weekends.

So, the days were spent rumbling through the wood with the band of merry making video jocks in tow. At night, we returned to the brew house to let bodies recover and batteries charge while we discussed the day's problems and learned about Squamish's pre-logging history of, oh yes, barley cultivation for fermentation. Yep, bouldering in Squamish is hard duty.

Hans Prosl lost under the BC canopy for

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