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your guide to a few bouldering destinations
Squamish
Quick Info

Location: Squamish, British Columbia

Approach: 5-10 minutes, Easy

Problems: 2500+

Rating: ****

Rock: Granite

The Grandest Bouldering area Canada has to offer. With over 2500 documented problems from Vb to V14 on impeccable granite, Squamish holds probably the most intense concentration of bouldering you will find North of 49. The main clusters of boulders are in the shadow of the Grand Wall of the Stawamus Chief, a 700m tall plutonic granodiorite dome erupting majesticly from the northern tip of Howe Sound. The climate of the area is that of the rainforest, plan accordingly.

Access

Most of the bouldering is located within Stawamus Chief Provincial Park, and special attention should be paid to the rock climbing strategy developed by BC Parks and volunteer climbers. This document details their goals and efforts towards minimizing the impact of climbing on the park while providing for increased opportunities to climb. Leave No Trace ethic is paramount, please leash dogs and keep to the established trails. Boulders should be cleaned with a stiff nylon or hair brush; wire brushes are not to be used. Leave your blowtorch at home.

Seasons

The mild climate means the area is climbable year round, however try telling that to the rain. Expect lots of it, even during the summer. Your best opportunity to see extended dry weather is towards the end of June through early October. Generally you will find the odd weekend throughout the winter and spring which will yield climbable rock, and Fall can be amazing for friction if the summer conditions persist.

Location

The main clusters of boulders are located at the foot of the Grand Wall of the Stawamus Chief, which is on Highway 99 about 2 km give or take south of the town of Squamish, BC. There are several parking lots off the highway for your convenience. Look for an offramp to the park just past the Sea To Sky Gondola area, after Shannon Falls.

Approach

You can approach the boulder clusters from several directions. From the farthest south parking areas it's easy to get to the Titanic and Thighmaster areas; just walk into the forest along the trail at the north end of the upper parking lot area. Black Dyke, Easy Chair, and Animal Magnetism areas can be accessed by walking through the yellow gate and then proceeding down the old broken highway just east of the main highway parking area. You can also use this road to access the Jungle and Apron Talus areas, further to the North. If you park at the Apron parking lot, you will have easy access to the Apron Talus Boulders just to the south, as well as the Ramen Raw area along the Mamquam FSR. Further down the FSR there are several other areas such as The Clean Boulders, The Wild Kingdom, and The Dark Side. You will want to drive down the FSR to access these areas as they are several kilometers in.

Geology

As mentioned the rock here is primarily high quality plutonic granodiorite granite, with the odd bit of basalt mixed in for fun. The friction tends to be quite good, although many people would argue that in the heat of the summer. Geologists think that the Chief may be part of an extinct volcano, however what is clear is that when the walls were exhumed by erosion, the boulder field was formed by granitic exfoliation and the freeze thaw cycle occurring year after year, cleaving great chunks of rock from the face of the Chief with extreme patience and violence. Problems tend towards slopers and extremely thin crimps.

Distractions

With the town very near by you can always find a beer after climbing. On rest days you can hike the Chief, or go mountain bike on Garabaldi, or scuba/kayak in Howe Sound, or go head up to Whistler and see what that is like. The city of Vancouver is an hour south.

Guidebooks
Resources

Squamish Climbing
squamishclimbing.com

GPS Data

Coordinates
49.682104,-123.15310
Google Maps

Download GPX file
Squamish.gpx

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