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 Post subject: Squamish and Elfin Lakes
PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 9:15 am 
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UW Climber

Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2008 7:34 am
Posts: 324
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
To celebrate the fourth of July in style, Frank and I headed north to Squamish for a weekend of climbing and hiking. Friday we left Seattle a little before 7 and were lucky with a fast border crossing, we stopped for lunch about 40 minutes south of Squamish and had a picnic on the water. We went straight to campground at the Leisure Centre, and camped in overflow, but there were only three other people in it, so lots of room and we got our own picnic table. :) After a second lunch, we walked about 20 minutes (1.5 km) to Smokey Bluffs, a cluster of nice granite piles interspersed with houses, trails, and mountain lions sometimes. We did one fun flake climb (Corn Flakes, one star 5.6) and then climbed up to a ledge and did all the cracks on the ledge, which were my favorite climbs of the weekend. Cat Crack was an incredible hand crack awarded two stars, 5.6, I wished it could go on forever. Sally Five Fingers was another great crack in that set, one star, 5.8. After Frank climbed Cat Crack twice, we moved the rope and toproped The Jigsaw Flow, a 5.9 slab. I only made it about half up, then stopped to rest on a ledge to the side and couldn't get started again. Slab climbing is an interesting mental game, one I'm not sure I want to pursue in too much depth. :P It was fun to try, but the hand cracks were awesome. We ended pretty late and drove to Murrin Lake to swim, then BBQed bratwurst for dinner, along with instant mashed potatoes and green beans, yum! Saturday we were going to "sleep in" but camped on the west side of the field, and got up at 6:30. After a great pancake breckie, we headed to Garibaldi Provincial Park, about a 40 minute drive up a dirt highway. The parking lot was full, but we saw surprisingly few people all day. For the first 5 km, the trail was really wide, gentle grade uphill (former road of some sort, lots of logging around). It was pretty densely forested and the four piles of bear poop made me a little nervous. A large mammal crossed the trail (which I didn't see) and then crashed uphill in the brush and I only saw light brown fur, likely a bear, not very stealthy. We heard another group yell once from down the hill, but didn't ask them if they encountered a bear. Once we got to Red Heather Meadows at 5 km, the hiking got a lot more exciting and scenic, from there we continued climbing a ridgeline with amazing views of Mt. Garibaldi and others to the north, west, and east. We hit some snow, the sun cups were big enough to swallow a person but we boot tracks were easy. It was 6 km from Red Heather Meadows to Elfin Lakes. It was just a beautiful hike and I'd love to go up there again, there was another nice day hike in the park we would have liked to do, but just ran out of time! We made it back in really good time and went swimming again, the mosquitoes were a lot worse Saturday night. Right after dinner there was loud cracking branches in the brush right next to our camp and a deer shot out like something was chasing it. I thought it was a cougar and was not excited about that, but it was just two dogs. Frank was relieved it wasn't Big Foot. Sunday we packed up and went back to Smokey Bluffs again, with a wall of cracks in mind, but we got a little lost and climbed a really awkward crack first at Krack Rock, then bailed, had lunch, and got found for our original plan. It was really popular, so we climbed a shorter nice crack while its namesake watched (Harry's Crack, Harry was there for the afternoon, 5.8). He said he really liked watching Frank lead it and does a lot of trail maintenance and climb maintenance. We then did a really nice crack that had one stars in and it was great (Edible Panties, 5.7). I slid off the rock about six feet up but was happy for a second chance at the start. Apparently my second attempt was much more graceful. We were next to a group of four+baby from San Fransisco and they were a lot of fun, really enthusiastic and funny. Our last climb was a wider crack and I did not like it, it was just awkward and difficult, and my foot jams kept getting my foot stuck, which really interrupted my flow. Pipe Dream, one star, 5.8, but I didn't enjoy it much. After I struggled to the top, we decided to call it a day, went swimming again, and hit the road. All in all, it was an excellent weekend, these days are long and I'm glad we eat so well. :D
On the way home we stopped in Bellingham for dinner at Boundry Bay Brewery, excellent, as usual. Three days was too short for this trip!
Pictures available: http://picasaweb.google.com/sarah.shime ... directlink


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 10:47 am 
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Longshanks
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Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2006 7:47 pm
Posts: 927
Location: Denver
Awesome! But Frank, for all your grumbling about leading off-widths in the alpine, now I see you leading one at the crag?! One might believe you're starting to like them!


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 1:23 pm 
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UW Climber

Joined: Thu May 17, 2007 6:11 pm
Posts: 137
Oops, I thought I could hide that :wink: No, seriously, I still don't like off-widths. If everything else is occupied one can still try, though... The guidebook lists it as hand and fist, and it got climbed all day. And for defending myself I can say that it actually was fist size for me except for a very short section - Sarah's hands are smaller, which certainly didn't make it easier. Wasn't a good pick for that reason.

Squamish is awesome. I'd like to go there again soon...


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 6:50 pm 
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Cap'n Wingspan
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Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2007 3:08 pm
Posts: 1045
Location: Wallingford
I'm glad you guys had a good time. Maybe we should think about squamish for a club climbing weekend - it's about the same distance away as mazama, has quite possibly more cragging potential at smoke bluffs, which is, as frank and sarah found out, within walking distance to the campground, and the chief is there for anyone interested in multipitch.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:01 am 
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Raging Alpoholic
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Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2007 10:15 pm
Posts: 812
Sounds like a nice trip you guys! Evan, I think that you are onto something. I want to get back up to Squamish this year too.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:05 am 
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UW Climber

Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2008 7:34 am
Posts: 324
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
That would be great, I'd love to go back too and the possibilities are seemingly infinite!


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