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Squamish is recognized as one of the world’s top rock climbing destinations. This is largely due to the deliciously sticky granite that is found all over town. Typically, the granite around Squamish is compact and bullet hard in nature with cracks and corners defining the obvious climbable lines. However the sheets of perfect rock between the cracks are not unclimbable deserts. Thousands of tiny crystals protrude from the stone providing almost limitless opportunities for face climbing on the lower angle slabs. Most famous of course is the Stawamus Chief, the second largest granite monolith in the world with enough routes to keep anyone busy for years.
Probably the single most defining characteristic of the rock in Squamish is not the stone itself but the variety of routes available. For the generalist, open to all forms of granite climbing, the resources in this area could occupy a lifetime. At present there are over 3500 routes and boulder problems in the Squamish area. Single pitch cracks and slabs, sweeping multi-pitch adventures, technical vertical face climbing, physical sport climbing and limitless bouldering in the area are all so prevalent that connoisseurs of each plan an entire trip around their individual pursuit.
Your first stop in town should be to pick up a guide book at the Squamish Adventure Centre just off the highway as you pull in to town. From there you can decide if you’ll want a personal guide or not, as well as where all the access points are. The main ones would be the Apron parking lot on the highway and the Smoke Bluff Park just down from the Adventure Centre on Loggers Lane. Generally, the climbs near the town of Squamish are cracks and slabs on monolithic chunks of granite, while north of Squamish sport climbing predominates on more metamorphosed rock.
Squamish has a resident population of hundreds of committed climbers, a thriving social scene and many complementary activities that allow visitors from anywhere to immerse themselves in enriching experiences.
It’s safe to say that if you’re just starting out, or have been at it for years; you’ll find something to satisfy your rock climbing needs.
Main climbing crags in Squamish
Climbing Gear & Beta
Squamish is home to three excellent outdoor stores that all specialize in rock climbing equipment and carry climbing guide books and maps:
- Climb On Equipment - ClimbOnSquamish.com
- Escape Route - EscapeRoute.ca
- Valhalla Pure - SquamishGear.com
Squamish Climbing Guides
There are several reputable companies operating out of Squamish that offer rock climbing tours and courses. Whether you are new to the area and want to hire a guide for a day to be lead up some classic routes, or you are new to the sport and want to give it a try or maybe you just need to brush up on some of your skills, there are lots of options to choose from:
- Canada West Mountain School - themountainschool.com
- Squamish/Whistler Alpine Guides Bureau - WhistlerGuides.com
- Altus Mountain Guides - altusmountainguides.com
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