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Tourism Squamish

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Photo Credits:  christie-images, Gary Broeckling

Squamish Rocks

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

Smoke Bluffs
The Smoke Bluff area is one of the most popular and frequented climbing locations in the Sea to Sky Corridor. This is largely due to the variety of moderate, single pitch climbs and the wide assortment of cliffs available and the proximity to downtown Squamish. The crags at the Bluffs offer cracks and slabs with easily accessible cliff-tops, yet excellent leads for most ability levels are available. 
The Chief
The Stawamus Chief is without a doubt a world class climbing destination and this granite monolith rises majestically above the waters of Howe Sound, casting its shadows on the homes and roadways of Squamish. The climbs on the Chief vary greatly in character but all being granite, the predominant features are smooth friction slabs and the usual assortment of cracks. The hallmark of the Chief’s climbing experience is multi pitch but there are many single pitch routes on the perimeter and at the bases of the various walls. 
Murrin Park
Murrin is a popular climbing area in Squamish and caters to all interests and ability levels. The steep nicely featured crags here have been climbed for over 50 years. Whether you prefer steep, bolted sport climbs or splitter cracks you will find what  you are looking for at Murrin.

Squamish Bouldering — © MyPlanet 360°

Climbing Gear & Beta

Squamish is home to an excellent outdoor store that specializes in rock climbing equipment and carry climbing guide books and maps:

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 
  • Squamish/Whistler Alpine Guides Bureau  
  • Altus Mountain Guides 
  • Squamish Rock Guides 

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