Notes from the Top

Squamish Rock Climbs

Gripped - - CONTENTS - by Drew Copeland

A new com­pre­hen­sive guide­book ar­rived in Squamish this sum­mer. Squamish Rock Climbs by Kevin McLane and An­drew Boyd cov­ers some 2000 routes in Squamish and sur­round­ing area. In ad­di­tion to serv­ing as a ref­er­ence guide­book, the work aims to fos­ter an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the big­ger pic­ture and his­tory of Squamish climb­ing. It in­cludes sto­ries writ­ten by prom­i­nent Squamish climbers old and young about their ex­pe­ri­ences on th­ese rocks and in this place.

McLane is mo­ti­vated to give new climbers an op­por­tu­nity to dis­cover more of the his­tory and essence of Squamish climb­ing. “Climb­ing cul­ture has be­come obsessed with the phys­i­cal di­men­sion. But the men­tal side, chal­leng­ing rock in its nat­u­ral state, as it is, and learn­ing how to be highly sel­f­re­liant, is in a gen­eral de­cline,” ex­plains McLane. “There has never been a more nec­es­sary time to pub­lish the sto­ries and the guide pro­vided a big plat­form. As I worked through it over sev­eral years I was quite taken aback at how lit­tle good climbers of to­day knew about the events of past times and the ef­fect to­day. It’s lam­en­ta­ble but un­der­stand­able in that there’s never been a pub­lished his­tory to read other than se­lec­tions in magazine ar­ti­cles and a web­full of dis­con­nected sto­ries. Now it’s out there as a sin­gle piece and let’s hope it does some good.”

In part, McLane’s mo­ti­va­tion for the new book is to en­cour­age climbers to em­brace the whole ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing out on the rocks, as op­posed to look­ing at only check­ing the box of hav­ing sent a route and then mov­ing onto the next.

“As a guide­book au­thor, I like to try and up­keep a broad view of all that climb­ing en­com­passes and the un­der­ly­ing causes and ef­fects of change. From a con­tent point of view, it seemed im­por­tant to ad­dress this now, given how many peo­ple are flood­ing into climb­ing with lit­tle ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the big pic­ture.”

McLane’s next project is a guide for sport climbs in Squamish. He’s co-writ­ing it with Nic Vis­sers. It’s due out in spring 2019 and will cover al­most all sport climbs be­tween Lion’s Bay and Whistler. McLane is a very ac­com­plished climber and moun­taineer. He has also pub­lished many books on the sub­ject serv­ing the Cana­dian climb­ing com­mu­nity. An­drew Boyd is one of the most tal­ented of mod­ern times, with a panache for free­ing dif­fi­cult aid routes. Squamish Rock Climbs is avail­able for pur­chase at Climb On and Val­halla Pure in Squamish.

Above: Vikki Wel­don on Grand Daddy Over­hang 5.12b at Mur­rin Park, a lo­cal clas­sic

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