Squamish is simply fantastic and features endless, perfect granite climbing that is basically roadside. If you want to crag, no problem. If you want to climb a 15 pitch classic, no problem. Squamish has it all, including lots of rain. Just hope it doesn't rain (much) during your visit and you'll love the place.
From Vancouver, negotiate your way out of town (confusing), and follow the scenic 99 (Sea to Sky Hwy) north along the eastern flanks of the Howe Sound for around 70 km (44 mi) to Stawamus Chief Provincial Park, just south of the small town of Squamish. Allow about 1-1.5 hours driving time.
Other Areas Nearby
This section of the database is limited to the closest formations to the town of Squamish. To help visitors orient themselves to other areas within striking distance of Squamish, use the Map and these notes:
The Sea to Sky Corridor is the stretch of highway between Squamish and Whistler and contains many primarily sport-climbing crags which range from 10 to 40 minutes away from Squamish.
Hwy. 99 North of Whistler is obviously a little further north, but perfectly reasonable for day trips from Squamish. There's a lot in the area although not much has been posted here yet.
Some of the Vancouver Area crags are easily accessible from Squamish, although once you made it there, why head back south?
At the base of the Chief:
This area is literally a one minute walk to the Chief (Campground Wall), five minutes to the Grand Wall boulders, and ten minutes to the base of the Grand Wall. The treed ambiance and cooking area make this a nice place to base yourself. It's about a thirty minute walk into town for groceries, meals etc, and perhaps forty minutes walk to the Smoke Bluffs.
Just across the street from Shannon Falls:
Maybe ten minutes to the Shannon Falls climbing and twenty minutes to the Grand Wall. It's about ten minutes further from town than the camping at the base of the Chief.
This area accepts reservations, has climbing very close by (not yet posted in the database though), and is probably a good base for climbing north of Squamish, like at Chek.
If you are not interested in camping, here are some other options:
Squamish Hostel - www.squamishhostel.com/
Howesound Brew Pub (has a few rooms too!) - www.howesound.com/
Vacation Home - There is an EXCELLENT vacation home directly across from Neat and Cool in the Smoke Bluffs. Details on the home are available at www.smokebluff.com or VRBO Smoke Bluffs (editors note: I've stayed in this house many times and it is fabulous. Great home, great views, and great access.)
Where to Eat
This is just a sampling, suggest more in the comments if you wish.
Nester's Market in the plaza at the intersection of Cleveland and Hwy. 99.
The Howe Sound Inn&Brewing Co. right at the very end of Cleveland Street. This is very popular hangout with climbers and other outdoor types. The food is also very good, much better than your average pub fare.
The Mountain Burger House at Cleveland and Pemberton (a few blocks past the plaza) serves great "traditional" breakfasts: eggs, bacon, toast, skillets, omelettes, etc.
Squamish Access Society Lots of useful information about access, especially as it relates to Hwy. 1 construction. Some nice images in the gallery too.
Squamish Rock Guides
757 Total Routes
['4 Stars',95],['3 Stars',294],['2 Stars',246],['1 Star',98],['Bomb',12]
Browse More Classics in Squamish
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Squamish:
Featured Route For Squamish
Latest Regional Forum Messages
|By Geoff Gegwich|
From: North Bend , WA
Mar 18, 2006
Climbing in Squamish
Smoke bluffs Boulder gully
This is an area close to the parking lot and often overlooked.
Cold comfort and Picket line were fun 9's with solid gear.
Smoke Bluffs Wall
Zombie roof area
Laughing crack 5.7 a perfect intro to trad 1 pitch wonder. Takes great gear and has good stances.
Mosquito/ Phlemish dance is a fun 2 pitch 5.8 link up. More climbs above.
May 22, 2006
Solid granite cracks, tons of variety and always an escape from the crowds if you are willing to hike 45 minutes to the backside of the Chief. Start early to avoid lines if doing anything on the Apron as it can get crowded quickly. Kevin McLane's guidebook is, in my opinion, the best guidebook ever. Ratings are soft so feel it out for yourself. I recommend The Snake (Apron), Diedre (Apron), Angels Crest (Shield), Solarium (Backside of The Chief) and Octopus Gardens. You can't help but have fun here!
Apr 8, 2008
ATTENTION!: SQUAMISH CAMPING REGULATIONS
With the recent rate of expansion and development in the Squamish region it is important to be aware of the rules in regard to camping in the area. If you are a seasonal user please be aware that the rapid growth has put a lot of pressure on different user groups. In the past, Squamish has been a low-key mecca for summer cragging, and it still is.
As a user group, climbers in Squamish have enjoyed a (mostly) positive relationship with the community. It is important to maintain that relationship.
If you are coming to Squamish for all or part of the summer you should be aware of the situation regarding camping outside of designated areas. There is a lot of incorrect information floating around and hopefully this information will help people to better understand land use issues in the area.
According to Bob Cunneyworth, the Compliance & Enforcement Officer with the B.C. Integrated Land Management Bureau, camping outside of designated areas inside of the Squamish municipality is not permitted. This is basically the area between Murrin Park to the south and Conroy Creek to the north(well past Brackendale), the Squamish river to the west and the Watershed to the East (several kilometers past the Squaw). if you are unsure of these boundaries check with City Hall when you arrive. Outside of the municipality camping on "Crown Land" is technically not legal, although the law is seldom enforced. If you need to camp in the "backcountry" a strict Leave-No-Trace policy is mandatory.
The Squamish Access Society works with the community to ensure that the relationship between climbers and the city is positive. Climbers maintain a positive relationship with the non-climbing public in Squamish because we have always been able to police ourselves.
The Chief Campground and others are affordable, particularly when a pad is shared amongst a few friends.
Please, if you come to Squamish, respect the rules, stay in designated campsites. The days of free camping are sadly gone. A lot has changed in Squamish with the rapid pace of development and growth. Not everyone who lives here these days is sympathetic to climbers, and will jump at the slightest chance to point the finger.
Squamish is a town in transition and if climbers are to have any say in the direction that Squamish goes, it will be necessary to maintain a positive community presence.
No matter where you are from, if you are a guest in Squamish, please try to remember that there are people who have spent their lives here to ensure that our resources stay accessible for all. Please respect their hard work.
Ultimately, what you do in Squamish is up to you. For those of us that call this area home I would urge you to please try and minimize your presence if you should choose to live outside of the normal structure.
Squamish is quickly becoming a suburb. It is a very critical time here. There are people who do not value the same things as we do. Those people own property and pay taxes. Only through solidarity of purpose and action do we as climbers function as an entity.
Mar 27, 2009
thanks guys, i think im gonna go to squamish instead, gonna try again early next summer. thanks for the advice.
|By Bob Graham|
Jun 11, 2009
anyone know if Angels Crest is dry I am planning on climbing it June 13
|By Peter Franzen|
From: Phoenix, AZ
Aug 15, 2009
A quick note for Squamish camping:
Camp sites at the Chief campground are no longer $10 each. It is now $10 per 2 people regardless of how many people are crammed onto one site. This makes camping quite a bit more expensive, and it is no longer advantageous for people to share their sites with others. Kind of a bummer, but I'm sure it's netting the campground quite a bit more money.
Apr 6, 2010
I'm thinking of heading to Squamish from mid June until early August. How much does it rain during this time period?
|By Squamish Climber|
Apr 13, 2010
Normally, Squamish gets progressively drier from June to September. Mid-August is usually the driest - but you can get a nice stretch of weather anytime in the summer. Here's a weather chart, it might help.
Cheers, Dave Jones
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|By Krista m|
May 2, 2010
What is the best guide book to buy for Squamish, chek, and whistler area?
|By Jon O'Brien|
May 7, 2010
I'm visiting this summer as well, i have a 40 pound happy dog, can anyone tell me what the scene is like for a dog owner? are dogs allowed in the campsites or on the trails? Don't worry, i'm a responsible dog owner...
thanks for any tips!
|By Squamish Climber|
May 25, 2010
Here is what the Stawamus Chief Provincial Park website says about dogs:
Pets on Leash
Pets/domestic animals must be on a leash at all times except on the Chief Peaks trail. You are responsible for their behaviour and must dispose of their excrement.Backcountry areas are not suitable for dogs or other pets due to wildlife issues and the potential for problems with bears.
In addition the Squamish Assess Society (squamishaccess.ca) has posted this note:
In 2008 additional signage regarding park policy on dogs was posted at several trail heads in the Chief boulders. It was the first step by Parks to communicate a ramp-up in enforcement of the on-leash rule. With the huge increase of users since the late 1990s, Parks has become especially concerned about the number of dogs left off leash. Reported incidents of people being bitten, dog excrement among the boulders and on trails, dogs barking and fighting and running through re-vegetation zones have increased the need in Park’s eyes for enhanced enforcement. Expect heightened enforcement this season; Parks does have the authority to ticket.
The SAS supports the on-leash policy and asks that dog owners abide by the Park rules so that they and others can enjoy it to the fullest.
Smoke Bluffs Park is a popular place for locals for dog walking. I believe dogs must be onleash.
|By Peter Spindloe|
From: North Vancouver, BC
Mar 16, 2011
It's here: Sea to Sky Corridor
Dividing up complex areas isn't an exact science. In this case, the Squamish area is just the crags right around town.
As I understand it, the area you're referring to is Chek rather than Cheakamus, which has yet to be added to MP.com.
|By Dan Petty|
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Jul 21, 2011
It will be a sad day when people can no longer legally live anywhere for free. Thankfully you can still live for free without being harassed in Squamish. Enjoy it while it lasts I guess.
|By Jesse McAfee|
Jan 24, 2012
Looking for grade 4 scrambles within an hour of Horseshoe Bay.
|By Peter Spindloe|
From: North Vancouver, BC
Jan 24, 2012
Jesse, one option would be The Lions. I don't know too many off hand, but I imagine the Sky Pilot group might provide some.
|By Nate Ball|
From: Taipei, TW
Aug 22, 2012
Some feedback after a week in Squamish...
It's an expensive place to live, even for a short time.
The Zephyr Cafe is overrated. Get breakfast at Chef Big D's. Quinoa cereal vs. sausage-filled omelet with black bean salsa, hash browns, and toast.
The library provides free internet access, but make sure you check in at the counter.
The Howe Sound brewery is awesome, but expensive.
In northern Squamish, there is a pub called The Shady Tree: unappealing bar food and cheap beer. Avoid it.
Save-a-lot is a better grocery store than Nester's. Unless you like spending more money.
Skywalker and Diedre will have long cues to climb on any dry day. Start at 7am or wait until 2pm.
You will be competing for climbs on the classics. Think about climbing elsewhere, like the Papoose, or the Malamute, or the Bulletheads. Not the Smoke Bluffs, or the Apron, or Squamish Buttress.
The cost of camping at the Chief campground is $8 per person, per night. Every single site was full when we got there - a Thursday in August. We didn't bother to check again.
It is $33/night (one vehicle, two people) to stay at Klahanie Campground. This includes a laundromat, showers, and close proximity to busy train tracks. You will be woken up in the middle of the night if you try to stay there without paying. Not recommended.
It is not technically legal to sleep in your car apparently anywhere in Squamish. We didn't meet anyone who'd gotten in trouble for it though.
The sport climbing on the Malamute, and probably most of the areas on or around the Chief, are all friction-style climbs. We top-roped some 10s, which was enough to get the idea. If you want to climb that friction stuff, go do something on the Apron.
Grades on the classics seem a bit soft. I was able to on-sight several 10a's, which I've never been able to do before.
The weather is really temperamental. It might drizzle, it might piss down, it might be super-windy, it might be gray and overcast, it might be sunny and hot, and it might all happen in the same day. And this was in August!
To sum it up, Squamish is a wicked awesome climbing area where you will meet lots of really cool people, climb lots of really great stone, eat really good food, all in a really majestic setting. Take the time to step back and appreciate all that this area has to offer.
|By PO Durand|
Oct 30, 2013
Is it possible to climb in Squamish in december?
From: Springfield, MO
Mar 17, 2014
My wife and I are planning on spending the summer in Squamish, June 8th - Sept 15th roughly. We have a small pull behind trailer we live out of. Is there anywhere to sit it for the summer for free? If we camp under the chief it would cost a little more than $1500, and there is no way we could afford that. What do most seasonal live-ins do? Thanks guys.
|By John Groh|
Jun 3, 2014
How crowded does this place get and how easy is it to meet people in the campground to climb with? I'm doing a solo road trip and will be passing through in mid-to-late July - is it optimistic to think I could meet up with people to swap belays without arranging stuff ahead of time?
If I can't find climbing partners, I hear there's plenty of mountain biking in the area - anyone have any suggestions about which trail systems might be good?
|By Mark Roberts|
From: Vancouver, BC
Jun 4, 2014
As far as crowds, the weekends are busy in the Summer to be certain, but there's tons of rock to go around. If you have your heart set on climbing Exasperator, Diedre, Skywalker, and Calculus Crack (or go cragging in the Smoke Bluffs) then you better also have your heart set on some early mornings or late afternoons. Climb the classics during the week and explore during the weekend.
The campground is pretty social, I've met a lot of people who just arrived with no contacts and have a great time. You can also find partners at squamishclimbing.com/squamish_climbing_bb/.
|By John Groh|
Jun 4, 2014
Awesome - thanks Mark!
|By Alan Moles|
Jun 18, 2014
Hi does anyone know of any free parking areas to van camp at?
|By geoff georges|
From: Seattle, Wa.
Jun 25, 2014
BradcCook- I don't know about a trailer, maybe out on the Spit.
Alan Moles- we have been camping on the Mamquam forest service road, be prepared for loud fast trucks and much dust. But quite overnight.
|By Tyson Anderson|
From: Las Vegas, NV
Jul 17, 2014
Go to Bisla Sweets for $1 Samosas and although it might seem strange the Mag 99 fried chicken place (bright yellow building off the 99) has fantastic burritos.