Avg: 3.9 from 343 votes
|Type:||Trad, Aid, 1000 ft (303 m), 9 pitches, Grade III|
|FA:||July, 1961: Ed Cooper and Jim Baldwin|
|Page Views:||80,788 total · 435/month|
|Shared By:||Peter Spindloe on Mar 14, 2006|
|Admins:||Mark Roberts, Mauricio Herrera Cuadra, Kate Lynn, Braden Batsford|
COVID-19 - Follow BC travel and medical guidelines. The provincial response to COVID-19 is evolving. Pay special attention to Provincial Travel restrictions, climbing area closures, and Health Authority directions for gathering sizes and physical distancing.
Parks Closures and Day Use Permits Parks were closed in 2020 then a day use permit system was instituted in some places. Please check Parks and Rec Site Closures for up-to-date information. Specifically, for the Stawamus Chief before using to ascend or descend for climbing.
The popularity of Squamish within the #vanlife community has increased to the point that there is great concern about the group’s collective environmental impact. “Wild” or “Freedom” camping has become unmanageable environmentally because of the high numbers of campers. This is a serious issue that causes conflict between locals, home owners, and climbers!
VAN CAMPING / WILD CAMPING
Within District Boundaries
The District of Squamish PROHIBITS camping within the municipal boundary, This includes sleeping in a vehicle anywhere within District boundaries. A bylaw gives the District the power to issue tickets for contraventions.
Camping on urban / residential streets is prohibited under pre-existing bylaws.
The “hot spots” that have been of most concern are below.
· the whole of the Mamquam Forest Service Road under the North Walls of the Chief between the junction with the 99 and junction with the Stawamus/Indian Arm Forest Service Road (as a salmon run and sensitive riparian area, camping close to the Stawamus River is especially inappropriate)
· the Powerhouse Springs Road including the parking area for the Fern Hill cliff
· the dirt road to the kitesurfing “Spit.”
Outside of District Boundaries
If you explore forest roads in crown land outside the municipal boundaries, it may be possible to find discreet roadside sites suitable for tents or van camping. However, the provincial authorities do have some restrictions ;
· Stays are limited to 14 days.
· Campers should follow Leave No Trace principles. HUMAN WASTE is a major issue.
· Strictly observe any current fire bans.
Please see the District of Squamish website for a comprehensive list of designated campgrounds.
Recommended affordable camping.
- At the Chief: Stawamus Chief Provincial Park Campground BC parks site, spots start at $10.00 CAD/person. No reservations.
- 7 minutes north: Mamquam River Campground A non-profit site, spots start at $15.00cad/night for a drive-in site. Reservations recommended, not required.
- 20 minutes north: Chek Canyon Recreation Site A public site; no fees, no reservations and world class sport-climbing. No running water. The road is steep and rough but 4x4 not required
The first ascent was a 40 day epic, beautifully documented in the film "In the Shadow of the Chief" available from fringefilmworks.com/
It was finally freed at 5.13b in 2000 by Scott Cosgrove and Annie Overlin using a number of variations.
You can get to the base of the Split Pillar by one of the routes listed in the Area description. Merci Me is described here:
P1: From Flake Ledge climb the first pitch of Merci Me (5.7) past three bolts. The first is probably 30 or more feet out.
P2: Merci Me continues up and slightly left into trickier terrain (5.8). Break right near the second bolt and go past a detached flake and then to a two bolt belay right where the wall becomes vertical.
P3: Traverse right and slightly down, around the bulge (out of sight from your belayer) and into the 10b rising traverse. This traverse has good pro, but the feet are poor making it strenuous. Aid or boulder (5.12-) past three bolts to the base of the Split Pillar.
P4: The Split Pillar is a highly photogenic crack comparable to an Indian Creek splitter. It's 10b to jam, but you would need the endurance of a 5.12 climber to layback it. The crack widens relentlessly from rattly fingers to wide fists over about 100ft. 30 more feet include some fun flake and squeeze chimney moves. The belay on top of the pillar is second to none.
P5-6: The Sword is the technical crux of the route with an 11a crux early on. Place a few good pieces before committing to it. Pull out left onto the face above the crux and savour the exposure that might seem to have crept up on you. Easier climbing through a broken crack eventually forces you back into the dihedral on the right for a technical endurance finish to keep you honest. The belay here is in a spectacular position, but it's hanging and can be avoided by linking the bolt ladder above. Slings can serve as etriers for the 8 or 9 bolts in the ladder.
P7: Perry's Layback is a fully bolted, lower angle pitch, which makes it sound like a walk, but many people debate whether it's the crux of route rather than The Sword. Climb efficiently...
P8: The Flats: Several variations are possible here. The easiest, at 10a, goes right along a ledge until bolts lead up a slab to a ledge. A very reachy pull takes you to the belay ledge.
P9: The final pitch is a very honest 10c requiring some tree climbing and then underclinging horizontally to the right around a big flake (The Sail Flake). Once the flake heads up and back left you're pretty much there.
The climb can continue via the Roman Chimneys route, but most traverse off via Bellygood Ledge, a well-named 300 foot traverse to the right. Stay roped up.
Descent: After traversing Bellygood, continue heading right into the forest. The trail should take you to a slab that you can descend hugging the vertical wall. A knotted rope will eventually take you to the well traveled backside trail which will take you to the climbers campground and finally the parking lot.
The 10b traverse to the Split Pillar takes singles of small (finger size) to medium cams and nuts.
The bolt ladders are manageable with improvised etriers and spare 'biners or draws.
The Split Pillar is the gear hog on the route. A double set of cams from off-fingers to wide fists is normal. More if you're going to dog (and you will if you layback), less if you're solid jamming from tight hands to big fists. Save a 1.5 inch piece for the last 15 feet. The final squeeze chimney isn't easily protectable, but hey, it's a squeeze chimney.
The Sword pitch takes mostly smaller nuts and cams up to tight hands. There are a few opportunities for slung horns and a 2 inch cam is optional.
Perry Layback is closely bolted.
The 10a pitch in The Flats is bolted but a small nut and a hand-size cam are handy.
The final pitch takes finger to hand size cams.
A few quick draws and cams are handy on the traverse off Bellygood Ledge.