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Squamish Rock Climbing 

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Location: 49.6798, -123.145 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 864,811
Administrators: Nate Ball, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Peter Spindloe on Feb 18, 2006  with updates from Kent Richards and 4 more
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [7 people like this page.]


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.

Getting There 

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.

Alice Lake:
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.

Mamquam River Campground
A campground by dirtbags, for dirtbags. It's Squamish's cheapest campground option and is specifically geared toward climbers.


If you are not interested in camping, here are some other options:

Squamish Hostel -
Howesound Brew Pub (has a few rooms too!) -

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 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.

Save-On-Foods is the cheapest option, just as you get into town
Nester's Market in the plaza at the intersection of Cleveland and Hwy. 99. More expensive.

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.

Chef Big D's for traditional breakfast: eggs, toast, fruit, etc, just down Cleveland on the left
The Mountain Burger House at Cleveland and Pemberton (a few blocks past the plaza) for more of the same
Zephyr Cafe in the same area, serving "craft" food - fancier, more expensive, less filling

Access Information 

Squamish Access Society Lots of useful information about access, especially as it relates to Hwy. 1 construction. Some nice images in the gallery too.

Guiding Services 

Squamish Rock Guides

Climbing Season

Weather station 1.5 miles from here

1,072 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',129],['3 Stars',434],['2 Stars',357],['1 Star',120],['Bomb',8]

Classic Climbing Routes in Squamish

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Squamish:
Klahanie Crack   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   Shannon Falls
Diedre   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 6 pitches   The Chief : The Apron
Calculus Crack   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 3 pitches   The Chief : The Apron
Skywalker   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 5 pitches, 300'   Shannon Falls
St. Vitus' Dance   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 5 pitches, 600'   The Chief : The Apron
Snake   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 5 pitches   The Chief : The Apron
Penny Lane   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   The Smoke Bluffs : Penny Lane
The Zip   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   The Smoke Bluffs : The Zip
Rock On   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 5 pitches, 400'   The Chief : The Apron
Flying Circus   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   The Smoke Bluffs : Neat and Cool
Seasoned in the Sun   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 95'   The Chief : Grand Wall Base Area
Angel's Crest   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 13 pitches   The Chief : The Sheriff's Badge
Apron Strings   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 2 pitches, 300'   The Chief : Grand Wall Base Area
Bulletheads East   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 4 pitches, 500'   The Bulletheads : Bulletheads, Central
Exasperator   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 2 pitches, 150'   The Chief : Grand Wall Base Area
Sunset Strip   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, 12 pitches   The Chief : The Dihedrals
The Great Game   5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, 4 pitches, 400'   Slhanay (The Squaw)
The Grand Wall   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c A0     Trad, Aid, 9 pitches, 1000'   The Chief : Grand Wall Area
Crime of the Century   5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 40'   The Smoke Bluffs : Penny Lane
Freeway   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, 11 pitches   The Chief : The Dihedrals
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Squamish

Featured Route For Squamish
Rock Climbing Photo: Brad near the start the beautiful corner on P3 of ...

The Great Game 5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b  North America : Canada : ... : Slhanay (The Squaw)
An excellent and well-protected journey featuring a variety of movement. A classic climb for sure.* P1 (10d) The first pitch is long and steep (150+ feet), but fortunately protects well with a standard rack. Felt soft for a 10d, but that is what the guide gives it. A moderate lieback (hands) takes you to a short blank section and then to a finger crack. Traverse out the finger crack to the base of another hand crack. Up the hand crack and continue up until you get to the bolted belay. I...[more]   Browse More Classics in International

Photos of Squamish Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Squamish in August!
Squamish in August!
Rock Climbing Photo: My favorite sign in Squamish.
My favorite sign in Squamish.
Rock Climbing Photo: Mason slacklines above the Howe Sound.
Mason slacklines above the Howe Sound.
Rock Climbing Photo: Sunset over Howe sound
Sunset over Howe sound
Rock Climbing Photo: Welcome to Squamish!
BETA PHOTO: Welcome to Squamish!
Rock Climbing Photo: Rainbow over Howe sound, from Campground
Rainbow over Howe sound, from Campground
Rock Climbing Photo: The flora in July in Squamish... Photo by Tony Bub...
The flora in July in Squamish... Photo by Tony Bub...
Rock Climbing Photo: Helicopter in front of the Chief, to rescue a stuc...
Helicopter in front of the Chief, to rescue a stuc...
Rock Climbing Photo: Darrell cooking in the back of his Porsche...
Darrell cooking in the back of his Porsche...
Rock Climbing Photo: The Chief on a humid afternoon in July.
The Chief on a humid afternoon in July.
Rock Climbing Photo: Camping with Darryl Hatton '78
Camping with Darryl Hatton '78
Rock Climbing Photo: The beutiful Cobra Crack
The beutiful Cobra Crack
Rock Climbing Photo: View of the Howe Sound from the Apron.
BETA PHOTO: View of the Howe Sound from the Apron.
Rock Climbing Photo: Totem Pole  at the tribal center near Squamish
Totem Pole at the tribal center near Squamish
Rock Climbing Photo: Flowers in the Rose Garden, across from the Advent...
Flowers in the Rose Garden, across from the Advent...
Rock Climbing Photo: fog rises off the sound after a rainy night
fog rises off the sound after a rainy night
Rock Climbing Photo: Squamish Adventure Center, with Smoke Bluffs
Squamish Adventure Center, with Smoke Bluffs
Rock Climbing Photo: The Chief from town
The Chief from town
Rock Climbing Photo: Slackline backflip at the Chief Campground.
Slackline backflip at the Chief Campground.
Rock Climbing Photo: Slack lining high above the north gully, near the ...
Slack lining high above the north gully, near the ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Crazy huge slug!
Crazy huge slug!
Rock Climbing Photo: Sailboats on the Howe Sound
Sailboats on the Howe Sound
Rock Climbing Photo: Our campsite at the base of the Chief, with our bi...
BETA PHOTO: Our campsite at the base of the Chief, with our bi...
Rock Climbing Photo: Howe sound from the Chief camp
Howe sound from the Chief camp

Show All 34 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Squamish Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 17, 2014
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 Area
Mosquito/ Phlemish dance is a fun 2 pitch 5.8 link up. More climbs above.
By darryn
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!
By mr.dobo
Apr 8, 2008

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.

Thank You.
By Peter Franzen
General Admin
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.
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
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 ( 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.

David Jones
Squamish Climber
By See Brown
Mar 16, 2011
ahh! just realized that Squamish is missing Cheakamus! Has to be one of the best sport climbing areas around Squamish .. more info on
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
By Jesse McAfee
From: Milwaukee
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: Portland, OR
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 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
By Tyson Anderson
From: SLC, UT
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.

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