A blog about climbing full time on the road.

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Friday, August 26, 2011

the forest of fours

mojo - a v4 sleeping position

Some days everything comes together into an amazing day. We met Josh and Sarah from Boulder while they were trying "it's about time" an awesome looking v5 that we also wanted to try. We tried that problem with them for a while with little progress, then moved on to "timeless" together, another v5 that we had looked at, but were not wanting to try on our own since it's tall and the landing isn't very good. With more pads and spotters, we were excited to try it and Matt made short work of it. It was great to find some people who climbed at our level and were fun to climb with.
matt - it's about time
Sarah - it's about time V5
We climbed with Josh and Sarah again a few days later and as a group of four made short work of a number of great v4s. For some reason Squamish seems to be the land of classic v4s. There are so many highly rated v4s here with reasonable landings. We started at "black mark" which Sarah and Josh made quick work of. Matt had figured it out a few days earlier and it took me another days try to send it. Josh then suggested "green tea" which after a little searching, Matt was able to find down in this pit. It was a little strange to have to climb down to get to the problem which we started out on the top of, but it was a really fun bear hugging problem, to a really awkward bad feet top out. All of us were successful after a few tries.

green tea - v4

We then headed to "trad killer" which Matt and I had looked at a few days earlier. After a few tries at the bottom moves, we all made pretty short work of a very fun problem. Matt then onsighted another v4 "pocket problem" which looked amazing. At this point, we were all pretty tired, but Sarah and I decided to give "easy in the easy chair" one more try. This is an amazing heel hook, sloper traverse which I had tried a couple times with little success. We both finished it in just a few tries and all left the forest exhausted and happy from a great day of climbing.
josh - trad killer - v4

easy in the easy chair - v4

sarah - easy in the easy chair
The next day, my parents arrived in Squamish for a visit this week. We hiked to Shannon Falls, and the top of the chief and have been enjoying hanging out with them and showing them our road trip lifestyle. It's been a great few days of making new friends, fun climbing, and being with family. We just have two more days left in Squamish. We have a few more projects we'd like to finish like "it's about time" and matt has been trying a v7 "anubis" that he's close to getting. We will be a little sad to leave but are getting more and more excited every day about heading to Europe in a few weeks!

josh - superfly - v4

Sarah - shots fired - v4

matt - anubis - v7

Friday, August 19, 2011

Squamish Projects

This week our bouldering projects went down. We're really happy to have finished the ones we had our eyes on before our last week here. That means, of course, that we'll be picking up new projects to try and send before we leave.

The Chief

Largonian Bulge - V2

Cassie sends Swank Stretch - V5

Cassie stepped up this week and was the first of us to send v5 at Squamish. She had found a problem that she really enjoyed called Swank Stretch. It's a v5 and is her hardest granite boulder problem to date. It's a truly funky problem that starts with huge hands, then immediately goes into two very very small sharp crimps in a seam. I had tried it a few times and just couldn't seem to get enough purchase in the seam to make doing the moves possible. To add to the difficulty it's a very overhung problem that puts a ton of weight onto your arms. After getting your hands on the seam you have to do a huge move to a decent hold, and then do a very powerful move to a jug. So, it had a variety of different moves to it. Cassie tried it maybe 3 different days and on the third day everything came together. Quite an impressive send. She continues to work on Sloppy Poppy where she has the moves so dialed that she makes everything up to the final move look almost effortless. She's also working on Viper.

Swank Stretch - V5

I sent viper after 3 days of effort. Coming into the trip I had said I would be perfectly satisfied with doing some v4s so I was really surprised to build up enough strength to do it. The first move is really balancy, reachy and powerful. You basically squeeze the arete with your right hand and then do a drive-by move (falling into your other hand). If I hit it just right it works, but otherwise I can't hold it. Viper is called a "mega-classic climb" so I was really happy to do it. Other climbs also went this week such as: Easy in the Easy Chair v4 was very cool, as was the direct up variation called Palminator v4. Timeless v5 had a scary landing so it was nice to have a larger guy spotting me (thanks Josh!).

Viper - V5


We also went to Cheakamus with Mars and Kim. It's a sport area just a few minutes north of Squamish. We spent the day clipping bolts and watching a pro climber named Alex Hannold do some very difficult climbs. We also watched some other top climbers do some insanely long overhanging routes. I've never seen someone onsight something in the 5.13 range and it was tremendously impressive.

This coming week the weather may take a turn for the worse so we'll do our best to get some more climbing in. Cassie's parents arrive Monday and were super happy to meet up with them. It'll be nice to go for hikes and have some beers together!

Matt trying Mrs. Negative - 12a

Cassie looking calm on - Kigijiushi 10c
Mojo trying to sleep on rocks

Mars - Kigijiushi 10c - the incredibly steep roof is above him

Sunday, August 14, 2011

more from squamish

if I needed more reasons why mountain biking is scary

We're still in Squamish and loving it. It may seem like one month is a long time to spend in one place, but at Squamish, we haven't even come close to running out of things to do here. We have about two more weeks and are starting to think of with so little time left how we'll be able to do everything we'd like to do here. Our perspective on time has started to shift after three months on the road.

excited for another day in the forest!

Matthew has started sending problems pretty quickly and easily (other than the bashing and scraping of his hands and ankles against the rock), I'm making progress on some of my projects, (just a little slower and with more of my skin in tact). The granite here is ridiculously good, and the boulders are concentrated at the base of The Chief in a beautiful forest. It's always cool and shaded in the forest and it's easy to forget that you're in such a beautiful place. We often emerge from the boulders blinded by the sun, shedding layers, and looking up and around at the amazing scenery here.

Matt - titanic v3
stu's fly - the hardest v2 in the world 

black mark - v4

We've been lucky to find a drive in campsite at the climbers campground that gets a bit of sun, most of the sites are walk-in tent sites nestled in the forest which may be a nicer setting, but for us it means we still get a bit of solar power and there have been a number of sun oven baked goods. Blueberry muffins and peach crisp have been our favorites lately since both are fresh, local, and cheap! The conversations that happen among VW van owners has again been great as we met and are camped right next to an Australia couple with a eurovan who are traveling and climbing around the US for a year. It's been great hanging out and climbing with Mars and Kim the last week or so! They are primarily trad climbers, but we convinced them to come boulder with us a couple days and we had a good time trad climbing with them yesterday. They've also gotten us even more excited to go to Australia and climb in the Arapiles!

kim - thriller off the void 11b

remembering how to place gear

mars - a very impressive onsight of thriller off the void 11b

mars - titanic v3

This week we also were able to meet up with friends from Salt Lake. Christian, Julie, Dave, and Chris made the 20 hour drive to mountain bike at Whistler for a few days. Whistler has amazing mountain bike trails, but is a little out of our league in both price and skills. They invited us to join them for some relatively easy mountain biking on some local trails, but since they were heading for the trail we saw earlier with the warnings of an aggressive cougar and knowing that I would by far be the last one of the group making me perfect bait for the cougar, we decided not to join them. After they had beaten themselves up at Whistler for a few days (including bruised ribs and a broken bike), they met up with us for an afternoon of bouldering before driving back. It was great to see friends from home and we all had a great afternoon playing around in the forest.


bouldering at squamish

More squamish pictures can be found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/matthewandcassie/sets/72157627233331569/

And I finally got around to editing and uploading the bear pictures from our drive here from Jasper which can be found here

baby bear

Thursday, August 4, 2011

sunshine at squamish

climber sculpture

Huge Slug - they are all over in the forest.

After our first trip to squamish two years ago where it rained for a week straight, we knew that there was amazing bouldering in the dripping forest but didn't get much of a chance to explore it. We were hoping for better luck with the weather this time around, but can't believe the luck we've had so far. Blue skies every day and the 10 day forecast is completely dry! Last time we were here, we decided to hike to the top of the chief on a rainy day and remember it being a miserable, wet, cold, slippery experience, with countless stairs to get up there, at the time we were happy to get a view of the bay below through the dripping fog. We decided to try the hike again and there's just a bit more to see on a clear day and it's really quite a pleasant hike when you're not in miserable conditions. The nausea inducing looks over the shear drop from the top were plenty to remind us why we prefer bouldering to multipitch trad.

north summit of the chief

peering over the edge
what you see when you look over the edge
We've started to explore the boulders with much better luck than our first trip. We've gotten on a few classic problems so far and hope to get many more projects in the sunny days ahead. The campground and boulders at the chief have been a great place to meet other climbers from all over which adds to the fun.

superfly v4

Jonathan-easy in the easy chair v4 (really not easy at all) 


Colin-sloppy poppy v4

Superdike - V3

Cassie warming up

Monday, August 1, 2011


Given that Skaha was going to be in the mid-high 80s and on top of that we didn't have a guidebook to the area we decided to skip it and go to Squamish where temps are around 75 and sunny. Needless to say it's bluebird skies and beautiful. We rode our bikes into town to use the internet at the library and were surprised to see that it's closed for the "British Columbia Day" Holiday. Oh well at least we can use the internet from the front steps. 

Bouldering has already commenced and pictures should be coming in the next couple of days. Our pictures that didn't finish the other day are now uploaded and ready for viewing. 

Here's the link to photos from the end of our stay in Wyoming, Montana, and the Canadian Rockies.