Stuck in Squamish

From the Yukon to British Columbia- the short version– long roads, dirt roads, going slow (25mph slow), mountains, snow, elk, caribou, bears, beauty beyond comparison, bison, van yoga, trouble getting uphill, burning breaks downhill, rivers and lakes for days, hot springs, hitchhikers, changing tires for others, a unicyclist, a wild Chili running free…. and climbing…

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I’m not sure how it happened, how after two years of climbing indoors (longer for JB) with the safety of padded floors, and low falls, we finally felt the draw of climbing real rock. As a Floridian, I’m sure the lack of accessibility to local bouldering also played a role to this indifference of climbing outdoors. Nevertheless, Squamish did a little bit of magic. Our longest stop yet, we stayed a week and a half, a short time compared to those truly dedicated to the sport/experience and spend the summer living in the parking lot in their respective cars/vans/tents… I mean look at this view…DSC_0538

There is something intimidating for me- as a gym climber- entering the foreign territory of the forest. Nevermind, the falls onto rock or burned finger pads…

…in my mind I misconstrued reality to the point I was certain everyone we walked by would see “gym climber” stamped on my forehead and dismiss me as a person, not just as a climber. What a ludicrous thought…really!

I remember my first time in a rock gym, I felt the same way. I loved the humility and self-contentment that rock climbing bred in me. Getting on a wall, people watching you fall- why was falling so crippling (mentally) for me? Probably because I thought it meant I wasn’t good enough- whatever that means. I digress slightly, my point being the same unfounded anxiety I had my first time in a rock gym, or yoga class, I had walking into The Grand Wall boulders at Squamish. But what a wonderful thing! I was able to make the choice to not be stunted, to be OK with people thinking whatever they want to think- and loving the current moment and opportunity. Turns out, everyone was very supportive and kind (go figure) and if there was anyone thinking… Ughh gym climbers… I didn’t meet them, I don’t think.

I find this mental project to be my second greatest success in Squamish, second only to making sure JB survived his fall off the top of Baba Hari Das (V7) about 10ish feet. There is a learning curve for gym climbers trying to spot your fellow climbers and properly padding a fall outdoors. In this scenario poor pad placement meant I had to use my body to break the fall, he was thankful and I was sore the next day.  For my few friends that can appreciate this, JB’s favorite project was Tatonka (he only wishes he discovered it sooner), he also enjoyed projecting Worm World Cave and King Swing (pictured below)…

JB, who was not at all worried about the stigma associated with gym goers, found quite the niche group of climbers, the strongest of whom was a girl. Which was a unique situation for him and an inspiring one for me. To put into context for our parents who don’t know what I am talking about… on a scale of 0 to 15, I am at a 4, JB at a 7, and Ashley at a 10. In the grand scheme, this means absolutely nothing, except that it was cool, really cool, like these mini crag dogs.
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After climbing one evening, we left our crash pad/shoes/water bottle outside, while we drove off for about 10 minutes. Someone picked up our gear and drove it back to Vancouver,a very nice fella who didn’t want someone else to steal it. Since Vancouver was on our way to Washington, we figured it was a sign to hit the road again.  Although VERY cheap sushi and Indian food made it hard to leave, we are no longer voluntarily stuck in Squamish. Which is a good thing, since we have a new deadline to be back in Florida for…


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