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Archive for August, 2010

The Smoke Bluffs

Posted by robjwall on August 29, 2010

I had never even heard of the Smoke Bluffs until we lived in Canada. They are a park/crag that is about 20 minutes away from our house by bike, on the east side of Squamish.  Nestled in the trees is a truly stunning assortment of small (well 20 to 40m, so small by Squamish standards) granite outcrops with some of the best crack and slab climbing anywhere.  The park has been established and maintained by  dedicated volunteers led by long time local climber Brian Moorhead.  (I climbed with his son Colin at Arapiles in 1996!).

The kids and I have been spending quite a lot of time here this summer, as there has been little rain (I just counted, there are 37 4-starred routes up to 5.11a in the book, and between us we have led 31 of those so far…).

The kids are fascinated by natural gear, so Kira led “Burgers and Frys” the other day (a runout 5.7) placing her own gear.  Tarquin led the brilliant “Dusty Eyes” 5.4, and Demelza led the flaketo the right of that “Wisecrack” 5.7, all in good style.  The rock here takes pro really well, and is the perfect place to learn these black arts.

One of the best outings was taking the girls up the 4 pitch “Smoke Bluff Connection” with a variant finish.  The 3 rd pitch “Jabberwocky” is as fine a crack climb as you would find anywhere on earth.  They did really well on the feisty 10b first moves! (“Twas Brillig and the Slithy Toves did gyre and gimbal…..”)

Some of my other favorites are “Geritol”  5.9 (take 2 ropes), “Yorkshire Gripper” 5.11c (I seconded this one, a good idea!), “Power Windows”  5.11a (My foot just slipped near that bolt, ok!),  “Penny Lane” 5.9 (you have to do this one), “Partners in Crime”, 5.11a, (my best crack O/S – ever, and one of the cleanest crack lines I have ever seen),  “Supervalue”, 5.10d (hard, and then more hard!!), “Triage Arete” 5.9 (not so popular before the 4 bolts apparently, as it is you don’t want to fall off this).

The O/S failures are “Power Windows”  11a (great fun anyway), “Skydancing” 10d (I couldn’t even get to the first bolt – stick required), and “Climb and Punishment” 10d (A good route – check out the  Peter Croft  madness above it!).  Apart from that we’ve onsighted  40 something  of the 3 star routes and have about 25 left including the famous “Wonderland”, “Popeye and the Raven” (which always seems to be busy,) and the intruiging looking  11a, “Kangaroo Corner”.  We are so lucky  to have so many great routes so close to home – thanks to all the volunteers and route developers who have made this great area.

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