Squamish Rock Climbing

Squamish is one of those places that never stops offering tourists amazing destinations and activities. And one of the most popular of all the Squamish activities is rock climbing especially around Stawamus Chief. Getting the most out of this particular activity requires careful preparation and execution. By following these simple steps, you’ll soon be experiencing the best of Squamish rock climbing.

Note: do not attempt to ascend Stawamus Chief unless you have considerable rock climbing experience. Try to also avoid extreme heat or cold by climbing in either the late summer or early fall.

squamish rock climbing

Photo by Kyle Pearce (Flickr)

Packing for the Trip

Climbing the Stawamus Chief requires packing very minimally and carefully. All climbing essentials should be able to fit into one bag. Apart from your equipment such as ropes and anchors, here are some climbing essentials:

  • Clothing: light-colored t-shirts, climbing pants, wind-shell jacket, running shoes, socks and climbing shoes.
  • Hygiene products: All the essentials to keep you looking and smelling great. You should also pack sunscreen, sunglasses and a personal medical kit.
  • Camping equipment: tent, sleeping bag, stove and fuel.
  • Food: energy bars, water, canned soups, dried fruit and vegetables.

These items should be more than enough to prepare you for your climb up Stawamus Chief. Vary the items depending on the season and your personal preferences.

Understanding Squamish Climbing

The Stawamus Chief is nothing more or less than a granite monolith that dominates the skyline of Squamish and Howe Sound. Just how big is this piece of granite? At 700 meters, from its summit you can spot Shannon Falls, Murrin Provincial Park, and even the Smoke Bluffs. Each of these locations is a great place to explore and climb during your ascent.

The Stawamus Chief is located just about five to 10 minutes outside of Squamish which gives you easy access to the crags. Take at least an hour or two before you climb to examine the face of the monolith and get a feel for an appropriate ascension route. There are plenty of handholds to help you ascend, as well as tough areas for attaching ropes.

squamish rock climbing

Photo by StockSnap

Preparing a Route

Don’t get too wild when planning your route on the Stawamus Chief. If you’ve never climbed it before, you’ll never understand just how dangerous certain sections are to first-time climbers. Instead, try to spot areas that have already been climbed or talk to area climbers to find a suited route.

Generally speaking, you should be able to spot routes based on holes in the rock (former anchoring spots), concentrations of hand-hold overhangs, and any type of trash that may be littered about.

Staying Focused on Climbing

The Stawamus Chief is definitely an intimidating climb, but don’t let that get to your head. Just focus on the climb and what you need to do to succeed. But, if you run into a dangerous situation (such as a detached anchor), stay calm, find a safe place to get off the rock, and rethink the situation.

Remember: staying focused on climbing (rather than not falling) will help keep your mind calm and focused during a difficult process. And if you get tired during the ascent, try to find a safe place to camp and stop for the night. There’s no shame in this as it can actually save your life!

If you’re interested in learning more about Squamish and all the exciting events it can offer, please feel free to contact us today. We can guide you towards the most fun events and tourist destinations in the area. Though it may feel a little out-of-the-way, Squamish is awesome!


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