Matt Lucas penned a horror for your finger tips when he published the Squamish Seven Terrors on his blog. You’ll need good skin and better conditions to get through this circuit of “moderate” problems in whichever order you choose.
First of the Seven Terrors
Good As Gold
Cream Puff Dream
Bad Day Low
East Face (listed as An Hour Early in Squamish Bouldering 3rd Edition)
Matt making the First of the Seven Terrors look easy.
No one would hike with me up to The Constellations so I had to go alone and scoop up some of the most obvious classic lines.
A few butterflies visited me so I named this problem after the open cluster of stars in Scorpius called Butterfly Cluster.
It is so clean up there that I didn’t need to brush anything to make this first first ascent of the area.
(This video shows me bouldering it for the second time.)
I took a 10 inch folding saw. With a bit of cutting at the most branchy parts of the trail, I managed to wear a small crash pad the entire way up the trail with less difficulty than I thought. The trail is still rugged but it is improving at least a little bit with each trip.
“Why don’t we have a cool, summer alpine bouldering area?!” was all I could think as I sat early last summer stewing in the hot, humid air locked in the windless forest surrounding the Squamish boulders. Summer is the most predictably dry weather here but it’s not exactly sending conditions. Colorado has RMNP. Yosemite has Tuolumne. Why not us? We need an escape.
I searched Google Maps for a solution. A few potentially interesting rock piles appeared in the Squamish area. One pile looked particularly good but with especially arduous access. So I did the easy thing and I went to Tuolumne for the rest of the summer where the boulders are only a few minutes from the road. It was rad.
This spring, as we made our way through record-breaking 30°C weather in April, the same problem started creeping up. What am I going to do to make it through this summer? That pile of rocks was on my mind again.
Summer and its high temps are coming. If escape to cooler high altitude or the wintery southern hemisphere is not possible, we’ll soon be sliding around together on warm granite with wet skin. While we moan about the conditions and await grippy September’s arrival, we’ll need to make it through the summer sessions without butchering a bloody mess at the end of our fingers.
I’ve already pulled out my little portable fan a few times during this year’s hot spring season. While I loaf around between attempts, the fan’s luxurious breeze keeps my tips cooler and drier. If I can find a cave or vent of cold air to blow on my tips, even better.
The fan doesn’t solve all my problems. Each attempt still ends with pink tips but spending most of the day with dry skin still makes a big difference. The softer and wetter skin gets, the easier it is for granite to shred it. The fan means less wear and less pain as the session progresses.
The O2 Cool is a 5 inch fan. Loaded up with 4 AA batteries, it weighs just under 300 grams. It is compact and easily slips into a bag with shoes and chalk bag.
The only complaint I’ve heard is that some folks have had trouble with the power switch being bumped to the on position while they are hiking. Since the fan is so quite, they don’t even notice and arrive to their project with drained batteries. Removing the batteries or placing a piece of tape over the switch helps.
I ordered my fan from Amazon a while ago but just the other day I saw them for sale in Squamish at Shoppers Drug Mart for only $14.99. Shoppers even has a 10 inch beast that runs on 6 D batteries for $29.99. The fans are in the seasonal section near the cash register.
A graded index is an essential part of every guidebook for planning bouldering days, finding projects in just the difficult range, and for use as a tick list. Unfortunately, Squamish Bouldering 3rd Edition doesn’t contain a graded index. Problem solved…
The goal was to create the graded index that would have been in the book if the author had included it. No errata has been corrected to make the index so that the index is compatible with the rest of the book.