Climbing in Squamish BC ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿง—โ€โ™€๏ธโ›บ๏ธ Mom’s Take Away!

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One of the best perks, for me, as a mature climber, is that I get to climb with my adult children ๐Ÿ˜Šย Both our daughter and son are excellent climbers. Our daughter, Alex, began just two years ago, but as a former, nationally ranked gymnast, it did not take long for her to pass her parents in both ability and passion for the sport. Ryan, our son, began as a little boy. He joined the climbing team for a few years, and now is working on his AMGA Rock Guide certifications.

What this means is that I have this amazing situation where my son guides the family on all the best routes, in a variety of beautiful climbing areas. Smith Rocks in Oregon, Mazama in Washington, and The Cochise Stronghold in Arizona, are just a few of the sites we have climbed together.

But my favorite, from this season, was the weekend we spent in Squamish, B.C. The plan was simple. Ryan and I drove up from Washington, on Friday and secured a campsite at the Squamish Municipal Campground. Alex and her boyfriend were driving separately to meet up with us. What can I say about this campsite? It was definitely cheap, but far from quiet!! The reality is that we did not sleep much those two nights, thanks to some extremely rude campers๐Ÿ˜ฉย However, the nearby showers made it a favorite choice for Alex and I. Seems the guys didn’t care too much about that ๐Ÿ˜‚. Next time, mom needs a hotel๐Ÿ˜‰!

Ryan and I had some daylight left that Friday evening, and didn’t want to squander a minute of climbing time! We set out to climb Star Chek

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Ryan gearing up on the first pitch of Star Chek

This is a pretty easy, straight forward climb. And the views of the Cheakamus gorge are phenomenal! Another unique feature of this climb is that you first descend into the gorge to find the base of the route. It is steep, but there are fixed ropes to help, we did not find it too difficult.

This first pitch (5.8) is 4 bolts leading out to the arete. Pitch 2 (5.7) is longer with 8 bolts and follows the arete to an excellent ledge. Definitely a picture moment๐Ÿ“ธ

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Pitch 3 (5.9) is 4 bolts, which takes you to the top

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Ryan took some pictures and video of me on the way up! You can really hear the roar of the river in the video ๐ŸŒŠ

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As I said in the video “I love this climb”! We need to return so that hubby and Alex can send it as well. Just beautiful! And, the rock quality is excellent. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Now that we were back at the top, we walked over to the road, and our car. Just enough time to get dinner in downtown Squamish, which has many dining options! This is one camping trip where we did not need to pack a ton of food, or a cooler. It was easier to make the short trip into town. Lots of Tim Horton’s to choose from, because you know, I had to have my coffee โ˜•๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ณ!

The next morning, now that Alex and Joe (boyfriend) had arrived, we all set out for theย Thighmaster bouldering area. I should mention that Alex and Joe prefer bouldering where Ryan favors multi-pitch climbing. As a result, I get to do both!

We made our way (very short approach) to the Black Mark boulder

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The route you see here is Black Mark (V4, 10 ft) and beyond my abilities at this time! But not a problem for Alex!

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She crushed it! Ryan and I were still warming up.

Then it was my turn ๐Ÿ˜ฌย I set my sites on Adam’s Apple (V1, 8ft). My history with bouldering is that I tend to get a move, or two, from the mantle and then struggle. ย This route is on the same rock, to the left in the picture above.

With the kids cheering me on, here I go!

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Getting to the lip was fairly easy

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I head right looking for a place to throw the heel, nothing here๐Ÿ˜ณ

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Head back to the left, and starting to get tired

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I throw it left, and the fight begins!! I have no idea how long I spent trying to haul over this mantel

The view from above was so sweet!๐Ÿ’•

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The boys seem bored๐Ÿ˜Š

And, only minor scrapings to show for it๐Ÿ˜‚

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This was my last send for the that day, I was ready for more coffeeโ˜•๏ธ. Apparently Ryan was done too, so we went to downtown to shop for gear while Alex and Joe went onto harder climbs ๐Ÿง—โ€โ™€๏ธ

After lunch, and some retail therapy, Ryan and I decided to do a little hiking. Squamish has plenty to do for the non climbers in your party as well! We found a trail that lead out of the downtown area and paralleled the estuary. The Oceanfront Interpretive Trail lead out from Cleveland Street in downtown and ended at the Howe Sound.

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I do recommend this easy hike/walk, as the view really is beautiful. Unfortunately, Ryan and I had to turn back to meet Alex and Joe for dinner. Next time, we will make it to the beach!

After another fine meal, and zero sleep ๐Ÿคฌย we decided on how best to spend the last few hours in this beautiful place. I did some campground yoga, while the kids poured over the climbing books.

It was decided that Alex and Joe would head over to another bouldering area, while Ryan and I set out to do some trad climbing on the apron, located on “the chief“. ย Officially known as the Stawamas Chief, it is a giant (over 700m) granite dome. It’s just gorgeous๐Ÿ”

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We settled on two routes that would get us to the top of the apron (red arrow). This was a slab climbing day, to be sure!

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We started out on Rambles, a 5.8- with 4 pitches. The approach was very short from the parking lot (love that!๐Ÿ˜Š) The pitches can be easily combined to 2 total. We did do the 10b variation on pitch 4.

Great view at the top of rambles!

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Rambles will get you to base of several other climbs. We chose Banana Peel, (5.7, 8 pitches). The first three pitches were pretty straightforward, pitch 4 had an interesting finger crack traverse, but quite easy. The rest of the route was just a lot of smearing along ย various flake lines.

I don’t have a lot of pictures as we were moving pretty quickly. We still had a decent drive after this! Ryan had told me we would walk off, but I didn’t realize this meant we would walk off down the front of the apron! ๐Ÿ˜ฌย I thought we would hike down the back, like most walk offs. He enjoyed videotaping me while I mentaling worked through this!

Obviously, we made it back to the car just fine! I can’t say that it was as easy crossing the border back into Washington ๐Ÿ˜œย such long delays!!

So, what did I learn on this trip?

  1. My kids are awesome, I am constantly in awe of their abilities and I am lucky they let me tag along ๐Ÿ’•
  2. Squamish is gorgeous! And the climbing there is magnificent๐Ÿ”
  3. Campgroundsโ›บ๏ธ are still awful, I need a bed, shower and a good night’s sleep. Hotel next time for sure๐Ÿ˜Š
  4. Tim Horton’s makes pretty good coffeeโ˜•๏ธ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป
  5. There are many more climbs here that I want to send in the future, and I am strong enough to do some harder grades
  6. I want to learn to place trad gear ๐Ÿง—โ€โ™€๏ธ
  7. I want to do more leading, if Ryan will let me!๐Ÿ˜‰
  8. Crossing the Blaine border in the summer sucks! Nexus card perhaps?

Let me know your thoughts on this amazing, beautiful climbing area!

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Standard Route on Mt. Lemmon

Ryan and I first climbed on Mt. Lemmon near the base, at “the wall of the flying scorpions”. This was a single pitch crag and near 1500ft. elevation. We had fun, even though I did split open a couple fingers in the process.

This time we decided to head up near the 4000ft area to a multi pitch climb named “the standard route“. This climb is located on Chimney rock and is only a 200ft climb, divided into 5 pitches. Perfect for me but pretty lame for Ryan!

It was a gorgeous day when we got to the base of the wall.

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Ryan placed his rope and some gear near the base and we “suited up”.

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There was a party of three ahead of us, so we waiting our turn. I watched the two women ahead of us in the hopes of learning the best way to maneuver the route.

Then Ryan lead up to the first anchor.

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There was a big ledge here to sit and wait for our turn on the second pitch.

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The view just keeps getting better!

This is the start of the second, and my least favorite, pitch. This is the chimney, which is just large enough for your body to squeeze into the gap. You can see the last climber in the group ahead of us as she tries to work her way up the rock face.

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Eventually, Ryan and I got up, through and over this pitch. Below is the top of the chimney and the start of my favorite pitch, number 3.

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We waited here for a bit while the other group made their way up.

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Helmet hair!

 

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Ryan was tired of waiting at this point and was ready to head up.

The view from the top of pitch 3.

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After talking with the group ahead of us, we all decided to combing pitches 4 and 5 and went to the top!

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This rock teetering on the spike, was another 1000ft or so above us. Would love to climb in that area!

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The obligatory Summit Selfie!

 

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We waited for our turn to rappel off the top.

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Ryan goes first and I wait for him to yell clear, then I head down. When we are both on the ground, we pull the rope through the anchor.

But the rope did not cooperate this time. Ryan had to climb back up and retrieve it!

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This happens sometimes! Luckily he knew what to do because that rope is $300.00, Yikes!

After a fun climb there is only one thing left to do!

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Happy Hour at Zona78!

Our next climb will be with the whole family!

Ryan and Dee Dee’s Excellent Adventure

You may recall that my husband and I decided to buy a second home in Tucson about six months ago. As soon as we told our kids, our son, Ryan, began planning a climbing trip. He wanted to leave Washington the minute his fall semester ended and stay at the new house, which would serve as his base of operations, through the Christmas holiday.

This plan was not practical for Dennis and Alex (our daughter) as they needed to work and was not poplar with Grandma as Ryan and I would not be around for the traditional Christmas Eve dinner! But, this is our first year with the new house and everyone has been gracious in allowing Ryan and I this great opportunity ๐Ÿ™‚

We decided that Ryan and I would be in Tucson until the end of December and then Dennis and Alex will join us so we can all climb for the first week of January. So, Ryan and I had our first foray into Southern Arizona yesterday.

We left the house at 9:30am for the 2 hour drive to the Cochise Stronghold climbing area in the Coronado National Forest. There are over 1000 different routes to choose from. Ryan decided on Euphoria for our first climb. Armed with two guide books and the Mountain project website we began our search for the route.

For any of you that climb or hike, you know that finding the parking area is the first challenge. We turned onto the well marked “primitive road” and began the 10 mile drive toward the general area. ย We were pretty sure we were on the right track when we saw the domes off in the distance.

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About 8 miles into the gravel road we saw this…

 

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How is a school bus making the 16 mile round trip on this road? And where are these kids coming from??

Anyway, we kept going.

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Getting closer!

We had been making good time, up until this point! Somewhere we missed the tiny little sign that indicated the forest road that split off toward the parking area. This cost us an hour as we tried to back track and listen to the disembodied GPS voice telling us to take the private, padlocked road to our destination! Finally, we found it.

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The dome on the far right was where Euphoria lives, and where we needed to hike over toward. This hike would take about an hour, according to the guide books, we managed to get there in 40 minutes.

We now are beginning the climb at almost 1pm! The sun sets at 5:22pm and we were hoping to climb the five pitches (plus the hour hike back) before it was so dark that we needed head lamps, so we had to be efficient!

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Ryan began flaking the rope

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This is the view from the base, lots of trees and rocks!

Ryan lead the first pitch and set the anchor, you might be able to see his yellow jacket at the top of the orange rope.

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I climbed up and Ryan took this shot at the top of pitch one.

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From here it gets colder! The wind picked up big time and we climbed the next four pitches. No pictures there as the focus is now on not dying! Both hands on the rope at all times. As we went higher the cold became a factor as our finger tips and toes were really starting to suffer! Ryan, of course, never fell. I, of course, fell twice!

We finally topped out about three hours after the initial pitch and we were both shivering! Ryan snapped a summit selfie.

I found out later that a “unusual cold front” had moved into the area and would take the temperature into the low 20s. The first frost warning of the season-lucky us!

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It was now pushing 5pm and we had to get back to the car. The hike down was steep and we had all the gear to balance. The sun was going down and we took a few last shots of this beautiful place.

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We did make it back to the car before it was too dark to see without the head lamps. I was rather proud of that!

I am not going to lie, I am bruised and sore today! But we will be back! There are many more routes to explore in this area.

Half Marathon Training, Week 9 Update! Bonus: Rock Climbing in Leavenworth

At the beginning of this week I felt exactly as the bear did in this image.

catI knew I was going to have a tough time getting all of our scheduled training runs in this week due to my colonoscopy on Wednesday. We were scheduled to run 5 miles on Tuesday, 4 on Thursday and the long run on Saturday was a new distance of 9 miles. Since I was required to fast all day on Tuesday for the prep of the procedure on Wednesday, I wanted to move the 5 mile run to Monday. I did not count on my knees and lower back still aching from the long, 8 mile run the previous Saturday (and some tough rock climbing in the gym). It did not seem like a smart move to push my lower extremities that hard for just a short training run, especially when I know I can handle a 5 mile run fairly easily. If I injured myself at this point I would have been quite irritated at my choice to move up the run and stress old injuries. So, I decided to skip the Tuesday training all together-not something I do very often!

The colonoscopy went well and I took the rest of Wednesday night to recover. Then, I hit the rest of the week HARD! Thursday morning was my first run in 4 days! I was still dehydrated and a little weak so I took the 4 miles slower than usual, running an average pace of 9:48, but that was ok. It felt great to get back out there!

Friday I went rock climbing with my son!

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We went to Leavenworth Washington, about 2 hours east of our home in Redmond. It was sunny on the other side of the mountain pass and no one was on our routes, so we could take our time. We trad climbed on February Buttress, two routes, three pitches each. This shot was taken on our third pitch as we were topping out on Ground Hog Day.

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Ryan snapped a second shot while I was belaying him up the second pitch of Aquarius. Both climbs were only 300 to 400 feet up, but it looks so high in some of these pictures!

We hung out at the top and took in the view of the river and snow covered peaks around us.

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And, had a snack and some water. This is my son’s idea of a healthy snack! I love him but he is a garbage can!

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Of course, what goes up must come down. We simultaneously rappelled both routes. And, even though we both had a couple twists and spins into the rock, there were only minor abrasions.

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I did not get hurt until the hike down. The descent was extremely steep and full of loose rocks (as many rock paths happen to be) and I fell hard, flat on my back, onto a pointed rock! I have no doubt that I cracked my tailbone-the bruise and pain make that obvious! Walking ย and sitting were tough, and I was very concerned about the long run the next day. I would have to wait and see if that would happen. But it was all worth it!

It was a great day hanging (literally!) out with my son, who recently turned 21. Since he had to spend the whole day with his mom, I took him to dinner where we sat at the bar and he was carded for the first time. He even let me buy him a drink even though he has not acquired the taste for it yet. It was a fun milestone for me!

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He chose a hard cider-as I said, not a big drinker! He didn’t finish it but he did have his first legal drink.

Then, I got up this morning with my nasty butt bruise and made the decision to try for the 9 miles today. It took the first 3 or 4 miles to get the old body through the pain, but eventually I got used to it and finished with a respectable 10 minute average.

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The rain held off until the second half of the day which was much appericated, and I will take Sunday off from running. Just some light indoor climbing tomorrow will cap off the week. Not everything I did this week was super fun (referencing the colonoscopy here), but I am grateful that my body was able to function and allow me to do all the activities I truly enjoy! ย I am feeling very blessed tonight, albeit sore!

Next week is another repeat of the 5, 4 & 9 mile schedule, and the start of the May calendar!

May 2017 Half Marathon Training Schedule
This is a blank and printable May Calendar. Courtesy of WinCalendar.com

โ—„ April 2017 May ย  ย  2017 June 2017 โ–บ
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
week 10 1

 

2

5miles

3

 

4

4miles

5

 

6

9miles

7

week 11

8

 

9

6miles

10

 

11

5miles

12

 

13

10miles

14

week 12

15

 

16

6miles

17

 

18

5miles

19

 

20

10miles

21

week 13

22

 

23

5miles

24

 

25

4 miles

26

 

27

11miles

28

week 14

29

 

30

5miles

31

 

The weeks are flying by now and race day will be here in no time!