Squamish Access Society
The current main parking area looks somewhat like a war-zone, however all access is still maintained. The highway-side parking lot is still open, as are the upper lots near the campground. The SAS will work with the contractor to clarify the status of the parking lots in order to ensure the magnitude of work does not create the perception that access to the Chief is limited, especially as the busier spring weather hits.
As part of the contribution offered by the Sea to Sky Highway Improvement Project to climbing resources within provincial parks used by climbers in the area, the SAS and BC Parks agreed to the merits of some permanent signs at the entrance of the trails which lead to the walls north east of the Apron. These signs would indicate to newcomers and visitors alike that they were on the right trail. Because of the myriad of trails which have developed in this area over the last 8 years, contributed to by the proliferation of bouldering areas, some clarity around the actual trails leading to the Chief routes was seen as useful.
There will be signage placed just inside the trail heads for:
- Rock On
- Sheriff’s Badge
- Angel’s Crest
- North North Arête
- The Squaw (may use route names to indicate)
The signs will be on 4″ x 4″ posts with etched plastic. They will be set back from the road so as to be not obvious to passing-by traffic, but will be recognizable by climbers looking for trails.
The signs will be posted in the spring of 2008.
The image below provides an indication of the content of the signs:
The new trail at the base of the Apron is now complete. While access through the current Apron parking lot is not optimal due to the storage of highway construction material, one can walk uninterrupted from the lot, along the trail, and exit at the junction with the old highway bed. The trail has made access to some bouldering and routes much easier, and will most likely open up some development. Look for increased traffic this spring as climbers return to the parking lot via this route and other recreationalists take advantage of it to access the Chief front country.
Thanks are due the Ministry of Transportation, specifically the Sea to Sky Highway Improvement Project, and BC Parks for the establishment of this trail. As per the news of October last, funds remain available with BC Parks for more trail development and improvement, and the SAS will coordinate this work in 2008.
January 22, 2008 · Filed under: General;
Following on the success of the festival in 2007, the dates for the 2008 Squamish Mountain Festival have been set. The festivities will run from July 16th to July 20th 2008. Planning is already underway and look for details to be unveiled throughout the spring. As was the case last year, a significant volunteer effort will be required, so stay tuned on how to participate on that front as well.
Details as they unfold will be available at http://www.squamishmountainfest.com.
January 22, 2008 · Filed under: Smoke Bluffs;
More trail work at the Smoke Bluffs has been completed. The most recent work has been focused on the eastern part of the Loop Trail. Traditionally this section was, in essence, a dried creek bed (which during wet times became, well, a creek). Significant work has made this section of the Smoke Bluff Loop Trail more accessible and easier to navigate for all who want to enjoy the park. The following PDF file (3MB) is an update, including photos, on the Smoke Bluffs Park from the District of Squamish: Smoke Bluffs Park.
January 14, 2008 · Filed under: Boulders;
In November of 2007, the SAS met with several of the engineers responsible for the highway improvement work being undertaken in the general vicinity of the Chief. The purpose was to inform the engineers of the bouldering resources in the area and to get an indication from them which boulders and problems might be impacted by the forthcoming construction.
While no guarantees were made, the take-away message for the SAS was that the highway contractor will make every effort to minimize impacts wherever possible. We can report that the following will most likely be the case:
Drive By Boulders, from North to South:
- “Recoil” and the surrounding boulders will be spared, but as one can see now, the highway will come closer. Good news is that the vegetation has been cleared out significantly!
- “Shots Fired” will be spared, although the toe of the highway bed slope will come close to its base. The highway at that point will be several feet higher than it is now, so the noise may well be less intrusive (kind of – let’s face it, the boulder is next to the highway!) “Loaded” will most likely be impacted by slope.
- “Porn Boulder” cluster should be spared, although highways may fill in the small cave at the base of “No Mercy in Porn Land” in order to stabilize the boulder. This boulder will be much closer to the highway.
- “Desire” boulder will be heavily impacted (i.e. blasted), as will “The Executioner” and “Rubber Bullets” boulders. “TV Violence” cluster will still be there, but the highway will be closer.
January 14, 2008 · Filed under: General;
We are very pleased to be able to report that permanent access to Skaha bluffs has been secured. Thanks to everyone who contributed to the drive to come up with the necessary funds for the purchase of the lands critical to arriving at a long term solution. In particular, MEC, The Land Conservancy, the Skaha climbers and the Climbers Access Society of BC worked hard at the campaign, not to mention the hundreds of climbers who pitched in. The Squamish Access Society donated $2,500 dollars toward the cause.
For the media releases click here:
In the fall of 2007 the Squamish Access Society participated in a meeting between representatives of various mountain and backcountry groups and the proponent of the Garibaldi at Squamish Development (a resort near Brohm Ridge reaching down to Highway 99 and embracing the landscape near both Brohm and Cat Lakes – see maps here).
Present from the groups, among others, were:
- Evan Loveless, Federation of Mountain Clubs
- Tyrone Brett, Squamish Access Society
- Sandra Nicol, Federation of Mountain Clubs
- Pat Harrison, Back Country Recreation Society
- Scott Webster, Varsity Outdoor Club
- Bryce Leigh, Alpine Club of Canada Whistler
- Antje Wahl, Alpine Club of Canada Vancouver
- Monika Bittel, BC Mountaineering Club
The Squamish Access Society’s position regarding this development and its potential impacts on Garibaldi Provincial Park and adjacent alpine terrain dovetails with those concerns laid out by the FMC at the meeting. Of prime concern is the potential development, at a later date, of portions of the Park as well as the proximity to more remote ski tours and alpine terrain of a commercial development of this size.
Concerning front country issues brought up by the SAS at the meeting, such as impacts on Cat Lake Crag, Brohm Lake and Cat Lake, our position is as follows:
The SAS views residential and commercial development in the greater Squamish region as a positive phenomenon, providing it takes into consideration the qualities which make the area so special. We believe the recreational assets prized by climbers and the general public can be preserved next to a thriving and sustainable economic base.
The Garibaldi at Squamish development in the vicinity of Cat Lake Crag, Cat Lake and Brohm Lake, as proposed, is unacceptable for the SAS. Concerning the crag, we still await the promised walk-through concerning impacts on the climbing area and at the very least expect a follow up with us about the crag’s future. Concerning the lakes, core to the SAS mission is protection of the experiential element of the climbing and self-propelled recreational experience and life style. The extent of the proposed development around both Cat and Brohm lakes (currently enjoyed by thousands of climbers and other recreationalists yearly) is in direct conflict with the principle of the protection of the irreplaceable experiential value currently held by these recreational resources. To take an example, a simple “treed buffer”, as proposed at Cat Lake, is far from the acceptable mitigation level required. We ask that this development be sent back to the drawing board with these considerations in mind.
For more information from those concerned about the proposal, check out http://savegaribaldi.org as well as the Facebook groups Save Cat Lake and Save Brohm Ridge and Cat lake from Developers.
To view the proponent’s site, check out http://garibaldiatsquamish.com.