Smoke Bluffs


July 2008

    Part of Smoke Bluffs closed for filming on eve of 2008 Squamish Mountain Festival;
    Clarification of Squamish Access Society position

    Sections of the Smoke Bluffs, including Neat and Cool, will be closed to climbing for purposes of commercial filming on the two days prior to the Squamish Mountain Film Fest running July 16th-20th. The SAS has registered its strong opposition with the District to the timing and notice process leading up to the filming. Local news reports indicate that the filming is being done with the sanction of the Squamish Access Society; this news is incorrect.

    According to information from the District, climbing will be restricted/not permitted on the following days in these locations to enable Dragonsteel Filming to shoot:

    Tuesday July 15th: filming at Zombie roof; ATV's on trail
    Wednesday July 16th: filming at Zombie Roof, Krack Rock, Burgers and Fries, and Neat and Cool; ATV's on trail

    Greens crews will be doing some prep work at Zombie Roof a few days in advance; according to the information we have "climbing will not be restricted".

    A further closure for another production will be at Neat and Cool from 7am to noon on August 5th 2008.

January 2008

    More Trail Work Completed
    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.

October 2007

    Redpoint Development
    Because of its proximity to the Smoke Bluffs Park, the SAS has formulated an official position on the Redpoint development plans:

      The Squamish Access Society wishes to express some concerns regarding the Redpoint development currently proposed near the south-west area of the Smoke Bluffs Park. The SAS has taken note of a recent resolution passed by the Smoke Bluffs Park Committee which calls to attention the lack of planning and consideration of impacts to the Park by a development of this size and nature. The SAS asks the District of Squamish to take due consideration of recreational assets and trail infrastructure during any and all development approval processes. As climbing resources are a defining element of the Smoke Bluffs Park, we look toward the District of Squamish to provide the necessary planning before approval of the Redpoint development application.

    Ongoing Trail Work
    Work continues in the Smoke Bluffs Park with substantial upgrades to some of the trails. Climbers will have noticed the new stairs at Octopus Garden this year, and work has already started on the Eastern section of the Loop trail. Improved access due to the investment in trail building will make crag maintenance easier and hopefully spread some traffic out from the more popular areas to lesser frequented yet equally deserving climbing areas.


New Octopus Garden Stairs

Loop Trail East Work


    The ease of accessibility granted by the placing of new anchors at Neat and Cool Southside led to some interesting visitors this year:

    RCMP Dog Training at Bluffs

June 2007

    There's been new route development and retro-scrubbing going on. Not all details are readily available, but a good place to start is asking for beta at the Climb-On store in Squamish.

    A major "pilot" effort in crag maintenance will be going on in the near future (most likely early July) at Burgers and Fries south. This portion of the crag has seen severe vegetation encroachment over the years. This, as well the lack of anchors has contributed to a concentration of climbing in the already overused Burgers and Fries north area, while leaving some nice routes neglected. It is hoped that the remediation effort will serve as a pilot project for further "vertical terrain management" in the new Smoke Bluffs Park. Anchor hardware will be provided by the Squamish Access Society; the work will be conducted under the purview of the Smoke Bluffs Park Development Committee.

April 2007

    New: Smoke Bluffs Park Development Committee up and rolling.
    SAS is happy to report that one of our directors, Brian Moorhead, has been elected to chair the newly minted Smoke Bluffs Park Development Committee of Council. Brian will have the benefit of serving with an extremely able and informed committee as listed below. Thanks are due to the SB Planning Group who created the Development Plan for the guidance of the new governing body. The formalization of the Park by council brings with it an ongoing, if modest budget, and assistance from DOS staff. That said, Brian expresses the hope, that the long tradition of user input and volunteerism, will continue to flourish at the Bluffs.

    Committee Members:

    » Matt Parker, at large
    » Todd Gerhart, at large
    » Brian Moorhead. Squamish Access Society
    » Bob Brant, Squamish Trails Society
    » Peter Winter, Climbers' Access Society of B.C.
    » John Harvey, at large
    » Joe Turley, at large
    » Glenn Woloski, at large
    » Helen Habgood, Federation of Mountain Clubs
    » Raj Kahlon, Squamish Municipal Council
    » Bob Kusch, Squamish District staff support

    On a related note, many will have noticed already the new stairs at Pixie corner and new trail, with impressive drainage, leading up to them.


Pixie Corner Stairs

Trail to Pixie


January 2007

    Status: No closures; trail damage and trail work
    The three-year process of creating a governance, management, and legal framework to establish the Smoke Bluffs as the showcase Municipal Park for Squamish passed an important stage on December 5th when Squamish Council approved the Development Plan prepared by the Planning Group. Coming up in January Squamish Council will be approving a By-law to establish the governance group and by February or March the new Smoke Bluff Park Committee should be at work with a lengthy to-do list as spelled out in the development plan. Many changes should be forthcoming in the years to come, and climbers will be at the helm of helping determine what they should be.

    The terms of the transfer of the Federation of Mountain Clubs land into the Park are now established by means of a Memorandum of Understanding between the FMC and the District. The transaction should be completed this spring, and the 19-year odyssey of climbers holding the land for the public good will be laid to rest.

    The SAS will be represented on the new Smoke Bluff Park Committee by director Brian Moorhead, and the other four groups who will have permanent seats are CASBC, the Squamish Trail Society, Howe Sound Trials Riders Association and the Federation of Mountain Clubs. There will also be four Members at Large appointed by Council, all Squamish residents on the voters list, and most of them climbers.

    Anyone wandering around in the Bluffs this month will be able to see some substantial work in progress as the 21-year-old Smoke Bluffs Loop Trail gets a major overhaul by Squamish trail contractor Chris McCrum.

    Smoke Bluffs Access Wash OutCurrently (January 3rd 2007), there is still a wash out at the base of the trail leading up from the parking lot - see the photo at right. The SAS is working on the timetable of trail re-establishment.


October 2006

September 2006

    Climbers visiting the Smoke Bluffs this year may have noticed many new trail signs and a considerable amount of fine trailwork that is starting to make a positive mark in what has been something of an unkempt jungle for many years. It is the result of the work of the Smoke Bluffs Park Planning Group. This group of a dozen volunteers was brought together by Mayor Ian Sutherland as a result of an initiative by the SAS and Perry Beckham, and includes the SAS, the Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC, CASBC, and the Squamish Trails Society. Mayor Sutherland deserves full credit for breaking a 20-year logjam of local government disinterest in the Smoke Bluffs, and for providing the Planning Group with District staff to help manage what has been a complex and demanding task.

    The mandate of the Planning Group has been threefold: to establish the Smoke Bluffs as a Municipal Park, (now done); to set in place an ironclad governing Commission with strong representation from climbers; and to complete the transfer over to the District of Squamish of the Smoke Buffs land that climbers and the FMCBC, with help from Mountain Equipment Coop, purchased long ago in 1988. The process is not yet complete, but all being well, by the end of 2006 the twenty-year odyssey to establish a public park in the Smoke Bluffs, with a governing body where climbers have a strong voice, will finally be over.

    The SAS is represented on the Smoke Bluffs Park Planning Group by Kevin McLane and John Howe (both of whom were involved heavily in Park lobbying of 20 years ago), and Brian Moorhead.