Our Rovers visit Canada’s Outdoor Recreation Capital

By: Edna Cheng

Last Sunday on August 24th, I had an amazing adventure at one of the world’s top rock climbing destinations, Sea-to-Sky/Squamish Corridor, with Scout Advisor John and Scout Advisor Hazel, along with scouters Jeremy, Linda, Violet, and guest Cameron. The team met together at 9 o’clock in the morning and headed together onto the Sea to Sky highway to our venue. We were blessed with beautiful sunshine complementing the breathtaking scenic route. And in a blink of an eye, we arrived to Murrin Provincial Park, a rock climbing hot spot that offers a variety of great climbs. It is a perfect spot for beginners.

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After a short rocky hike from the parking lot, we arrived to the Sugarloaf, a wonderful crag that’s around 60 feet tall with the perfect amount of cracks, bumps, and ledges for beginners like me. As the saying goes, early bird gets the worm. We were able to secure our ropes for two of the routes on Sugarloaf and immediately gear up to try out the routes.

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But before we start, Scouter John gave us a brief lesson on the different types of rock climbing and the basic commands and safety precautions to keep in mind when we do the climb. Taking turns, we first tried out the routes, Flat Battery and Magnet, both at level 5.4 on the YDS (Yosemite Decimal System of grading). As this was my first time rock climbing outdoors and with only one practice lesson the day before, I was definitely nervous about trying out these routes. Coming down took a while to get use to. It is counter-intuitive: I was told not to hang on to the rope but have my hands stretched out on both sides like an airplane, just in case I rotate and bang on the wall. It only took the first climb before I understand why adventurists love climbing outdoors.

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Climbing outdoors gives you the flexibility of finding your own holds and challenging yourself to make good use of every small crack, bump, and ledge. This gave me the chance to not only use my fingers and forearm muscles, but also use my legs and, most importantly, to trust my toes for support. On harder climbs, our entire weight is literally support only by our fingers and toes. Outdoor rock climbing also trains you mentally in strategic thinking and endurance. This is perhaps the key reason why many parents have brought their children with them to Sugarloaf to experience this sport.

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One of the families were able to work with on the routes was 11-year old Tessa and her parents are from Pemberton. Her father is an avid rock climber which also ignited Tessa’s passion to take on this sport. We were able to try out Sugarloaf together and had great fun. Being able to meet different families and groups across BC and beyond, and share such an awesome outdoor experience is also part of the magic that rock climbing has to offer.

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Once we’ve conquered the easier two routes, the team went and took on The Mechanic, (5.7), and Power Smart (5.8) and wrapped it up with Little Spark (5.4). The 5.7 doesn’t have the easy crack like the 5.4 and the 5.8 had just little bumps along the way. Very intense work for the whole body. The last 5.4 feels like a 5.6 because I had to straddle a large gap. At one point, I had to come down a few steps and start over on another path. Taking up a higher level was especially tough for me and I couldn’t have done it without the words of encouragement from my belayers, Linda, Scouter John and Scouter Hazel and the team.

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Time went quickly and the rock face got busier. At the end of the day, it was a challenging workout but I felt super accomplished to have completed all the five routes. To celebrate a day of hard work, we took a lovely refreshing dip into the adjacent Browning Lake. Everyone did so well and met the KPI of finishing each climb started.

After this trip, I truly regret missing out on the opportunities to explore the Squamish Region more. In a day, I was able to do hiking, rock climbing and swimming all at one place. Squamish has really lived up to her title as Canada’s Outdoor Recreation Capital and I’m eager to visit this fantastic outdoor playground again in the near future.

If interested, take a look at the rest of the photos here >>

 

Mostafa Nejati

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