Easy top ropes, multi-pitch tests and puzzling bouldering problems. It’s all here nestled at the end of one of the Pacific coast’s deepest fjords. Squamish is truly Canada's rock-climbing mecca.
Climbers from around the world flock to the granite cliffs and bluffs overlooking Howe Sound to test their mettle on some of the most beautiful and accessible rock climbing in the world.
A five-minute walk to a ten-minute drive from downtown Squamish brings you to thousands of routes. The climbing community here is vibrant and progressive and there are lots of resources for anyone new to the sport or new to Squamish climbing.
Where to go
Between Murrin Park, Shannon Falls, The Malamute, The Chief and the Smoke Bluffs, there are over 1500 rock climbing routes in the Squamish area.
Most of the climbing in Squamish is centred around the Stawamus Chief. "The Chief", as it is known, is a massive granite monolith towering some 700 metres above Squamish and Howe Sound with hundreds of climbing routes for every level of climber. It is divided into different areas that have their own draw. The Apron’s long, slabby pitches include a number of classic routes. The Grand Wall is host to famous multi-pitch climbs that have been attracting climbers for decades and though fewer in number, the well-known routes on the north end of the Chief are popular for a reason.
Classic climbs up the apron: Banana Peel (5.7), Calculus Crack (5.8) and Deidre (5.8). Popular routes to the summit: The Squamish Butt Face (5.9), Angel's Crest (10b), Ultimate Everything (10b) and The Squamish Buttress (5.10c).
The Grand Wall Boulders
Nestled in the forest along the base of the Grand Wall of the Chief, the Grand Wall Boulders are the main bouldering area in Squamish. There are some fantastic problems here, ranging from V0 to as hard as you want, all within a spectacular setting.
Located just south and adjacent to the Chief along Highway 99 is Shannon Falls Provincial Park. This little park has some great shorter-length multi-pitch climbs on the cliffs adjacent to the falls themselves. The views of the massive Shannon Falls, The Chief and Howe Sound are spectacular.
Popular climbs in this zone: Klahanie Crack (5.7), Skywalker (5.8), Hairpin (10a) and Centrefold (10b).
Murrin Provincial Park is home to over 250 climbing routes, the vast majority of them being bolted sport routes. This small provincial park is about a five-minute drive south of downtown Squamish along the west side of Highway 99. It's a gorgeous park, dotted with old-growth forests. Dozens of cliffs and crags sprinkled throughout the park have a wide range of sport climbs for all ages and abilities.
Popular sport climbs: Jugs, Not Drugs (5.8), Zoe (10a), Pleasant Pheasant (11a).
Popular trad climbs: The World's Toughest Milkman (5.8), A Little Testis (10b), Perspective (11a).
Located just across the highway from downtown, The Bluffs offer some of the best climbing in Squamish. Home to hundreds of predominantly traditional climbing routes from easy 5.4's to 5.14 test pieces, The Bluffs are a great place to experience Squamish's world-famous granite. Easy to get to with mainly short approaches, the Bluffs are one of the reasons Squamish is such a great climbing destination.
Popular climbs: Laughing Crack (5.7), Penny Lane (5.9), Flying Circus (10a), Split Beaver (10b)
Just 15 minutes north of Squamish is one of the top sport climbing areas in all of BC. This area is home to some of Canada's hardest sport climbs but also has enough moderate grades to make it a worthy visit for any climber. The zone is well-bolted and stick clips are not necessary to climb here. There is plenty of parking and lots of crags can be reached within a few minutes' walk of the upper parking lot.
Popular climbs in this zone: Charlotte's Web (5.9), Master of My Domain (5.9), Centurion (10c), Creepy Crawlers (11a).
There are many other crags in and around Squamish including Area 44, Rogue's Gallery, the backside of the Chief, the Slhanay and Seal Cove.
In addition to saving money co-owning a rope also ensures you have a committed climbing partner to start out
Learning the basics of top-roping from a qualified guide is an essential step for new climbers. A climbing course will teach you the fundamental skills of anchor-making and basic climbing techniques so you can get moving on your own
Go for a shoe with a glove-like fit. Most shoes will stretch out slightly, so a touch of discomfort is alright but if there is any pain size up
Especially in the beginning stages of climbing, the power for upward movement on rock actually comes from your legs. Your arms are used more for balance.
The Squamish Select guidebook provides a full list of top-rope accessible climbing and explains useful details about the routes and how to access anchors. Having a guidebook will save you heaps of time and allow you to find new locations to practice.
Some top ropers may have difficulty transitioning to lead climbing. Place gear or quickdraws on top rope to gain confidence before you lead climb
Fall, Spring, Summer
Know Before You Go
When climbing in the bounds of a park, be sure to check the BC Parks website for the latest seasonal, trail and park updates.