After coming back from the Alpine Academy in Chamonix with lots of great experiences and unique encounters there wasn't much time left until I had to leave for Squamish. Canada is a country which I have visited many times and Squamish is a place I always enjoy returning to. You can find granite in all sorts of shapes and forms. Cracks, blocks, slabs, high walls. And the Chief, the aim of many climbers, crowns it all.
For me the trip meant to support my sponsor Arc'teryx and to meet friends. The main difference to the Alpine Academy in Chamonix is that the focus in Squamish is on climbing. Every participant has the chance to learn something new. The goal of each workshop is to enable the participants to make decisions on their own. There is no classic guiding, the focus of the Academy is training and education.
You learn from the experience of the athletes. The mountain guides are there for safety. You go climbing together. It's a nice concept that is well-received. The clinics are usually booked just minutes after they're online. After my arrival I had one day to get over my jetlag with a dose of climbing. Then I had a product meeting with athletes and Arc'teryx designers.
Soon it was time for me to give an open air presentation at the Sea to Sky Gondola about my ascent of "Riders on the Storm" in front of a huge crowd of mainly climbers. You could have heard a pin drop during my stories, supported by spectacular photos and videos. Not even a rain shower bothered the international crowd. At the end I shook many wet hands. Many memories came back to life that have intensely molded by life.
People like Kate Rutherford, Paul McSorley, Jonathan Siegrist, Dave Allfrey and Peter Croft told adventurous stories about their lives as climbers and alpinists. At the end of the evening we danced and celebrated to live music. I felt the connection, felt that we all here have something in common. The love for climbing and the emotional proximity to nature.
Advanced Trad Climbing Clinic Girls only
A group of highly motivated climber girls awaited me. I couldn't wait to see what's in store. Our guide was a woman, too. Lisa knows the area and lead us to a close-by crack climbing crag by a lake. There were lots of mosquitoes there. But Canadians are of tough stock. None of the girls complained, they just wanted to climb.
So hands and fingers were taped, some prefered crack gloves. Everyone wanted to lead. This worried me a bit since I hardly knew the group. We went through the theory of trad climbing and discussed where to place pieces and how to place them. Then Lisa and I lead two routes to see how the girls do. Lisa set up a fixed rope that I used an ascender on to follow the girls and watch them place gear, give advice, motivate them and take pictures. Everyone felt safe and reached the top happy. The level of climbing kept rising and one of the participants climbed her first 5.10 onsight. Lisa and I were a bit proud after she told us her hardest route was a 5.8 up to now.
In the evening we all met at the Trade Fair at the bottom of the Chief where brands displayed their products. Boulderers were flying through the air in a dyno competition. A bunch of seminars were held during the weekend covering different topics from training to nutrition and a diverse set of other subjects. The feedback from each and every one of the visitors was positive and the weather was kind. Most people stayed a few more days to test their new
I didn't have to say goodbye yet either. I got to go climbing with Arc'teryx athletes and friends. Of course you only visit the best the area has to offer.
An evening flight off the Chief with Paul Mcsorley and our paragliders toped off my visit. I returned home with precious memories. Thank you Arc'teryx for inviting me.
Arc'teryx Acamdey Chamonix
Arc'teryx Academy Squamish
Squamish Recap on the Bird Blog
And here I am, packing again for Slovenia. Arc'teryx athlete Luka Lindic and I will commence our alpine training on Triglav for our next expedition.