areas in Stawamus Chief, Shannon Falls and Murrin Provincial Parks
are of regional, provincial and international importance.
have been climbed intensively for over 40 years and there have
been significant increases in numbers of climbers using the area
over the last decade.
There are over
1200 climbing routes in the Squamish area, including areas outside
of the parks. About 100 of the climbs are of substantial length
for a total of over 2500 pitches. Climbing existing routes and
developing new routes often will result in some modification of
the park environment. This could include creating access trails,
cleaning vegetation off climbing routes and placing fixed protection
(e.g. bolts) along routes. With the long history of climbing in
these areas much of this modification has already taken place.
Due to the wet, relatively mild climate, vegetation growth on
the cliffs is relatively vigorous. Wildlife in the climbing areas
is limited primarily to bird species including the threatened
These parks are
also intensively used for hiking, viewing, picnicking, swimming
and other day use activities. In general, rock climbing takes
place in areas that are physically separated from other recreational
users. Exceptions to this are certain climbs at Murrin and on
the Chief backside trails.
Chief has significant historic and cultural value to the Squamish
First Nation. At this time, specific areas of special cultural
and spiritual value to the First Nation have not been identified,
by the government. As more information becomes available it will
be incorporated into an updated rock climbing strategy.
There are two
types of trails within these parks. One type is hiking trails,
which are used by both hikers and climbers. These trails are heavily
used, generally constructed to a higher standard, and publicized
through maps, signage and guides. The second type are climbers
access routes or trails. In general these trails have had little
or no formal development, will not be constructed to a higher
standard, are often very steep, are used primarily by climbers,
and are not publicized on park maps or by signage.
As new crags
and faces are developed, climbers should access these areas by
choosing existing access trails or low impact access routes and
must not cut or remove any material. If the climbs prove popular
and the need for trail planning and construction arises, climbers
and BC Parks will evaluate, plan and implement a new trail as
is feasible. In some cases, due to environmental concerns it may
not be feasible to construct access trails and it may be necessary
to close a climbing face due to a lack of access or unacceptable
Credit: Bill McComish, WestCoastPhotos.com
Due to the climate,
vegetation growth can be relatively vigorous on the cliffs in
the Squamish area. In order to develop new climbs and maintain
existing climbs, vegetation and loose rock often is cleaned or
removed by climbers. The amount of cliff area impacted by cleaning
is difficult to measure but is relatively low, restricted to little
more than the width of the climb itself.
- Minimize the
impact of cleaning at all times.
- Remove only
the minimum amount of material, to ensure that the climb is
safe and offers an appropriate climbing experience.
- Remove no
trees unless approved by BC Parks.
- Think carefully
about the importance and quality of the route. Will this route
continue to be used and does it justify the amount of cleaning
- How significant
will it be to climbers for its length and grade of difficulty?
- During any
cleaning activities the climbers must ensure the safety of any
other users in the area. This is especially important when developing
has been used in the Squamish climbing areas since the Baldwin-Cooper
first ascent of the Grand Wall in 1961. Although a general consensus
has evolved over time within the climbing community on the use
of bolts, contention over the appropriateness of bolting can arise
as new situations develop. In general, the climbing community
has been and will continue to be self-regulating in the use of
occasionally occur on the cliff faces on the Stawamus Chief. At
this time, planned bivouacs create no issue.
generally relied on themselves and other climbers on safety issues.
In some situations
Squamish Search and Rescue (SAR) has been involved in rescues.
It is recognized that relative to the
high level of climbing activity, there is a low occurrence of
safety related incidents.