BD athlete Chris Schulte reports from the 2012 Squamish Mountain Festival
The 2012 Squamish Mountain Fest went down last week and Black Diamond athlete Chris Schulte was there to man the BD booth, crank on the world-class coastal granite boulders and cliffs, and take in all that this amazing local event has to offer. Squamish Mountain Festival is a five-day celebration of the climbing culture around Squamish, British Columbia, and the week is filled with clinics, trail days, slideshows and film premieres, gear demos and epic parties. The event is a major highlight in the summer climbing season up in Squamish, and this year did not dissapoint. Below is a report and photos Chris sent us from the event.
After a couple of months roasting in unseasonably warm conditions that cooked up even the highest mountains in Colorado, with wildfires raging all around, a trip up to the Squamish Mountain Festival sounded like the best option going. I jumped at the chance to head on up to the "nort woods" and packed up the truck. A hefty drive of 1500 miles across Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington deposited us at the Canadian border, where the grass is visibly greener on the other side of the fence, and just a couple miles in-country you plow straight into a blackberry patch several hundred yards long. The cool breeze blew off the North Pacific, across us and up into glaciated peaks, carrying us with it all the way up the Howe Sound and bang into the big ‘ol granite plug that is the Stawamus Chief. We slept soundly on the edge of a dense canopy of green.
The last time I was in Squamish was over ten years back. Since then, the town has changed little, save for the highway improvements to accomodate the Olympic traffic. The boulders and routes are the same: immaculate, technical granite that shaped my style and showed me what I love most about climbing... Except now there's so much more of it! We arrived a couple days before the festival to walk these woods and tiptoe around these slabs, and soak up as much of this place as can be had.
The Mountain Festival is a really nice, friendly event, with skills clinics that cater to all disciplines at several levels of experience, most every one filled to capacity over the course of the weekend, despite the sunday rain. In the evenings, slide shows and film presentations that ran a full rack of experiences in the climbing world: sport climbing in the Gorge du Verdon and the wilds of Mexico, the snapshots of a life en route to an alpine giant in Kazakhstan, traditional walls in Canada and the USA. In addition to the clinics and films were a number of games and activities, from tug-o-war and dodge ball to a big trail building day, and a dyno comp that saw a new women's world record dyno!
The Black Diamond booth was packed through the weekend, with the buzz going all around the festival about the anxiously awaited Camalot X4 cams and Magnetron locking biners. Fully two-thirds of the folks passing through were dying to lay hands on these items, and we talked a lot of shop through breezy days with popcorn clouds and sudden, sodden thunderclaps bouncing off the valley walls. Good people, good flicks, good beer at the local brewers, and good times all around. I'm looking forward to next year!