August 22, 2006
Author and Carrie
Approximately 8 km
Approximately 750 m (net)
Maximum Elevation: Approximately
Difficulty - Endurance: 3.5
Difficulty - Technical: 3
inclding Via Ferrata
Not having access to a 4x4 and just
coming off of a serious 3 week flu the viable climbing options in Vancouver were
looking a bit slim so I decided to once again climb (errr hike...) the Stawamus Chief near Squamish B.C. The Chief
is an extremely serious rock climbing destination, a Mecca of sorts, often called
Yosemite North the Chief is a huge granite monolith second only in size to the rock of Gibraltar.
The back side of the Chief, likely originally a climbers descent route (like Yamnuska) offers a relatively easy ascent.
There are three peaks to the Chief, the first and lowest peak is often the most crowded and is avoided by “those in
the know”. The best route is to climb the 2nd and 3rd peaks probably by going up the gulley to the 3rd peak first
then traversing over to the 2nd and then back down via the iron ladders and chains to the gulley between the 1st and 2nd peaks.
I should warn you that this little
trip has become a very popular outing and there will be dozens of people on the trails to the 1st and 2nd peaks. The
3rd peak is still relatively less traveled as evidenced by the huge difference in the quality of trail between the 1st and
2nd gullies. When I first did this climb close to 15 years ago there were still some route finding problems although
there was, even then, Via Ferrata on the 2nd peak. Now days it is literally a staircase like the Grouse Grind on the
lower mountain. If it were not for these aids this trail would be moderate to difficult scramble complete with some
short 5th class sections, with the aids it ranks as perhaps easy 3rd class but never exposed on any of the climbing sections.
If you are interested in an example
of what real Via Ferrata is all about check out these links: