With great sadness we departed the Rockies on a drizzly morning. While looking forward to new adventures in Squamish, BC, we knew we would miss the grand peaks of the mountains and we did as we kept driving down the temps kept going up and the scenery started to look more like, uh, Arizona. We’d soon learn that we were literally only about 20 miles north of the upper border of the Sonoran Desert. In Canada…who knew? Gotta say, we didn’t feel any burning desire to drive down and check it out.
Anyway, we’ve embraced the change of scenery and the local way by spending some relaxing rest time on the beach. Yep, the lakeside beaches that the Okanagan Valley is well known for. That and the wineries. And, the reason we’re here, for B.C.’s other climbing hot-spot, Skaha. Unfortunately we haven’t gotten in as much climbing here as we’d like as we were pretty worn out by time we’d arrived. First was a drive that took twice as long as it should have. We spent two hours sitting on the highway after an accident shut down traffic. That was followed by a time-consuming search for a campsite. The one we finally snagged—literally 20 feet from the highway—stole two nights of restful sleep from us. Our nickname for this campsite was BCE aka Best Campsite Ever!
Canadian’s must get pretty sun-starved during the winter because it seems like the whole country flocks here to soak up the sun. The reason behind our campsite challenge was our mistake of arriving during a holiday weekend. Alberta was gearing up for Heritage Days. Then we crossed the provincial line and all of a sudden they’re celebrating British Columbia Day. So which is it and what exactly is the holiday all about? Well, wanting to be culturally sensitive, we did a little research. While I’ll admit that Wikipedia is not exactly a bastion of facts, the explanation given for this holiday is pretty amusing. Who can’t use another holiday?
Civic Holiday is the most widely used name for a public holiday celebrated in parts of Canada on the first Monday in August… Unlike most holidays, Civic Holiday does not commemorate a specific event, but was created for its timing. Between Canada Day and Labour Day there are no recognizable holidays, one of the longest stretches on the Canadian calendar without a holiday.
This week’s ticks
Cougar Canyon. (Canmore) Beautiful creek-side setting for long, single pitch cragging. Greasy limestone reminiscent of The Pit…we didn’t waste too much energy here.
Guides Rock, Sea of Dreams (5 pitches). We conserved our juice for another awesome bolted multi-pitch. Great limestone with lots of texture. Steep, calf-burning approach. Great views.
Mount Bourgeau, Walk of Ages (4 pitches). Short and sweet version of the last route.
SKAHA. Nice crag in lower BC that sports over 700 single- pitch routes on good rock. Definitely a worthy stop between Banff and Squamish. Long, varied routes on edgy gneiss. Friendly local crowd. Hot and muggy but the rock is so edgy!
**we’ve also posted a couple new photos under last week’s post.