With friends living in Squamish extolling the wonders of Canadian climbing, it seemed like an obvious place for a relaxing climbing holiday. We initially spent 10 days in Squamish in fantastic weather - we later found out this was unusual as Squamish gets crazy amounts of rain. We climbed at a few of the areas here, but 'The Chief' is the... well, Chief of the area, with striking multi-pitch lines on friendly granite. Of course being our first time here, we had to climb the classics. And classic they were which is why it's understandable that these routes are so popular - there were usually parties in front and behind us on most routes.
One of our must visit climbing destinations was the Bugaboos where we went next. Granite towers of incredible rock in an alpine environment is right up our alley! After 'critter-proofing' our vehicle in the carpark, we hiked up the normally pleasant trail up to Applebee Campground - not so pleasant in the rain with ridiculously heavy packs. Of course we had designs on the classics here too, such as the Beckey-Chouinard Route on the South Howser Tower, but the weather was not very accommodating during our time there, and we had to settle for shorter routes closer to camp in between spells of bad weather, and less committing routes. One of these routes close to camp was 'McTech Arete', and due to the inclement weather, quite a few parties had the same idea. This meant there was a bit of a wait, and by the time we'd climbed the first pitch, it bucketed hail so we retreated. Next day, second try, and although we got on the route earlier, it dumped hail on us again after the first pitch! Third time lucky - we actually climbed all five pitches. It still snowed on us however, but at least we'd made it to the top before this and just had to rappel down.
One option we had in the given conditions was the easy climb of Pigeon Spire by the West Ridge. Some crevassed terrain to negotiate, and then we were up among the towers by ourselves. With cloud around Pigeon Spire, we couldn't see much of it, but as we climbed the cloud swirled around and cleared giving us tantalising views - it was very atmospheric! We made a few other climbs in the Bugaboos, but our time and food ran out before better weather came, so we had to leave.
We made short visits to climb at crags in Lake Louise and Skaha (Penticton), and then finished off back in Squamish. On our very last day in Canada, we managed to climb the 'Split Pillar' which Tash did a great job of leading as it was on her 'must-do' list of routes. There were a few pitches of climbing just to get to this classic line, and as we had to drive to Seattle that day, we rappelled off after the 'Split Pillar' pitch. It was definitely a stunning pitch and a lovely finish to the trip.