The Sea to Sky Gondola is expected to be open summer 2014. In anticipation of the access the gondola will bring to climbers, bikers, hikers and skiers, a number of people have spent countless hours preparing the area, one of them being international alpine climber Colin Haley. Haley recently said, when asked about why he was in Squamish, “It is, without a doubt, one of the best places on the continent for rock climbing. Squamish has a huge amount of every type of rock climbing, from bouldering to sport climbing to crack climbing to slab climbing to aid climbing. Also, for the months of July, August, and September, Squamish definitely has the best weather for rock climbing on the continent, as most locations are too hot. The only place that can compete with Squamish is Yosemite Valley, but it involves a huge hassle with National Park restrictions, whereas Squamish is a charming and laid-back paradise!”
“In late June I went up with David Greenfield, Trevor Dunn and Jeremy Frimer to do some hiking on Goat Ridge. They wanted to go and scope potential trail routes, and I came along just because I’d been curious and excited about the gondola project. Afterwards, we were hanging out at what is to become the gondola top-station, and Jeremy and I noticed a very nice cliff of granite only 200 meters away.
“It turns out that this cliff had 4 old routes on it, developed in the 1980′s when access to the cliff was relatively easy. Since then, the routes had been forgotten, because for the past two decades the cliff has been relatively inaccessible. As soon as the gondola is running, this cliff will have one of the shortest approaches in Squamish, and the climbing is high quality.
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“We are calling the crag the “Ultraviolet Cliff.” So far there are 8 fully-cleaned routes, with bolted anchors, and there will eventually surely be more. The biggest down-side to the Ultraviolet Cliff is that the routes are relatively short (12-16 meters, roughly), but it has many big pluses:
1.) A very short approach from the gondola top station
2.) It faces southwest and southeast, so it receives a lot of sun. This will help the routes stay clean over the years, and will also make it a very viable crag in the “shoulder seasons” of fall and spring, because the routes will dry very quickly.
3.) Steep! Although the routes are short, all but one are at least dead vertical, and most of them are gently overhanging. Overhanging cracks are not especially common in Squamish, especially in moderate grades (5.9-5.10b).
“Climbers can look forward to climbing at the Ultraviolet Cliff, and also there are several other cliffs that will surely soon get developed for cragging once the gondola is running. Perhaps more importantly, climbers should be excited that there will now be very quick access to Mt. Habrich.”