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Access News from Skaha and Squamish this Weekend

Crag cleaning, new parking lots and remember to keep our crags a fun place for everyone

Our access to climbing areas in Canada relies on the hard work of our many access groups. Below are some updates from Squamish, Skaha and a reminder from Vancouver Island.

From Squamish Access Society: Commonwealth Crag at Murrin closed in the morning/early afternoon tomorrow (Saturday): We are really grateful to the volunteers from the ACC (Alpine Club of Canada) Squamish who will be doing a day of rescrubbing tomorrow, June 19, at Murrin. The crag will be closed from early morning until about mid-afternoon. The Loop Trail will remain open, but access to The Commune & Valley of the Lost Tribes will have a marked, short detour in place. Please avoid the base of the crag.

From Skaha Climbers’ Association: After much deliberation and discussion between land managers, land stakeholders and land users, Parks has decided to amend the current Director’s Order. This was the order that essentially closed access through the Gillies Creek portion of the park. The amendment now allows for access through UNBURNT portions of the park. This change has essentially opened access to Shady Lane area and improved access to the Belvedere/Routopia area. This was no easy task as the red tape of government runs long! I would like to specifically thank Wendy Pope for her ongoing cooperation with and support of the climbing community. With this opening, it is important to recognize that, as climbers, we too play an important role in stewardship and conservation of these lands. Specifically in understanding that now is not the time to go exploring for new crags/trails in the burnt areas and reminding other users of the vulnerability and the significant negative impact travelling through the closed area has on vegetation restoration and impacted wildlife. Below is a note from parks, pictures of new signage and a link to more information including maps: BC Parks can accommodate recreational use of unburnt portions of trails. Please respect trail closures along the edge of the burn (uphill of Gillies creek FSR) which are marked with the sign below (see map). All trails within the burn perimeter remain closed until further notice. More information at BC Parks here.

From Skaha Bluffs Collective: Rolf Rybak said, “A new paved 90 lot parking area with facilities has been approved at the end of Evergreen for north side access. Thanks go to the mayor and council, especially councilwoman Katie Robinson who has been a staunch supporter of the climbing community. Local climbers’ association SCA, hikers, PACA and the Parks and Recreation Committee submitted letters of support for the proposal, which helped influence the outcome. To paraphrase Margaret Mead Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can initiate change. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

From Nanaimo Climbing Crew: “Another busy weekend at Sunny Side, and I think it’s time to post a bit on crag etiquette. I am accustomed to picking up empty cans and trash from non-climbers, an unfortunate but seemingly inevitable part of sharing outdoor spaces with other user groups. However, today I picked up after a group of climbers from yesterday. Empties of the fairly unique drinks I saw them drinking, hastily stashed in the bush at the base of the wall they were climbing at, as well as candy wrappers, etc. The same group had their boom box blasting. This will be a repeat for most reading this, but for newer climbers it might be helpful. 1 – No boom boxes at the crag. Ever. No one wants to hear your music, and you might be interfering with important belay communications of nearby groups. 2 – Pick up after yourself. Leave no trace. Whether in a park or on private property, our continued access to local crags depends on our behaviour at them. 3 – Never top rope through fixed gear. Set up your own anchor to top rope. That includes the top anchor hooks that are on some routes at Sunny Side and Dark Side. These are for lowering only.”