It began in 1984. The Little Smoke Bluffs became slated for a housing development that would turn the historic granite dome into an inaccessible feature of the valley’s landscape. This would not stand. Climbers John Howe and Kevin McLane formed the Squamish Rock Climbers Association to provide a voice for the growing community of climbers in Squamish, BC. Their work would save what has become one of the world’s best climbing destinations.
In 2004, the Association became the Squamish Access Society (SAS). Through the construction of outhouses and trails, multiple rebolting projects, the protection of the Murrin Park Corridor and numerous other actions reproduced below, SAS became a staple of Canada’s most loved crag.
While it is easy to see why the SAS should be supported, raising the funds for such an organization remains a challenge. Fortunately, a Rampage has agreed to donate 100% of this year’s proceeds to the SAS.
In its seventh annual iteration, Squamish Rampage decided to turn their single day bouldering competition into a month-long, multi-discipline climb-a-thon. With prize packs for four separate ability categories, Squamish Rampage promises over $700 in prizes for first place finalists alongside $400+ and $200+ packages for second and third place athletes.
According to Rampage organizer Jeff Yoo, the event started back in 2014. Although they had to skip over 2020 due to the pandemic, the otherwise uninterrupted competition has seen hundreds of participants. This year could become the most popular yet.
While outdoor competitions have existed for decades, few have covered bouldering and roped climbing together. Beyond that, none have also offered 30 days for athletes to give their all. The longer format of competition came about in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the free-for-all approach of a single day event does have its charms, the 30 days reduces the pressure all while allowing climbers the time to ensure physical distancing.
Normally, Rampage donates about half of their proceeds to SAS. Historically, the other half would go to Climb & Conquer, a charity that runs outdoor programs for at-risk youth. This year, Rampage’s associated charities did not require their support. As such, 100% of the event’s proceeds will go toward SAS.
As the donated prize packages came free of cost, the entry fee will go toward keeping Squamish beautiful. Among the sponsors for the event, the climbing software company KAYA Climbing has formatted a subcategory on their phone app to support the event. This allows climbers to log and update their scores in real time. It also allows others to follow along with other climbers’ progress.
Yoo reflected on the support Squamish Rampage saw for this event. “We are blown away by how willing these companies have been to contribute to local access and local community.” This international interest in the competition has shown the borderless nature of climbing’s community. The love people have for Squamish stretches across provincial lines and national borders.
Yoo thinks this love for Squamish’s local community showcases the coolest aspects of the Rampage competition. “Even though it’s a competition, it doesn’t really feel like one. You just go into the forest and everyone is so psyched to be climbing together. Everyone is really willing to share crash pads and beta. Everyone is out there just to have a good time. It doesn’t get that vibe of really intense competition, which I appreciate. I have participated in all of the Rampage events as an organizer and participant. Every time Rampage happens, it reaffirms why Squamish is one of the best climbing destinations in the entire world.”
Although the competition started at the beginning of August, time remains for those hoping to compete. Athletes can sign up through the KAYA Climbing app. Although many climbers will find themselves in other provinces, states or countries, they too can sign up via the app if they simply wish to donate their $20 admission fee.
For climbers looking to make a more permanent donation, the SAS website offers yearly memberships or a charitable donation options
For those living in BC, SAS’s stewardship events make for a fun morning of cleaning and maintaining some of the most loved climbing areas around Squamish. All of these methods of donation, whether through time or money, allow SAS to continue protecting and maintaining climbing areas, updating hardware and trails, and educating for the sake of climbers.
This work goes toward events such as the clinics currently being hosted every weekend in August. With the recent rock falls, this money will go toward remediating some of the more damaged areas once experts deem it safe to do so. For the time being, consider signing up for one of the most radical competitions in the country, or learn more about Squamish access and its protection at the SAS website.
On August 29, 2021, Squamish Rampage will host a live bouldering event where participants can demo gear and shoes from the event sponsors, winners will be crowned, and all other donated prizes will be given to attendees.
- Cruiser: V0-V2
- Crusher: V3-V5
- Sender: V6-V8
- Rampage V8/9+
- Cruiser: 5.10d and below
- Crusher: 5.11a-5.11d
- Sender: 5.12a-5.12c
- Rampage 5.12d+
Many thanks to the event sponsors without whom this event would not be possible: Wild Country, La Sportiva, Flashed, Sterling, Arc’teryx, Ground Up Climbing Centre, The Hive Bouldering Gym, and KAYA Climbing.
Download the KAYA Climbing App here.
Donate to SAS here.
1984 – Stopped Gravel mine between Chief and Slhanay
1987 – Active voice against Smoke Bluffs housing development
1992 – Stopped Apron Boulder Quarry
1995 – Played a major role in the creation of the Stawamus Chief Class A park
2002 – Played a major role in the creation of the Smoke Bluffs municipal park
2003 – Protected Murrin Corridor during Hwy 99 expansion
2004 – Stopped Stawamus Chief Gondola Proposal
2005 – Helped form Cheakamus Gorge Protected Area
2007 – Smoke Bluff Park Advisory Committee established. SAS directors played a leadership role in this committee leading to the creation of the park we know today . The committee was absolved in 2021 and we anticipate continuing to be very active in the newly formed Park Advisory Committee..
2008 – Completion of New Apron to upper Chief parking trail + outhouses complete.
2009 – Completed Climbing Strategy Report (SAS commissioned by Ministry of Environment)
2009 – Assisted Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw in renaming Slhanay
2010 – Initiation of ongoing rebolting and anchor replacement program (in 2020, SAS replaced 225 bolts and anchors)
2012 onwards – Minimized logging impacts at crags including the Long House, the Outpost, Cat Lake and others
2012 – Establishment of Best Practices Guide for Rock Climbing Route Development to be employed in the Squamish area provincial parks (the first of its kind in Canada)
2014 – Initiation of Cragkeeper program to scrub existing crags
2014 – Installation of low-impact urine diverting toilet in the Smoke Bluffs Park
2017 – Completion of Smoke Bluff’s Park Management Plan
2017 – Completion of Phase 1 of Cheakamus Recreation Site campground
2017 – Construction of Murrin Loop Trail completed, led by Brian Moorhead
2018 – Establishment of BC Parks Volunteer program, Grand Wall Boulders trail rebuff and installation of fencing in the Grand Wall bouldering area
2018 – Installation of low-impact urine diverting toilet at the Petrifying Wall, Murrin Provincial Park
2019 – Completion of wheel-chair accessible Parking Lot Wall at Little Smoke Bluffs
2020 – Installation of low-impact urine diverting toilet at Electric Avenue, Cheakamus Canyon
2020 – Installation of Phase 2 of fencing in the Grand Wall bouldering area
2020 – Spearheaded programs building climber relationships with First Nations
2020 – Inclusion of the Drenka Lands property in the Little Smoke Bluffs on the Blind Channel
- Rebolting and Anchor replacement
- Trail days and trash cleanup events
- Cragkeeper programs
- Falcon monitoring program with BC Parks