Reaching New Heights: ODP Climbing Trip

Saturday, June 18, 2016 - By: Liam B, Ellis ‘16

The ODP clan packed their bags and headed for Squamish last Friday afternoon, eager to clamber up crags and conquer cliffs. After a ferry trip from Nanaimo and a long bus ride into Squamish, we pitched tents at a campsite. The next day we headed to our first climbing destination.

The first cliff we climbed was called Area 44. After a short hike, we arrived at the  site, which featured some fantastic routes. Unlike an indoor climbing gym, a natural cliff offers more than one possible way to tackle a route, which makes climbing an imaginative exercise as well as a physical one. Each climb was interesting and varied, featuring arêtes, slabs, and cracks. We were treated to beautiful panoramic views of the Coastal Mountains from the top of each crag.

Our next day was spent climbing at Octopus’ Garden, a location hidden in the shade of a forest. Though the sun blazed, we were sheltered by trees as we climbed. Most of the routes at this spot required using long, sinuous cracks as handholds, which proved challenging. The highlight for me was Electric Ball, a demanding route that left me exhausted. At the end of the exhilarating day we were bussed to a lake. I napped while everyone else went swimming.

During our evenings at the campsite we spent our time roasting sausages beside the campfire, narrating ghost stories, and telling jokes that varied in quality. It was great to spend a few nights away from the pressures of academic life and the addictive glow of computer screens. 

The climbing expedition was enjoyed by all, and it was unforgettable taking in the natural splendor of Squamish while pushing our comfort levels to new limits. Thank you to Mr. Norman, Mrs. Olszewski, and Richard, our bus driver, for making this trip possible.

Liam B, Ellis ‘16

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