Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fraser Valley Bouldering: Hope

The bouldering in Hope, BC is, and continues to be one of my absolute favourite fall bouldering spots. With the diversity of areas and stone, there is sure to be something to suite even the most critical of boulders. Of all the areas, the Hunter Creek bouldering is where I find myself most often. Flat sandy landings in an open forest cluttered with fine grain granite boulders keeps me scrubbing and climbing nearly all year long. The boulders themselves are covered in holds and range from low-ball traverses to high-ball fright fests that’ll make you wish you’d spent a little more time learning how to pull on classic Squamish-like slopers. Early developers Marco and Nate along with a handful of others took care to pick many of the plum lines like the conditions-dependant Goldfinger (V10) and the stunning Tube Socket (V9).

Hard bouldering is not all that New Hunter has to offer though. There are clean and classic circuits for everyone from beginner to rockstar to enjoy in a peaceful quiet setting away from the circus that is Squamish. There are also many many many unclimbed or rarely climbed lines that need to see more ascents and – if FA’s are your game – bring your cleaning tools! Just don’t be too eager to spray about your new super-burly-vee-hard-whatever as the problem may have been climbed just last year before mossing over again through the winter. Either way, the bouldering at Hunter is amazing!

Mountain Project
lists a fraction of the problems at Hunter Creek but serves as a starting point for anyone looking to explore. Also, Marco Lefebvre recently published a short spot check with tons of info in Squamish Climbing Magazine, check out his work here. Finally, early summer 2010 will see the release of the Hunter Creek Mini-Select guidebook. Here are a few stand-outs as you wander through the forest:

V0 - The Frayed Edge of Sanity is a tallish and fun slab wandering up the Goldfinger boulder just left of the slickery and overhung Ecocide Arete (V10).

V1 – The Hoover Traverse put up by you-know-who is Hunter Creek’s Any Rock Will Do but much better! Don’t miss this fun warm-up climb.

V1/2 – Pale Face
which is the tall-but-not-too-tall blank face that you are sure to walk past. Reach dependant for the grade, this classic climb is a great introduction to highball bouldering with a flat landing and mellow topout.

V2 – Precious Metals is one of the first lines you will see walking into the forest. Start with two blocky holds at about 7 feet on the Goldfinger boulder and boulder strait up and over or, for some extra value, hit the lip and continue up and left to the peak. Classic!

V3 – Split Tip is a low slappy arĂȘte and maybe high in the grade. Good fun.

V4 – Grendal’s Mother a scary highball put up by Andrew Itkonen a number of years ago. This problem sees few repeats with many backing off at their mental crux!

V4 – Miniblade, also known as The Mark of Zorro, was named for its eerie similarity to the Old Hope testpiece Blade of Lightning (V10). Miniblade is a classic trailside slopper problem with a troubled past.

V5 – Slight of Hand
is found close to the creek and moves off fingery sidepulls to an airy mantle. Great movement!

Sleight of Hand -V5 from Trevor Edwards on Vimeo.

V7 – Autobot
is a recent addition to the forest with both Marco and Ryan projecting and then climbing within days of each other. Very good problem!

V9 – Tube Socket is a Nate Woods classic which should be tried by those capable. A stand-up start to the problem in the V5 range is a fantastic problem in its own right.

V10 – Goldfinger, without its original and critical hold, is looking for a repeat with a new sequence. Any takers?

Directions and Beta to Hunter Creek:
Take Hwy. 1 East to Hunter Creek Exit.
As you come off the highway, turn right and then, instead of turning left to the Hunter Creek rest area, turn right and follow the service road for about 0.7kms.

Turn left onto a gravel forest service road called Lorenzetta/Hunter Creek FSR. and drive up the short hill to an obvious pull out on the right. Park here. WARNING: Vehicles with low clearance should be cautious.

From your parking spot, head up the road on foot for about 1 minute before spotting a faint trail to your left. There is a small cluster of fun boulders here. Keep following the trail to find more boulders all the way towards the talus field.

Special Notes:

1. DO NOT cross any fences and DO NOT go down to the creek as it is private land. The land owners are cool with respectful boulderers in the bouldering area but DO NOT want people to cross down to the creek.
2. Bears, cougars, and horses are known to be in the area.
3. If you (re)scrub something out there, let others know so that it gets some traffic and stays clean.
4. Do your part to make the area a better area for everyone.
5. Spring and summer, watch for stinging nettles. If you run into any, don't touch it!
6. If you’d like a tour of the area, feel free to ask!
7. **JANUARY 2010 UPDATE** Access Issues!!

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