The Climbers Guide to Squamish

Volumes 1 and 2.

Authors: Kevin McLane & Andrew Boyd

Over the last couple of years we have been asked a lot of questions about how goes progress with the Squamish Guide.  Release dates have come and gone like comets in the night sky, which is a reflection of the authors’ enthusiasm to finish the job, and the formidable complexity of Squamish climbing today.

The Climbers Guide to Squamish is a two-volume expedition of more than 800 pages.  Their titles are volume One Squamish Comprehensive, and volume Two, Squamish Classics.

What’s in the Comprehensive Guide..?

Squamish Comprehensive is the complete reference guide to all Squamish rockclimbs since the earliest days of the 1950s.  The area covered is from Comic Rocks in the south to the Smoke Bluffs in the north, across to the the seacliffs of the west side of upper Howe Sound, and all the climbs on Mount Habrich and the Sky Pilot Group. There is also selective coverage of sport climbs north of Squamish.  To gain the fullest enjoyment from the guidebook, you’ll need a very big rack, a full set of draws, strong legs, curiosity, a new pair of approach shoes, a taste for the unknown, a boat, an ice axe, and a pack large enough to carry the guide. 

When will it be out..?

There are two answers.  The first is when it is polished, complete, and accurate in every corner.  The second is 2016, provided that the first answer has been fulfilled.  Progress has been good over the last four years, and the work is far advanced with many sections complete.

What’s in the Classics Guide..?

Squamish Classics  will be a celebration of the great rockclimbs of Squamish, with extensive topos and descriptions, and interesting background and history for each climb. The selection of a couple hundred climbs is based on the authors six decades of Squamish climbing, and extensive consultation with climbers. This selection of climbing experiences aims to create a compelling portrait of why Squamish rockclimbing is so magnetic to so many people.

There is a history..?

Yes, there will be history that describes the evolution of Squamish rockclimbing since the 1950s. The story will be set in the parallel context of climbing in North America and Europe, and the great changes that have occurred in climbing in the last 50 years.

Why is it taking so long..?

Good question.  There can be few places in the world with such a packed, complex web of umpteen thousands of pitches as Squamish, so a lot of time is needed to give it full justice.  The authors also need to get enough sleep, climb, and stay fit to finish the work.

Take a look at the old Squamish guides from the 1970s and 1980s and see how simple, small, and concise they were.  Today the situation is vastly more complex, while the expectation from climbers for quality presentation and extensive detailing is higher than ever.

Across North America, comprehensive guidebooks for climbers are a threatened species because of the heavy challenges they pose for development. In their place, select guides have become common because they are popular and require considerably less effort to produce.  A good, up-to-date comprehensive reference guide is essential for a climbing area to stay in touch with its roots and the story of its history. Without it, even good climbs can fall out of the popular scene, lost and forgotten except to a few old hands, and the sense of community slowly fractures and disappears.

Climbers have become much more diverse too, with widely differing values and sub-interests that bring contradictory expectations of what they want from a guide.  The Squamish guide has to meet everyone’s interests, be a pleasure to use, and cover the little-known places as thoroughly as the popular crags.  And not the least, have as few errors as possible.

There are stories in the guides..?

Yes, both guides will have two-page personal stories from many old Squamish hands telling tales of climbing in years gone by. They are rich stuff.

Are you looking for photos..?

Yes indeed.  We are especially interested in photographs that relate to the Squamish climbing life, action, ambience, or scenics.  We’re looking for eye-catching , unusual, funny, or rare pictures that capture a very special moment from which we can tell its story with extended captions.  Think of them as little mini-essays.  Action photos of climbers on good but little-travelled climbs are also a priority.

Will my new route make it in..?

We have what we believe to be a full record of all completed climbs to the end of the 2015 season. The chances of being able to fit your new route in are higher if you can tell us directly as soon as possible, and include full details: name, pitch grades, pitch lengths, route description, topo, and full ascent credits.  We will be publishing new climb updates in the years to come.

We’d love to hear from you … please write to or

Many thanks for all your patience..!

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