August 16, 2017
It is a rare opportunity for us to get away from our busy tandem paragliding season in the summer, so we were pumped on the opportunity to head for Squamish, BC in our van, Pancho, and attend the Climbing Academy. We took the roundabout route through Canada on the way to Squamish from Jackson, Wyoming and enjoyed the beautiful driving and a few awesome campsites.
The Climbing Academy was a blast. On Friday afternoon, we swung through the Arc’teryx HQ in North Vancouver for a tour and to pick up some gear courtesy of our friends at Arc’teryx. In between the organized events over the weekend, we also found time to catch up with a few friends, check out some of the amazing BC bike trails and even got a little paragliding in!
We attended two courses over the weekend. On Saturday we signed up for an ‘Adventure Photography’ class taught by photographer Paul Bride. We learned some ins and outs of the climbing photography business and what goes on behind the scenes in those epic photos you see in climbing magazines. Then the guys took us out to a local crag so we could try out some new skills on the rock. On Sunday, we headed out to the popular Smoke Bluffs area again for a ‘Gym to Crag’ class with a local instructor and got to practice some basic outdoor climbing skills: setting anchors, rappelling, belaying, and a little intro to crack climbing as a bonus! Both of us have done a little climbing sporadically over the years, but never had any formal instruction, so it was great to refresh our skills and make sure we are dialled in for future adventures.
It was great to get out on the road and explore a new place for a few days, and Tala dog was particularly excited about her first big road trip with us since we brought her home from Arizona this spring. We sprawled out in our plush hotel room in Squamish and took full advantage of the showers and kitchenette over the weekend. We also got the chance to try out some of our new goodies from our #livethatvanlife sponsorship while we were in Squamish. Here’s a little more insight into some of the gear that we used over the weekend:
These harnesses were amazing– head and shoulders above anything else we have tried. Lightweight and super comfortable, the Warp Strength Technology system spreads load across the entire width of the harness structure instead of a single piece of webbing, making it far more comfortable and supportive than a traditional climbing harness. They are simple, clean, and easy to adjust. We fell in love with these over the weekend!
These are becoming my favorite softshell shorts. They are super breathable, and not at all restrictive. The front zipper pockets are easily accessible in a climbing harness and the smartphone sleeve is a convenient spot to hold a phone, even when on the mountain bike.
These are my ideal all-around casual shorts. They are stylish enough to wear around town, and functional enough to climb in. I love the big yet low-profile pockets and stretchy comfort.
This is a layer you throw your pack and almost forget it’s there until you need it. It packs down to almost nothing, and is super lightweight, but perfect when you need a bit of extra warmth or protection from the breeze. It was ideal for the cloudy days and light rain we saw in Squamish, as well as some of the blustery days when we needed something to take edge off of the chill. It is stylish enough to wear to dinner or around town after the sun goes down too.
The Mythos was a perfect shoe for Squamish. The moccasin-like comfort helped me spend all day at the crag and the low profile toe was perfect for the infamous Squamish crack climbing
The Tarantulace is a great all around shoe and it was great for our ‘Gym to Crag’ class. It is comfortable enough to spend some time in, but still has good performance, so I was ready for whatever the class had to offer.
These are our favorite Sportiva approach shoes by far. The adjustable toe box makes them comfy for both of our feet, although Cade’s are wider than average and Becca’s are relatively narrow. The sticky rubber provides plenty of grip, and the high amount of rubber coverage is perfect for getting technical while on the way to a climb (or on the way to a paragliding launch!).
This pack is lightweight and versatile. Made with climbing in mind, it was super functional on our days at the crag– it carries a rope easily with plenty of room left for other gear–whether it be lunch or camera equipment. I even used it to carry a lightweight paraglider!
I have used this pack for everything in the last few months– biking, big day hikes, and even carrying camera equipment when we’re out shooting. It’s light, low-profile yet roomy, and has lots of pockets for all the necessities. It also has an integrated rain cover that came in extra handy for those drizzly days in Squamish.
All photos courtesy of Becca Bredehoft