Longhike is a very popular annual event usually held on a weekend in late September. Despite the name, for the most part it does not involve hiking, although some years there is a "rock 0" hike. On Saturday there is a "rock school" in Squamish. This consists of small groups led by an instructor who is a VOC member with climbing experience. Groups climb at either Murrin Park or the Little Smoke Bluffs. All ability levels are welcome and no climbing experience is necessary. There are 4 levels of instruction:
- Rock 1: top-roping: Learn to put on a harness, belay and climb rock.
- Rock 2: anchor building: Learn to build different type of anchors for the purpose of top roping. Maybe rapelling should be taught here too.
- Rock 3: sport climbing: Learn to clip bolts, lead belay, how not to back-clip or z-clip, etc...
- Rock 4: trad climbing: Learn how to place a variety of protection, build trad anchors, etc...
Longhike is one of the few VOC events which has an associated cost. The reason for this is that you are provided with a place to stay, a hearty dinner, and music for a big party on Saturday night.
Sunday is a do what you want day, where you can put your newfound rock climbing skills to the test. Many instructors will have a club rope with them that they can lend out for Sunday... remember, these are for top-roping only.
Climbing equipment for Longhike can be borrowed from the VOC gear room. Contact one of the quartermasters to arrange what you need (Helmet, Harness and Rock Climbing Shoes). Note that Longhike is very popular and VOC equipment is limited, so you may have to share a harness or borrow from someone else. When you borrow VOC gear, you will have to sign up for a workhike, which must be completed before you can borrow gear again. Many instructors may have extra equipment they are willing to lend out to a student if you ask nicely.
Volunteering and Workhikes
Longhike needs volunteers to make it happen. We will have a Saturday night BBQ and bar. In addition we need people for selling t-shirts and songbooks and cleaning up following Sunday's breakfast. Anyone can help with this. Patient, safe and competent climbers are needed to be instructors for the event. All volunteers get credit for a workhike, and instructors get free party and BBQ.
History of Longhike
The longhike event dates back at least to 1954, although at that time the trip was a hike and not a rock climbing school. In 1960 prospective Members of the Varsity Outdoor Club were required to complete a LongHike before being voted into the Club. A "Short Long Hike" was created some weeks later to accommodate those who could not make it to the LongHike. For LongHike, a ferry was chartered to take Long Hikers to Woodfibre where we were put up in the school gymn, and served spaghetti. After a wild party we got to sleep on the gymn floor. The next day we set off in various groups to climb probably Roderick or Wrottesley, or maybe Sedgewick, before catching the chartered ferry back to Vancouver. This completed the "hiking requirement " for membership.