Useful Information for Planning Longhike
Things that need to be decided or done before Longhike
- Get the venue booked asap. We usually try and book the weekend before the long weekend, but we end up getting the long weekend. This is unfortunate because lots of people prefer longer trips for longer weekends, or they have to go home to visit the family, or something.
- Get all permits, especially liquor permit(s). The people who will require permits are the police, the venue, and the AMS (for insurance).
- Figure out a budget early so you know what tickets cost, to break even.
- Decide if instructors are free, or subsidized. This goes into the budget.
- If instructors get free tickets, figure out how many instructors you will need. Invite people to be instructors, and suggest qualifications.
- If there is going to be a hiking, not climbing option, find somebody to organize this, and publicize it clearly. Don't call it "Rock Zero". Note special carpool requirements for hikers.
When Selling Tickets
- Make it really clear that it's a members-only thing and you have to join to participate(to buy a ticket, even from somebody else).
- Tickets are non-refundable, but if they sell out there will be an after-market for tickets.
- We do not guarantee that there will be a carpool ride for you, but there usually is. You might have to take the bus.
Longhike Details (if you've never been to one)
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 and/or a "rock 2.5" intro to sport climbing. 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 3 levels of instruction:
- Rock 1: for people will little or no climbing experience, and who want to learn how to get off the ground safely. Topics covered include tying in, buddy checks, belaying, and possibly rapelling.
- Rock 2: for people with some climbing experience who want to learn how to build anchors and set up top ropes. Topics covered include anchor building and rappelling.
- Rock 3: for people with extensive seconding experience who want to learn how to lead climb. Topics covered include belaying a leader, gear placement and rope management
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. The past few years this has been at the Coast Mountain Outdoor School outside of Pemberton.
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. Because Longhike is on the long weekend, keeners could also camp out in the Chief campground, and climb until Monday if they wish.
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. The food at this year's longhike will be cooked by the onsite staff, but the club still needs volunteers to sell t-shirts and songbooks, and cleaning up following Sunday's breakfast. Anyone can help with this. Patient, safe and comptent climbers are needed to be instructors for the event. All volunteers get credit for a workhike, and instructors a get free party and meals. Due to lodging restrictions however, instructors are usually expected to bring their own tents.
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.