Rock Party

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Rock Party (formerly know by its historical name Longhike) is a very popular annual event usually held on a weekend in late September. Despite the former name, for the most part it does not involve hiking. 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, the Smoke Bluffs, Area 44, or Check Recreation Site. All ability levels are welcome and no climbing experience is necessary. There are 5 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. Learn how to rappel.
  • 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...
  • Rock 5: introduction to multipitch climbing: Learn how to use rope systems, build tree anchors, belay from the top of the climb, switch leads, etc.

More details on rock levels can be found here [1]

Rock Party is one of the few VOC events which has an associated cost ($40 for students and $20 for instructors in recent years). 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. Usually, a number of VOCers help with volunteer activities on Sunday as well, including trailwork, cleaning activities or other miscellaneous tasks where help is needed by the Mamquam River Campground (venue) staff or by the Squamish Access Society (SAS - local rock climbing advocacy and volunteer group).


Climbing equipment for Rock Party 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 Rock Party 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

Rock Party needs volunteers to make it happen. We will have a Saturday night BBQ and bar. In addition we need people for setup on Saturday, selling raffle tickets & beer tickets, checking IDs, clean-up around the campground, and volunteer activities on the Sunday. Anyone can help with this (although certain requirements may apply for certain tasks such as being 19 or older and having Serving It Right or the Special Event Server course certification for alcohol related activities). Patient, safe and competent climbers are needed to be instructors for the event. All volunteers get credit for a workhike, instructors get $20 off their ticket price, and volunteers get $10 off their ticket price.

History of Longhike

The longhike event dates back at least to 1945 (see VOCJ50 article by Tami Knight, page 28)(ref. to 1954 event)[2], although at that time the trip was a hike and not a rock climbing school.

In 1958 Longhike consistied of taking a Ferry to Britannia, hiking up mount Shear, and partying all night. Next morning people slept in, then went to a rock school or a tour of the copper mine.

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 gym, 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.

In the 1970s there was usually a rock school in Murrin Park on Saturday, while some went hiking or climbing to other locations. One year the rock school portion was even done on second peak after hiking up the Chief. On Saturday night there was dinner at the Whistler cabin followed by dancing the night away, often to the club's traditional "Salty Dog Rag". Sunday was usually a hike to various locations with smaller groups.


See Category: Rock Party and Category: Longhike for both past events and the next trip. The new trip page for the year is usually posted in early September.