Son of Rock 2019

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Son of Rock is a rock climbing instructional school held annually in Spring. Exams are over, the rock is dry (hopefully), the snow sucks, and the days are long. The plan is to have several stations set up in the vicinity of the Smoke Bluffs in Squamish. There will be at least one (but most likely two) instructors at each station. All ability levels are welcome and no climbing experience is necessary. There will be 4 different climbing courses: 1: absolute beginner, 2: top rope anchor placements off bolts/trees and rappelling, 3: sport lead climbing (leading on bolt-protected routes), 4: trad lead climbing (leading on chocks, cams, etc), and 5: introduction to multipitch climbing (tentative depending on # of students and instructors). Group sizes will be determined by instructor availability. For a detailed curriculum of each level, please refer to the Google sheet [1].


May 4th & 5th

Organization for car groups and instructional groups will be done on Google docs, which will be posted in a few weeks. Please sign up on the trip page using the normal sign-up tool.

Camping: We will be camping at the Mamquam River Campground on Centennial Way which is about a 5 minute drive from the Smoke Bluffs Parking Lot.[2] We have reserved the campground for 100 people for Saturday night and a more limited number (TBD - will depend on the number of cars) on Friday night (May 3rd) for those that don't want to drive up Saturday morning. To cover the cost of the campground reservation, the cost of this trip is $10 per person as learner (it's free for instructors). It is important to note that there is no water at this campground, so make sure to fill up your water bottles somewhere in Squamish before you arrive. Noise restrictions will be imposed on us around 11pm as we will be sharing the campground with general users as well. More details about the camping setup will come at the trip meeting.

Saturday, May 4: 8:30am: Everyone meet in Smoke Bluffs Parking lot to collect into pre-assigned instructional groups. 9:00am: Leave Smoke Bluffs Parking lot in cars with people that are climbing in the same area as you. 9:30 Start climbing! 5pm Head out from the crags to Mamquam River Campground so that people can organize themselves for dinner. Lunch will be at the crag you are climbing with your rock group, so make sure to pack one! Dinner is held at various restaurant locations around Squamish (Howe Sound Brewpub being a favorite) or at the Mamquam River Camground (if you bring your own food). So eat, drink and be merry!

Sunday, May 5: There is no formal instruction, so today is a do what you want day, where you can put your newly acquired rock climbing skills to the test. Your timing is dependent on your car group. There will be optional volunteering which will count as a Workhike on Sunday morning.

***Important: BMO Marathon The BMO Marathon will be happening in Vancouver on Sunday and there will be road closures in the city, most of which will be reopened by the afternoon, so if you're climbing Sunday, this shouldn't really be a problem. But check them out [3] if you will be coming back in the middle of the day to plan your route.

Instructional Groups & Required Gear

Rock 1: Intro to Rock Climbing

For people with 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, knots for climbing, and rappelling (optional).

Gear you need

  1. Harness (can rent that from the club room). Make sure it fits you (ask the quartermaster for help fitting it).
  2. Helmet (also available at club room. Bicycle helmet works too but this is not ideal. It's not so much about hitting you head, it's more about stuff being dropped onto your head, such as stones or gear). Yes, you HAVE to have this - we won't let you climb without it.
  3. Climbing shoes. They should fit snugly but not so tight that they 'really' hurt. Available at the club room.
  4. A locking carabiner and a belay device. The VOC does not rent those out due to liability concerns. You can get them at MEC. These can be shared in teams of two as only one will be climbing and one will be belaying. Most people get this here belay device. It's relatively cheap but still works perfectly. For carabiners, get one with a screw lock and one that isn't too small (D- and Pear shape are best for belaying).

Optional*** If you want to learn how to rappel: a prussik cord is available from the club or MEC, and we will show you how to tie it, etc.

Rock 2: Intro to Anchor-Building and Rappelling

For people with Rock 1 experience (or equivalent) who want to learn how to build anchors and set up top ropes. Also covers basic rescue systems such as rope ascending and mechanical advantage systems. Please bring all the climbing equipment that you own. We will be covering many different types of anchor setup. Please indicate if you would like to spend some time climbing or focus more on setting up different anchors with different equipment.

Gear you need

  1. Everything from Rock 1 (harness, helmet (MANDATORY!), climbing shoes, locking carabiner & belay device)
  2. Something to anchor yourself such as a 48" sling or two 24" slings will do but it may be less comfortable (this may vary depending on your instructors' teaching preferences; discuss with your instructors at the pre-trip meeting before buying any unnecessary gear).
  3. Recommended: 4 locking carabiners for anchors, cordelette, cord for tying friction hitches (e.g. prussik)

If you have a rope or can borrow one from a friend, please bring that as well (**although please only borrow a rope from your friend if you are aware of the history of their rope care.**)

Rock 3: Intro to Lead Climbing (Leading on Bolt-Protected Routes)

For people with seconding/top-roping experience who want to learn how to lead climb on bolted protection. Topics covered include belaying a leader, clipping into bolts and rope management.

Gear you need

  1. Everything from Rock 2 (harness, helmet (MANDATORY!), climbing shoes, locking carabiner & belay device, slings, carabiners for anchors, cordelette, prussik)
  2. Rope and quickdraws if you can borrow them from a friend.

Rock 4: Intro to Traditional Climbing

For people with extensive experience leading on bolt-protected leads (sport climbing; Rock 3 equivalent) who wish to learn the art of traditionally-protected leads (leader placing removable protection).

Gear you need

  1. Everything from Rock 3 (harness, helmet (MANDATORY!), climbing shoes, locking carabiner & belay device, slings, carabiners for anchors, cordelette, prussik, rope, quickdraws)
  2. Traditional lead protection (nuts, cams, tricams, etc). Please do not purchase these items before Rock 4; only borrow from a friend if you can.

Rock 5: Intro to Multipitch Climbing (TENTATIVE)

For people with extensive experience leading on either bolt-protected or trad-protected leads (Rock 3 or Rock 4 equivalent) who wish to learn the art of multipitch climbing which includes, multipitch anchor systems, switching leads, and maybe rope rescue.

Gear you need

  1. Everything from Rock 4
  2. More locking beaners and slings