You Want Me to Camp Where?! Cliff Camping with Yervana Local Tony
If the thought of falling asleep with 300 metres of exposure below you, the gentle wind lulling you to bed and the next morning waking up to a gorgeous sunrise across the Howe Sound is appealing, then cliff camping might just be the next adventure to add to your bucket list!
Our Squamish Local, Tony, is excited to share his passion for climbing and the outdoors with his cliff camping experience. For Tony, rock climbing has been the principal focus of his entire adult life, he is a certified ACMG Rock Guide and an accomplished climber himself. His most recent adventures led him to tackle the big walls of Yosemite in California.
How safe is cliff camping?
As an experienced climber, Tony has been cliff camping or using what is called a portaledge for years to get up big walls and mountains. If a climb cannot be accomplished within a day’s time, climbers are required to sleep on the wall using a portaledge so they can continue their ascent the next day. Portaledges are safe, rectangular frames with a strong and hard nylon fabric. Tony describes sleeping in one as, “comfortably lying in a hammock that doesn’t bend and always stays horizontal.”
How to try cliff climbing in Squamish
Tony realised that cliff camping could be an incredible experience for climbers and non-climbers alike. With his adventure, you will camp on the famous Stawamus Chief in Squamish and even have the option to climb a route or two! Tony stressed that if you aren’t a climber, don’t worry! There are always other options besides climbing to get on and off the wall.
All the necessary cliff camping gear is provided by Tony during your adventure, so you’ve no excuse not to up your camping game! First, you’ll get to experience the Chief by hiking up the trail. From there you’ll rappel down to the portaledge which Tony will already have safely set up. Once at the portaledge, you can try climbing some routes before hunkering down for a peaceful night’s sleep. In the morning you’ll have the opportunity to climb off the wall to get back to the hiking trail. Tony will have everything organized so you won’t have to worry about anything (including how to relieve yourself!).
When I asked Tony what his favourite part of guiding was he said that being on the ‘rock’ is his happy place and that he enjoys getting to share that experience with people from all walks of life and backgrounds.
Still working up the nerve to go cliff camping? Give these other climbing adventures a try first!