Great Weekend of Rock Climbing, Windsurfing, and Freediving

Here’s one of my dilemmas: I love to catch up on sleep on the weekends, but at the same time I love to take a full advantage of the day. The two don’t go hand in hand. On Saturday I decided to compromise my beauty sleep for a day full of fun! Got all my gear ready the night before so as soon as I woke up at 5:45am I was out the door on my way to Squamish!

We started our day with climbing at Murrin Park. It was still chilli in the morning, but as soon as we started climbing, the clothing layers were slowly coming off. The whole morning we were glancing at the wind charts, and by around 1pm, the winds picked up high enough for us to head over to “The Spit” in Squamish to windsurf. It was my first riding session this season, and it was amazing! The wind conditions were just perfect for my level, it’s been awhile since I had my share fulfilled windsurfing!

As the winds slowly started to die off, we got all our gear packed up, another decision was waiting to be made: What do we do next? It was 6pm, we still had two and a half hours left of daylight, so why not go back to climbing! We climbed pass till the sun went down into the night! At that moment I was thinking: What a great day it was!

The next day, I decided to sleep in until 8:30pm. Being super sore from the day before, I wasn’t too prompt at leaving the house. My first stop was at the drop zone in Pitt Meadows, I was hoping to get one skydive in before I head to Squamish to windsurf. Unfortunately they didn’t have a load available any time soon for me to get a ride to altitude. So I decided to meet my buddy at his place where I met his roomies, and fortunately I came at the right time when they were making breakfast, I was served the best salmon egg benny ever!

After having my appetite filled with delicious food, we were on our way to Squamish! Unfortunately the winds weren’t as great as they were the day before, so I decided to leave earlier and go to Porteau Cove to freedive.

The freediving session went great. It was my first time freediving at that wreck diving site, the wrecks aren’t too deep (40 to 70 feet), but it’s still a little further than my comfort level. I got scared a couple times, specially freediving by myself and knowing that if I pass out underwater there would be no one to save me. It’s a little scary feeling to be dropping towards the darkness, everytime I keep on reminding myself to stay calm and not panic, it will not help to panic but only get you into trouble.

One thing that I found was interesting is having a couple murky layers underwater. The first time I dived, I had one of the layers confused with the bottom, later to realise that it was just the end of the murky layer underwater, and I still had to dive deeper to get to the bottom. Unfortunately I couldn’t record any videos because my GoPro froze right when I was already in the water (so couldn’t take it apart to get the battery out for it to restart).

Overall this week has been awesome! Looking forward for more weekends like this!

Rock Climbing at Murrin Park

Rock Climbing at Murrin Park

Windsurfing at The Spit

Windsurfing at The Spit

Trying out different gopro attachments

Trying out different gopro attachments

Windsurfing at The Spit

Windsurfing at The Spit

The Spit in Squamish

The Spit in Squamish

View from our second climbing spot: Smoke Bluffs

View from our second climbing spot: Smoke Bluffs

This wall is called Neat and Cool at Smoke Bluffs. My partner second to rappel down after setting up a top rope.

This wall is called Neat and Cool at Smoke Bluffs. My partner second to rappel down after setting up a top rope.

Climbed until dark. Was a peaceful feeling!

Climbed until dark. Was a peaceful feeling!

Riding ‘Lava Flow’ Trails, Squamish

Lately I had an urge to explore some off road trails on my Enduro motorcycle. The motorcycle that I own is a Honda XR650, street legal dirt bike. It is very powerful, but at the same time very heavy, which makes it very cumbersome and hard to ride more difficult trails. I was looking to find something not too tough, yet challenging enough for my heavy bike.

Living in British Columbia, there’s never a shortage of trails to explore. The area we decided to go ride is in Squamish, called ‘Lava Flow.’ See attached picture for the area map…

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The trail we decided to take is called “Blaine’s Connector” which eventually turns to an intermediate trail “Blindside.” In the beginning I had a little difficulty with handling my heavy motorcycle, but as we got to Blindside, the trail became harder and harder. I got stuck many times, and it required lots of strength and energy to continue on the trail. I was soaked from sweat, and at the end I had no more energy for anything else. I was glad when we were back! It’s been awhile since I have worked so much!

Lesson learned; I need a smaller motorcycle for this level of riding. Will definitely be back with a more suitable bike!

Climbing The Sky Walker At Shannon Falls, Squamish

Around noon on Sunday, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do that day. I called my friend, Salvador, and he told me he was on his way to Squamish to do a multi-pitch climb. I decided to join him and I got everything ready as quickly as possible and decided to join him and another friend for the day of climbing adventure! It has been ages since I had been climbing, so my friend and I agreed that I wouldn’t do much work like leading and rope management, I would just concentrate on being the camera man (which I really enjoy doing anyway).

We got to Shannon Falls in Squamish, found a spot to park the car, got ready and made our way through a hiking trail that lead to the start of the climb. The climb is called “Sky Walker,” (5 pitch trad climb) and it wasn’t a very difficult climb, which was a good way for me to get back into climbing.

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We started our climb a little late, around 3:30pm, and we were expecting to get back around 8pm. Since there were 3 of us and my friends didn’t bring all the gear necessary for that type of climb, it took us a bit longer than we expected. The sun started to go down while we were finishing the 3rd pitch, and we still had 2 pitches left to climb! We hadn’t prepared ourselves very well, we only had one head lamp, we’d run out of water and we ate all the snacks that I’d taken. So we were really hungry, thirsty, and trying to hurry to finish the climb before it got dark. Our rope was barely long enough, but luckily we were able to combine the last two pitches into one. Once we got up to the top it was pitch black. We were very satisfied with the climb, and enjoyed the moment of being at the top in the darkness while we got all our gear ready for the hike down. It felt really peaceful…

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The hike down took a good 30 to 45 minutes, after which we finally got back to my car. Unfortunately my day wasn’t over, my friend dropped his keys down the cliff during the climb. So I had to drive all the way to his house to get the spare keys, and back to his car. Which meant another 2 and a half hours of driving. I felt like a zombie the next day at work. But the experience was worth it!

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3 Day Long Weekend = 3 Trips

Day 1 – Windsurfing in Squamish

I wouldn’t really call this much of a trip since Squamish is only an hour away from the city, but it’s a fun place for windsurfing. Saturday early morning, I loaded my equipment and headed to Squamish. Once I got there, I quickly assembled my sail (which is becoming easier these days, I used to really dislike doing it), put on my thick wetsuit and jumped in the water. Like always, I was having a blast windsurfing! It’s one of my favorite sports!

As the day progressed, the winds picked up to 30knots, and I was riding with a 6.0 meter sail, which is quite big for winds of that kind of intensity. I felt overpowered while riding, and was feeling a little nervous too, but I still kept at it as much as I could until I had no more energy left and my legs started cramping up. I came home in the evening exhausted and very bruised from all the falling, and I passed out to be ready for Day 2.

 

Day 2 – Flight to Campbell River for Skydiving

Last year I promised my sister to take her to Campbell River where she could take her First Jump Course (http://pacificairsports.com/learn.php). Early Sunday morning, I pulled myself out of bed, and headed to the airport to prepare the airplane for the flight. We took off from Pitt Meadows Airport and flew to Campbell River (a little town in Vancouver Island). It’s only an hour and ten minutes flight on the airplane, compared to having to drive and take the ferry (which is a hour trip), sometimes it’s worth being a pilot J. Once we got to Campbell River, my sister and her friend went to the classroom for the course, and I went off to start jumping. I did four skydives that day, and I even had time to finish writing an exam for my B licence. Overall it was a very productive day!

We flew back late that evening, and got home at 11pm. Feeling even more exhausted than I did the day before, I passed out once again for only a few hours of sleep till I had to wake up for Day 3.

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Day 3 – Trip to La Push for Surfing

I had heard lots of good things about La Push, but never found a chance to go until that day. The Twilight movies had been filmed there, so if you’ve seen those, you’d know it’s a very beautiful place. I was very excited to go surfing there. So excited that it was enough to  get me out of bed super early on Monday morning.

 

The trip to La Push from Vancouver is about 5 hours if you plan everything well and reservations for the ferry are made in advance. Obviously for us it was a new experience, and a learning curve, too. We didn’t book the ferry (never making that mistake again). It took us seven and a half hours to get there, and I was even thinking of turning back before arriving because I didn’t think we’d have time to get back that night (I had to get back to work the next day). But then I thought, ‘no way! I’m gonna get there and get back no matter what! Even if it means not sleeping the whole night to drive back home the long way if I miss the last ferry!’ And we did, we got to La Push, and it was indeed a beautiful place! The waves weren’t too big but they were really fun to play with. I caught a few really fun waves that definitely made my trip worth it! On the way back we caught the late ferry, and arrived home around 1 o’clock in the morning. I was a walking zombie the next day at work, but that’s the price to pay if you want to have fun!

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Windsurfing in Squamish – Learning to Waterstart!

There’s always that unforgettable moment when after a very long time of trying something and failing, and one day finally getting it! For me it was to learn how to water start in windsurfing. It was always one thing that was holding me back as a windsurfer, and now, thanks to my friend who showed me the proper way of doing it, I finally got it! Here’s my video from this Saturday’s epic day of windsurfing in Squamish!