I have been in Squamish a lot this past month babysitting (or “hanging out with” as we prefer to call it) my nieces. It has been a bit chaotic, especially since I consider turning the volume on the radio past a dull murmur is too loud to bear. What can I say, I am used to peace and quiet. Buttoday, I found myself with a glorious afternoon free ….
So I headed to the Chief. I had come to Squamish unprepared – no decent shoes, no sports bra… but I did have my backpack and water bottle in the car. Note to self – that unsightly pile of running shoes that had been collecting in my backseat actually would have had a purpose…. put it back perhaps?
I have written about the Chief before – click here – so I will try not to repeat too much.
Did you know there are 189 routes for hiking and climbing the Chief? This is rather mind-blowing to me – I thought there were maybe… oh 10 options…. the 3 obvious ones to me are the ascents to First Peak, Second Peak and Third Peak… and a handful of rock climbing routes I am unfamiliar with (for now… see bucket list…).
Today I chose the simple, basic, go-to option of the route up to the First Peak. This 1.5km (one-way) trail climbs 540m to a total elevation of 610m. The views are spectacular long before you reach the summit. This summer I will definitely get over to the Second & Third Peaks…. the other 186 trails though might have to wait.
Something I find really cool about this place, well especially about the climbing community that frequents the cliff-face, is their voluntary protection of the local Peregrine Falcons, a species at risk. Every year (since the 1980s when the birds returned to the area), climbers close down the routes that would disturb this valuable habitat. Following the climbers’ lead, BC Parks started protecting the area and enforces the closures for approx May – July. I hope to someday write about this from a climber’s perspective.
I haven’t seen any Peregrine Falcons but have perhaps heard their characteristic “Kak, kak,. kak” call of alarm. These birds are pretty cool I must say! Did you know the name Peregrine means wanderer? I feel like I have just found a kindred spirit in this bird. Perhaps my blog should have been called The Peregrine? Oh well. They are also the fastest bird in the world – 320km/hr. Holy moly. That’s fast. Read more about them at Nature Canada.
More Links to help you hike the Chief:
- Official park website – Quick notes: camping facilities, dogs on-leash only.
- Google Map so you can get directions
- Full FlickR Gallery