Squamish makes Me Sad

Few things make me feel as sad and frustrated as driving through Squamish.  The Chief there in it’s glory, and if you look at the right place at the right time seeing it dotted with tiny climbers.  Remembering what it was like to come up here every single weekend.  Young, bronzed, able to take on the world.  Dreaming of being able to be a nomadic climber and wanting nothing more than being able to get a van or old car and drive to some climbing mecca and do nothing but climb all day for weeks.  I never did that, but at that time it was possible to do, and to dream about.

Me standing on top of the bluffs in squamish with a climbing harness on and climbing gear.

I think about how I thought nothing of trekking into the bush and following the iffy directions to a new route from a dog eared climbing guide with a hole drilled in it so I could hang it off my gear sling.  Setting up with Lawrence or Brad or whoever was around and just spending the day going around to our favorite spots.

Now that’s not even something I could even imagine these days.  I’m old, fat, and my shoulder goes “ping” when I move it the wrong way.  That time feels lost, completely and totally and I feel like crying from the sadness of all that it was.

I feel happy that I was able to do those things.  Those are memories that I’ll have (hopefully) forever and I can tell people that I was one of the dirty, sweaty climbers who’d come into MacDonald’s midday and consume a few burgers to refuel before heading out.  The ones sitting on the ground at Moraine Lake (pronounced “murine” so of course we called it “urine lake”) under the smooth rocks while the tourists went by looking at us, and we knew that we were the ones who belonged there, the ones that were tied (sometimes literally) to the rock and were going to stay there, working a bouldering problem until our fingers gave out while everyone else came and went.

I’d love to go back there. I dream and fantasize that it’s somehow possible, but in my heart of hearts I know that that chapter is over.

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