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Squamish Zone Adventure Weekend, BC 17-19 June 2005

 

Squamish Zone Adventure Weekend
17 to 19 June 2005
(submitted by Capt K. Prince)


On Friday evening, the 17 June 2005, thirteen Silver Star army cadets from the lower
mainland cadet corps with three CIC officers came together to fulfill an upcoming
weekend of adventure consisting of rock climbing and back packing. The Friday evening
at the North Vancouver drill hall consisted of staff briefings, cadet introductions, personal
equipment checks and necessary expedition gear issues for the weekend. All of the
personnel were issued Gortex jackets, sleeping bags, foamies, backpacks, tents for each
tent group, IMP cooking equipment and various individual gear for rock climbing. The
group was shown by Lt Lapshinoff on how to set-up the expedition tents inside the drill
hall and they all were able to set them up and check for all the parts that evening before
arriving in the field. An overall weekend overview and forecast was given by Captain
Prince, the OPI and the Lower Mainland Zone Adventure Coordinator to advise the
cadets what was to be expected for this exciting adventure weekend. Final equipment
checks and packing were completed before lights out.

On Saturday morning at 0530 hours, the cadets had reveille and the morning
preparations for the journey to Squamish were made. After an IMP breakfast and the
loading of all the backpacks and gear, the group departed North Vancouver for Squamish
in three vehicles driven by the expedition staff. The group arrived at the scenic Kinsman
Provincial campground in Squamish at 0730 hours. Immediately upon arrival, a quick site
briefing was given by Captain Prince and the group then set up tents, cooking areas and
equipment stores for the weekend. For the remainder of the morning due to light rain
showers, lectures were given by the staff in the covered cooking shelter. The cadets were
shown and fitted for climbing harnesses, climbing shoes and helmets. The cadets were
also shown how to put together and light the Primus mountaineering stoves. The cadets
packed the required gear for the rest of the day in their packs along with food, water and
climbing site ropes and carabiners to make preparations for the long awaited rock
climbing training. After a well deserved lunch, the group departed the campground on
foot for a 40 minute hike to the Smoke Bluffs Climbing areas. As soon as the cadets
arrived at the clearing and entrance to the popular Smoke Bluff areas, the breathtaking
views of the world famous Squamish Chief peaks could be seen by all. The staff quickly
secured two adjacent 75 foot rock climbing routes at the rock. After the anchors were
secured at the top of the rock face by the staff, and the ropes were set up, the cadets were
given a rock climbing and safety briefing at the bottom before the training started. The
two rope lines were only 15 feet apart and ranged from an easier novice level to a more
challenging advanced level. Each rope line involved two cadets, one rock climber and
one belayer. After some individual coaching and belaying instruction was given by the
staff, the cadets were able to carry out their training. The staff would offer further
coaching and instruction while supervising the activity. As the weather was in our
favour, the training turned out to be a success with each cadet trying out each rock
climbing route. Many experiences of challenge and adventure were shared by all of the
cadets during the activity. The group continued the training and took turns eating dinner
until just before dusk. Before dark and after the climbing site was taken down by staff,
the group stopped on a viewpoint overlooking the whole town and valley of Squamish.
The group carried on with packs and gear back down the main trail heading towards the
campsite. Once back at the group campsite, the cadets secured all the gear, ate some more
needed IMPís and relaxed for the rest of the evening. The group turned in early in their
tents after an intensive day and slept soundly for the night.

On Sunday morning, the cadets were up and ready for more adventure. After breakfast,
the gear was all packed and the tents were taken down. The group made preparations to
leave the campground and eventually left the campsite around 0930 hours. On the way
out of the town of Squamish, the group stopped at a climbing site park for some
bouldering activities. The cadets paired up again to practice hand and foot holds on the
lower level of the rock face. One cadet worked the rock with one cadet used as a safety
spotter. This activity carried on with cadets switching off with each other. The group had
lunch at the park before departing for North Vancouver. Once the group arrived back at
the North Vancouver Drill hall, the cadets de-kitted and cleaned up all the expedition
gear and re-packed their personal gear. Before dismissal, a weekend debrief was given by
Captain Prince and the rest of the staff. The cadets were also given the opportunity to
share their comments and experiences. The group agreed that the weekend was a major
success for the expedition program and more of these weekends should be conducted in
the future.