by Andy Dahlen
My first night in Squamish was spent sleeping in my car in the Chief parking lot during a rainy, rainy night. I was unable to meet
everyone at the start of the trip due to work commitments so at the end of my work day in Seattle, I jumped in my car and headed north. As I didn't want to barge into an unknown house and wake up
everyone at 1am, I curled up in my backseat until morning. I was welcomed in the morning by Steve, Alex, John, Ryan, and Jim and we settled into planning what we could climb, if the rain decided
let up & the walls were able to get just enough sun to dry.
After a day of sport climbing at Cheakamus Canyon, day or two of wet and muddy trail running, John, Steve, and I were finally able
to get on the Chief (Cruel Shoes to Grand Wall) on our last day together.
I had been slightly anxious to show up late to my group's first development session but those thoughts were quickly erased with
homemade group dinners, talks of our future trips together, and time spent at cramped belays. Of course getting to spend a week climbing in Squamish with a bunch of strong climbers is a
blast but getting to hang out with people you have only read about and have climb some of their routes is something else. The experience from this trip that I had the biggest impact on me was
hanging out at Perry's house. He made us a delicious pasta dinner and got to hear what climbing meant to him, which helped me put my own climbing and the decisions I make in life in perspective.
He was incredibly hospitable and I can only hope to repay his generosity someday. While this is only the beginning, I feel that we all contribute to the group in different but beneficial and
symbiotic ways. I'm psyched to be able to spend time with these guys and our mentors in some of the most amazing locations in the world.