When it comes to being “Hardwired for Adventure,” as Squamish’s new tag line proclaims, you’d be hard-pressed to beat Lesley Weeks’s family. Weeks, who works as the executive director for Tourism Squamish, started a mountain guiding company in Whistler in 2004. Her favourite spot is Smoke Bluffs, a location where her whole family can climb, hike and enjoy views overlooking downtown Squamish and the waters of Howe Sound.
Weeks is an increasingly rare breed in Squamish, which has seen an influx of newcomers, because she was born at Squamish General Hospital and graduated from Howe Sound Secondary School. “I have lived through the transition from a timber town to a tourism-based economy,” she says.
Currently on maternity leave from Tourism Squamish, she and her husband have a four-year-old son, Nash, and a one-year-old daughter, Piper. When it comes to those outdoor activities, Weeks hasn’t let motherhood slow her down. “We really enjoy rock climbing as a family; it’s a great activity, especially with a baby. One of us can stay at the bottom of the climb [with the baby] and belay while the other person can climb with Nash. We see plenty of families out climbing at Smoke Bluffs Park and at Murrin Provincial Park.”
About Smoke Bluffs Park
Talk to just about any rock climber from Squamish (or anywhere else in the Lower Mainland) and chances are that they learned to climb at the Smoke Bluffs Park, one of the very few specially designated rock climbing parks anywhere in North America. Almost every day of summer, the crags are filled with climbing instructors and students literally learning the ropes on beginner-friendly, top-roped pitches. Fancy having a bit of a go at the granite yourself? Introductory rock-climbing courses are offered by a few local companies.
More than 400 single-pitch climbs are accessible from a loop path that circumnavigates the bluff. It’s also a great hiking trail with scenic lookouts, and picnic tables are located throughout the park to enjoy a quick snack at the crags.