Zap Crack, Squamish

by Jasmin Caton
Spring 2009 - Classic Climbs

The first time I saw Zap Crack it was completely soaked. I had spent an hour hiking up to the Valley of Shaddai, an obscure and remote (by Squamish standards) crag with a steep approach through beautiful old-growth forest. Despite the fact that I had only seen the climb in the guidebook photo, I recognized it immediately as I walked along the base of the cliff. Curving seams and face-features above the ground linked into a striking big-fingers splitter that broke the gently overhanging, pale pink granite wall.

Zap Crack is off the beaten path, but possesses many qualities of a classic climb, from the beautiful line on highquality granite, to the varied climbing (technical crimps to a desperately flaring crack to steep sinker finger locks), to the fact that the route will remain dry in a light drizzle (an important quality in Squamish).

Two years later I returned to climb Zap Crack with my friend Mandoline. We approached the climb respectfully; the delicate entry moves required funky gear placements from tenuous stances and we were all too aware that a botched clip or sloppy gear could mean hitting the ground. We spent several days top-roping the climb, only getting in a few burns before our skin was too broken from the sharp jams in the upper crux of the route to continue. The base of Zap Crack started feeling like our own private crag. The routes nearby are rarely climbed, and we could enjoy our beautiful moss-covered, fern-dotted surroundings in solitude; laughing, singing, and being our loud, buoyant selves.

The day I redpointed Zap Crack I was thrilled, but I lingered at the base, tossing my rope and rack into my backpack. I knew that the idyllic experience of working this great route with a great friend was going to be hard to surpass.

About the Author

After winning the birthplace lottery and growing up at a backcountry ski
lodge in British Columbia’s stunning Valhalla Mountains, Jasmin Caton has forged a life centered around beautiful, wild places. She recently completed her master’s in hydrogeology, guides both rock climbing and backcountry skiing, and eagerly ventures wherever perfect cracks and great skiing take her, usually with her husband Evan, and their dog, Benny, in tow.