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Posts Tagged ‘The Stawamus Chief’

Location: Squamish, British Columbia

Elevation: 702 metres

Range: Pacific Ranges

Candidate: #57

World-class rock climbing. Yosemite North. Smaller version of Half Dome. At 702 metres high, the Stawamus Chief (a.k.a. The Chief) is not going to compete with Canada’s soaring peaks. But it is a mountain of great significance. Its physical features, accessibility, popularity with climbers and tourists alike, and geology, not to mention its stunning appearance when first viewed along the Sea to Sky Highway when coming from Vancouver, make this mountain a must for the list of Canada’s 100 famous Mountains.

Formed as a pluton of granodiorite way back in the Early Cretaceous (about 100 millions years ago), the rock was gradually brought to the surface by the erosion of overlying material, largely by glacial activity in the last 2.5 million years, and also by uplift caused by tectonic movement along the Pacific boundary. In the final stages of glacial activity, the rock was entirely covered by ice and the glacier that carved out Howe Sound – a fjord – also cut away at the rock, creating a face in the same manner and similar in appearance as Half Dome in Yosemite Valley. The Chief is the second largest granite monolith in the world and bears many features of interest, including deep gulleys, marvelous examples of glacier polish, an array of various sizes of boulders, prime examples of exfoliation (a kind of sheet weathering in strong-quality granite), and a dyke of later-formed igneous material that intruded into a split in the granite monolith. It is also home to peregrine falcons.

The Chief’s excellent rock climbing conditions and the surrounding Coast Mountains have helped make Squamish a world-class climbing destination. However, tourists who are content to simply stand and gawk or snap a few shots can enjoy a visit to the Chief as well as boulder enthusiasts and hikers. The Chief is divided into three peaks and well-maintained hiking trails allow access to the first two summits to hikers. The highest summit is the third summit which is a little more difficult to access and thus less popular. The views from the First Summit over Howe Sound are spectacular.

Photos:

Flickr 100 famous Mountains of Canada

Further reading:

Wikipedia

VancouverTrails

BCParks

TrailPeak

TourismSquamish (very good 360-degree movable view)

SquamishHiatus

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