Although many TRULY monumental climbs occured during the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s, some still believe that Squamish rock was only in it’s infancy stage. (Compared to the route development that has occurred in the last 15 years or so). And that development includes the bouldering boom of the late 1990’s to present. People are discovering the magic of Squamish, and with the amount of climbers now living here permanently (and visiting annually), there is no slowing down on the pace of new grips to squeeze.
With that being said, back in ’92, a sickly strong, talented, motivated younger man named Jim Sandford, braved the long winters alone with his equally talented wife Jola, during a time when nobody else was living here accept for guide book authors, truck drivers, loggers and meth dealers. Bouldering was just starting to poke it’s head out from the caves of Hueco Tanks, and the crash-pad technology that we see today was non-existence. So, Jim, with his titanium tendons and Hilti Drill, put up a slew of Sport Climbs on the biggest of the Squamish boulders. Some were comfortized and enhanced, others were not.
Animal Magnetism is one such line. 18 years later it’s still a test-piece for climbers. Giving 5.13a, (or V7) it’s powerful for the grade. I personally wouldn’t hesitate if they called it V8. In 2006, Jason Kehl rolled into Squamish driving his oversized Hearse, and quickly set his sights on this 3 bolt “route” as a boulder problem. It’s one of the coolest things in Squamish, and his vision set others in motion. Jordan Wright repeated it in 2007, and if I’m not mistaken, it’s been climbed again by Jeremy Smith, and maybe Tyson Braun and Andrew Boyd as well. Not sure who else.
The bottom line is that it’s one of Squamish’s FINEST. A classic. A beautiful wall, a beautiful line, great holds, and spectacular movement. The only downside, is that it’s SCARY AS ALL HELL. The landing (if you choose to boulder it) is less than ideal. Blocky at the start, and high at the end. Also, if you blow the last move huck, there is a second tear that you can drop over and fall even further, to a most likely, un-padded place.
Yesterday, three of us, worked it on a TR (to refresh our minds) and set up 8 pads. I slipped off the first move on my first go, (stupid high-balling jitters) then I took 30 seconds to compose myself and sent the line. It felt more effortless than on a rope, I felt weightless and thoughtless as I surfed out for the jug at the lip. The granite agreed with me that day and I’ve been grinning ever since, what a spectacular feeling. Afterwards Young Marc Leclerc and Ben Harnden traded burns on the line, but failed to commit fully to last lurch.
Below, Jason the first ground up ascent. Photographer unknown. The bad landing warranted advanced “catcher-mit” pad spotting technology.
Below, a TR session shows the seriousness of the landing. There is no down-climbing, once you commit, it’s groundfall potential, every time.
Below, the fall from the crux.
All points off, you can see Little Ben’s hands reaching out from behind the sitting block. It’s where we anticipated the landing. The whole time Matt just sat bundled up and watched the action, ha ha ha! Which is okay by me, a spotter in the way isn’t going to do much but get hurt. Great day gentlemen, I cant’ wait to see what today will bring…