Mason Pitchel

 Climb: Weichei (V10) 

Born and raised in New England, I started climbing at the age of 9. Climbing for me began indoor as a competitive sport, but I quickly realized that I was far more invested in real rock. I do still enjoy competitions, but I find a day spent among friends scrambling between boulders and trying to keep skin on our fingertips is much more fulfilling than standing on top of a podium.

I just made the move to Squamish to attend Quest University Canada. Quest’s academic system is remarkably conducive to a climber’s lifestyle. It operates on the block plan, meaning students take one class at a time for 3 and a half weeks, and then get a four day break before starting the next class. One only spends three hours in class per day (plus 6 or so hours of homework), so it makes it easy to get out to the crag or the boulders for a short session whenever it’s dry.

The climbing in Squamish is the most accessible I’ve ever seen. From Quest, a 10 minute drive puts one at the base of the Chief. 15 minutes in the other direction drops one right in the middle of Cheakamus Canyon, a sport climber’s paradise. Everything is so close that a session on world class granite feels as easy as going to a climbing gym back home.

Success, for me at least, can be measured by how preoccupied I am in the days following my climbing. If I can’t focus in class, or if I have trouble falling asleep at night, it usually means that I left whatever goal I had in mind unaccomplished. Of course, I’m always daydreaming about being back on my projects, but if I can go home satisfied with my progress (or lack thereof) the day was a successful one.

When the weather gets bad, as it often does here in Squamish, I spend my time training, and getting outside in any other capacity: hiking, biking, camping etc. It’s important for me to set goals for myself, so that I have something to keep me motivated until I can get back outside. There are a few climbs that have caught my eye: it would be incredible to climb the Method. I can’t think of a boulder that better represents that Squamish style: strange and delicate, but with a considerable amount of power required. And finicky. Very finicky. Also, before I graduate, I’d like to climb every line on the Cacodemon Boulder. But there’s plenty of time for that.