The Squamish hard core: a rainy rhyme

by Raymond Parker on September 24, 2012

in Adventure, Climbing, Poetry

Huddled in the car, listenin’ to Morningside, on CBC radio
‘Idin’ from Squamish’s “eternal pissin’ rain”
Me mate Frank’s face-down in the tent, ‘is ‘ead in a pot
With a bloody whoppin’ migraine

We was goin’ for the Grand Wall
Planned to fix the bolts today
Wouldn’t ya bleedin’ know it
Summut would stand in our way

I bought meself a new flat ‘at
Just like Don Whillans used to wear
Made sure me white canvas pants
Was in perfect repair

When I noticed them mare tail clouds
Last night whispin’ ‘cross the sky
I said to meself, “Ey, ey, will our route be dry?”
Then, when in the night I heard big raindrops fall
I thought, Bloody ‘ell, we’ll never ger up that wall

The weather office says more storms are in line
Waitin’ to march ashore and turn that rock to slime

I might as well drive into Squamish
And forget this waitin’ game
The face of the Chief is wreathed in cloud
And there ain’t nobody to blame

Now Whillans was an ‘ard man
Of that you can be sure
‘Im and that mighty Joe Brown
Climbed Welsh crags as slick as manure

Uz boys in Squamish though
Are of a different breed
When it rains, we’ve got brains
We repair to the café and read

We figure no sense in gettin’ yer socks wet
Slidin’ ‘round in mid-air
When yer EBs won’t grip, I’ll give you a tip:
It’s more comfortable ‘ere in this chair

You can gorge y’self out
on cheese, bread and sprouts
Drink tea ‘til it comes out yer ears
Rather these treats than death-defyin’ feats
While wrestlin’ with ‘orrible fears

So, we’ll give ‘im ‘is due
Whillans the darin’ man who
Climbed lines that’d freak me an’ you
But when all’s done and said
‘E must ‘ave bin a bit daft in the ‘ead
Either that, or ‘e ‘ad glue on ‘is shoes

August 26, 1980


And so, the summer climbing season drew to a close on a soggy patch of decrepit tarmac—remains of the old highway—known to Squamish climbers as “Psyche Ledge.” The weather cleared in the fall, allowing for a few more sunny adventures, including an ascent of the Coleman Headwall, on Mount Baker, making 1980 my most frenetic period of alpine activity.

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