I'm here to tell you about a shed.
Read on if that captured your attention. I mean, how could it not?
"I moved to Squamish for the [ insert outdoor activity here ]." This is a sentence overheard a thousand times here in town. Whether you live in a campground, out of your car, on your friends’ couches or, for the lucky few, in an actual apartment and whether you bike, run, kite, climb, paddle or hike, we've all been on the opposite side of that introduction: “I moved to Squamish for the [insert outdoor activity here].”
How many people have replied to that sentence up with, “But what do you do when it rains?” Today the answer might sound something like, "You can drop by the co-op" (the town’s climbing gym in a garage). Or if you're extra cool: "Ground-Up Climbing Centre will open next month and we can all live happily ever after". But what did people do before we had these options? What did they do when their outdoor plans were derailed by rain?
Well, they had the old hostel.
What? Yes, that was my reaction as well. I moved to Squamish in 2013, at which time the new Squastel was just a purple and green building called “The Inn on the Water” that I drove by every day. I never gave it a second thought. The shed beside “The Inn on the Water”, however, must have caught my eye 300 times. You see, as a young climber moving to Squamish in order to become the next Adam Ondra, I was in the process of building a bouldering cave and daydreaming about converting everything in sight into a climbing wall. I couldn’t help thinking that shed would be a cool climbing space.
Cut to today, November 2015.
Here I am standing in that very shed with Dave, one of the new owners of the Squastel. Upon closer examination I was amazed to see the entire shed was covered in plywood and t-nuts. I asked Dave about it, and he recounted that back in 2003 this shed was one of Squamish's few indoor climbing spots. Over a decade ago it was people’s answer to “What do you do when it rains?” Guests were crushing woody problems in this humble shed before the words co-op and Ground Up were on anyone's radar. Who knew!
Now that's a bit of Squamish secret history we're proud of.
Boris is a mostly homeless individual whose van is taking way longer to pimp out than YouTube promised. He now has a job helping restore the Squastel to its former glory of being Squamish's premier accommodation and activity hub for traveling souls and adventurers.