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The Squamassiff – A Scrubber’s Tale
With its unapologetic and at times whimsical tone, The Squamassiff – A Scrubber’s Tale is a guidebook that manages to beautifully merge the need for accurate climbing information with the ability to entertain while still providing genuine insight to a lost climbing era.
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The Squamassiff – A Scrubber’s Tale By Splodge

Yes, this is a rather strong opening statement. After all, the cover lists the book’s author as someone named Splodge. But if climbers can get past this initial piss-take they’ll understand why this guide is so important, especially in today’s world of sanitized climbing experiences.

The book’s actual author is the occasionally controversial Robin Barley (Splodge is the name of his “very cerebral dog”), a climber who’s arguably one of the world’s most prolific new route developers. Barley has been developing new lines for longer than most current climbers have been alive. Perhaps it’s this longevity (and his initial exposure to climbing in the UK) that creates the book’s unique voice.
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Saucy Images

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Never too young to use a come-along.

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The Lonely Scrubber

Unlike traditional guides, this book embodies an anti-establishment ideal that was so core to climbing in the past. It’s full of entertaining route descriptions, quirky British humour and saucy images – a combination that makes the reader feel they are connecting with a time when climbing was about more than just going to an indoor gym with a double soy latte. Back then climbers smoked cigarettes, they cursed, drank whisky and had a sense of humour that was not constrained by the ideals of political correctness. That a guidebook can so effectively convey these notions without overtly addressing them is remarkable.

But to only focus on the book’s overall feel overlooks the fact that this guide also provides current information on the new route development in this Squamish area. Barley (or is it Splodge?) has provided a good mix of cliff topos and accurate route descriptions ensuring that even visiting climbers can get on the right climb.

Finally, all the proceeds from this guide are being donated to the Squamish Mountain Rescue Service.

Highly recommended even if you never make it to Squamish.

The Squamassif - A Scrubber's Tale retails for $10 and is available at MEC Vancouver, select shops in Squamish or directly from the author at jhkomori@shaw.ca.
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Gus Alexandropoulos is a freelance writer who has been involved in the outdoor industry for over 35 years. During his career he has been the editor at Canada’s national climbing magazine, as well as the gear editor for a national cycling magazine, triathlon magazine and running magazine. His work has been published in Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, and he has been a guest on television and radio broadcasts. His passion for climbing began in Ontario in the mid-80s and he continues to travel extensively in search of crisp conditions and steep rock.