Arc'teryx Climbing Academy July 20-23 | Squamish BC

The Art of Sending It: Arc’teryx Climbing Academy

Despite being such an integral part of the Squamish community, climbers are an elusive bunch. The Arc’teryx Climbing Academy brings them out. 

Their inherent mysteriousness speaks perhaps to the rarified air in which climbers practice their craft. From the general public’s perspective, the only look into the climber’s life is to look waaaaay up at the tiny specks on the Stawamus Chief walls, and observe people slowly working their way up the grand granite expanses.

When not dangling hundreds of metres above the valley, climbers flit in and out of the day-to-day life of Squamish. You’ll spot the climbing tribe on rainy off-days in the cafes, on refueling missions at the grocery store, or in the lineup for burritos at Mags 99.

Arc'teryx Climbing Academy Paul McSorley
Paul McSorley Leading a clinic- Photo: Submitted


Arc’teryx Climbing Academy – July 20th- 23rd

The Arc’teryx Climbing Academy, running July 20th to 23rd, aims to bring together the climbing community with a celebration of all things mountain.

The event also welcomes the general public to get a peek into the climbing culture of Squamish and beyond. This event is important, as it showcases an important aspect of the Squamish culture, one usually removed from the public view. At the Academy, the rockstars of the alpine and rock climbing world give talks, present films, and lead clinics, all the while mingling with industry folk, interested locals, and climbers of all skill levels and backgrounds.

Arc'teryx Climbing Academy Public Speakers
Photo: Submitted

The Photo Showdown

Not only does this event highlight the incredible athleticism that occurs here and beyond, but it also celebrates the awe-inspiring geography of the area. No Academy event brings these things together quite like Squamish Exposed.

New this year, this photo showdown should prove to be the marquee event of the week. In the morning on Thursday, July 20th, six pro photographers and six Arc’teryx athletes pair up with six handpicked wildcard climbers, and the games begin.

Ines Papert  @Ines_Papert
Vikki Weldon @vikkiweldon
Brette Harrington @bretteharrington
Marc-Andre Leclerc @mdre92
Will Gadd @realwillgadd
Will Stanhope @willstanhope

Tim Banfield @timbanfield
John Price @johnpricephotography
Jimmy Martinello website
Bradford McArthur  @bradfordpopemcarthur 
Kieran Brownie @browniephoto
Rich Wheater  @richwheaterphoto

The teams are chosen randomly, with names getting drawn out of a hat. For a sport where partnerships are carefully curated over years, this haphazard pairing will prove to be a challenge unto itself, with teams needing to gel over a very short period of time. Once the teams are selected, they have until Friday at midnight to shoot the images that “best display the athleticism and personality of climbing in Squamish”, according to Arc’teryx.

Their range is wide (North Vancouver to Pemberton), but their time is limited, so logistics and strategy will go a long way towards success. Ability to operate on little sleep will factor in as well, with the final edited slideshows due Saturday at 2pm. Squamish Exposed culminates with the Photo Showdown that Saturday evening, where the six slideshows will be presented to the public, and to the critical eyes of the judges.

Based Downtown- Everyone Welcome

While the Academy clinics are out on the rocks, the festival is based in downtown Squamish, at O’Siyam Pavilion Park. For the public and climbers alike, this is where the action will be, all free of charge.

Arc'teryx Climbing Academy competition
Photo: Submitted

Live Speakers and Music

The Speaker and Music series kicks off each evening at 6:45, promising some incredible shows. The live music will include acts like the Boom Booms, Five Alarm Funk, and the Hair Farmers.

The Speaker Series is not to be missed, with world-renowned adventurers like Hayden Kennedy, Hazel Findlay and Katie Bono giving talks, slideshows and presenting films. Headlining these free events is the Squamish Exposed Photo Showdown on the final night of the Climbing Academy.

Celebrating a Diverse Community

The Arc’teryx Climbing Academy’s goal is to expose the Sea to Sky to the climbing community and show the diversity of the sport, both from an athletic and cultural standpoint. It’s an incredible opportunity for the public to interact with a sport and lifestyle that is usually observed from a distance. Most importantly, it’s a celebration of a diverse community, one that is and has been an integral part of Squamish for decades.

Arc'teryx Climbing Academy
Photo: Submitted

Questions for Wildcard Athlete:

Q: Name, Age, Homebase:

A: Pavla Breska, 32, Vancouver

Q: Why did you want to be a Squamish Exposed wildcard athlete?:

A: I’m often behind the lens, so I thought it would be nice to try the other side. And having this chance while being partnered with one of the professional climbers is just awesome not only from a learning perspective. I’m really stoked for this opportunity.

Q: From the list, if you could pick one photographer and one athlete to work with, who’d it be?:

A: It would be nice to be teamed up with one of the female climbers. I’m impressed by Brette’s achievements in alpine and trad climbing. So she would be my choice together with John Price, I love his photos.

Q: Favourite thing about the Squamish climbing scene: 

A: The endless climbing playground and awesome community of climbers.

See you soon in Squamish!

For more details on the Arc’teryx Climbing Academy, visit the event website (

Joe Schwartz

The author Joe Schwartz

From hucking to hillclimbing, Joe has run the full gamut of the mountain bike spectrum. He currently resides in Squamish; riding singletrack, skiing powder and reminiscing about the good old days. Read more at
Tags : arcteryxClimbing

Leave a Response