The sea views and coastal drama end 11km beyond Britannia Beach at SQUAMISH, whose houses spread out over a flat plain amidst warehouses, logging waste and old machinery. However, if you want to climb, windsurf or mountain bike, there's nowhere better in the region to do so. At a glance, all the town has by way of fame is the vast granite rock overshadowing it, "The Stawamus Chief", which looms into view to the east just beyond Shannon Falls and is claimed to be the world's "second-biggest free-standing rock" (after Gibraltar, apparently). The town rates as one of Canada's top – if not the top – spot for rock climbing. Around 200,000 climbers from around the world come here annually, swarming to more than four hundred routes covering the 625-metre monolith: the University Wall and its culmination, the Dance Platform, is rated Canada's toughest climb.
The most central accommodation if you're not at the hostel is the August Jack Motor Inn (Tel:604/892-3504 or 1-888-892-3502, Web: www.augustjack.com ; Price: $61-80). Alternatively, the Garibaldi Budget Inn, 38012-3rd Ave (Tel:604/892-5204 or 1-888-313-9299; Price: $41-60), is excellent value. If you can afford more, then definitely plump for the Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company, 37801 Cleveland Ave (Tel:604/892-2603 or 1-800-919-2537, Web: www.howesound.com ; Price: $101-125), which has 20 simple but modern rooms, great food and plenty of beer from its own microbrewery. The superlative Squamish Hostel at Mamquam Blind Channel on Hwy 99 (Tel:604/892-9240 or 1-800/449-8614, Web: www.hostels.com/squamish ; Price: Up to $40) is clean and friendly, with a kitchen, common room and 18 beds including two private rooms. Beds are $25.50 a night (three nights cost $60) and private rooms are $55.
If you're looking into renting equipment, Vertical Reality Sports Centre at 37835 2nd Ave (Tel:604/892-8248, Web: www.verticalrealitysports.com ) rents climbing shoes ($10 a day) and mountain bikes ($15–40 a day).