After sending what may yet be Canada's hardest boulder problem, local climber Gabe Lawson has set his sights on making a film.
"I'd really like to do what I can to bring some more attention back to Squamish, because we have some of the hardest climbs in the world and we have some of the best and most diverse climbing," said the 29-year-old.
If all goes according to plan, he'd like to make an entry for the Banff Mountain Film Festival and the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival.
"I'm really excited for the film because I haven't ever really put out any climbing media aside from a few small videos on Instagram," said Lawson, who's originally from Victoria. "And so this will be like my first debut to the climbing world."
Lawson made headlines earlier this year after making a first ascent of a climb he christened The Megg, short for The Mega Egg, in January. It's located on the back side of the Space Monkey boulder, in the North Wall area.
The name pays homage to The Egg, a famous boulder problem that professional climber Chris Sharma put up in 1999 while touring North America. Documented in the film, Rampage, that climb was considered cutting-edge at the time.
Lawson, a web designer, said The Megg has features that remind him a lot of Sharma's problem, but takes it to another level.
"The climbing is actually very, very similar," he said. "It kind of has an extremely similar sequence in the way that you climb it, but it's much, much bigger. So, where The Egg is maybe four or five moves, this is 16 to 20 moves, so it's significantly taller — three or four times taller."
He gave it the suggested grade of V16, which makes it harder than any other boulder problem in Canada.
Lawson said he was hesitant to give it that rating, but he said he's tried a number of V15 climbs, and he had sent The Singularity in April 2022, which, at V14-15, was previously Squamish's hardest boulder. This gave him some context for what a V16 would feel like.
"There were at least five or six professional climbers that just couldn't do a single move [on The Megg]," he added. "So it makes sense that [The Megg] is a significant step above the V14 and 15 here, just because with the V14s, when the professional climbers come, they'll be able to climb it in a session or maybe two or three sessions. Certainly, they can do all the moves right away. So seeing them not being able to do any moves on this was kind of eye-opening."
Bouldering difficulty goes from V0 at the lowest, all the way up to V17.
As for the next step after making the film, which he hopes to wrap up around summer this year, Lawson said he hopes it will open doors for him to focus more on the sport he loves.
He said this could be either by making more climbing films, competing or coaching.
"In an ideal world, I would probably spend a couple of years focusing on doing the hardest and best climbing that I can and putting out media for that," said Lawson. "And then, yeah, potentially taking a look at the competition circuit and, if not the Olympics, then for sure I'd like to maybe go to a World Cup."
He also said he'd like to work on mentorship as well, as he co-founded a coaching business called Power Spot.
"When I was younger, I was just constantly trying to learn and get better, but I just didn't really have a lot of resources out there from which to learn," said Lawson. "And so I've come a long way in climbing, and so I think it's important that now I can kind of try to give back."