Chief claims climber 

An American man who was rock climbing on the Squamish Chief fell 30 metres to his death last week.

David Christopher Gunstone was on the Chief’s Grand Wall in the early evening of Saturday, May 31 when he fell. Police say he was on or near a climb called Exasperator before he fell.

Crews tried to resuscitate Gunstone but were unsuccessful and B.C. Ambulance Service and physicians pronounced him dead at the scene.

The 41-year-old Gunstone was from Renton, Washington.

The B.C. Coroner Service and the Squamish RCMP are currently investigating the circumstances leading up to the fall. There is as yet no word on how many climbers were in Gunstone’s party, or what climbing equipment and techniques were being used.

Exasperator is one of Squamish’s oldest routes, first climbed by Jim Baldwin and Jim Sinclair in 1960. According to the Squamish Chief Online Rock Climber’s Guide ( it’s ranked as a 5.10c in difficulty on a U.S. standard rock climbing scale that goes from 5.7 (easiest) to 5.15 (most difficult).

The route requires climbers to place anchors in the rock at intervals, and there are bolted chains just past the midway point and at the top. The total vertical of the route is about 40 metres, and is usually climbed in two pitches.


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