June 21, 2002 Features & Images » Feature Story

Feature - Old school Squamish rock 

A fraternity of freeclimbers from the 1970s continues to pioneer new routes

Page 6 of 7

Considering how long Fraser has been climbing in the Squamish area it’s surprising he doesn't get credit for more routes.

"For him it was never about the volume of new routes, it was more about a defining style and approach," Foweraker says. He goes on to mention Fraser’s 24-hour rope solo of University Wall as an example of his athletic and mental discipline.

Another long time climbing partner of Fraser’s is Peter Croft, who now resides in Bishop California. But for years Croft was part of the Squamish climbing elite. He fondly remembers the good old days, describing them as like a family experience.

"You know, maybe you didn't like one brother but you liked the other, and really we were all friends to some extent," Croft says.

He also confirms the sort of oddball caché that rock climbers had 20 years ago.

"It was funny, here we were all pursuing this athletic pastime, but most of us were lousy at sports in school. Of course sport was the last way we would have described climbing."

Croft started climbing when he was about 17 and remembers Fraser back then as a "tiny little guy who would climb anything.

"I was watching Hamish and I think Greg Foweraker on this hanging sling belay off a cable tower, why they were there in the first place, I don't know, but they started yelping and freaking out from the electricity. I was sort of wasted at the time so I couldn't really help. They eventually managed to rappel off of it (the tower). But their gear stayed up there for a long time."

Later on when the two began to climb together Croft concedes that it was obvious Fraser was the most talented.

"On our first free ascent of Roman Chimney, we were on our 16 th pitch on top of the Grand Wall, when I was on a lead belay and looking down at Hamish, saw him slip. His feet were fully dangling and he was hanging by his finger tips, when as calm as could be he reached down with one hand, chalked up and executed a perfect one hand pull up."

Croft, unlike Fraser, has travelled a great deal – Scotland, Australia, Norway and Greece, to name a few. He admits to missing his time on the West Coast.

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