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Don't try this at home: mountain biker and photographer pull off epic Squamish photo

Photographer Travis Bothner captures mountain biker Matt Bolton's steep ride down a popular rock climbing route.

Plenty of mountain bikers cycle by rock climbers while mountain biking in Squamish, but most aren't on the rock face when they do it. 

Matt Bolton recently rode his mountain bike down Burgers and Fries, a popular Smoke Bluffs rock climbing area. 

The spectacular photo by Travis Bothner that resulted shows climbers going up, while Bolton goes down. 

While it looks like a rad stunt that took seconds to complete, lots of training and planning went into that cool shot — and video. 

This isn't Bolton's first time doing this. 

He grew up riding and taking on dirt jumps and skate parks. He got heavy into trail and slab riding about eight years ago when he moved to Squamish from Ontario. 

He has ridden on steep rocks here for years and even created a similar photo a couple of years ago, also in the Smoke Bluffs. 

"I've gotten pretty good at it over the years and kind of gotten bigger and bigger," he said. 

"I knew I wanted to go bigger and do something more iconic. So this is the next step up, and I was looking for stuff that was possible," he said. 

"I was walking around the Smoke Bluffs and saw that [slab] and I was unsure for a long time because it's so steep." 

The District of Squamish told The Squamish Chief such a ride isn't prohibited in the Smoke Bluffs, but they don’t want to encourage it either. 

"Smoke Bluffs Park was established as a climbing-focused, backcountry-style park that has been utilized and cared for by our local rock climbing community and members of the Smoke Bluffs Park Committee for more than five decades," said Rachel Boguski, a spokesperson for the District. 

"Mountain biking is generally limited to the Main Trail and while not specifically prohibited, the District does not condone riding a mountain bike down a climbing route, or similar high-risk behaviour that puts climbers and pedestrians at risk."

Lots of thought and preparation went into making the ride happen, Bolton stressed. 

"It wasn't a rushed decision. It was years in the making — a lot of practice, and we took our time. We kind of [planned] every little detail and every safety thing. I wouldn't have done it if I wasn't 100% confident that I could have done it, and even still, we had trained first aid people there just in case and a good contingency plan," he said. 

Bolton and friends made a ramp at the bottom, so it wasn't a hard stop. The ramp was removed after the ride.

And he and a climber friend rappelled down a few times to mark where he would go in chalk. The climbers in the shot were in on it, too. 

"You can't really tell from the photo and video, but it's actually quite a narrow path, and there are multiple rock climbing anchors bolted into the rock that stick out a few inches that we couldn't touch. So [I had to ride] right in-between those and find the perfect line down."

Bolton also noted that he made sure not to impact the climbing route. 

While there were a few butterflies of nervousness for him at the top — mostly because about 50 people had gathered to watch — Bolton was ultimately comfortable during his ride down. 

It was "super smooth" and controlled, he said.


A post shared by Matt Bolton (@matt_boltz)

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