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Photo Story: 'Burgers & Fries' Climbing Route on a MTB

Dec 13, 2022 at 12:31
by Matt Bolton  

A couple of years ago I had an idea for a photo to ride down a rock slab steep enough that a rock climber could be going up at the same time. With some help from my friend Adam Luu and photographer Clint Trahan we captured a great photo that blew up on social media.

Going up, Going down

Ever since the original I knew I wanted to do it again but bigger. I'd been looking around for another slab and Burgers & Fries climbing route caught my eye. If you've never rock climbed in Squamish Burgers & Fries is a huge granite cliff located in the Smoke Bluffs park and perhaps one of the most popular routes around.

A classic Squamish climbing route

I returned to the route several more times during the summer and after a lot of thought, I knew I was ready to make it happen. I called up Adam to help me repeal down the face so I could take a better look at the slab and figure out where I needed to ride.

Brendan brenmacs photo
I only climb while scoping MTB lines

In the photo it might look like a straight forward roll but there's several dips and cracks not to mention multiple climbing anchors protruding out from the rock. After climbing it multiple times I finally found a line I thought was possible.

Brendan brenmacs photo
Don't hit the climbing anchors
Not as smooth as it looks

The next step was to call up my friend Matthew Clough who is a Red Seal Carpenter to help build the transition. After a lot of measuring and some fancy computer sketch-ups (thanks to Anton Urton) we decided on a 14' ramp with a 19' radius. This gave us the perfect height to avoid the vertical bottom and a long enough ramp that was still steep enough to avoid a massive compression. We prepped the ramp the day before so we could quickly carry it in, assemble and do the roll before any climbers showed up.

The next morning, with a lot of help from friends, we loaded up the ramp. carried it though a path and down the stairs to the slab.

A lot of lumber

Matthew, Anton and Jordan got to work assembling the ramp as I did a final repeal down the face to make sure the rock was clear and the line was good.

Brendan brenmacs photo
Coming together
Brendan brenmacs photo
Turns out leaf blowers are perfect for cleaning slab
The final touches

Just as we were finishing up the ramp a large group of climbers showed up and let us know it was UBC go climbing day and they were going to use Burgers & Fries. Luckily for us they were all stoked on the idea and decided to let us finish and watch the show.

I had told everyone previously that there was a good chance I would walk away if I didn't feel comfortable once the ramp was built. Standing at the top due to the steepness you couldn't even see the rock face or the transition. I put my gear on and got my bike. Once I was sitting at the top with my bike I knew I could do it. Everyone got into position and after a few very deep breaths I dropped in.

Dropping in

As soon as I had rolled over the edge and committed to the roll I knew it was going to work perfect. The line i'd had chosen was perfect and my tires stayed glued to the rock the entire time. By the bottom I was starting to pick up a huge amount of speed but our ramp was the perfect radius and my suspension didn't even bottom out through the G-Out.

Behind the scenes

A big thank you to everyone who helped make this happen! Matthew Clough for the carpentry - Anton, Jordan, Blair and Andrew for helping set up the ramp - Adam, YiPik and Ryan for climbing - Travis and Brendan for the photos/videos.

Please note - mountain biking isn't prohibited in the smoke bluffs but isn't recommended, please don't do any filming without permission from the Smoke Bluffs Committee.

Author Info:
mattboltz avatar

Member since Nov 16, 2009
8 articles

  • 111 10
 We all need to know:

1. Did the bike cost over 10k USD
2. Does it have headset routed cable.
3. Did you not put a video because you hate autoplay
4. Do you know who won the advent calendar prizes so far.
  • 11 11
 4: If anyone cared to read the rules they would know that each week of the advent calendar contest is operated as a separate sweepstakes with drawings starting around Jan 5th. So, nobody has won anything yet.
  • 26 0
 @pisgahgnar: We dont need you "facts", next thing you will tell us is that you can turn off auto play in your profile and you never need to bleed your brakes when repairing working on a headset routed bike .
  • 6 1
 @pink505: turning off auto play in your profile doesn’t stop auto play. Inconvenient facts.
  • 3 1
 @pisgahgnar: they must’ve changed the rules or format in recent years. I recall in years past (could be 4+ years ago) they would announce the winners throughout the month, but in no particular order.
  • 3 0
Do you have any BMX background?
  • 6 0
 And: Wasn't there supposed to be a wingsuite guy passing by, too? I thought that's state of the art by now.
  • 1 0
 oh my god ... i just realized there is no advent calendar :O
  • 54 2
 I clicked hoping route was climbed on a bike.
  • 2 0
  • 3 0
 I feel like there was a bait and switch pulled on me.
  • 1 0
 Now I know there are other types of 'Climbing routes' than those done on bikes.
  • 35 3
 Pretty freakin' rad!

(Small thing; repeal should be rappel...)
  • 16 0
 Stay hydrated and I recommend some lotion for those fingers.
  • 7 0
 haha those are Adams hands.. climber fingers
  • 11 0
 Reminds me of an old Mountain Bike Action cover... The guy rolled in but was on a rope and lowered the rest of the way. The next issue the letters to the editor was filled with people saying how dangerous it was to imply you could ride off a cliff on a mountain bike.

  • 3 0
 haha very cool, thanks for sharing!
  • 3 0
 Josh Bender saw that cover but not the harness & cables haha.
  • 7 1
 Kind of funny how the aerial view of the slab shows it's in a residential neigbhorhood but a lot of the shots make it look like its in the wilderness of the PNW with some clever framing
  • 9 0
 Side angle with long lens and The Chief in background. Couldn’t have gotten a house in there if I tried. Houses were above the slab - which makes for an epic back yard!
  • 9 2
 THAT is a perfect playground from the Grim Donut: steeper = slacker!!!
  • 3 0
 Getting the ramp flush with the rock face would have been tricky. And then the fear it's moved out a bit, or you end up going through the ramp after the drop.
  • 3 0
 very lucky to have some talented carpenter friends!
  • 5 0
 I guess we need Five Ten tires now.
  • 2 0
 I am pretty sure I climbed this route in 1995 when I was 17. I haven't done much climbing lately but I would still feel a lot more comfortable climbing up than riding down there! Kudos to you, Matt, for taking this on.
  • 6 1
 does anyone proof this stuff? The word is "rappel"
  • 2 1
Wrong word, not just once but twice. C’mon people.
  • 1 0
  • 5 0
  • 5 0
 Couldn't get the link to IG to work for the article, it's on my page @matt_boltz if you'd like to check it out!
  • 3 0
 Amazing! great write up. So how do you rate this ride; double black or red? Double red?
  • 10 0
 I'm going with a double brown trousers rating
  • 1 0
 Yeah but he's clipped into one non locking quick draw. It looks like he was belayed from the anchors but rapping or lowering off of one piece of pro is not ok, especially a non locking carabiner.
  • 5 2
 5.7.....not impressed. That's not even Ramage material.
  • 1 1
 Go take a look in person and you'll change your mind
  • 3 1
 @mattboltz: joke
noun: joke; plural noun: jokes
a thing that someone says to cause amusement or laughter, especially a story with a funny punchline.
"she was in a mood to tell jokes"
  • 1 0
 I read the title and thought some very fit people were going to try to pedal up that rock. I can't help but be a little disappointed.
  • 2 0
 five+ guys burgers n fries
  • 2 0
 Sounds like a perfect evening for @aaronclark ‘s mom.
  • 2 0
 Where’s the vid? Let us see the speed they hit the ramp at!
  • 2 0
 I couldn't figure out how to link IG correctly with the article but theres a clip on my page (@matt_boltz) if you'd like to check it out.
  • 1 0
 @mattboltz: I'm a total amateur, but can you not post the video on YT and get a link to embed in the article?
  • 3 0
 That looks intense!
  • 8 2
 Actually it's a Transition, not an Intense
  • 2 0
 Maybe next he’ll try “Peaches & Cream” 5.10b!
  • 2 0
 Goddamt BC is so cool that people live on sweet cliffs.
  • 4 2
 rappel: descend on a rope
repeal: revoke or cancel an act or law.
  • 1 0

Next challenge 50% longer, three climbers... parachute optional.
  • 2 0
 Sooooo gooood.
  • 1 0
 Great vision for a MTB project. Congrats and thanks for posting!
  • 1 0
  • 2 0
 Damn yo! Gnarly!
  • 1 0
 There a video of this somewhere?
  • 1 0
 Simply incredible… Are there going to be prints made available?
  • 1 0
 Not yet! Was thinking about printing some off though..
  • 1 0
 That ramp is a work of art
  • 1 0
 It was a fun build! It's now been turned into a shelf in my garage haha
  • 1 0
 Looks like he’s real close to buzzing his rear end there. Yikes.
  • 1 0
 Great that credit was given to all the people that made this happen.
  • 1 2
 Are two people rapelling**** off a single non locking quick draw?? That is highly suspect.
  • 1 1
 One person was getting belayed from the bottom and Adam ***repelled*** from the top for the photo.
  • 1 0
 @mattboltz: Yeah but he's clipped into one non locking quick draw. It looks like he was belayed from the anchors but rapping or lowering off of one piece of pro is not ok, especially a non locking carabiner. Also in the other photo a rope is running to the ground only tied into one anchor. These are bad, unsafe practices.
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