Monday, April 27, 2009

Squamish News Update

Great weather had the boulders buzzing this weekend.  I am proud to announce that Luke Zimmerman made his bouldering come back on Sunday with his fist time sending No Troublems. In other news, Rich and I made a one two ascent of the timeless classic Breakfast at Tiffany's, and rumour has it, Tyson and Jeremy Smith sent one of their projects (although I have no idea where it is).   

Video Review: Leavenworth Climbing

So this is the second time this week I have found a video on someone else's blog and put it up here on my own page.  However, after seeing Jamie Chong's first shot at making a climbing video I was pretty psyched.   

So...a couple things that I thought were rad about this video.  First off, the beginning sequence is perfect with the use of the wide angle lens and the music.  The music got me psyched right away because it was so different than other climbing videos I had seen with their boring techno beat. The music gets pretty intense throughout the middle of the video but it kept me tense even when everyone was just sitting around.  

Two moments in video were timed perfect to the music.  The first was when Jamie hits the good hold on The Practitioner and then when Vicki hits the jug on The Shield.  Getting all this music timed out right must have taken Jamie a long time but it was well worth it.  Finally, I was psyched on the use of color and font in the video's word formatting.  The red and white contrast and opposite movements is a simple contrast between sections.  

For a first try, this video is pretty awesome and I am psyched to see more of Jamie's work. Hopefully this link helps a few people see this video who would otherwise miss out (although as of a week ago this video had more hits in one day than my blog has had in two weeks)  Enjoy!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Squamish News Update

For those of you who are hooked on blogs, then the following news is not new at all.  However, for those of you who don't spend too much time on the internet, Sean McColl recently completed the second ascent of Velcro Low and posted a nice video of his send on youtube.  For the whole story and beta you ca go to his website  Enjoy!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wales Legend: Neil Dyer

This time around in Font I had the good luck to bump into Neil Dyer.  For those of you who don't know Neil, he is not only a top notch climber but he is a gentleman and a scholar true to the word.  Neil has spent plenty of time in Squamish over the past few years both bouldering and trad climbing. In fact, he even is credited with first climbing one of the harder problems in the forest, Stalling Tim, where he snatched the first ascent right under the nose of some local climber who was taking his time socializing in the parking lot.  

All this preamble brings me to a video that was brought to my attention featuring Neil climbing his most recent first ascent in Parisella, Wales.  The problem is called Silk Cut and the uncut video makes it look pretty rad.  Good work Neil! 

Squamish News Update

Awesome weather has brought a bunch of people back to the forest. A couple of notables this week with Sam Schwartz making the pendulum rush on King Swing Low and this Wednesday, Meshkat Javid sending Airtight Garage in only a couple of tries in the day. Nice one guys!  

In other news, the big flake on Tatonka has taken a bit of beating after Israel Cruces got his mitts on it and pulled off part of the hold. It looks as though it is about to break so be careful if you are climbing this thing or you may end up with a whole lot of granite on your chest.

Pic of the day goes to Meshkat feeling LOST with the goodtime blues on Anubis (I bet no one gets this reference).

Monday, April 13, 2009

Trip Report: Kelowna

This weekend Ben Harnden gave me a tour of the Kelowna climbing scene.  The plan was to check out the boulders in Cougar Canyon but because of crap weather Ben thought the boulders were most likely soaked.  In a quick change of plans, Ben and I headed to Skaha to meet up with Drew and Anna, from Victoria, and Marek, who is know living in Summerland.  For those who don't know Drew, he was once a power house in the Squamish climbing scene and is dubbed with the first ascent of Be on Four, one of the most intimidating highballs in the forest.

Anna and Drew.
After a tour of the new house and some friendly banter we headed out to Skaha.  On the way there it was pouring down rain and when we arrived at the new parking lot things were looking pretty grim.  The new parking lot, on the other hand, appears quite the hotspot for parking and now cuts the Skaha approach in half which is a huge plus.  I have always had a true love hate thing for the Skaha approach.  Damn those stairs and their fitness! 

Ben caught in a sea of cars.
Despite the weather, we ended up heading to the Great White Wall and found ourselves having a pretty good time. If you have never been to Skaha, it is more than a good time.  The routes here are jammed packed with good holds and always seem to get you feet thinking.  If I had the chance, I would stay here for a whole season and climb everything.  Marek and I had not been sport climbing in years, so we were sticking to the short routes and still getting pumped like crazy.  We ended up climbing most of the afternoon until Marek went down after a rogue boulder busted up his leg.  After climbing, we all headed back to Marek's to have some sweet sweet moose stew that was brewing at home thanks to Clara.  All and all a great day!

Anna climbing on the edge of the Great White Wall.
This morning I woke up early and called Ben because I wanted to see what the bouldering scene was like around Kelowna.  Ben brought us to a place called Pebble Beach that was host to a handful of good problems situated right next to Okanagan Lake.  The place doesn't have much but some of the problems were really great.  I stuck to most of the easy stuff while Ben bounced around climbing all over.  Here are a few pictures of Ben crushing and the local art scene.  

Putting the crotch of these pants to good work on The Savage.

For those who can't see this says "BALZ". Nice!

Benny getting hippy on Skull Duggery.
That pretty much sums up the weekend.  Looks like the weather might cooperate with us for some bouldering after work on wednesday. Any takers?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Trip Report: Fountainebleau Part Two

Week two in Font started off with sunny weather and a well needed rest day.  Brent and Tim came down with the cold that Marek had the week before and everyone's skin was thinning because of all the wet weather and the sandpaper slopers.  Despite all the dirty looks from Gord, I put myself in quarantine from the rest of the group. This proved difficult while sharing a van with five guys but it had to be done.  I couldn't risk getting a cold on my vacation. However, I think Gord was secretly still licking my cutlery and spitting in my water.

Would you want this guy licking your cutlery?

After growing new skin, I thought it necessary to make another trip back to the Franchards.  TD wanted to have a couple goes on Karma and I wanted to try my luck on El Poussay and a few of the sweet problems in the back of Isatis including L'Aroche Coeur and El Poussif.   I ended up going back to Isatis two more times because of all the rad problems (and because it rained on me the first time).  I think Isatis is one of my favorite areas in Font.  It's got a great red circuit and the holds on the boulders are different than other areas.  To end our time here, we went to check out the Rainbow Rocket dyno.  This thing is huge.  No one made the catch this time around but both Peter and Neil came close.

Neil making knee bars look easy on L'Aroche Coeur

In Font, its all paparazzi and big crowds when your climbing the big stuff. Neil getting celebrity on L'Aroche Coeur

Peter standing in front of Rainbow Rocket.

Peter going cross over crazy on Rainbow Rocket.

Neil on a full stretch coming just short of the lip

TD fighting sickness to wrestle with Karma

A trip to Font would not be complete without going into Paris at least one time.  I ended up heading to Paris on a rest day with Peter and his girlfriend Veronica.  We ended up trying to get in the Louve but a lot of it was closed because of the strike so we hit up some classic tourists spots like Notre Dame and Le Sacre Coeur.  walking around the streets of Paris is pretty rad because of all the crazy styles and the cool buildings.  Parisians are pretty crazy with their styles and they certainly put North Americans to shame.  I think the trick is in a good pair of shoes and big collar jackets.  

Clean guy in the city.

So that it is for week two.  A bunch of climbing in the main areas with great temps and the sun shining down on the forest canopy.  At the end of week one I thought to myself 'Font is a little hard!" and at the end of week two I thought 'Do I even know how to climb anymore?'.  Font was handing my ass to me over and over again and despite the constant ego beatings I was loving every minute of the climbing.  This is a place where it feels absolutely wrong to have a rest day. Stay tuned for week three!

Monday, April 6, 2009

One Tree Missing?

While climbing in the forest this weekend I went up to the Thighmaster area and found that the tree separating Mosquito Incubator and the slab to its left had been pulled out by its roots and thrown about 3-4 meters away from the boulder. After surveying the damage, I stood over the tree for about ten minutes and thought to myself 'this tree was not in the way of the climb and it is not endangering the safety of other so why would someone go out of their way to pull it out of the ground?  
Now I am not delusional about the state of the tree in question. The tree itself was dead and had surely been though a lot. However, its roots remained planted in the ground and it was still standing freely in the air like many of the other trees that nobody notices in the forest. The situation itself, although not catastrophic, begs the question of this: What is our responsibility, as climbers, to leave the least amount of impact in the forest as we can? and where do we draw the line on our own actions that make an impact on the natural state of the forest that are simply not necessary?  
As a climber who regularly climbs in the forest, I am no doubt a hypocrite on this issue. I have cleaned the moss off boulders. I have trampled through the forest on unmarked trails. I have even thrown my pad down on small vegetation.  However, after putting this issue to thought, I have become much more aware of the impact the last couple of years has had on the forest. The trails are looking worn, root systems that were once buried under dirt are now exposed, and the forest generally looks like it has been through a lot.  So where does it stop?
I am of the opinion that, as climbers, we should minimize our impact as best we can while continuing to climb in the forest.  This means sticking to the main trails, stepping on rock over the roots of trees, and leaving the forest to progress as naturally as possible.  I believe that if a tree interferes with a specific line, then the line should be kept closed until that tree is no longer standing.  If a tree dies, but continues to stand, then it should be left to fall naturally unless it is endangering the safety of the trails.  
Bottom line is that the forest is a public space.  The decisions that we make in the forest affect others and if a decision is to be made to change the natural state of the forest, at the very least it is important to know what others think. So what is the public opinion out there?  What is the general consensus on making an impact on the forest?  Is it okay to knock down free standing trees that are dead or dying? Should boulders be kept closed because of pre-existing trees? What about the removal of rocks from specific lines? What about built up landings?  All of these issues have come about at one time or another so here it is.  Where do you stand?  

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Ben and The New Silent Menace

Yesterday I was fooling around on the internet and I came across this photo of Ben Harnden climbing The Silent Menace, a route in the Grand Wall Boulders first bolted by Jim Sanford and then first climbed, I think, by either Sonnie Trotter or Jordan Wright. The line starts by the climber jumping a gap to a huge jug that hangs midway on a blank face to start the climb. Two summers this hold was mysteriously found at the bottom of the climb with no explanation of who pulled it off or how it came down. A few weeks passed and Matt Lucas found a video of someone climbing this line on the internet. I have posted this video so you can check it out. You got to imagine that a number of people have started this climb without clipping the first bolt on the wall before jumping! make a long story short, Ben Harnden was really close to climbing The Silent Menace when the hold was ripped off. Ben had found a way to traverse in from the left instead of jumping the huge gap and when finding out that the hold was gone he was pretty bummed that he would finish his project that summer. Now for those of you who know Ben, he is made of steal. No one can stop this guy and especially not a big hold ripping off the wall! With a whole lot of determination, Ben started back on his project the next summer to find a sequence on very small crimps that now were in place of the huge jug. Two summers later, Ben got the first ascent of The New Silent Menace (This is actually not the new name of the climb but I think Ben gave it a super weird name that I think everyone has forgottten). Nice one Ben!