Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Montagne d'Argent: Part I

I went climbing April 25th and 26th with Carla, Dan R plus dog, Dan FM, Alan, and Laura at Montagne d'Argent which north of Montreal near Mont Tremblant. I really don't have much to compare the climbing to but I really enjoyed the trip. We arrived mid-afternoon on Saturday after making all the necessary stops, like MEC in Montreal and getting extra food/water since it was so hot that day. The land is privately owned so there is a $5 per day climbing pass and waiver to sign when you get there. There appeared to be limited camping on site with no running water so it is important to bring lots. I also notice that there was no toilet paper in the outhouse.

On Saturday we stayed together and hit up two side be side 3 pitch routes that come together for the last pitch. Yep, that is going to be six people on the last pitch. Dan R started on lead for our (Carla, Dan R, and I) route which was a s slabby 5.8 with garbage feet. Then Carla and I followed on two ropes. The second pitch, Dan lead this too, was a 5.10b with a lot of little edges and tricky top out. The last pitch was a 5.9 crack (anywhere from 6 inches to more than a
body width near the top) which I was elected by Dan FM to lead. I took a fall after the second bolt because I was trying to jam in the crack too much instead of just laying back. After deciding to lay back, the bottom half was easy. About halfway, once the crack opens up the bolts
spacing increased to around 10 feet which seemed odd because the bottom was so well protected. The top out was not that hard though. Anyway, with six on the last pitch it took awhile to complete the climb and get down. By this point the clouds had rolled in and the lack of sleep from the night before dictated the end of the day.

On Sunday morning we split into groups so Alan and Laura could practice lead climbing on an easy 5.5, before rejoining us, and Carla and I could climb the routes we came for, long bolted 5.9s. After looking at the guide book which is fairly good, we walked over the the "Grand Canyon" area. We decided to warm up on what we thought was a 15m 5.7. After the first bolt (which for most climbs are 10 to 15 feet off the ground) the route became a lot harder but I still thought it's a 5.7 there will be a jug somewhere. There where no jugs. After clipping the 3rd bolt I manage to find some good feet to rest on before sending the rest. After Carla's climb we looked at the guide book again, it turned out to be a 5.10d warm up. I think this rating
was a little high but it was definitely not a 5.7, a 5.10 maybe. With that climb under our belts we skip the 5.9s (most where to wet anyway) and moved on to a 5.10c "pathfinder" and a 5.10b "lucky Luke", both 30m with 8 bolts. The story was the same for both these climbs, easy
5.9 like climbing with a crux near the last bolt. I onsighted pathfinder with out much trouble but took three good falls on the crux for lucky Luke. It was nasty narrow crack with blank rock to either side that had both Carla and I swearing.

In general, all the climbs are well protected with rappel anchors at the top. The granite walls we hit up where clean, solid, and slabby in places. However, we saw only a small number of the total climbs. For the most part the sport climbs where the busiest with lots of other
groups top roping too. I think I saw two trad climbers in the "Grand Canyon" area.

A sweet trip all round.

1 comment:

  1. I have to admit, I've only read a little bit of the blog since I'm hogging a friend's computer and internet. I'll be leaving Bhutan in a few days. I look forward to checking out the blog more closely and catching up when I'm back.