Monday, June 8, 2009

Metcalfe: post trip report

Judgement Day, 5.12b

It's Monday again and time to report on the weekend trip to Metcalfe. As planned we arrive at Craigleith Provincial Park on Friday evening to beautiful weather. Friday was unusually warm, so warm that we braved the numbingly cool water of Georgian Bay for some wading.

Sunset on Georgian Bay

The park is a small strip of land squeezed between Hwy 26 and Georgian bay and provided us with an enjoyable stay. Our camp site, #13, looked out over Georgian bay. Also, with the wind off the water, there were no bugs to be seen.

Saturday, lead time:

We awoke early to blue skies Saturday and after some breakfast headed toward Metcalfe rock. Of course I left my camera at the camp site so I only have photos from Sunday. Also, note that the directions found on the web in various places,

"From Singhampton, go south on highway 24. Turn west on Grey Country Road 4.
Turn north on Grey Co. #2 following it to highway 19, then going west until it ends.
Turn left and find crag on left. Park at pullout across from Outer's Hut club.
Don't block the gate. Hike the Bruce Trail across field to wall.",

are (obviously) incorrect if you look at Google maps. The route we followed from Craigleith is below.

View Larger Map

Once we parked in the "pullout across from Outer's Hut club" it was a short walk in along the Bruce Trail to the climbing area. We started at the north end in the "Anvil Wall" area. Our guidebook, "A Sport Climbers Guide to Ontario Limestone" is way out of date and does not include a number of the bolted lead climbs available. However, it did give a point of reference and some feel for the area. For the most part we looked at the bolt lines, decided if we could lead them and looked for top anchors as well. Not all climbs have anchors. Some climbs are missing bolt hangers. That said, I believe the climbing area as a whole is quite safe; just use common sense.

The cliff is somewhat west facing so the climbs are shielded from the sun until the afternoon. Saturday's warm sunny weather brought lots of other friendly climbers to the Anvil area. We watched a climber work out a trad lead on "the crack" that we would later top-rope on Sunday.

Climb #1: ( Name: Slabbus)

We got our first introduction to limestone on a five bolt line right of Judgement Day. It was 5.7/5.8 ish with top anchors that transitioned into a 5.11 (?) to the top of the Anvil. I noticed the second bolt hanger was missing so I decide not to continue and rappelled off the 5.7's anchors.

Climb #2: (Name: Deception Day)

This climb is about 30 m of 5.9ish climbing with 10 bolts and some convenient quickclip anchors. It seems to be the late bolt line north of "Arete Dreams". After the ledge I did not see the next bolt so I decided to place a nut to prevent a run out. So after finding a bomber crack for my placement I clipped in to see bolt only 12 inches away. On some of the climbs the bolts are camouflaged with paint to preserve the nature aesthetic of the cliff. Anyway not big deal here; I clipped the bolt and moved on. In general, this climb is fun and well protected.

Climb #3: (Name: Waco Lies)

Found just left of "Arete Dreams" this 15 m (?) 5.8/5.9 is a great little four bolt climb consisting of pockets leading up to a set of anchors. The "run out" to the top isn't really notable.

Climb #4: (Arete Dreams)
After lunch it was onto Arete Dreams, 5.10a; the first bolted line left of "Quantum Leap". The climb is 4 bolts to a set of quickclip anchors. This was a good wake up call after lunch.

Climb #5 (Name: Strike three ?)
Actually this turn out to be the last climb of the day. Strike Three is a 5.8 in the guide book and contrary to the beta there are two bolts and a chain for anchors. This is a sketchy climb. The first hanger is missing and the second is about halfway up. I started in on this climb with the intention to put in a nut before the second bolt but I could not find a good placement. After, a second yank the nut pulled out so I backed off and down climbed. We top-roped this after "Revenge for the fires".

Climb #6: (Revenge for the fires)

This climb is in the quidebook and runs up between the free-standing pillar (The Anvil) and the cliff face. I think there is around 10 draws with ring type anchors at the top. The run out between the second third bolt sets you up for a ground fall. However, the climbing here is relatively easy. After the third bolt, stick to the left line. I got pumped out near the top but managed to climb through it on juggy pockets and the encouragement from my belay partner, thanks Carla.

Saturday, was a good day... no falls ... no bugs ... and back at Craigleith we filled up on spaghetti and hobo packs.

Sunday, TRs all round:

The rain moved in Saturday night and continued until 8 ish Sunday morning. Not deterred by the rain we had breakfast, packed up our site and headed back to Metcalfe rock.

Top of the morning to ya

To our surprise, the crack we had planned to top-roping was dry. However, setting up top-ropes at Metcalfe is time consuming because of the lack of anchors and the walk to the top. There is a scramble to the top around "Monday's Child" (climb 11 in the guide).

Climb #1 (Name: ????)

This crack is 30m of 5.7/5.8 goodness. We top-roped off trees using nylon bags to protect the trunks. I did remember to bring my camera so I got some photos of the crack climbing.


Climb #2 (Name: ???)

We tried a bolt line of unknown grade and name somewhere around climb #11 in the guide book. After taking a fall before the second bolt I backed off and decided it was not going to go. I feel the crux was between the first and second bolt and with some work it would be doable.

Climb #3 (Name: ???)

We also setup a top-rope off a set off anchors, on the "Overhanging Wall", left of "White Hand" (number 6 in the guide book). This was a fun 30 m, 5.9 ish (?) climb, with a cool dihedral near the bottom.

Well I'm running out of steam so time to sum it up. All in all Metcalfe was a lot of fun.

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