Thursday, October 28, 2010

A windy day at Calabogie

I hit up Calabogie today with Richard and ran into a crew from MEC as well. The weather was gray and windy which made for some chilly climbing at times. We warmed up by leading a few moderate mixed climbs and then went to work on the direct start of Vulcan Mind. Off the block it is very much a boulder problem. There is a dyno off crimps out to the arete on bad feet, V4 or V5. I was pretty happy, even though I was just toproping, to get this on my first try. The climbing is then sustained 11-ish to a rest where if on lead you would place a cam. After that, muscle up the crack and arete to mantle onto a big ledge, rest, and finish on good holds. We also work on a technical 12a-ish route that climbs over a series of roofs. A good day of climbing.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

FA for another day

Post removed due to access issues.

"It is with regret that I announce our negotiations to secure access for climbing at Oiseau Rock cliff have resulted in a clear refusal from the council of the elders of the Algonquian community. Although the MRC, to whom we owe the new trail to access the cliff, has supported our efforts, this has not convinced the council to let us climb on the sacred cliff, with or without fixed anchors. Their refusal puts an end to our negotiations to develop this cliff.

Cindy Doyle, Chair Outaouais section, ACC"

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Will the NCC chop bolts?

With the NCC pressing ahead on their climbing site closures the ugly thought of bolt chopping comes to mind. Why do I bring this up? Well, while climbing yesterday at Eastern Block a group made up of NCC and Access Coalition representative came by on a tour with a NCC hired biologist. It was cordial at first. Then a very heated debate started about chopping bolts in the Park. Of course, we stayed out of it.

The NCC point of view was that removing bolts would ensure no one would climb in the closed area. Clearly, this NCC representative has no idea that a large number of those bolts are top anchors on trad climbs so the climber does not have to top out and rap off trees. These anchors were in fact placed to comply with the first agreement to keep climbers off the cliff tops. Sure it will destroy the sport routes but how can they expect to stop a determined climber with gear?

The Access Coalition representative pointed out that the bolts pose no environmental impact on their own and should left for future access considerations. It was also pointed out that chopping bolts will not foster good will among the park climbers and just lead to "I'll do what I want" attitude.

This continued to get heated with the NCC refusing to admit that no good would come from chopping and in fact would most likely lead to more impact as climbers will walk away from the discussions. Unfortunately, I have already observed this. There was clear frustration on both sides. Anyway it put a bit of a damper on our climbing day.

Saturday report, Eastern Block

A group of us headed up to Eastern Block on Saturday to get in some local climbing. It had rained the day before and overnight so as expected it was rather wet. Temptation 5.11b was dry but I had never climbed more than the first couple moves on toprope so it was out. Mr. Clean 5.8+ was wet but looked do able. After clipping the first bolt I started to wonder if I had bitten off more than I could chew. Most of the good hold were dripping and trusting my feet became troublesome. After a tricky second bolt on a sketch wet foot I final got onto some dry rock for a easy 3rd bolt. Now it was time to weigh my options. Climb a sopping wet slabbly crux or traverse and climb the last slabbly half of Temptation. Despite not having climbed the upper half of the 11 it was dry and looked reasonable.

The top of Temptation was no gimme but I worked it out after down climbing twice to rest after figuring out the moves. So since the top of Temptation can go clean on lead I decided it was time to work the bottom sequence out. After 8 or so goes at the crux I final climbed the route clean on toprope. Redpoint in the future? Maybe, the first two clips will be hard and will definitely need to be worked into the sequence of the climb. Once past the second bolt you get a good rest and the climb eases to mid 5.10 climbing.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

McKenzie Pond Bouldering

I headed to McKenzie Pond in the Daks with a group of Ottawa boulders on Saturday. I was not sure what to expect. As you know I'm a roped climber and in particular I've been climbing mostly trad this year so a bouldering trip is not my usual thing. On the other hand I boulder twice a week at the gym for strength training so I'm not a total gumby. The nice thing was that the people on the trip are easy going and I was not really concerned about feeling pressure to sending anything.

After a 3 hour drive we parked on the side of the road and started the grueling 2 minute approach to the boulders. We warmed up one the V0 slab and a couple V1/V2 problems in area 1. The granite is super textured and can be hard on the finger tips if you are not used to it. However, the texture in combination with the cool temps made for some awesome friction which comes in handy on a number of problems.

V0 slab with crack
V0 slab with crack

Kyla in green
Kyla on a V2

Also in area 1 is a V5 called Slobadon which looked do able to me so I gave it a burn. I surprised myself on the first go by doing most of the problem so I knew it would go. I think it took about 5 try to top out. The top is a tad scary but with lots of Montagne d'Argent slabbiness under my belt I just took my time and worked it out.

Top Out
Photo: Andrew Pallek

Rebar V4 is an interesting problem that is very different from the hard crimps of Slobadon. Like most lip traverses this is about contact strength and body position under the sloppy lip. I used slightly different beta by going low at the start. Rebar is also a long problem that can get pumpy by the end as you round the corner to top it out.

Low Beta
Me on Rebar
Photo: Andrew Pallek

Rebar
Matt chillin' after his burn. Once you hit the end of the traverse you top it out.


Slot machine V5 is a classic for sure with a difficult start off the corner up to the slot. In the photo below my right hand is in the slot and by slot I mean a half pad three finger crimp. The next move is the high foot, lock off on the slot, hit the crack at the top, muscle up and top out.

Lock Off
Photo: Andrew Pallek

Thrust Fault, although only V3 this is a must do problem. I got it on my second attempt and would have flashed it if I had not mucked up my feet on the first go. The top out is not gimme so stay focused after hitting the lip jug.

Focus
Photo: Andrew Pallek

Oiseau Rock

Post removed due to access issues.

"It is with regret that I announce our negotiations to secure access for climbing at Oiseau Rock cliff have resulted in a clear refusal from the council of the elders of the Algonquian community. Although the MRC, to whom we owe the new trail to access the cliff, has supported our efforts, this has not convinced the council to let us climb on the sacred cliff, with or without fixed anchors. Their refusal puts an end to our negotiations to develop this cliff.

Cindy Doyle, Chair Outaouais section, ACC"

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The view after topping out

The view after topping out on North Wall in Gatineau Park.



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I also noticed a new sign on the way into the Western CWM.