Sunday, December 23, 2012

Montagne a Deux Tetes


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A lookout near cache GC3C51E

Found caches on Montagne a Deux Tetes
Cynthia, her dad and I have been geocaching in and around the Quebec City area during the Christmas break. In the past few days we found 41 caches with 22 of them in a single push up Montagne a Deux Tetes yesterday.

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Lots of snow - nearing
 the summit
Looking for a bigger geocaching and climbing objective Cynthia's dad suggested Montagne a Deux Tetes. We started out of the parking lot at 10:50am, completed all the caches and returned to the car at 4:20 pm. The total round trip was about 9.5 km with an elevation gain of 300 meters according to our GPS. Although, other sources put the gain at 400 meters. In any event, the knee deep snow made the climb challenging enough. Snowshoes were a must.


For some reason the scale is in nautical miles. 1 nm = 1,852 m

The trail itself starts climbing right out of the parking lot and after two caches I was already removing layers. At the same time Cynthia added some preventative band-aids to her heels to ward off any late day blisters.

The snow covered trees and trail made for a fantastic hike up the mountain side. Getting the off trail caches in the deep snow took a fair amount of effort, especially if we did not see the cache right away. A couple times I ended up in a depression with what seemed like waist deep snow.

To re-fuel we stopped for peanut butter sandwiches at a lookout near cache GC3C51E. All in all, we all really enjoyed Montagne a Deux Tetes, perhaps one of the nicest trails we have done in the area. Thanks to the people who placed theses caches that got us out there.

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

A new look

It is too cold to be on the rock today and my shoulder is unhappy from last week's gym sessions so I decided to update/shuffle the images on my blog. The main layout remains the same with the header and sidebar images switched up. Below is a screen shot of the old look. 
 

Monday, November 19, 2012

More November climbing in the CWM

Being able to get out climbing yesterday,  after a couple days of travelling for work, was priceless. On the way to Cave Wall Pete and I stopped off to lead Bitter Fingers. It was a cool morning.

With the over night temperature now below zero the rock was cold and unforgiving at first. I motored up Bitter Fingers to avoid freezing my fingers. Pete on the other hand, on his onsight attempt, took more time and with wooden fingers took a short fall onto a solid #2 camalot. The beginning of Bitter Fingers is not as straight forward as it looks.

Once Bitter Fingers was ticked off we moved to Cave Wall for a quick lap on Neruda, as the second warm up climb. Cave Wall gets all day sun this time of year (since the leaves are off the trees) so it is a good choice in cooler temps. By leading Bitter Fingers and Neruda first, it gave Al on the run some time to warm up.     

I have been giving Al on the run a lead attempt here and there through out the year when I'm in the CWM. I figure one of these times I'll get the redpoint. This last attempt was my best yet. I climbed through to the roof, clipped the third draw, clipped the rope but ran out of gas trying to pull over the roof. After a short hang I lowered a bit, pulled the roof and finish off the climb. So close.

Next up I decided to lead Security. The bottom went fine but I screwed up my feet and hands just past the first bolt and off I went. At this point I was not really sure I wanted to continue. In the end I did get back on and with some encouragement (heckling) from Pete I clawed my way to the top. A good day indeed.

    

Sunday, November 11, 2012

In the CWM, it's November already!

Well today's climbing plans were cancelled due to rain so I ended up filling leaf bags all day with yard waste. I guess it is November already. The number of possible outdoor days is now approaching zero as work, weather and other commits are getting in the way of climbing. Who knows, maybe last weekend's outing to the CWM with be the last of the season. I hope not.

Last weekend, I hit the Western CWM to run a few lead solo laps on the usual routes. I figure that this late in the season I would have the place to myself. So it was to my surprise to find the place packed with Algonquin College students taking an outdoors course. --- I also saw a few of the usual suspects in the CWM. I hope you had a good day Mr Gibbs and crew---- This meant most of my easy lead solo route were occupied. Luckily, I ran into some other climbers (Max, Jerry, Nancy? (I'm bad with names, sorry if this is not right)) in the parking lot on the way in which means I had more route options.

I decided to warm-up by leading Al on the run. For me this is far from a warm-up but I did manage to clip the 2nd bolt without trouble. The trouble came as I pumped out heading toward the third bolt after the crux moves. I tried Al on the run three times from the ground and even got above the roof only to pump out and come off trying to get my weight over my heel hook. I believe if I warmed up properly I could get the redpoint.

To work the pump out of my arms I lead Neruda and then returned to Al on the run to send it on TR. I also ran a TR lap on Security which flowed super well that day. To cap off the day I lead Bitter Fingers. For a no expectation day it turned out to be lots of fun.        

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Calabogie, Breakfast cookie

Cynthia and I stopped by Calabogie on our way back to Ottawa after Turkey Day in Belleville. We meet up with Pete, Iris, Matt and Hedy in the main climbing area to warm up. I ran up Phasers on Stun 5.5 to put up a TR for Cynthia. The rock was cool but not too bad. I did another lap on Phaser on Stun to clean the anchor and a TR lap on an unnamed route down by Calabogie Sunset.

Cynthia climbing Phasers on Stun
Feeling somewhat warmed up I decided to give Breakfast Cookie a lead attempt. I had heard some talk of it being harder than 5.10b; although it did not look too bad from the ground. As it turned out, I got the onsight. The crux is definitely between the third and four bolt. As for the grade, it could be debated depending on your preferred style of climbing. I would say 10b or 10c seems fair.

 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Coyote, Fall Classic bouldering

Coyote had it's Fall Classic bouldering comp this past weekend which means 66 new boulder problems to try. Last night I ticked off 1 to 36 and number 43. I was hoping to flash all the problems to 40 but I fell off 37 after running out of steam. I tried a couple of the 50's and few 40's as well; there are definitely some hard problems (for me) to work on.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

A colourful day, Montagne d'Argent



Another trip to Montagne d'Argent's Grand Canyon area with Matt and Andrew. Feeling unmotivated from lack of sleep and too much wine at wedding the night before I had fairly low expectations for the day. Without any direction we defaulted to the Grand Canyon.

 After hiking up the stairs and the final hill into the Grand Canyon we were faced with a mob of high school kids. Oh joy. Further down the wall we manage to find some room under Les Acrobates de l'Espace. It was like being at the gym when there is a birthday party going on. I guess we could have moved so I should not complain too much.

Les Acrobates de l'Espace 5.7

Routes # 16 and 17 are for the most part all the same climb and it is really just choose your own adventure up the broken and blocky cracks. I stayed left for the most part. There are two pointless bolts and a set of intermediate anchors on route that are strange. First you need trad gear to get there and then they sit beside a perfectly protectable crack.  Anyway,  Les Acrobates de l'Espace is not really notable, not a total bomb but not deserving of any stars either. An ok warm-up.

Cinquante Roc-Coeurs 5.9

A left leaning crack with a number of irregular pockets taking small gear for the most part. However, there is a (hidden) #2 placement about 3/4th the way up. The moves off the deck are protectable by small nuts; I placed a #4 BD micro stopper and a #5 regular stopper. After that I placed only cams.

Despite what the guidebook shows route #18 and this route do not end logically at the anchors shown. In my opinion it makes far more sense to clip the obvious bolt (no shown in the guide) on the above slab and traverse to the upper anchors of  Les Acrobates de l'Espace 5.7. If others in your party are going to TR this route then the bolt acts as a good directional.

Garantie Prolongee 5.10a

The bottom of this route is a offwidth sized crack which was disgustingly wet but can be avoid by climbing mostly on the face. It protects well with smaller cams. The crack is straight forward climbing and leads up to the an easily clipped bolt. This is where the face/slab climbing starts on well spaced bolts. With you feet above the first bolt there are several committing moves on small holds to the second. I was very happy to clip that bolt. The third bolt is equally far, if not further, but the climbing is easier to a large ledge from which you can clip. I tried to get off that ledge possibly ten times. With each attempt I would pull on but not be able to make it to the high obvious hold and then downclimb to the ledge. Too burnt to stay on I finally came off and waited the rope. So much for an onsight.

With my determination gone I lowered off and gave the sharp end to Andrew who finished off the climb only to find no anchors. It seems routes 23,24 and 26 must share the same anchors. I would like to blame my poor showing on the wedding the night before but in the end it boils down to confidence. Basically I was tired and without being able to see the 4th bolt and knowing where to go I crumbled. Such is the onsight game.

Le Bogue de l'An 2000 5.9

The last climb off the day. This climb is typically dripping wet and so sees little traffic. This is evident from the dirt and lichen on the bottom section of the climb. I have usually skipped this route in the past for those reasons. However, with the high school kids taking over a good portion of the Grand Canyon it seemed like best option to get away from them.

The wet and dirty section of the climb just happens to be the 5.9 section. Starting off, I placed a #0 and #2 C3 in a small irregular crack. Small cams in dirty wet shallow cracks are not inspiring. Time to place more gear I thought. Jamming in gear I inched my way up the wetness through the corner feature and finally onto a fantastic ledge. The upper section of the climb was thankfully dry. If it ever dried out and with more traffic this would be a good climb.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Calabogie, the new and the old

Headed out to Calabogie with Matt and Hedy today, great weather. To keep it short I started on After the Gold Rush 5.9 hoping to make a better showing this time around. It is a hard 5.9. I still did not get it clean but I managed to climb through the sections where I pulled on gear last time. Small wires are definitely the key (for me) to this climb as cams would use up all the good holds. The direct finish gave me a bit of trouble since I was so pumped from the rest of the climb. Next time.

Next up was a sport climb called Neat cafe 5.11b. Clipping the first and second bolt was not too bad but I missed a key crimp heading toward the third. Pulling over the bulge after the third bolt is harder than it looks. Once over the bulge I got suckered into the corner and getting back seemed unlikely so I traversed into Res-erection 5.10d and finished. I managed to flash Res-erection on TR afterward.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Western CWM, climbing the classics

After heavy rain and winds on Saturday, Sunday shaped up to be a good climbing day. Matt and I headed out to Gatineau without any real destination in mind and ended up at the base of Bitter Fingers.

Bitter Fingers 5.6 felt quite a bit easier this time around as I know the route and what to expect. As I mentioned before this is a first generation climb so don't under estimate this climb. Is it hard for a 5.10 climber? Of course not but it maybe tricky if you are new to trad climbs of this sort. Anyway, on the way up I got my red #1 C3 welded into a crack with one of the cam lobes inverted. It was not a pretty sight. After a hopeless battle, I was going to need some tools, I moved on to finish the climb. On the way down I place three cams to make an anchor so that Matt could take me off belay and send up my Swiss army knife and nut tool. With tools in hand I extracted my cam in minutes, no problems.

With most other climbs in the area still dripping we decided to move on. Interestingly, we noticed someone is working Dragon's Breath 5.13c and that Sexy White Pimp Cars 5.10a has been chopped. Note that anchors that it shares with Bitter Fingers are still intact. It was not a notable climb by any means but it had been there since the 1990's. Whoever the chopper is, at least they did a good clean job and covered the ends of the studs with epoxy.

Next up was Mr Toady's Dihedral 5.8, another Halka/Cotter special. The climb starts off fairly straight forward and is well protect up to a point. The crux takes some though so don't rush it. I onsighted Mr Toady's Dihedral a few weeks into my trad climbing career and looking back now it seems like a ridiculous route to cut your teeth on.

The anchors of Krispy Kreme (5.11?) are next to Mr Toady's Dihedral  so we gave it a go on TR. I gave it two separate tries, getting to the top each time but neither in continuous manner. For me the crux is between the second and third bolt. I have all the moves worked out and it is just a matter of getting my foot beta correct.

Finally, what is a trip to the CWM without a lap on Neruda 5.6? To finish off the day I lead up Neruda and notice a new foothold has appeared near the top of the climb. I would not have guess that there was any loose rock high on that climb.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Calabogie, more hornets

I warmed up on some of the usual routes at Calabogie and then worked a route between Breakfast Cookie and Tipytoe. There is no name plaque so it is hard to say what the grade is, 5.11 ish maybe? There are two bolts with the first one being fairly high off the ground. At the second bolt the climb starts to overhang and moves up through a fairly large roof on gear. Placing gear is strenuous. I placed a #1 C3, #.75 C4, #00 C3 and a #.4 C4; all the gear is bomber. A fun climb, it is going to take some effort to get it clean though.

Oh yeah and there are some hornets at Calabogie now. However, no where near the number at Home Cliff. Also, people, plese pickup your garbage! I'm going to have to start carrying extra bags with all the junk I have been picking up at the local crags lately. Show some respect for our crags and leave no trace.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Home Cliff log update


After talking to the ACC today there will be a log carrying day organized between now and October. I will post up here when I have a date confirmed. In the mean time I encourage you to move a log to the base of Home Cliff next time you are there. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Heated hornets


Pete, Iris, Andrew and I headed out to Home Cliff on Saturday to climb a few of Gatineau's first generation routes, Peggy and Piton Highway. With haze hanging over the Ottawa river valley it was already feeling warm on the approach across the field; it would hit the mid 30's by afternoon.



 At the end of the field, where the climber's trail cuts into the woods, the NCC has piled a good number of pine logs. They are intended to be used for reinforcing and preventing further erosion of the Home Cliff base. The signs mentioned a partnership with the Ottawa ACC and local climbers, however this is the first I had heard of such a plan. Anyway, I believe the intended plan is for climber to move the logs to the base of the cliff; I'm not sure who is going to do the actual landscaping. As always there seems to be a large disconnect between the people using the cliffs and the powers that be, i.e. the NCC. There is also no mention of this on the ACC website. This should be posted on the Ottawa climbing forum at the very least. I guess I'll get in touch with the ACC.

Pete, being the pack mule that he is, suggested we carry two log on our way to Home Cliff. Sure why not, it is just more training weight. As it turns out they were the first two carried up, I would be happy to carry more if someone would just ask or organize a day to do so. On the upside, with such an initiative, it seems the NCC is looking at long term climbing at Home Cliff. So to all the people who owned the beer cans and water bottle I picked up yesterday, smarten up and take your garbage home.



 I started up Piton Highway first as it was still in the shade. Andrew started up Peggy, his first lead attempt, one he had been meaning to do for years. I really like Piton Highway. Pulling through the crux I headed toward the bolt after exiting the lower dihedral. Easy climbing here, however been 15 feet from the last bolt it is no place to do something stupid. You know, like reach into a crack that contains a hornets nest. Crap. Now, I'm not afraid of hornets but after being stung 5 times on the arms last year I certainly dislike the beasts. As I clipped the draw a hornet landed on the bolt and proceeded to attack it. Clipping the rope I downclimbed 4 or 5 feet and left around the corner onto the face. I stood 5 feet along a ledge, hiding out, until the hornets calmed down. Lucky for me the face is an easy variation of Piton Highway which meant I could give the hornets a wide berth and finish the climb as well.


Also while at home cliff I gave Direttissisma 5.11a a go for the first time. I blew the onsight quickly as I missed a key hold between the 1st and 2nd bolt. I found the route difficult to read at first and the overhanging nature of the climb, plus the heat, drained my strength. There may have been some aiding on draws :). Pete and Andrew gave it a go on TR and with their beta I managed to one hang it on TR later. I'll give it another lead attempt next time I'm there. 

Update: Well it is Monday and I definitely got stung on one arm. I was not sure at first because it did not hurt too much at the time but there is a definite swollen welt that appeared late yesterday.
 
Direttissisma 5.11a, Photo by Iris
 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Climbs to date, 2012

It does not seems like much climbing and it is already the end of August. Of course, I could list off a number of reasons but that is not the point. The point is, fall is here and the number of climbing days is now disappearing fast. Let's hope for good weather.


Climb
Grade
Area
date(s)
notes
Route A
5.4 trad
North Wall, Gatineau Park
March 10th
lead
Route B
5.4 trad
North Wall, Gatineau Park
March 10th
lead
Route C
5.5 trad
North Wall, Gatineau Park
March 10th
lead
Neruda
5.6 trad
Cave Wall, Gatineau Park
March 10th
lead
Neruda
5.6 trad
Cave Wall, Gatineau Park
March 31st
lead solo
Al on the Run
5.11c sport
Cave Wall, Gatineau Park
March 31st
lead attempt - no redpoint
Calabogie Sunset
5.5 mixed
Calabogie
April 14th
lead solo
Phasers on Kill
5.7 trad
Calabogie
April 14th
lead, my variation
Vulcan Mind direct
5.11b/c mixed
Calabogie
April 14th
TR-clean
Fire Free
5.5 trad
Gatineau Park
April 22nd
lead - clean (basically flash
 - climbed it 3 years ago)
Grolsch
5.8 trad
 Gatineau Park
April 22nd
lead - take 3 #1 BD or use
 rigid friend and 2 #1 BD,
 not a clean ascent
Johnny Rock
5.9+ trad
 Gatineau Park
April 22nd
lead - small gear - #0,#1 C3
 and blue tcu at crux, not clean

Bitter Fingers
5.6 trad
Gatineau Park
April 28 th
lead - awkward, committing start
Slippery when wet
5.10d sport
Gatineau Park
April 28 th
lead - was a bit wet
Wish you were here
5.12b/c sport
 Gatineau Park
April 28 th
Worked on TR, multiple hangs,
did all the moves
Neruda
5.6 trad
Cave Wall, Gatineau Park
May 12 th
lead
Security
5.10d mixed
Cave Wall, Gatineau Park
May 12 th
TR - clean
Al on the Run
5.11c sport
Cave Wall, Gatineau Park
May 12 th
lead attempt - no redpoint
Rockaholic
5.8 trad
Beer Walls, Daks
May 19 th
Onsight
Clutch and cruise
5.8+ trad
Beer Walls, Daks
May 19 th
Couple hangs to get over roof
Gob Hoblin
5.7 trad
Creature Wall, Daks
May 20 th
Onsight
Le Recoin
5.7+ trad
Mont Condor, Val David
May 26 th
onsight, wide, 2 (3 would
 be better)  #4 BD, lead then
 lap on TR to clean
Pas de Face
5.10c trad
Mont Condor, Val David
May 26 th
onsight,  4 bolts now, gear
up top, lead then lap on TR
 to clean
Bloody Hand
5.7 trad
Mont Condor, Val David
May 26 th
onsight, Finished after Matt
and Jeff backed off
Nez en Moins
5.11a
Mont Condor, Val David
May 26 th
TR - one hang, slipped
off mantle
L'hypothenuse
5.7+ trad
L'hippocampe, Montagne d'Argent
June 10th
Onsight, good pro,
easy warm up, 5.7 at most
L'envers de l'arete
5.10b trad
L'hippocampe, Montagne d'Argent
June 10th
Lead, one hang, easy redpoint
 next time, must do route
Tally-ho
5.11b sport
L'hippocampe, Montagne d'Argent
June 10th
Lead attempt, rotten crumbly
rock, not fun, bailed off third
 bolt
Dad's
5.10b sport
L'hippocampe, Montagne d'Argent
June 10th
Lead, climbed to second
 last bolt and exited to the side
Line left of First Flight
5.8 ? mixed
Calabogie
June 23rd
lead, 3 bolts + gear
First Flight retro bolted
5.8 sport
Calabogie
June 23rd
lead
Phasers on Kill
5.7 trad
Calabogie
June 23rd
lead, my variation
Phasers on stun
5.5 trad
Calabogie
June 23rd
TR in approach shoes
Tipytoe
5.11d mixed
Calabogie
June 23rd
TR, 2 bolts + gear, easier
than Vulcan Mind direct,
 Incorrect start?
Combustion Lente
5.8 trad
Grand Canyon, Montagne d'Argent
July 22nd
Onsight, Ok, not that great
Crocodile
5.9+ trad
Grand Canyon, Montagne d'Argent
July 22nd
Onsight, Good climb after
the broken beginning,
hand/fist crack is good, goes on
 up a lichen cover slab, 60m
 rope is just enough.
Invitation Mixte
5.10b mixed
Grand Canyon, Montagne d'Argent
July 22nd
Lead, (TR once two years ago)
 Gear is small and tricky, lots
 of the best gear spots at the best holds
Madame la Marquise
5.6- trad
Grand Canyon, Montagne d'Argent
July 22nd
Lead, straight forward, a bit cleaner than last time
After the Gold Rush
5.9 mixed
Calabogie
July 29th
Onsight attempt, ended up aiding a section on small wires, did the direct finish
Head Banger
5.10a mixed
Calabogie
July 29th
TR
Head Banger
5.10a mixed
Calabogie
Aug 19th
redpoint
Tampon Applicator
5.10b/c sport
Calabogie
Aug 19th
TR - couple tries to pull roof