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.