Sunday, February 17, 2013

Next season, looking ahead

It is that time year, when goals for next season start to creep into conversation and blog posts. Last night I was flipping through a Montagne d'Argent guide thinking about last year's onsights, sends and failures. Some highlights of last season include:
  • Invitation Mixte 5.10b, Grand Canyon, Md'A ("retro" flash)

    "The gear can be finicky in places and of course the best placements corresponded to some of the best holds. Lots of small gear; I protected the crux with a #00 C3 that I did not want to fall on. "
  • L'envers de l'arete 5.10b, L'hippocampe Md'A (near onsight)

    "I had seen this climb a year or so ago but at the time I knew I was not ready. The climb starts as a gently overhanging, wide hands to fists, crack in a left facing corner and finishes up a small slab to a mossy top out." 
  • Pas de Face 5.10c, Mont Condor, Val David (onsight)

    "The mental crux for me was the switch over from bolts to small cams. Five feet or so above the last bolt I placed a #0.4 BD C4 although a #0.5 would go there too. At this point you must commit to a left traverse on a small horizontal for your hands and not the greatest feet, small edges and smears."
  •  Breakfast Cookie 5.10b, Calabogie (onsight)

     "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."Pi
There are a number of climbs that I did not send that I will go back to like Al on the Run,  After the Gold Rush Wall and an the unnamed route beside Breakfast Cookie. All have potential to go and would if I decided to project them but I'm not really into that. If the route does not go clean first go I tend to move on to the next climb instead of focusing the day on one particular route.

For new trad routes there is still lots of opportunity at Md'A. I have lead about 60 different routes of all types and grades at Md'A but there is still lots to do. Looking through the book I compiled a list for 2013:
  • All routes at Supercrackspot - not a lot info out there on this place - a few notes on the Internet about the grades being sandbagged.
  • A return to Vertigineux for Llaria Apli 5.10- and Le Rocket 5.8+.
  • All three crack lines at Mousqutaires 5.9+ to 10c. (May 4th, one is too dirty)
  • La Saint-Georges 5.10b, Antre du Dragon.
  • Last Call 5.10d, Grand Canyon.
  • Hike up to Boite a surprise for Piccolo 5.10b and La gardienne 5.8.
  • A long overdue return to the M&M wall for Lezadomachos 5.9+, Psychoface 5.10d and No sympathy 5.10d.
  • Stop making excuses and try L'hippocampe 5.10b. (onsight in early Sept) While I'm there send L'envers de l'arete cleanly.
  • Return to Le Fou to send Coeur vaillant 5.10b; (returned but no send) I took my first fall on a green C3 the first time around. There is also L'entonnoir 5.9+ to the right as well.
  • Finally, finish off Colonel Kirtz 5.10a without grabbing the root at the top.
Yeah it is a long list . It most certainly would take a good number of trips and some luck to tick off these climbs. In particular, finding some of these climbs in a dry state is not always a given. Away, rock climbing at Md'A is still 2.5 months off, so I can dream.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Neruda, a winter ascent

I snowshoed into the CWM today with Pete and Iris to aid climb Neruda and perhaps ice climb on Spindrift wall. The hike in was a bit tricky in places with Friday's fresh snow hiding numerous icy patches near the end of the approach. 
Breaking a fresh path up to the CWM under a warm sun made for a fantastic start to the day. It was
-13 C when we left Ottawa but it felt plenty warm by the time we  arrived at Cave Wall. Without the leaves on the trees, Cave Wall sucks up the sunshine; warming the rock. It is a magical spot really. It was at that point I decided to just free climb Neruda.

Pulling on a pair of 5.10 Spires, that I can wear with socks, I started up Neruda placing the usual cams. The crux and mantle onto the ledge was complicated by ice and snow. I placed some extra gear here. It was at this point I noticed the top out and anchors were buried in snow.

After putting on my gloves I started up the final layback until I could get locked off on my left and clear snow with my right. Stepping up onto the snowy slab in rock shoes was interesting and a bit unnerving. Once I had committed to the slab I still had to dig for the anchors; it was good to clip them.

With Neruda checked off Pete turned his attention to Spindrift and although there seemed to be lots of ice at first glance, we decided it was not safe enough for us to climb. Most of the ice was thin, cauliflowered and not thick enough for Pete's longer ice screws. I think it was the right decision to walk away.