Tuesday, June 27, 2006

South Coast Big Wall

This is picture of Devil's Bay on the South Coast of Newfoundland. It has attracted many big wall climbers from the North East United States as well as some locals. It is some of the best big wall climbing in North America and it is our own back yard. Because of how 'remote' it is and locations of other big walls, not many climbers travel here.

I have been told that there are countless other walls of similar size in the same area.


Monday, June 26, 2006


There are lines begging to be bolted and some retro-bolting is required. As previously mentioned, bolts don't come cheap and we would like to maintain routes with good equipment. We are thinking about having a fundraiser for the 'Bolt Fund'.

Plans are in the making but something like a guest speaker to give a slide show on climbing in Devils Bay, show a climbing film and have a silent auction.

Post any further ideas to the 'comments' section.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

New sport routes.

Main Face Wall at Flatrock is seeing some more development. A new line will soon be open which is being described as an "instant classic". It is thought to be in the mid 5.10 and is long and sustained.

First ascent, route name and location will be published when available.

And to mix the old with the new, new top anchor bolts will be placed at the top of some of the established easy trad climbs in the near future. This will make cleaning and escaping a lot easier but more importantly the bolts should make those climbs much more accessible.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Bolt Fund

For a number of years, there has been a bolt fund to help cover the costs of developing new routes. It is a plastic container at the front desk of Wallnuts. Over the winter it has collected about 40$. This is great and thanks to all that have contributed.

FYI...glue-in bolts cost about 4$ each and the adhesive cost about 30$ per unit (covers 20 bolts).

A very active developer, Jason Wall (Jay) has spent a great deal of time prepping and cleaning some of the most recent lines. He has his eyes set on some new potentially great lines. If you think of it and can afford it, throw a bit of change into the bolt fund the next time you are at Wallnuts and help us get a few new lines up this summer.



Monday, June 12, 2006

Bob's Ankle Buster

Nole posted a quick note on my accident. I thought a full report was warranted.

The route I was on was a first ascent on easy trad of about 5.7-5.8 or less with a big sloping ledge with trees about 20' up. Sort of alternating slabby and vertical. I had rapped the route a few times and cleaned it a little, there was ample opportunity for pro and although there was some lichen it was not obscuring the holds and was easily brushed off. After we built a bolted anchor at the top and rapped down to check out the routes Darrell and I set up to climb a route each, I went first. The treed ledge made it hard to find the best place to start up to my chosen line from the ledge. At first I started way off to the right and had to retreat. The second start had me still right of the line I wanted so my route angeled to the left. I placed a 1.5" hex below the large ledge and on the ledge went left behind a tree - if I fell then I would have been on the other side of the tree and it would act like my second piece. From the ledge there was an 8' slabby section I put my real second piece at the top of this, a large nut. About 10' further up on the vertical section I put in a cam (blue Rock Empire #0.5?) with a full, length runner. From here on I planned to go straight up A little higher with my feet at the level of the cam I was on a good hold with my left foot, stemming for balance with my right, using my left hand on a sidepull, and my right hand was fiddling with biner full of nuts trying to get one to fit perfectly. When the "good" hold under my left foot broke off with a loud crack and I dropped straight down.

After a second or so of panic I caught my balance on the slabby section, looked up to see that the cam looked to be holding well and looked at my screaming ankle. The outside of the joint was swollen to the size of a softball and getting bigger. After a bit of shouting back and forth to clarify the situation, Darrell lowered me to the ground and came over to help with my ankle which was now the size of a small cantaloupe. I held up my leg with my hands behind my knee while Darrell taped my ankle, being careful not to tape on the pull loops of my shoes. We got into my high top hiking boots, tying them up as tight as possible and then taping them tighter.

With my ankle somewhat secured we now had to get back to the car. About 75m away was a rough path that would take us the half K or so to the car, between was steep 45 degree bushwacking. We had had to duck under deadfalls and push through alders on the way in, going out with a broken ankle was no fun at all. Darrell found a stick to use as a staff and provided a shoulder whenever I needed it. My main concern was speed. I was afraid the adrenaline would wear off leaving me useless.

The ER doctor gave me a half cast and told me I had broken my ankle on the inside, a large chip off the tibia, and badly sprained it on the outside. The orthopedic Dr. confirmed this three days later. If the doctors are right I should be walking in July and I hope to be climbing in August, I'de rather be cautious than hurt myself more.

After quite a bit of thought the only mistake I can think of was using a full length runner on the cam. It added four feet to my fall. I probably would not have hit the slab if I had clipped directly into the cam. I was worried about rope drag and wiggling the piece out but I could easily have downclimbed and lengthened the sling after putting in the next piece. Also if my reflexes were fast enough I might have pushed off a bit so I would slow down on the rope before swinging into the rock, but if they were that fast I could have grabbed a better hold and not fallen at all. Of course I might have noticed that the hold was suspect and not used it at all, I'm usually paranoid about that kind of thing so I think this was one of those that would have given no indication that it was about to give. I was standing on it for a minute or more before it gave.

I was climbing in a new area that I have been looking at for almost a year now. I've made several trips into it during which I've hiked in to a number of faces chosen and rapped the first routes and blazed the access trail. Beautiful feature rich granite with at least five faces that will have dozens if not hundreds of one pitch sport or trad routes. There's also lots of potential for bouldering. All this within a half hour's drive of downtown St. John's and the closest face only 15 minutes from the car. I hope to spend years developing this area; I already have the first half dozen routes planned out. I was going to finally climb the first route and look what happened. If anybody wants directions I'm not keeping it secret.


Sunday, June 11, 2006

New Route Guide

Leo is making excellent progress on the new guide. He said that it would be ready by early July. He is currently working on pictures and formatting. Kudos to both Leo and Jeff Holmes for the effort put into the guide. Lookin' forward to it.

New Bolts on Main Face

On Tuesday past, at a very ungodly hour, 7 new bolts were placed around the Yellow Fever Ledge.

The first pair are a set of rappel anchors placed at the top of the loose slope above the ledge. They are in the last vertical face just above the slope at about chest level. These are meant to make the descent safe. Whether you rap down, place a safety prussiut on a line, whatever, you now have no excuse if you slip on the scree and take a 100 foot free fall.

3 bolts were placed above Good Country Lovin' and Gabe. Both of these climbs are 5.11a and top out at just about the same place. Top anchors can be easily placed. Good Country Lovin' uses the left and middle bolt while Gabe uses the middle and right bolt.

2 top bolts were placed above the Fifth Element, a 5.11c to the right of Yellow Fever.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Bouldering Series

Dave Stack has stepped up to the plate and offered to organize a weekly bouldering series. The rough plan is that one area will be chosen per week (biweekly...however often Dave wants). He will post the time and place here on the blog and in the gym on the board. He will be there and who ever wants to show up is more than welcome.

It is a great chance to see where the boulders and problems are, get some beta and just have a good time. Bring your crash pads with you so there will be plenty for everyone around.

Dave will be staring this up fairly soon so keep an eye out.


New contributors

So instead of this blog being my own platform to spew about climbing stuff on the Avalon, I have brought on help.

Leo vanUlden (manager/owner of Wallnuts Climbing Gym). Leo has been climbing here for more than 10 years and knows the outdoor areas very well. He is currently working on a route guide for the Avalon which we hope will be out next month.

Dave Stack. Dave is a very strong climber/boulder who has many first ascents of problems on the Avalon. He has a good knowledge of many of the bouldering areas.

Bob Patey. Bob has been climbing for more than 10 years. He has an obsessive habit of reading absolutely everything he can on climbing and can be a tremendous resource.

I thank these guys now for their future contributions and ideas.