Friday, March 28, 2008

Profiles-Leo Van Ulden

I asked Leo to send me some info on the junior climbing club. I think it was probably a tall order. If you are interested, send me a photo and a short bio to and I will post in due time.
I met Leo back in 1995 on my first visit to Wallnuts just after it opened. Leo and his brother Phil were the rock gods of the time, knocking on the door of twenty years old. There were number of other good climbers around but Leo took a prominent role because of his connection to the gym. At that time he had been climbing a number of years and was puttering around on a home woody with his brother and another fella, Ivan. Leo and Phil with their mothers backing started Wallnuts.
Fast forward seven years and my re-introduction to Wallnuts in 2002, there was Leo. Since then Leo has been a mentor of sorts, as he has to many of us. I took several course from him, including Rock I and Rock II. I have climbed with him on many occasions and always manage to learn something from him.
Leo has been active in maintaining and upgrading his education with climbing. He currently is the only Newfoundland climber (that I know of) who is ACMG certified.
I can't comment about his hardest sends but I have a bit of a sense what he may consider to be big accomplishments. First would be his work with the Junior Climbing Team. He has seen a group of teens come a long way and looks forward to what they can and out of the gym. Author and FA of Sledgehammer. This was likely the first well bolted moderate (5.10ish) sport climb. It is listed as 5.11a but that is primarily to it very thin start. Once to the first bolt it climbs like a 5.10 minus. Others prior were either runout or very difficult. Leo opened this grade for a number of us.
Another great FA of Leo's is Paging Don Keidik (5.10b). This is a beautiful 25 meter climb that became an instant classic.
I hope I don't have too many of the details messed up.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


For awhile I have been thinking about posting profiles on some of the local climbers. I figure I should start with myself.

I first started climbing in 1995 when Wallnuts first opened. I climbed indoors for 2 years when I stopped. I left Newfoundland and returned in 2002 when I took it up again. My first season climbing outside was 2003 and that was limited. I slowly increased my climbing and training. I went from slogging up 5.8 in 2002 to my first onsight of a 5.11a earlier this year.

I built a bouldering wall in my garage 2 years ago and it has helped my climbing drastically. It allowed me to climb 3 to 4 times to per week and create a system wall for training.

I took a trad climbing course last year at the Gunks in New York State. I would recommend this to almost anyone. I learned a lot and got good practical experience. The guides I have climbed with have been really solid interesting people. Even for the well seasoned, it may be worth while to just get the lay of the land.
I like to develop routes with my climbing partner, Bob. We have noticed a big lack of moderate routes. Our goal is to safely bolt lines between 5.2 and 5.10?. So far we have put up about 10 routes in that grade. This summer we intend on further developing Manuels Face and climbing as hard as we can at Main Face.
I am hoping to get a little profile on the Junior Climbing Club going to Toronto next month.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Middle Cove Bouldering

Middle Cove Beach has a short wall on the left side as you face the ocean. I boulder here in the summer...early morning before it becomes dirty with people. There is a nice traverse, left to right. It is about 30 feet long and probably goes at V3 or V4. I haven't done it clean yet.
The wall is about 10 to 12 feet high and is about 5 to 10 degrees overhanging. I have done a number of 'straight up' problems ranging from V0 to V3. There are more in the waiting.
To the far left is another face, a little higher but with fewer features. Lots of beach below it at low tide but wet at high tide.
One the right side of the bay there are some other faces, but they are decaying and always wet.
There is another