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.


Leo said...

Hey Noel, send me a message and I'll send a junior team pic and have one of the team members do up some text.

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