Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year- 2012

2011 has been a year I think most of us would rather forget. We had a bad spring followed by the worst summer in many Newfoundlanders memory. I has a very short season. Not only that but Main Face suffered a lot of erosion damage.
There were also some good things that happened. Here are my top 5 good and bad things to happen in my climbing life this year.

5 Bad Things About This Climbing Season

5- Upper Face Access Climb. I have had a fixed line on the right side of the Upper Face since spring of 2010. I had every intention of bolting a nice long easy sport route up that line to provide easy access to the top. With the season so short and so many other things on my plate, I just never got to it. Definitely in 2012.

4- Bolt on Iron Hand. Terry is like a Pitbull with a bone. His unending whining about how he can't climb Iron Hand because the first bolt is so far off the deck now. He reminds me of a child who needs his neck throttled because he will not stop saying "Dad! Dad! Dad! Dad!... .... ... ... ". You get the point. Well #%$&@ you Terry, I will NEVER put in that bolt!

3- Stolen Bolt off Lady and the Ramp. I was blown away to find that some one had taken bolt hangers off 3 bolts and a set of belay hangers as well. Sure Lady and the Ramp is only easy, but it allows safe access to the top of Noobie Squeeze. That one just pissed me off.

2- Bad Spring Weather. The last time Newfoundland suffered a spring/summer like 2011 was back in the mid 1970's. I got out 2 times before August and a handful of times in the fall. Brutal.

1- Flat Rock Erosion. This is the most concerning thing to me. I don't climb there a lot but it is the Premier area in Newfoundland. I would say in a few years, the access ramp is going to washed out all together. The only access will be to rap in, climb out. I believe that will significantly limit travel to those areas.

5 Best Things of the 2011 Climbing Season

5- DFO Climbing Area. I didn't know what had become of Justin after the 2009 climbing season. He had done some excellent route developing and seemed really eager. Well, he kept himself busy. He opened an area he had been working on by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. It is great to see other people developing here in Newfoundland.

4- Climbing Club. Phil and colleagues have taken the bull by the horns and begun establishing a regional climbing club. They are taking a well organized approach. There is talk about mission statements, annual general meetings and even becoming members of the Alpine Club of Canada.

3- German Face Popularity. I am so amazed by the number of people climbing at German Face. Every weekend there seems to be people out there. I keep getting great feedback from all kinds of people. I guess the area just struck a cord with the community.

2- Noobie Squeeze. The FA of this route was quite awhile ago. It was Kim's first time climbing with Bob and I outdoors (hence the Noobie). It was a trad line with 3 bolts on. The placements were not obvious and all quite thin. I never felt really safe on it. After a few years of developing and seeing other area's outside of NL and how they were bolted, I decided to retro bolt Noobie Squeeze. I am very glad I did. It is an excellent climb and still supplies a thrill but much safer now. Phil had commented that it is probably the best climb at the grade (5.7) in the area.

1- Hangover. After bolting Noobie Squeeze, I revisited a little over hanging face that was close by. I had not looked at it in about 4 years and wrote it off as too short. I have to say that I got almost a little giggly when I started scoping it out. Sure it is only about 30 feet high, but we have a lot of crags at that height. Then I started seeing features and possible lines. Suddenly I am looking at maybe 8 to 10 lines on a wall that is over hanging anywhere from 10 to 45 degrees. I managed to get 3 lines bolted but only one sent. The other two are waiting for spring. Very challenging to bolt but very fun athletic climbing. I can't wait to see what else will pan out.
I kept referring to face as the little over hanging face near Noobie Squeeze. I was hoping to name it after one of the routes but that is taking too long. So shag it, a play on words, "Hangover" for the over hanging face.

2012 looks to be very promising. There is so much rock left to develop out in Manuel's and so many area's outside of that. I am going to buy a new drill so I will be more efficient, and well, the old one keeps chewing thru batteries. I know of a couple of people who are interested in learning to develop. That is good because I will be old, wrinkled and retired before could touch half the rock around here.

So, here is to a New Year and good riddance of the last. Keep checking back, I have not forgotten about the Viagra Classic.

Friday, December 23, 2011

O Holy Night

Just had to share this. My daughter sings in St Bonne's Chamber Choir and they were asked to sing in the Holiday Festival on Ice with the Canadian Tenors. It was televised on Global but it also made it to YouTube. Peyton is in the second row (middle) with glasses.

Merry Christmas and Enjoy

Monday, December 12, 2011

Viagra Classic Having a Hard Time Getting Up!

I haven't forgotten about the Viagra Classic. I am having some work done on the house and they are using the garage as a workshop. We haven't been able to get the cars in there either. I figure it will have to go ahead in January.

The Sunday Night Training Sessions have started again. It looks like a good crowd is attending. Last night was the first night I dragged my ass off the ground in about a month. I was not ready to jump into training with Leo.

I have joined the Boulder League! What on Gods green earth was I thinking? I am quite vocal in my dislike for bouldering. I would much rather climb routes. I can boulder in the garage anytime so when I am at Wallnuts I like to do routes. So whats up? I need to get strong plain and simple. The best way to do that is bouldering. I just hope I don't drag my team down. We will see.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Inaugural Climbing Club Meeting

Leo has informed me that the first meeting of a newly formed climbing club is at Wallnuts Climbing Center Tuesday November 8, 2011. This club will be organized and maintained by climbers like you and I. It's mission statement is yet to be written but I believe it is to be a group of climbers who are proactively approaching problems concerning access and other liability issues. It is likely going to be a chapter of the Alpine Club of Canada.
Unfortunately I will not be able to attend but I look forward to what will become of it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Looks like the end

Well it looks like the end of another season for outdoor climbing. I will not be able to climb outside for the next 4 weekends. That puts me squarely in mid November. I have two routes up I have not sent. I have a fixed line on another route begging for bolts. There is a small face we started to develop but never got back to. Then there is several other faces that people point out to me that they think will be really good.

For next year, I want a new climbing partner. This is a picture of her. I don't intend to climb, just watch.
If I can't find this new climbing partner, I guess Bob and Kim will have to do (I don't watch them climb like I would the new partner!).

Thanks to everyone who watches my blog. I seem to get a steady 20 to 60 visits per day. I will still put up the odd post but not weekly like I do in the summer.

Keep an eye out for the Viagra Classic coming next month.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Viagra Classic III

I have been thinking about having a Viagra Classic in the near future, but with a spin. Instead of having a prize for the strongest boulder, I going to have a prize for the best route setter!
Route setters break their balls (or labia's) trying to put up challenging routes in the gym for all of us. It takes a lot of work to be innovative and they change them up quite frequently. These are the same people asking me when I going to have the next classic because they can't wait to come over and route set. They are nuts!
My proposal is simple. I have 3 main sections; 15-30-45 degree overhangs (see pic), each about 7 feet wide. Each route setter gets a specific pattern tape. They set 3 routes, a V0 to V2, a V3 to V4, and a V5 or over. They can only put one route per section. On the night of the Classic, the climbers score each problem and the overall highest score wins.
Well what do they win? I'm thinking that I charge a small entrance fee per climber as a fund raiser; 50% to the junior climbing team and 50% to the winner of the Classic.
Thoughts and feedback please.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Open Project

I beat myself out today. My plan was to send Distorted Perception and then bolt the two line to the left of DP. John had placed a bolt on the left project last week so I only needed to put in two more bolts. I was able to lever against a tree so it went fairly smooth.
The project on the right was a different story. I had never really climbed it, just the bottom bit. I put in a directional above the meat of the climb so I would go flying into a tree. It was a strenuous climb for me and I had to figure out where to put the bolts. I fell up it several times until I was happy about clipping positions and bolt placements.
Bolting this thing was another story. I had to use aid hooks to keep myself into the wall so I could drill and stuff. I used a lot of energy getting those bloody bolts in. Your pulling yourself in with one hand while pushing yourself out with the drill. Regardless, I got the bolts in.
I figured that I had enough time to send the left project and play on the right. My first time up the right, I got to the move below the bolts but couldn't pull it through. I had to sit back. I lowered off and rested a bit. The next time I couldn't even clip the second bolt. My arms were absolutely dead. Crap!
I have had several people out on this little face and they have climbed this left project on TR. The general consensus is that the route is a 5.10. I can usually flash a 5.10a fairly consistently, I have flashed a 5.11a in the gym but it usually takes some effort. This route has taken me some effort and I think it will probably go at 5.10b but some may contest that.
The right project is definitely harder, 5.10d or maybe a 5.11a. I had intended on leaving the right as a project after sending the left but that didn't happen. I have flagged the left project with red tape so I can get the FA. I can't realistically see myself sending the right before the end of the year. So I open the project to you!
Post a comment to this blog with the time and date of your ascent, what you would rate it and your proposed name for the route.

Distorted Perception 5.9

I sent the route that I had bolted last week. It is kind of a neat series of shelves on an overhanging face. You have to be a little careful of the fall potential. I figured it was about a 5.8. After I sent it, Kim and Bob gave it a go. Both found it challenging enough that it shouldn't be a 5.8, so 5.9it is.
Looking at it from above, it reminded me of one of those impossible optical illusions created by Escher. Distorted Perception seemed to be a fitting name.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Please don't snag my FA.

John Bennett and I were out at Noobie Squeeze today. At little chilly first thing but stellar otherwise. I showed John the lay of the land and then put a couple of new top bolts above a line I liked. We then set up 2 ropes over 2 different lines. We decided to bolt the two lines.
The new line I bolted has several large ledges or steps the overhanging face. It was awkward to keep into the face for drilling and hammering. It took longer than I expected. Unfortunately that didn't leave much time for John to do any bolting. I took all the gear/rope off the line I had bolted and got John started on the other line. He only had enough time to get one bolt in before we had to take off.
I left my line bolted but with no FA. I didn't have any red tape to flag the lowest bolt. I figure the only people who know where the overhanging face read this blog. Please don't climb the right most (only) bolt line. I will post it as soon as I do send it. It is not hard, probably 5.8ish.
Aside for not having enough time, it was a good day. John liked the area and has already has a couple lines he is scoping out.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Just a few pics.

I was farting around with some software. I decided to put together a compilation of various rock faces out in Manuels. I went out earlier this summer and took a bunch of picture to scope out other areas. All of these areas have not been looked at. They could be crap or they could be stellar. I won't know until I get to the foot of them.

Monday, September 05, 2011

DFO Climbing Area

I have heard through the grape vine that Justin has been developing a sea cliff behind the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). He has all the details of how to get there, access and grades on I got to hand it to Justin, he finds a line and he goes after it. He has put up some bold lines on some really cool features. He has no problem lowering in over water. The man has nads!
DFO has 10 lines directly over water ranging from 5.9 to 5.11. It requires a 60 meter fixed line to lower into and to ascend out of the area. The feedback I have heard is that it is pretty cool climbing. I hope to check it out sometime but I seem to have a lot on my plate.
I don't tend to push my comfort zone, especially when developing. I am always looking for good approach, easy access to the top and escape from the bottom. I know that limits the rock faces I work on. It is great to know that there is someone out there putting up lines to challenge the heartier climbers.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Just too much.

Kim and I were at Noobie Squeeze today. We got above the new over hanging face. I wanted to put in a set of rappel bolts so it would be safe to lower into the wall. Before I slung a tree but I don't want to have to rely on webbing, long term, for a rap anchor. I went up through a few tree to the base of another crag that is about 30-40 feet high. It might pan out something?
We lowered off and set up a TR over the right sided bolts. Again, I grunted up this overhanging face and could not get it clean. Four attempts over two days and I can't send it clean. I am thinking the grade has to be more than 5.9. I have not flailed that bad on a 5.9 in years.
I then tried the line going up the left line that Kaleb thought was a harder 5.10. It has some really fun moves but I didn't get too high. I was worried about a pendulum into a tree. We were also looking at 2 more lines that should be fun and overhung as well.
As we were leaving, I had a look back at where we got above the overhanging face. Not only were below a small face but we were above another one. So much terrain to check out.
In the picture, The three black lines are Noobie Squeeze, Nice Bulge and Ankle Biter. The red solid line is the access above the overhanging face, the dotted line is the intended rap direction. The pink line represents the lip of the overhanging face.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Rumours of Phil

I was talking to Terry the other day. He had mentioned that Phil was bored on a raining day so he went for a hike. He started hiking in towards the climbing area out in Manuels. He kept on the main path instead of diverting up the climbing area. Apparently about 15 minutes further in he came to a wall that was "like another Main Face". I was pretty sure I knew which wall he was talking about. I have looked at it from a distance. It looked a little slabby but certainly could fit the description.

I think this picture is of the face Phil saw. The mature trees at the bottom are probably 30 feet in height making the wall about 100 feet, a little higher that German Face. The width looks to be about 500 feet. It still looks kinda slabby to me but it also has nice continuous. There are not a lot of ledges or breaks in the face. This could have potential. Unfortunately I have many other priorities before I would get to this wall.
Currently I am all excited about getting the little over hanging face bolted, work on Noobie Squeeze and finish a couple things on the Upper Face.
SO much work to be done and the summers seem so short.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Overhanging Face

There is this small overhanging face beside Noobie Squeeze. I haven't looked at it in years. I have grown as a developer since then. When I looked at it last week, I could see some very interesting potential lines. Bob and Kim were unavailable today. I was talking to Kaleb and Terry earlier in the week and they said they would be keen to check out some stuff.

We went up to this area today. I put in two top anchors over what look to be good lines. We spent the morning top roping them. I personally think that there are a couple of gems waiting to be bolted. I took some video of Kaleb and Terry trying out the lines.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

2 Climbers

I went out to Manuels today to get a couple of better shots of the climbing areas and to scout out some crags further in. I was taking a couple of shout when I noticed someone climbing on the Upper Face. It was about 3:30pm on Saturday Aug 27. Any idea who these people are?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Nice Bulge 5.10b

Kim and I went up to Noobie Squeeze on Saturday with the intent on bolting my project. When we first got there, we scoped out a short overhung face which looks really promising for some hard terrain, something I have been looking for in Manuels. We briefly considered putting some bolts into that face but then decided to go with our original plan.

We climbed and cleaned Ankle Biter to get to the top bolts, which are also the top bolts of my project. As Kim lowered me off, I worked the crux moves to figure out the bolt placements. Then I bolted it (10 new bolts). As it turned out, I finished in time to give it a burn.
It starts on Noobie Squeeze using the first 3 bolts to get to ledge below the main part of the climb. Use long draws here to reduce rope drag. Once on the ledge, the Bulge bolts start about 15 feet right of the Noobie bolts. It follows the fairly vertical face climbing in the 5.8 range until it ends under the bulge. There are good feet and underclings to get a bit of a rest before going into the crux. The first moves require the use of slopers with hidden edges. Then find the crimp out left. The feet are hard to find because the bulge hides them. Use the left crimp and the right slopers to gain another crimp higher up. Pull through as your feet try to find a bit of purchase. Above the bulge it is a bit of moderate slab climbing (5.6ish) until you reach the top bolts.

Prior to working the route for the bolts, I would have considered the Crux to be 5.10d. I figured out a sequence that made me re-evaluate the grade. I sent to on my first try. I felt really stoked about that. I would appreciate feedback on what other climbers think the grade of this climb may be.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bob at Rumney

It been over a year since Bob and I went to Rumney. Great climbing spot for all grades.

The route just behind Bob to his right (you can see a bolt just in front of his head) was a 5.3. It was very vertical but it climbed like a ladder.

I hope I can get a few people on a road trip next spring.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Next Project

I have my next project!!! Kim and I went out to Noobie Squeeze today. Both Noobie Squeeze and Ankle Biter climb well with the bolts (much better than before). Kim reminded me why I called the climb Noobie Squeeze. The first time she came out with us (5 years ago) she TR'd Noobie and kinda got stuck at the top of the corner section where it narrows. Today she made simple work of it. When she came down, Kim said that even after all the developing we have done in Manuels, Noobie is still her favourite climb (cool).
Between Noobie and Ankle Biter is this large bulging section of rock. I TR'd it today. It is a pretty thin sequence with little feet and slopers for hands. I think it will go at a hard 5.10. Next time out I will have to figure out the bolts but it may take some work to send...a project!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Flat Rock Fest

Kaleb has arranged the "Flat Rock Fest" for tomorrow Aug 14th. It will be a day to go down climbing at Flat Rock. Kaleb is sponsored by a rock shoe company (Evolve) and will have a couple of runs of different shoes for people to try out. It sounds like he is trying to get a BBQ down there and everything. It will be good fun for those who go down.

I hope to be out at Manuels putting up a route or two.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Rainy Weekend

Another rainy weekend! Everybody at work is talking about the summer that wasn't. Apparently the summer of 1993 was just like this. I could bitch and complain for hours about the weather. I have even been a bit tempted to look for a job on the mainland. But regardless, it looks like no climbing for me again this weekend.

Kaleb is going to Vancouver next spring for training in the culinary arts. Cooking has been a hobby of mine for years so I am a little envious. I saw an apron he might like while on my travels recently. Cheers man!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Climbing Thieves

Bob and I went climbing this morning. We had been talking about retro bolting a couple of routes we developed in 2007. They were long trad lines but to be honest, they were scary because of poor options for placements. We have put up a lot of sport lines since and looking back, we figured we should bolt them for safety. These climbs are Noobie Squeeze (5.7) and Ankle Biter (5.6). There are a couple other lines on this faces called Lady and the Ramp (5.5) which allows access to the top and Arborist (5.7). These are all on Noobie Squeeze Face, the one people pass belo
w to get to German Wall (before you go downhill into the cut line).

Somebody has stolen some fixed gear off the face!!! The first 3 hangers have been taken off Lady and the Ramp and the rap anchors were taken off the top of Arborist. I really hope who ever took those hangers were not climbers, that would be a slap in the face. If it is climbers, I really hope this doesn't happen again and this is something that should be strongly discourage in our community.

Anyhow, we spent the morning bolting and now Noobie Squeeze and Ankle Biter are 90 foot sport climbs. They both took about 13 bolts plus top anchors. Much more terrain to develop on this face. So this face has three 90 foot sport climbs under 5.7. The next line I am looking at here will probably be in the 10's.

If you hadn't noticed, Bob and I can't make up our mind what to develop. We are currently working on 4 walls in Manuels: Upper Face, Baby Face, Wall of Possibilities and Noobie Squeeze. Maybe Kim will straighten us out (not likely!!).

Routes for mid level climber

Mike left a comment on the last post about routes for mid level climbers. Flatrock is a must because of its location. Look into Candy (5.7), and consider TR Yellow Fever, Seascape. Spanky's Playground has a couple of cool moderates. I can't remember the names but there are 4 routes that ascend in difficulty, 5.7, 5.8, 5.9 and a 5.10. I am sure one of them is called Taming the Shrew.

Personal favorites found on this blog include:
Tach Auch
German Engineered
Noobie Squeeze
Delayed Gratification
Grateful Dead

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Before and After

I came across these two pictures looking for something else. I thought it was a fairly impressive contrast. These are pictures of the route Candy. The first is from 2009 and the second from this summer.

I got an email from an Ex-pat Newfoundlander, Karen. Her and her boyfriend are coming back to NL in August for a visit. He sounds like he is a seasoned climber and she will be doing a lead course prior to their visit. So here is the question: If you had a climber friend visiting from away, what would be the ideal day to get a taste of Newfoundland climbing? What routes would you suggest? Send me your comments.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I'm Back!!!

Sorry for not posting but I have been on vacation. I spent one week in Barcelona and one week doing a European Cruise thru Italy. Absolutely awesome except the kids wold not stop fighting.

I will post a few pics when I download them.

I was talking to Leo and Phil before I left. We will try to arrange some retro bolting in Flat Rock before they go out west climbing. Keep tabs for more info.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hire A Student

Are you a student who needs a little extra cash on the side? I have a few things that I need help with. I would rather hire someone from our own climbing community.
I will need one or two people this thursday and friday (regardless of weather). It will be basic landscaping stuff; digging out an area then back filling it with dirt and mulch. 15$ an hour!
Likely have some more stuff to do in August.
If you are interested, leave your name and phone number under the comments. I will not publish them. I will not contact anyone until thursday morning.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Apocalypse

I have had this forbidding sense of doom. You hear all the bullsh!t about 'the end of the world' and the whole 2012 thing. But I am beginning to think there might be something to it.
Dec 21, 2012 is the supposed date for the end of time. There are several arguments to why this date. One is the Ancient Mayan Calendar which was created centuries ago. It has been incredibly accurate despite the fact it was created in a civilization that sacrificed virgins to the Gods (can't be all bad ;). Anyhow the calendar ends on Dec 21, 2012. Some believe that the calendars accuracy is 'other worldly' and there must be a reason it finishes on that date (spooky).
Others believe we are going to get sucked into a black hole and be crushed to the size of a pea. And then there are all the religious zealots who are looking for any excuse for the end of the world. Obviously I don't believe one shred of any of that crap. I am a man of science not conjecture.
I have heard of something else that we should all be very concerned with. It also happens to be based in science. There is proof that this will occur, and it will very likely happen before Dec 21, 2012. Sorry, but you may just have to get your affairs in order.
Can you say thermonuclear reaction! Ya, no shit. A freakin nuclear reaction. But no regular nuclear reaction, that would be child's play. We are talking a nuclear fusion reaction. Using the same amounts of material, it can release 10's if not a 100 times the energy of a nuclear bomb. In other words, the bomb that took out Hiroshima could fit inside a water bottle. The worst part is that we are surrounded by the stuff required for a fusion reaction, hydrogen. That's right, hydrogen in equal weight is much more powerful than plutonium when used in a fusion reaction.
Okay, now I now what you are saying, they have been trying to utilize nuclear fusion energy for decades and just have not been able to develop the technology to create a sustainable, controllable fusion reaction. Well that is the scary part, it already exists. From what I understand , this reaction is so huge that the entire earth is going to be bathed in the radiation. It will confuse and disorientate most of us. Once exposed, there will be no hope at all. The searing heat will bake our flesh and make us turn away because it is so intensely bright. It may happen anytime so be careful. The first sign will be a break in the tropospheric water formations and then it will happen, an amazing burst radiation. It will look like a huge ball of fire and I believe they call it the sun.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

East Coast Road Trip

I don't know if many of you are Gripped readers. If you are, you may have come across an article in the most recent edition. The section was entiled "East Coast Road Trip". I thought it may touch on our climbing scene, but it did not. I have noticed that this is not uncommon for Newfoundland to be left out of article pertaining to the "East Coast". I felt I should reply so I sent the following letter.

Letter to Gripped.

Gripped does a great job of highlighting the climbing scene in Canada and I have always found your articles well done and interesting. I was looking forward to reading “East Coast Road Trip” because, being a climber from Newfoundland, that article must have something about our climbing scene.
I almost instantly had my doubts when the first article about the East Coast was bouldering on the shores of Georgian Bay, Ontario, over 2000 kilometers west of St. John’s. That didn’t give me an “East Coast” feel at all.

“Go East Young Man” gave a nice vignette of climbing in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. It discussed their colorful climbing community and classic climbing areas. Unfortunately there was no mention of our climbing community, which is truly unique.

Several of our crags are perched on the edge of the North Atlantic. The sound of crashing ocean waves is always at your back, punctuated by the occasional whale surfacing for a breath of air. We have a great range of climbs from the moderates to stiff sport climbs. Over 200 routes spread over 7 crags all within 30 minutes of St. John’s. We have big wall climbing at Devils Bay with granite unfolding for over a 1000 feet. And that is just one of hundreds of cliffs that plunge into the ocean on our shores. They don’t call us the rock for nothing.

We have an ever growing climbing community with some of the friendliest people you could have the pleasure to meet. An interesting mix of Irish, English and French heritage developed into a wonderful culture that is different from anywhere else in Canada.

So, come on out on your next ‘road trip’ and find out what Newfoundland has to offer, you just might be surprised.

I have no idea if it will get any attention or not but I thought I would share it with all of you. At least someone might read it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Upper Face

This is a temp topo of the Upper Face as of June 2011. As previously mentioned, this is a new area and there are loose rocks that we have not found yet. WEAR YOUR HELMETS!
Not sure of actual grade of deminshing returns since I have not climbed it since last year.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

OCD 5.5 PG Trad

Went climbing tonight in Manuels. I have not received my bolts from MEC yet so I was unable to do any developing. I have always thought that a nice trad line followed to the right of Obsession up to a set of bolts we use for access to the top of the upper faces.
I started at the bottom and clipped the first couple of bolts prior to getting to the belay bolts at the bottom of Obsession. I clipped the first two bolts on obsession before moving out to the right. I was kinda wet after all the rain we have had. Plenty of good placement. A couple spots with vegetated ledges. I came to one in particular that was quite wide, but with a lot of moss. On the left was a crack that split the face and continued left. On the right was a broken face with what looked like bad placements. I was unsure how far it was to the anchors and I was pretty sure I was now going to go sharply left. I wanted to avoid the rope drag, so I built an anchor and brought Kim up.
Once Kim was at the anchor, I went on belay again and tried the crack at the left. I thinned out to nothing very quickly and lead up to a blank slopey face. I re-examined going to the right. I found a good placement or two before I got to the shitty, broken face. I put a #1 C3 at the base (not awe inspiring) and putz around for a few minutes. There was a small relief in this face where I was able to slot a substantial nut (#9 BD Stopper). I was wet and mossy but I had a good piece. I climbed up thru the relief up onto a mossy and brush covered face with the anchor only 20 feet above. I trudged up and got to the anchors. After clipping in, I saw a place or two that probably could have taken some gear but I had run it out.
Because of the shitty placements to the right of the moss covered ledge and how I had run it out at the top I figure I should give it a PG rating. There was some loose rock and wet ledges. It was more heady than if it would had been dry. From the anchor, you can rap on a 60 meter rope to the scree slope below. Be careful, this is not a cleaned route! It shares it start with Obsession so I figure it name should have a common route. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD for short. With a name like OCD, you would figure it would be sparkly clean really soon.
This is the 3rd route on the Upper Face and I still have several more planned for it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

This Time Last Year

Bob and I were climbing at Rumney, New Hampshire. 24 to 27 degrees everyday with excellent climbing. 5 days straight! Not that I am bitter or anything but please God let this weather improve.
This is Bob seconding a climb called "Clip a dee do da".

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Fly Dope

Back in town now. I had to go to Ottawa for the week.

Got a comment from 'Abseil' who was out on German Face on the weekend past. (S)he said that were a ton of flies and they really needed fly dope. Tis' the season!
Usually the next 2-4 weeks are pretty nasty for black flies on the inland crags. Don't let this dissuade you, I actually like using a 'bug shirt'. It is one of those shirts with made of fly netting. I wear it when I am belaying so I am not swatting when I should be belaying. You can get a cheep one like this at WalMart for about 20$. You can get better quality ones from MEC. The fly dope seems to be enough once I get off terra firma. Once July hits, the flies are not nearly as bad.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Winter 2011 Damage

There has been a lot of damage to Main Face over the last winter. The pictures don't do it justice. The access ramp has had about 2/3's of it washed out towards the bottom. It is still very passable but one more season like 2011 and it may be completely gone. This was a man made ramp to allow heavy machinery down to the Main Face Area to harvest boulders for the Flat Rock Town breakwater. It is all soft dirt and easily wash away with high wave action.

The next obvious area was when we came upon Iron Hand (Left of Candy). It climbs the corner Bob is looking at up to the large horizontal crack, traverse left and up from there. It is a good heady trad climb. The is no protection until you get to the first bolt. When it was bolted, the first move was to mantle up onto the flat ledge that come from the left side of the corner and slopes into the right side, about 15 feet above Bob's head (Bob is 6 foot). This could be reached from the ground. A balancy move would get you into the thin corner and with a back step you could reach the first bolt about 3 feet below the large horizontal ledge. That first bolt is now 25 to 30 feet off the deck with little to no chance to get gear in then so it is now a 5.9+ X trad route.
This is where 'No Freebies' used to be. The large boulders in the forefront are the rock that had the routes on them. The inverted staircase in the background is where it came off. This used to have 3 solid 5.10's on it. The anchors are still at the top.
Bob educated us on what happened. In the left of the picture, at the base of the wall you can notice a different color band of rock. That is a layer of relatively soft sandstone. Sitting on top are the massive cliff faces that make up Main Face. They are composed of a much harder conglomerate rock. When the base gets exposed like this, the sandstone erosion accelerates. Literally, the foundation of the cliffs above are being washed away. They loose support, fracture and fall away. Just hope you are not climbing when it does happen.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Expansion Bolts

I retro bolted Candy with expansion bolts. I known, all the bolts down on Main Face are glue-in bolts. So why did I use and expansion bolt?
The first part of the answer is why do we use glue-ins. The Marine environment is a brutal one, especially for metals. Any time you have 2 pieces of metal touching (hanger and bolt), especially if they are 2 different metals, there is a possibility of corrosion. Salt
water speeds this up because it acts as a conductor and speeds the chemical reaction that is corrosion. This was most notable in Thailand where burly 1/2 inch expansion bolts were placed in sea cliffs (much like Flat Rock) and were rusted out inside one year. There is a theory that the chemical composition of the rock lead to the corrosion. Using a one piece glue-in avoids this contact of two metal, and the glue makes a chemical bond with the rock so water can't get
in and cause trouble. It is the way to go for sea cliffs.
So why the hell did I use an expansion bolt? There are multiple pieces and are not as strong as a glue-in. Whats up? Well what I put in was a stainless steel Triplex Bolt from Fixe. Stainless steel is the least like to corrode and the Triplex has only 3 pieces (hence the name). What the real beauty of this bolt is that is is removable! I can easily pound this thing
in and pop it out anytime I want. It is a 1/2 inch bolt which is bigger that the standard 3/8's found in most climbing areas. It uses the same size hole as the glue-ins so when the time is right, I will pop out the Triplex and replace them with glue-ins. So when you see the expansion bolts on Candy, don't freak out. They are solid and can be replaced with glue-ins at any point. I am going to leave them for a while to see how they mature.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Candy Gone Retro

Kim, Bob and I went to Main Face tonight with the intention of fixing Candy. I figure I would climb the crack until I got to the first bolt and then finish Candy. Then I would lower off and pop in a bolt or two. Easy...Not Quite.
I brought mostly bigger gear remembering that it was a fairly wide crack. To my surprise, the crack is actually very narrow in the back. I happen to have my Black Diamond 00 C3 but I couldn't get it to sit. My second problem was that a lot of water was seeping down the crack and I couldn't get good feet. I just could not feel safe getting off the ground.
I ended up putting the C3 and another cam down low so I could lean out underneath the ledge. I put a bolt in over my head just above the ledge.
I clipped into the bolt and started climbing. I put another 2 pieces in the wet crack until I could get the first original bolt clipped. After looking at it, you could definitely still have a ground fall if you fell before that next bolt. I put a second between the two. Their approximate position is where the 2 black dots are. The red dots are roughly where the old bolts are.
We walked around the rest of Main Face to see the damage of the previous winter storms. It was remarkable. There is a lot of work that needs to be done. The biggest issue is that the ramp probably won't last too many more years. We will need another form of access. Just as a note, Kim (brown jacket) is standing below a route. There is a small horizontal crack just above the roof. That used to be the start hold, I would grab it standing on the ground. That is now about 10 feet above Kim's head. There has been a lot of erosion. Anyhow, Candy is ready to go again.

PS...DO you see an evil little kid in the rock from this picture. Find his head shoulders and waist. Cool!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Bolting Ethics

Candy is nasty! I know this because I am her daddy. She used to be kind and forgiving but now she is just rude and aloof. What a b!tch. By the way, I am not talking about my wife.

Candy is a route I set on Main Face about 5 years ago. It was the first moderate (5.7) sport climb in that area. It allowed fairly easy access to the top of other route. Over the last two years, there has been a lot of erosion at the base. Five to 10 feet of rock have been washed away by winter storm action. The first bolt on Candy is now around 20 feet off the deck. Not safe!!

Now, I have put my effort into developing another area for a number of reason. Candy is the only route I have put up in the Flat Rock Area. I am going to retro-bolt the route to make it safe, but by ethics, that is the only route I can touch. For those of you who are
unfamiliar with the ethics of developing, they are basically the unwritten for an area when putting up or maintaining routes. For example, the Gunks in New York State is a hard core trad area where only the people who are allowed to place bolts are the park rangers. The opposite would be Rumney, New Hampshire where sport climbing runs supreme and even long cracks are bolted. Obviously a different philosophy. This is the basis of "bolt wars" where a guy bolts a crack and a hard core trad climber comes by later and chops all the bolts...bad blood!
To help avoid this kind of conflict, developers should respect the local ethic and the general ethics in regards to bolting.
If a person puts up a route, the assumption is that it was done in a certain spirit with a lot of thought and effort. They are the 'author' of that route. It may have meant to be run out in places to keep it spicy...who knows. If the author wants to change it later, that is their prerogative. But if you want to put in a bolt or two, you need to check with the author and get their permission (to avoid bad blood).
Flatrock currently has a lot of routes that could use a bolt or two to make them safe. Throwing in bolts haphazardly could create friction within the community. The people with the FA's (author) of the routes that need a bolt should be contacted before it is placed.
To make a long story short, I can fix up Candy but I won't retro-bolt any other route unless their is some sort of consent. I hope to get to it in the next week or two.

Monday, May 23, 2011

German Face Topo

Blue- German Engineered 5.8

Black- Core Shot 5.9+

Green- Tach Auch 5.9

Yellow- Photophobia 5.10b

Red- Hat' Shit 5.9+

Purple- Sick Like Dog 5.7

Yellow- German Access 5.5

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Baby Face

Just in case you were not clear what face I was talking about. This is a overview of the area. I have Baby Face with a square around it. It is the small face you pass as you hike into the German Face.

The next image is a 'blowup' of Baby Face. I have the bolts we placed approximated by the 'dots'. Bob is working on a route just to the right of Boston Mantle. We can probably get about 4-7 routes on this small face. They will all be 5.8 and lower. The top of the face is very easy to access. The new path we put in for the upper faces pass just above it.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Boston Mantle 5.8

My first time out doors this season. It was about time!

Bob and I had been talking about what we were going to work on this season as last year was a bit of a bust. We have a few things in mind; continue working the upper face, open up Noobie Squeeze area or putz around around on a short wall just before German Face. The short wall got our undivided attention today.

Anyone who has been to German Face knows exactly where this small face is. You pass it on your left just before you go up the hill to the bottom of German Face. It is about half the size in both height and width. The reason we went here is that the access is really easy to the top and bottom and we can quickly put up a number of moderate climbs. Bob was fartin around here 2 weeks ago and put in a set of top bolts. I put in 1 safety bolt and then put in a set of top bolts. After top roping it a couple of times, I put in 5 bolts to cover the 30-40 foot route.

It starts in the middle of the face behind a pine tree. The opening sequence is on fairly thin fingers but good feet. The route goes straight up to where I had to pull out a large loose block (left obvious scar). Use a couple of side pulls to clip a bolt just below a ledge. There is a large side pull to the left but very little else to help you get on up on the ledge. It requires an awkward mantle move. I would have been fairly heady move so a placed a bolt to protect that sequence. once the ledge is made, it is only a couple of moves to the anchors. If one were to fall there, it would be a bad ledge fall so one last bolt went in just before the anchors.

A lot of the bolt placement was secondary to the ledge in the middle so I thought that move should be integral to the name. I am off to Boston tomorrow so that was also on my mind hence...Boston Mantle. I goes about a 5.8 knowing the route. If you miss a couple of key holds, it will make it fell harder.

We figure that this will be a great learning area. We have yet to name it. We have thought about Baby Face, or the Elementary Wall. I don't know. Anybody have any thought to name an area that is specifically help introduce people to sport climbing? Leave a comment.

Tri WOD: Long Bike and Long Run Wk1

A little make up today.

Thursday was a rest day.

Friday: Long Bike- 1hr at a moderate pace

Sunday: Long run- 30min at moderate pace.

If training for the sprint triathlong, if you can only do three work-outs per week, they should be the long easy ones.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cl-WOD Endurance

Had about 1hr and 45 minutes at Walnuts.
Called each route one pitch. Each pitch about 25 feet.
The goal was to see if we could get to 1000 feet.

Bob and I alternated with 4 pitches each. We went crescendo-decrescendo starting on easy 5.6 got to laps on 5.10 at the hardest and then back down to 5.6

We got in about 600 feet or 24 pitches. Good work out but not close to the goal of 1000 feet. Try again next time.

Note about endurance:
Endurance is relative and the training therefore can be different. If you boulder, then endurance may be getting to the top of that 20 foot highball. Bigwall climbers need to be able to climb pitch after pitch hauling packs with them. Two very different goals.
I am a sport climber! I expect that my longest climb will be less than 100 feet. As with any endurance sport, you train beyond the expected duration of the race. The best example I can think of is running. I was training to do a 10km run in under 45 minutes. The long easy runs all exceeded 10km. In fact the longest run was 21 km, the length of a half marathon. It helps to make sure you have gas in the tank as you approach the finish line.
With climbing, there are many benefits to endurance climbing. I can't knock doing 30 minutes of continuous climbing but it is mind numbing. I already have an aerobic base which I augment with the Tri training. I am mostly concerned with getting to the top of a stiff 100 foot route therefore most my endurance training intervals will be between 100 to 200 feet. Judge it for your own goals.

Tri- WOD Wk1 Bike Short & Run Long Brick

5 min easy warm-up
5 min moderate
2 min hard (HR 80% max)
1 min easy
5 intervals
Max HR 160
Average 142
Cal 245

25 Min moderate pace
Average HR 130
Cal 161

Easy stretch 5 min.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cl-WOD Endurance 45 minutes

10 minutes light bouldering.
30 minutes of continuous climbing.
Ended up being about ten 40 foot traverse across the bottom of my bouldering wall. Had to rest after each to avoid getting a burn. You DON"T want to get burning forearms doing this.

10 intervals of:
Medium 3 finger edge- 4 pull-ups (on the 0:00).
Jugs- 5 hanging leg lifts (on the 0:30).
Takes 10 minutes to complete.

Light stretching.

Strong for Summer

Here is a novel idea...I am going to get in shape for the climbing season. I know what you are thinking..."don't we train all winter to get in shape for summer?". Well I am more stunneder than your typical climber. I train all winter to get in great climbing shape for March (ie Rock Fall). Then the routine falls to sh!t, summer comes and I try to get outside as much as possible. What ends up happening is that I develop (routes) on the weekend and stop climbing thru the week. I get as fit as the Pillsbury Dough Boy.

Well Leo is great at training people and I owe him a lot. I have learned from him and have done considerable research on training for climbing myself. I am going to start a training cycle to get in shape for the summer. I usually record my training sessions on an online webpage. I figure I can just put my workouts on my blog. If you are looking for a little structure to your climbing, this may help. I am going to do it more for myself than anything.

Where I am older (42) and a bit heavy for a rock climber (188 lbs at 5'9"), I really need to work on slimming down and improving my aerobic capacity. I am training for a Sprint Triathlon to cover that aspect. Ideally I will train 4 times per week for this. These work outs I will mark as Tri- WOD (Work Out of the Day).

The climbing workouts will be marked as Cl- WOD. The cycle will be a 3-2-1. Three weeks endurance, 2 weeks power and one week power-endurance. I will be training for climbing 3-4 times per week. Climbing will take priority over Tri training. My workout can be anywhere from 45 minutes up 3 hours. My rest days are usually when I am on call and if I have a bad night, I may miss two days in a row. Some days I may have two workouts.

A basic minimum would be 3 climbing work outs, two aerobic and two antagonistic workouts per week. Modify the workouts for yourself.

I will start posting about our development of stuff outdoors as soon as the weather permits.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

It has been awhile.

It has been 7 months since my last posting. I think that has been the longest stretch yet. I don't have much to post in the off-season as most my posts are about the developing we have done. I also will post odds and ends but it usually pertains to the outdoor scene.
We have had another stormy winter and the damage to MainFace has been significant. I haven't been down there myself but it sounds bad. The access ramp is almost completely washed out! It is only a couple feet wide in places. One more winter and that will likely be gone. For those of you unfamiliar with this area, Main Face is our best developed area. It has over 60 routes of sport, trad and mixed. It has some of the best climbs in the province. It is on a sea cliff with a nice wide ledge at the base. The best access was a wide ramp built by the military long ago so they could get heavy equipment down there to harvest boulders for a breakwater. That is what is washing away! Without it, the only access is to rap in and climb out.
Aside from that, a lot of ground has been washed from the base of most climbs. The starts have been extended by 5 to 10 feet of polished rock. Not very good if the opening moves on every route are about 5.12 before getting to the first bolt 20 feet up.
There has been a significant rock fall as well. The bottom half of the 'No Freebee's' wall has come off. The routes used to have a small roof about 12 feet up, then a bolt within 3 feet of that roof. About 8 feet above that was a long horizontal crack that would take a piece of pro. One more bolt above that and then the anchors at the top. Everything from the crack down has come off. Three 5.10's were on that section and the upper part doesn't appear stable. So it has been a hard winter on Main Face. I would think that Manuel's is fine where it is inland but Igor did some significant damage last fall...we will see.