Thursday, August 09, 2012

Blockbuster 5.11b

Today I left Louis and David at the Hangover.  I showed them a couple of top anchors I placed and let them at it.  After I left, they bolted a new line to the right of Distorted Perception.  Louis got the FA on this one.  While he was prepping the route a few blocks of rock popped out on him.  He called it Blockbuster and it goes at 5.11b.

Dyslexia 5.7

I was out climbing today with Louis Loader, David Bruneau, Kim and myself.  I would like to say that I was crushing 5.12 like the boys but nope.  Louis and David asked if they could come out and do some bolting.  The last time out, Kim and I placed a set of top anchors below Life or Limb.  I showed the guys how to use the drill and the basics of bolting.  
We tied off the rope with a figure 8 at the mid-point.  I rapped on one side while David and Louis came down the other side.  We shared the drilling and bolting.  At one point, I thought the drill bit must have worn out.  David had half the hole drilled and he just couldn't get any deeper. We checked the bit, it was fine.  The battery was fresh.  For a couple of minutes we just couldn't figure it out.  Then David says "maybe I have the drill turned on in reverse!".  The drill has two settings, forward and reverse, for screwing in and taking out screws.  David managed to drill most of the hole with the drill in reverse.  We had a bit of a laugh about that.
Once we finished bolting the line, Louis and David did 'rock, paper, scissors' for the FA.  The line starts to the right of Obsession under a horn-like feature about 15 feet off the ground.  The are a series of nice jugs/rales running diagonally up to the left.  Above the horn, follow a series of under clings to the left arrete and follow another series of jugs for about 15 feet.  The route then head back right to the top bolts. The route is about 75 feet with eight bolts and top anchors.  
David got the FA (sorry Louis).  He wanted the name to reflect his bolting experience, especially the one he drilled in reverse.  I suggested to keep the theme of the wall (Obsession and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and came up with Dyslexia.  The decision was suominanu.  The route is called Dyslexia and it goes at 5.7.
The pic is David sending Dyslexia.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Historic Climbing Pics of Newfoundland

I had an interesting comment on one of my postings.  I basically was asking if I could get access to old climbing photos from the Avalon.  If you have any old photos that may fit the bill, leave a comment or email it to
When I was climbing in the Gunks, I saw some artifacts still being used.  Even photos like this with an explanation would be cool.
PS  This is a two piton anchor with multiple slings.  This is at the top of the first pitch of a two pitch climb (I think it is the Horseman).

Monday, August 06, 2012

Climbing Partner Needed

I am off this week and I was hoping to bolt some routes.  I haven't been able to find anyone to help me out.  I was hoping to get out tomorrow.  Place a comment and contact info if you are interested.  You can also send me an email or call if you have my info but I don't post it on this blog.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Joe and the Triplex

Last year, Flat Rock suffered a lot of washout.  Candy is a route that I bolted a good number of years ago and last summer, I had to put in 2 more bolts to make the start safe.  I don't spend a lot of time at Flat Rock so I have never gotten back to replace the bolts.
"Replace the BOLTS!!" you might be saying.  Well yes, replace the bolts I put in last summer.  The bolts I put in were a special expansion bolt called Triplex which are produced by Fixe.  They are a removable bolt that fits the same hole as a glue-in.  They are fine as a long term bolt but any expansion bolt on a sea cliff is not a great idea.  The longer they are in the more they corrode.  A couple of years would be fine but not a couple of decades.
Joe is a climber who has recently moved back from Ottawa and has taken up route developing.  He recently pulled out my Triplex and replaced them with glue-ins.  He has saved me that bit of work.  The really nice thing about the Triplex is that they are great for developing.  You can pop in a couple as a top anchor to check out a line.  If the line is nice, replace them with glue-ins.  If it sucks, pull the bolts and try somewhere else.  Joe has mentioned to me that likes the Triplex and plans on using them while he checks out a new area.  It is good to have another developer around.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Life or Limb 5.6

It has been a long time in coming.  3 years ago I began developing the Upper Face.  I placed a fixed line to access the top.  I used that line to set Obsession and Jug-or-Not.  I have been up and down that line a dozen times and always thought it would be a fun easy route.  Today I finally got back to it.

The rope was too old to trust so it decided to bolt it on lead using the fixed line as a back-up.  Kim belayed me as I put in 6 bolts covering about 80 feet of terrain.  Most of it is low grade 5.3ish stuff but there is one short face that requires a bit of actual climbing.

We took down the old fixed line, and placed a new set of top bolts for another route between Obsession and Life or Limb.  You will be able to link route to Life and Limb for a 2 pitch climb.

I the midst of all the rope work Kim and I were doing today, twice I pulled her off her feet.  The second time was much more spectacular because she was belaying above and to the right of the line I was working.  When I weighted the rope, I pulled her off her feet and she began to swing into space.  She pendulum'ed about 20 feet spinning the whole time.  It is a strange thing to see your belay partner fall from above.  Kudos to Kim, her brake hand never left the rope despite hitting her leg off the wall.  Her leg was cut and she bled a bit (looked cool!).  Life or limb, Kim kept me safe.

The climb starts at the highest point of the scree slope directly above German Face.  There is a small ledge with a birch tree were you can belay.  The first bolt is out to the left and the bolt spacing is fairly wide as I was placing these on lead.  Note the black line denotes how to get to the base and the red dots are approximate bolt placements.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Just Back

Just got back from vacation.  I have been away for 3 weeks.  I know, the blog has been kinda dead.

I am very glad to report that Dave Stack has been to the Hangover and has sent the 2 problems I have bolted.  There are two lines off one set of top bolts.  The one on the left has been named "Thuggy and Juggy" at rated 5.10a.  The second line is to the left and is meant to stay on the face.  The bolts were placed to keep climber from going out onto the arete.  Dave has called it "That's Not Right" and is suggesting a grade of 5.12a.

There is another route on this face called Distorted Perception at about 5.8 but the grade needs to be confirmed.  It is just around the corner (to the right) of That's Not Right.  There are 2 sets of rap anchors placed but I have no intention of bolting the lines.  One is to the left of Thuggy and Juggy.  It would definitely go beyond a 5.12.  The other set is to the right of Distorted Perception above a slight overhang.  I have no idea what it would go at but I got very frustrated trying to get off the ground.  There is easy access to the top by scrambling up a ramp to the right of the face.  There are a set of top anchors at the base of the cliff above Hangover to allow easy rap access to the top bolts.

My attempts at developing Hangover have left me a bit demoralized.  It is hard work developing overhanging routes and then not being able to send them in a reasonable time is like slapping yourself in the face.  It just seems stupid!

I will get back to developing now but I think I will be staying at grades under 5.10.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hangover goes open.

I little bad news for me, possibly some good news for you.  Jan, Walter and myself were out climbing on Saturday.  We went to Noobie Squeeze area and once again I found myself drawn to the Hangover.  The Hangover is the small overhanging face to the right of Noobie Squeeze.  There is one route that sent called Distorted Perception at about 5.8.  I bolted two other routes with a common top anchor.  I was hoping to send the easier of the two (on left) on Saturday but no way.  I figure it is probably a 5.10-.  The route on the right is harder, more like a hard 5.10, possibly 5.11a.
The video shows Kaleb and Terry playing around on them before I had them bolted.  Trust me Terry, it is no 5.7!  Both of these routes are officially open!  If you climb them, you name them and you claim the FA.  Leave me a comment and some details about who was with you and what you think of the climb.

I repeat...The Hangover Face has two projects that are OPEN.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Baby Face: Not what I thought.

I went out to Baby Face yesterday to do some bolting.  Last year about this time, I put up Boston Mantle (5.9) while Bob started bolting another route.  We never got back to finish it.  Bob had placed to top anchors and one bolt.  I figure I would put in another couple of bolts and 'voila' another route.
Well, I put in though couple of bolts after hangdogging for awhile.  It was not a gimme.  If fact, it was kinda frustrating.  There is nothing special about it.  It will probably go at 5.9ish as well.  Since it gave me more grief than I bargained, I am going to call it Colic.
After that, I placed a couple of safety bolts to get access the top of 2 other routes.  If figured they would be quite easy and fit with the theme 'Baby Face'.  They both have short sections that significantly harder than the rest.  The only section that was consistently easy cut across the entire face.  Not good for a beginner.  Probably only put 4 routes on this section.
NOTE:  There are a couple of large loose blocks that I could not take down by hand.  One is in Colic.  Two others are on the left side of the face.  Climb with caution.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

No Partner for Tomorrow

I am going out to Baby Face to bolt some routes tomorrow.  I have no climbing partner confimred.  If someone is curious, I will be out bolting between 0930 and 1230.

Monday, May 14, 2012

New Season 2012

Hi Everyone.

I am BACK!  We have already had better weather than the entire summer last year and I hope it keeps going.  I managed to get outside in April!  I don't think I have ever done that.

I am going bolting on Wednesday and I am really looking forward to it.  I have a new drill, a 36volt Hilti. It is the big brother of the drill I have been using for the last 10 years.  I can't wait to use it.

There are many different routes I want to put up.  There are a couple on the Upper Face that I have my eye on.  I also want to finish bolting Baby Face.  That will be a great intro spot.

I will begin posting about my summer progress, lets hope I am active.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Chloride Stress Corrosion Cracking

The American Safe Climbing Association has some good information about bolting and retro-bolting. I copied/pasted an article off their site. It has to do with the issue of using expansion bolts on sea cliffs and dis-similar metals. Please visit their site for more good information on how to inspect bolts for safety. There are a good number around I would not trust.

The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
New Warnings about Sea Cliff Bolts
John Byrnes, Skip Harper and Mike Shelton

"My last month was spent climbing in Thailand on some very questionable bolts... About a week ago while I was waiting for a guided party to finish a second pitch on Thaiwand wall, a leader broke a bolt by pulling on the quickdraw. This caused him to fall and break the next bolt. He was lowered off with a badly injured leg. Both bolts fractured in the shaft at the hanger."

"Just returned last night from Cayman Brac and I wanted to drop you a quick line. Really great trip but... when Gene weighted the second bolt on 'Throwin' The Hula Girl' it broke! He came down on his butt and foot and suffered contusions, luckily missing his spine. It could have been ugly. The bolt was stainless steel..."

"Andy... reached down, grabbed the draw and said "Take". As he lowered his weight (the hanger broke). He landed on his back on some big boulders (breaking ribs and puncturing a lung). I tried to help him as my girlfriend ran for help, but he kept insisting that I not touch him and he just wanted to try to keep breathing."

Sardina, Thailand, Cayman Brac, Calanques. Warm weather, beaches, exotic food and incredible sea-cliff sport climbing, but all is not well in paradise. With the growth of sea-side climbing around the world there has been an ever increasing number of bolt failures. The marine environment is tough on metals. The constant exposure to salt water promotes a specific powerful corrosion mechanism that is not seen at inland climbing areas. High quality stainless steel bolts and hangers have failed in as little as 18 months when placed near the sea. Most of the time there is no visible indication they are unsafe. They may look fine but not hold body weight, much less a fall. Affected cliffs don't even need to be right over the water. Breaking waves create a fine mist which can be transported inland for miles by the wind.

The stainless steels used today in almost all climbing bolts are susceptible to a failure mechanism called Chloride Stress Corrosion Cracking or SCC. Just like it sounds, the chlorine ion, which results from dissolving salt in water, and stress must both be present. A typical multi-piece expansion bolt has the shaft in tension, and the hanger has complex stresses placed on it when it is clamped against the rock as you tighten the nut. This type of bolt placed in a sea cliff is a bomb with a short fuse. Once started, SCC spreads like a disease following the stress lines in the steel, much like grass grows in small cracks in concrete and forces the pieces apart. The cracks get larger over time, and soon the microscopic grains of the metal are no longer in contact.

Although SCC can occur on any part of a bolt exposed to salt water, it usually occurs under the hanger where salt water wicks into the crevice between the hanger and the rock surface. Bolts corroded by SCC typically break flush with the surface of the rock. Hangers typically break at the ninety-degree bend, and nuts can crack just about anywhere. At least one bolt vendor sells stainless steel "clad" bolts and nuts. These have a thin outer cladding of stainless steels urrounding a core of mild steel. This type of bolt seems to be worse then others, since once SCC cracks the cladding,oxidation (rust) finishes the job in short order. If you see a stainless bolt with a rust "beard" on the rock under it, beware!


A few years ago the Thailand locals started rebolting with one-piece glue-in bolts made of stainless steel for the simple reason that they knew regular expansion bolts weren't working. These should be an major improvement since they don't have the high levels of stress that expansion bolts have. However, they are not impervious to SCC.

Steel gains much of its strength from "work hardening" which is residual stress created by the manufacturing process, and glue-in bolts have these stresses designed into them. No one knows how long stainless steel glue-ins will last.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Big Concerns About Bolting

I recently heard of a couple things that have made me concerned about people bolting rock faces around St. John's. Terry told me that the Outfitters had brought in some bolts. I went down to have a look at what they have.

I began asking some questions of the sales person. They obviously didn't know much about bolting for rock climbing. He went on to tell me that they have actually been selling a fair number of these bolts. They have also sold just the hangers. So why am I concerned?

In that discussion, the people he had sold the bolts to were thinking of placing them in Flat Rock. The guys he sold the hangers to said he had some other bolts at home. I asked what kind of bolts the guys had at home...he didn't know. I mentioned that if the metals were different that it could accelerate corrosion under the hanger. He didn't realize that nor seemed to care!!!

If you are planning to bolt something outside, PLEASE do your homework! Expansion bolts should not be used down at Flat Rock. There is a lot of water spray during the winter and multiple freeze-thaw cycles which weaken the bolt and the rock around it. The salt water mixed with dis-similar metal accelerates corrosion under the hanger. It is difficult to see this. Flat Rock should be bolted with Glue-in bolts. The bolt is bonded to the rock. No water can get in. The bolt is all one piece so there is no corrosion.

I use expansion bolts in Manuels because it is inland away from the salt water and spray. I have put expansion bolts on the bottom of Candy. These are removable bolts!!! They are temporary. I am going to pull them and put it Glue-in bolts.

If you are buying bolts and don't know the basics, you should not be putting them in. There are many thing that can go wrong placing bolts. It is fantastic to have enthusiastic climbers but it takes a lot of consideration to safely bolts routes.

When I learned to bolt, I read everything I could on the topic. I went to an 'out of the way' rock face and placed a bunch of practice bolts. Then my first season I used Jay and Leo as mentors to make sure I knew what I was doing. Then the next season I began bolting by myself.

Phil had mentioned to me about possibly teaching a 'bolting clinic' with the new climbing club. I would certainly be willing to do that, I just want to keep our climbing community safe.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Manuels Trail Clean-up

Phil has informed me that the Climbing Club has organized a trail clean-up for April 14, 2012. I am very glad that they have chosen to do this out in Manuels. They are going to thin out the over grown area's, remove deadfalls and improve the newer trails to areas you may not have seen yet. I hope to be there but at this point I can't be sure.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Endurance: Week 1

Gym workout:

Solid warm-up.

Attempt project.

400 feet of vertical climbing.

Home Work-out:

Warmup- 10 sit-ups, 10 push-ups and 5 pull-ups. 3 sets in rapid succession.

Jugs: 5 pull-ups x 3 sets.
30 second deadhang on jugs.
3 finger pocket: 3 pull-ups x 3 sets
15 second deadhang x 2 sets
2 finger pockets: 2 pull-ups x 3 sets
10 second deadhand x 3 sets.

10 second L-hang (bentarm hangswith legs up) x 3

Hanging Intervals-
3 finger pocket: 15 seconds on then 15 seconds off x 8 sets
2 minute rest
Slopers- 15 seconds on then 15 seconds off x 8 sets
2 minute rest
Jugs- 15 seconds on then 15 seconds off x 8 sets.

Cool down

Friday, March 16, 2012


Well it is about that time of the year. Just a few short months until climbing season. This is when I figure I should get in shape.

Leo runs a fantastic adult training group through the gym on Sunday nights. I have taken part every year accept this year. Maybe I am lazy or the planets just didn't line up. I have had 2 major issues with the training schedule in the past. First it is geared toward a climbing competition in April ( Wallnuts website for it). I am not really into climbing in competitions (too old and I just don't care how I climb compared to others). Also, the sessions is aim to peak in April. My climbing season doesn't start until May or June. Hell, I am already back to being in shitty shape by then.

My second issue is that I just don't have time. Most training schedules are aimed at the young. They haves hours to spend doing laps at the gym. They can take a 20 to 30 minute rest between exercises. I am lucky if I can find 60 minutes to workout.

So here is the deal...if you are foolish enough to read my blog about training, I will outline a training schedule. This is geared towards people like my training partners. We only get to the gym once or twice per week and we have only limited gear at home. I figure a short workout at home is better than a kick in the ass.

My intension is to blog the basics of the workouts for the week. I am going to follow the good words of Eric Horst and Leo van Ulden. We will go through 3 macrocycles: endurance, power and power-endurance. Aside from this, you are responsible for getting 3 aerobic sessions per week and 2 antagonist sessions per week. The aerobic session should be at 30 minutes, what ever the exercise. Antagonist exercises should be chest, shoulders and tricepts. Again a 30 minute workout to hit all three muscle groups would be good. I will spell out the climbing workouts only. This is primarily for my climbing partners but you can follow if you want.

I will outline one gym workout and one home workout each week. You have to make sure you are well warmed up before starting the session. I will assume that you have at home a hangboard and several light dumbbells. Ideally you should be training 4 times per week. Minimum would be two times per week. We will do 3 weeks endurance, 3 weeks power and 3 weeks power endurance. This will bring us to mid May and hopefully climbing season. Please watch for weekly workouts.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Viagra Classic Re-scheduled

The classic didn't go ahead. I couldn't pull it together on short notice. Now I am aiming for March. Just in time to train for summer.

Any route setters interested in getting on this competition should leave a comment on how I can contact them.

Kaleb, Dave and Ben have already thrown their hats in.

Next setting date- February 8- 8pm my garage.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Viagra Classic; The routes of all evil.

I finally figured out a time to have the Classic: Next Friday! That would be Friday Feb 3, 2012. It will be a route setter competition so come on out and vote for your favourite routes.

Time: 7:00pm
Location: 36 Cheyne Drive
East end St. John's

Please bring a crash pad if you have one.

Each route setter is going to get a specific pattern of tape. They will each put up a route in the V0-V1, v2-v3, and a V4+ range. We get to vote on them. Now they can put up as many bloody routes as they want but they need to choose the 3 they want to compete with.

I figure we put some money in a pot that goes to the winner.