Thursday, July 31, 2008

If I'm going to have to work it might as well be raining

It's been an insane month since my last post. Tons of working, partying and to be totally honest, not a lot of sending (or for that matter even climbing at all). The Squamish Mountain Festival was a huge hit with lots of great slideshows and parties (the Tight and Bright night was an especially good time... luckily for all participants climbers tend to have bodies that aren't completely disgusting when clad in spandex). There has been lots of amazing energy around town with many visiting big names showing up on local testpieces; it's an exciting time to be a Squamishite!

The last 14 days straight have been work days, but before that there were some good times. A great evening session out with photographer Paul Bride on the backside of the chief saw me sweating to the oldies on the heinous offwidth 'Boogie 'Till You Puke' with Paul snapping photos of my attempted (and very much thwarted) onsight attempt. Strangely, I thought the route was actually pretty fun and I'd like to get back on it and send.

Boogie Till You Puke - Photos by Paul Bride

Next came a killer day on Southern Lights with Mandoline Clark. We both had an amazing day, with her sending the burly Alaska Highway crux pitch and me onsighting the second pitch of The Calling, an Indian Creek style dihedral from big fingies through tight hands to hands. YAY!!! Beautiful pitch!

The Calling

Mando and I psyched at the top of Southern Lights

Revisited Zap Crack so my buddy Paul could snap a few pics of what I think is one of the prettiest finger cracks in Squampton. Kind of funky light up there made his job harder but I think the splotches of sunlight look super cool.

Zap Crack - Photos by Paul Bride

Finally, I've been sessioning Zombie Roof a bit since it makes a great after work, low commitment, blow off steam option. One of the days I was up there with Senja Palonen, her boyfriend Rich Wheater shot some pics. I haven't sent it yet, but yesterday was within spitting distance, so I'm hoping if the Squamish drizzle dies down I will dispatch it soon.

Zombie Roof - photos by Rich Wheater

Well that's all the spray that's fit to print. Hopefully my next post will have killer shots of Mandoline and I sending granite goodness in the Bugaboos; we are heading there for a week in early August.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Summertime, and the climbing is (not really that) easy

Many days of guiding, many hours of moving and many loud curses about how much SH#T I have collected over the years have mostly filled the time since my last post. But there have been a few really fun days of climbing since then too, including quite a few forays on climbs or crags that are new to me.

Checked out Deadend Dihedral, a 3 pitch techfest in the dihedrals of the Chief with Jesse Huey. We wisely chose one of the hottest and most humid days of the summer to get on this thing and got seriously spanked on pretty much all three pitches. We eased our pain by downing cold beers by the lake, going swimming, then enjoying amazing food with friends at a kick ass pad in the Smoke Bluffs overlooking the entire valley. You gotta love Squamish in the summer!

The next day of the heat wave saw Mandoline and I on a mini road trip to Suicide Bluffs near Pemberton, BC. We thought that the breeze from the Soo river would keep it cool enough to climb, which was true. Did a few interesting routes before the sun hit and we ran away to the beach in Whistler, spending the rest of the day, yes, drinking beer and oggling rich, fashionable tourists before finishing it all up spraying and gossiping at the Brew Pub in Squamish for half price pizza night. The most exciting part of the day was the tyrolean to get to the crag:

Mandoline scales the tree at the start of the tyrolean

Tyrolean video

The next climbing day saw me heading to the Sherrif's Badge with Jason Kruk. I wanted to try Astronomy, a steep finger crack, and Jason wanted to check out the unclimbed extension to Hot Rod. It was a fairly unsuccessful mission, unless you judge success by the amount of sweat produced per square centimeter of skin. It was higgity-hot even in the shade, and no wind to offer relief.

white boy on white rock - Jason follows the filthy second pitch of Hot Rod

Jason looking sketchy, but climbing pretty well

The best climbing day I've had in awhile was with Kinley Aitken. We went to tackly Alaska Highway, the feared and revered 5 pitch route in the North Walls of the Chief. Taking our time on the route paid off, because we both managed to send every pitch of burly crack climbing that the highway offered up... a pleasant surprise to both of us! Some pics from the day below.

Kinley following the crux pitch - way steeper than it looks!

You know you are in Squamish when you find yourself doing 5.11 tree climbing - Kinley on the 1st and 3rd pitch.

Kinley getting ready to bust out on the pumpy 11a hand traverse of the last pitch

The last notable day of climbing was with Evan. In the middle of our intense moving session we needed to blow off some steam, so we thought that some overhanging, thrutchy chimney climbing would do the trick just right. U-Wall here we come. We had to make it to Home Depot before closing (oh god what have I become!!!) so we just played around on the first three pitches. I got schooled big time but Evan snapped a few cool shots of me following U Wall and toproping the Shadow. Amazing route, can't wait to get back up there now that I know what to expect!

"I thought chimneying was supposed to be restful!"

The gorgeous Shadow