Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A World of Hurt

Don't worry. I'm not injured. Nor have I become a blues musician. A World of Hurt is the name of Jordan's new highball in Squamish. I'm psyched to get strong so I can get on it next spring, but my training regime isn't exactly turning me into the Hulk. In fact, my 'training' is starting to make my middle look a little bigger, and my lats a lot smaller.

I was in Squamish on the weekend, doing a little bouldering. I climbed a bunch of moderate slabs, which is supposed to be moving me towards my goal of climbing all the hard slabs in squamish. There's just not that many slabs over V4 - really, only Black Slabbath (V7) and Phat Slab (V4 or V5 if you don't cheat). I did my new V0 slab Sel de la Terre a bunch of times - it's such a fun bit of climbing. I also did a new slab / arete problem to the left of it as well. It's a bit harder, more like V3 or so. I'm trying to make a slab circuit - when I do I'll post it here. I haven't decided how many problems should be on the circuit, but probably 20 is a good number.

I also went crack climbing the weekend before last. Cracks are weird, and incredibly painful if you don't have the right shoes. Which I don't. My tight 'bouldering' shoes ended up causing me a lot of pain as I tried jamming them into hand and finger cracks...

I have some more pictures to post, I'll get them posted soon.

Happy climbing!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Ahhh... winter.

While I realize that winter has not yet officially arrived on the coast, it certainly feels like it. Grey days of drizzle and cold dampness are here. I hope just for a few days, but I suspect it's here to stay until Spring. Luckily we did get the chance to do some climbing before the rain set in.

One of the highlights of the last month was Jordan Wright's ascent of my project in the boulders. Ordinarily, I get a little grumpy when I don't get the chance to get the first ascent of something I spent the time cleaning, but I felt honored to work the project with two of Squamish's strongest (and nicest) climbers - Jordan and Tyson. I actually did pretty well, I thought - I made it almost through the first cruxy bit - but it took stronger fingers than mine to make it to the top. And a fair bit of intestinal fortitude.

The project, you see, is almost 25 feet high. Even for Squamish, that's pretty tall. And when you throw in a pretty sketchy landing, it's a pretty bold line. And atypical for Squamish, in that it's almost all basalt crimps, lots of face climbing (not a single granite sloper on the entire problem). It's got some fairly dynamic moves on it, and some pretty committing sequences, so it demands 100% dedication to top out on. The moves are so great, though, I am psyched to get stronger this winter so I can put in a real effort next spring on it.

It doesn't have a name yet, or an official grade, but it's about V8. Or so I thought. maybe V9.

Anyways, I posted a picture of Selena on my new slab problem, tentatively named Sel de la Terre. Hope you enjoy it.

I need new slab-climbing shoes. Jack Fieldhouse embarassed me by climbing Superfly Slab in his running shoes, no hands. I can climb Superfly Slab, but I don't find it easy.

More later. Hopefully the rain will stop.

Selena on Sel de la Terre (V0), one of the best easy slab problems in the forest.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Shelley warming up on the WarmUp Boulder, Squamish.

New Problems... of the climbing kind

Back in the saddle... errr... at the keyboard again.

Shelley and I went to Squamish yesterday evening to climb with our good friends Terry, Selena, and Marshall. They are not only top-notch climbers, but also top-notch people, and are enormously entertaining to spend time with.

I went to Squamish with the intention of cleaning off new problems in the forest - not something I do much anymore. But, a couple of new lines really grabbed my attention, so out came the brushes! The first also needed a toprope to clean properly. It is on the the right side of the boulder beside 'Chicken Burger', and is high. Maybe 20 feet high. It's somewhat difficult, maybe V7 or V8, but will be super fun. It has some dynamic moves, though, and a bad landing, so it'll be the type of line that is best attempted only by the fit. I wanted to get Marshall on it just so I could call it "Marshall Law".

The second line, though, was much easier - a V0 slab over by 'The Weasel'. Such a great slab, but not hard - the forest needs more lines like that.

Anyways, Shelley and I are sad that Terry and Selena are leaving us (on Saturday morning). Marshall will be around for a few days after that, but will soon be leaving as well. Sad.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Actual Climbing!

I've been a bit tardy in publishing anything to do with climbing, instead complaining about my work. Nevertheless, interesting things have been happening on the climbing front. Let me summarize the latest happenings...

I am now at route-setter at the bouldering cave at UBC. It's not a huge wall (pretty short, actually), but they've got a lot of nice holds, and good angles. They've actually got the entire set of the old black Karn holds, which in my opinion, is the best set of slopers ever created. I think it was Jim Karn that shaped them...

Bouldering has been going off in the forest lately. Mostly because my good friends Terry and Selena are here visiting, along with the mighty Marshall, from Edmonton. They are a motivating bunch, so Shelley and I have been out bouldering a few times in the last week or two. Terry has put up two new lines in the forest (old projects that I had cleaned, and failed on). Send The Pain Below (V10), a steep belly in WendyWorld, and Bates Motel (V9), an AWESOME line on the Hotel boulder. I worked BM with Terry, and could actually do most of the moves, but STPB has a really hard move at the beginning (a big throw to an edge) that I can't do at all. More training!

Marshall has been eating the forest. By that I mean doing all the hard problems QUICKLY. He almost flashed The Backseat (V10), and worked through all the classics (Mantra, and even did One Zen (V10+) which isn't done that often). Marshall is an inspiration - his ability is the product of a LOT of hard work, which makes me want to start training hard again. So - hats off to Marshall.

It is great having Terry and Selena here. They love to climb, and more importantly, they love Aya! I want to have a van like T&S, and travel around, and climb. Maybe next year!

Paul-from-the-wall was also here. He is sickly strong. Strong. Strong.

I know this all sounds perfect. But there are a few things missing...

Where are the rest of the Edmontonites? I missed all the 'regulars' this year - no Greg and Irene, no Lloyd, no Aaron, and no Pete! Pete was supposed to come, but had to work. That is sad.

Anyways, more soon. I need to figure out how to post pictures on this thing.

Monday, September 3, 2007

As it turns out, endless staring at a computer screen can, occasionally, lead to moderate production.

Let me explain.

I've come in to UBC (my workplace, where I am a PhD student and post-doctoral researcher) the last two days this weekend to work on the analysis of my new manuscript - it will be a riveting piece of science, I assure you, that describes how leaves and sticks fall into streams, how they get wet, and how they then get stuck on the streambed. In this particular field of science, I am a world expert. I am not kidding.

I am writing a manuscript on the subject with my good friend, confidante, and all-round partner-in-crime Laurie Marczak. I thought about also noting that she is an awfully cute redhead, but checked myself as it would be unprofessional. Ahem.

Coming in on the weekend to work often results in me getting more done than usual - mostly, I suspect, because of the difference between the costs and benefits of working when I don't have to. The benefits are no greater than a weekly workday, but the costs (missing a day of lounging about Vancouver, drinking coffee, reading a book, etc.) are greater. Hence, the motivation to actually get something accomplished.

Next... A Brief Summary of Recent Climbing Excitement!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The Beginning of it All

Well, let me start at the beginning...

I was born in northern Alberta, where the summers are green, and the winters are cold. After high school, I moved to Edmonton, Alberta, where I learned to climb, got a BSc in zoology from the University of Alberta, and met my future wife, Shelley (of the strong hands). Then, on to Prince George, BC, where I earned a MSc in invertebrate biology, climbed a lot more, and married my current wife Shelley. Then, after a little wandering, moved to Vancouver, BC, where I am finishing a PhD in stream ecology, and have scrubbed off lots of boulders to create lots of new boulder problems, and helped create my new daughter Aya. Which brings us up to date quite nicely.

Next... what I am currently up to.