Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Le Reve!

Jonathan Siegrist, already known for impressive ascents of Lucifer (.14c, The Red), Waka Flocka Flame (.14c, Rifle), Just Do It (.14c, Smith Rock), has made the first ascent of the amazingly steep Le Reve (possibly .15a) in Arrow Canyon, Nevada. You can check out the amazing short film of his ascent of this monster route on his blog. Well worth watching!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Rock Out With Your Chalk Out!

I spent last Saturday afternoon in the chalky haze of a climbing gym, filled a sense of deja vu. I was at the GPRC Climbing Gym in Grande Prairie, setting problems for their annual bouldering competition, "Rock Out With Your Chalk Out". It had been a few years since I had set for a competition, but having done it so often, it was easy to step back into the role and put up some fun problems. "Hmmmm... deadpoint out to this pinch, then we'll have them cross up to this huge pinch... then match, throw for a sloper..." Like riding a bicycle; once you've set for a number of competitions, it comes easily. I was only one of several setters for the comp, though, and all 27 of the problems were good - lots of varied movement, lots of cool holds. Oddly, I set three of the easiest problems in the comp, and the two hardest (no moderates for me, this time!). One of the hard problems I set was a world-cup style problem at the base of the lead wall. Big moves, lots of technique, big finish. The other hard problem was a long, techy, involved roof problem on big pinches and slopers. I didn't get the chance to finish them during the setting, so I am looking forward to getting on them this week.

It had snowed a LOT the night before the comp, so I was worried that attendance would be poor. My fears evaporated as people started pouring into the gym an hour before the comp - there were almost 30 competitors, which is a good number for this small gym. Scorecards in hand, the competitors poured into the gym. Julian had built and installed a number of new volumes before the comp, which really added to the excitement. After a half-hour or so, everyone settled down to the business of working and sending problems. Thanks to the organisers and the setting, the comp went over smoothly, with lots of energy, and no big mishaps.

Huge thanks to the sponsors of the competition - Valhalla Pure Outfitters in GP, and Starbucks (coffee for everyone!). Julian and AJ did a great job organising the comp, and all the setters came through with quality problems.

It was fun being part of a comp that is a little removed from the regular comp scene. There was a lot of competitive energy, but everyone's focus was on having a good time. I do have to say one thing - the GPRC Junior Team REALLY needs to work on its comp skills! :) No attempts to read the problems before they got on them, no strategizing... As an ex-coach myself I could see room for improvement!

Here's a few photos of the comp, taken by Julian. Enjoy! (The guy is the hat and blue shirt is yours truly...) One last thing... the guy in the white tank top (name unknown to me) is probably the most positive guy I've ever met at a comp. Props to him!


Womens OPEN: Carlee 2510
Womens ADVANCED: Michelle 1490, Keria 1400
Womens NOVICE: Ashley 1090, Kate 1000, Cheri 900, Breanne 890

Mens OPEN: Carl 3000, Andrew 2870, Jacob 2230, Dom 980
Mens ADVANCED: Tristen 2310, Devin 2270, Rogan 2240, Dwayne 2110, Corey 1990, Tyler 1870, William 1600, Shea 1370, Lawrence 1290, Chris 1280
Mens NOVICE: Troy 1970, Brad 1090, Cody 1060, Jared 1000

Now, my only wish is that all of these people would come and climb at the gym on a more regular basis! The gym needs more energy!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Field of Dreams

Google Maps has changed the face of bouldering. "Nonsense!", you say. "How could a piece of corporate software / web application change bouldering at all?" The answer, of course, is that online satellite imagery has allowed climbers to prowl the world looking for new bouldering areas. In Colorado, for instance, several new areas have been found using Google Maps (or Google Earth).

Unfortunately, the resolution of the Google Maps satellite imagery for much of Canada is too low to look for boulders. On a whim, I tried looking at the National Geographic map too (powered by Bing), and was surprised to find that for some areas, they have much better (higher resolution) imagery. I spent some time scoping out the boulders at Mt Babcock (near Tumbler Ridge), and was excited to see that the boulders were FAR more extensive than I had previously thought. I had bouldered at Mt Babcock several years ago, establishing several problems with Shelley and our good friend Curtis Sauve. But now it seems that we had been only to the most minor of the areas at Mt Babcock. The really exciting areas (expanses of apparently huge boulders) are still waiting for a visit!

I have compiled a image of the entire Mt Babcock boulders. I was going to keep it to my myself, but decided against it. Enjoy!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Gym Time!

I've been spending one of two evenings a week at the climbing gym at GPRC. I'm starting back on the long road to fitness, but it's a slow process. Furthermore, I am not sure that 2 hours x twice a week is going to get me back in great shape by spring! Fortunately, I am climbing with some great people, who are making bouldering indoors a lot of fun. There are several great people at the gym; Steven, Renee, and Julian are especially great to climb with, and are good motivation. Now, if I can just get my current red-and-black-tape project sent... Maybe next week!

I've got all my spring projects lined up. I'm hoping to bolt 2 routes on the project wall, one on the wall across the canyon, and 3 routes at Hasler Bluffs. I've got the lines picked out, and my drill is charged. Should be fun!