Thursday, November 17, 2016

Frankin' Time!

The weather this fall has been absolutely amazing!  I doubt there are many bouldering areas in Canada - other than Frank Slide - where climbers are out climbing in November with sunny 16C weather.  The longer I climb in southern Alberta, the more I am convinced that Frank Slide has a longer season that almost any other bouldering area in the country, with the exception of the low-altitude areas in the Okanagan like the Winter Pig Hotel.  In 2016, we've been lucky so far, and I hope the mild 'winter' weather continues for a few more months. (Fingers crossed!)

Me trying to muster the bravery for the second-last-move crux of one of the highballs on the Shield Boulder.

This fall, The Slide has seen an increase in the number of 'non-local' climbers (there really aren't any 'locals' at the Slide; all the regular climbers (the 'locals') have to drive at least an hour to get there). As the number of problems in the Slide increases (almost 1,200 now!) and the landings improve, more climbers are starting to head down (or up) to The Slide to enjoy the climbing there.  Having visitors to the Slide is fantastic, but it really drives home the need for a guidebook; navigating the Slide without one is problematic, primarily because there are few landmarks.  I've been writing and releasing mini-guides for the area (I think there are now three miniguides, which include about 400 problems), but the time is coming for me to get serious about writing a full guide for the Slide.

Josh B working the Sunny Corner Project on the Shield Boulder! Will likely be the hardest problem in Alberta if it ever goes...

New problems continue to go up every weekend in the Slide.  Josh B. has been on a rampage this fall, putting up a stack of new lines (including the impressive and dangerous Superbeast (V8) and Slippery Pete Right (V10)) while working on the Sunny Corner Project which will clock in around V13 when (if?) it goes.  Kyle, Dan, and I excavated a new landing for the Fingersmasher boulder, which produced a host of really great lines, including The Omen (V2/3) and Shallow Grave (V5ish).  Mark D added a aesthetic (but hard!) line to the boulder as well, though he has yet to cough up a name or grade (V7? V8?).

Tyler Parenteau getting serious on the Zelda Boulder in the City of Giants.

Due to the deluge of rain plaguing the west coast this fall, a strong posse of Kelowna climbers opted to visit Frank Slide instead of heading down to an uncharacteristically soggy Leavenworth.  Though a bit of the rain did manage to slip across the Rockies, Braden McCrea, David Briault, and Tyler Parenteau nonetheless had a productive trip sampling the limestone bouldering here. Braden came incredibly close to walking away with a rare send of Cognitive Dissonance (V10), but popped off the good edge at the end of the crux.  It was great to have these guys visit the area, they're a lot of fun!

The eternally-energetic Braden McCrea on Cognitive Dissonance (V10) and the classic compression line Sunspot (V5).  The Kelownians didn't have ideal weather, but still managed to get a lot done!

Huge thanks to Davin Simmons for sending along the photos!  Hopefully we'll get several more weeks of warm weather, there is always a lot to do at Frank Slide.  Also, I'll get a Photo Special blog post online with a ton of photos of The Channel (so many crazy shapes, so many photos...).  Until then, I hope everyone's fall is going well!  Happy Climbing!

David Briault on the funky and fun Eclipse (V5), just uphill from the Railway Boulder.

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