dagibbs: (biker_me)
Saturday I was up to Montagne d'Argent with K8 and Mikhal (first time climbing with him) and we climbed in the Grand Canyon. I was leading most everything (5 of 7 climbs) and leading stuff near the top of my range, mostly. Started with a 5.8 trad route as warm up (a bit ambitious), then TRed a 5.10a from the same anchor. Then I went to lead a hard (by MdA standards) 5.10b sport route (Rav-4), but took a couple falls -- not where I expected to, though. So, red-point still to come. After that, I went after a 5.9 trad route, where it got tricky to figure out how to climb it, so I took a couple falls on gear, before figuring it out. Then a 5.10b (Souris Chauve) sport route, where I should have had it clean, but made a stupid careless mistake at one point and took a fall. My last lead was another trad route, at 5.9+, which went up a steep wide (big hands to fists) crack, then finished with some of the thin technical slab which most Grand Canyon routes finish with - happily I got this clean, giving me my second on-sight for the day (the 5.8 warm up was the other). Then Mikhal lead a 5.9 sport/mixed route, that I followed clean.

Today, I am flying to Kitchener-Waterloo for a work trip, so only had the morning available, so Flo and I went up to Down Under to work on our projects -- his is El Ninjo 5.12a, while mine is Sausages 5.10c. After 3-4 tries on the opening (crux) sequence to get to the 2nd bolt, I finally got that section (lowering to the ground each time, though the lower was generally only a few inches to a couple feet, since the falls on the first bolt did leave me quite low) and then sent the rest of it clean -- though taking rests carefully along the way. It is a very overhanging route for its grade.

Now, the goal is to lead something in the 5.10d range -- candidates include Gabby at Down Under and Security at the Western Cwm.

UK: day 4

Jul. 24th, 2013 11:20 pm
dagibbs: (biker_me)
A day of wonderful weather for climbing in the Peak District, at Stanage Edge. Lead some stuff that I found hardish, including bailing from one climb by traversing to another that was easier. Lots of good climbing, though.
dagibbs: (biker_me)
Flight's at 10:30, but with lounge access, I can get free food and drink, along with internet, so why not get to the airport early?

I'm very excited for the next two weeks of vacation & climbing in England, then Scotland. Will be awesome to see Phil again, and looking forward to being picked up at the airport & whisked off to a climbing destination.

All three pieces of luggage were under the weight limit (mostly around 18Kg, or 40lbs, I think my limit is 70lbs, though it might be 50. No problem either way.) 3 pieces because I have a lot of climbing gear -- both my own, but also Phil's (including rope & rack) and Jex'(personal stuff).

Also, Taylor Fladgate LBV is a very acceptable port, and the one that the Air Canada lounges stock. This makes me happy.

I just hope I haven't forgotten anything. Well, anything that can't be replaced by spending acceptable amounts of money.

I'm also in the midst of putting together another climbing trip, to California (South Lake Tahoe area, and Yosemite) for early October. Excited about that, too.
dagibbs: (biker_me)
Bolted my first sport climb! w00t!

My new drill, the Hilti TE 4-A18 worked wonderfully! After drilling 10 holes, it was still showing full charge. Far better than my previous try at an inexpensive drill from Canadian Tire, which was out of juice after one hole.

It was a 7-bolt, short (15m) 5.7 climb on the 5.SuperFunWall at Lac Sam. Jex was there with me, belaying me for several climbs while hauling gear. She also test-climbed to check my bolting points for reachability for someone quite a bit shorter than me. (Though, one bolt did end up being a bit tippy-toe for her to clip.)

After bolting, she decided it was nicely enough bolted that she wanted to try leading it as her first (ever!) 5.7 lead. She completed the lead, too! Go her!

Also, climbed some hard stuff with Flo on Friday after work. Then a good trip with a group, including some people new to outdoor climbing to Montagne d'Argent on Saturday. I got to climb some hard stuff, lead a new climb, and other good things, as well as set up a bunch of stuff for the group.
dagibbs: (biker_me)
Like most non-winter weekends with at least a bit of decent weather, I went climbing this last weekend.

Saturday, I head out to Home Cliff fairly early (7:30am departure) with Jex (later to be joined by Mike, Velta, and Kate.) We got there early enough that, even after a warm-up climb, there was noone else there and I got a chance to lead Magical Mystery Tour. This climb goes part way up the cliff, then traverses across about 8 other routes -- so if the cliff is at all busy, it isn't reasonable to climb it. This was a great climb, and far better protected than described in the local guide.

Sunday, my expected climbing crew shrunk to just Flo and myself. We headed to Mont King, which Flo hadn't climbed before. After the de rigeur climb up Rocketman, the classic three-pitch run up to the top, we looked at other stuff. There's a bunch of bolted, but not documented climbs on Mont King -- and we played around with these. Flo was leading them, as he is quite a bit stronger climber than I was.

The first one, he made it up with a lot of work, but I was unable to complete. It was probably in the 5.11+ range. After pulling the rope, I noticed a core shot (a place where the sheath had been worn/cut to expose the core of the rope), and we cut off the end this was close to, losing about 5m from his 70m rope.

The 2nd one was a series of widely spaced bolts up a slab, then a steep (more than vertical) headwall, finally disappearing over the top of that. Flo went up this, taking and hanging a few times on the headwall, then proceeding well past the half-rope mark, before finally calling down safe. In all, probably a 45-50m route. I followed easily up the slab, but had a very tough time (not surprisingly) with the headwall, before getting over it with a lot of rope tension and hanging. As I got to the top anchor, it started to rain. We had no obvious way off -- rappelling on the one rope wouldn't work. We chose to continue up the easy (much less than vertical) upper portion of Mont King to the top of Rocketman, but as I approached the anchor, we heard a bit of thunder, which encouraged us to hurry our descent. We made it off safely, if a bit damply, packed up under an overhang in the cliff, and headed out.
dagibbs: (biker_me)
And, Sunday I was out climbing on the Niagara escarpment again -- at Mount Nemo (conservation area) in the Halton Hills area, which is far more "classically" escarpment territory. Got another 7 climbs in, mostly top-rope/follow this time, though I did lead an easy sport route and a 5.7 trad route. Got on some harder stuff -- some of it clean, other bits with falls.

Having climbed at a couple locations on escarpment limestone, I don't need to go back. It is fine cragging, but not destination climbing, and probably not worth the drive from Ottawa for a return visit. Not to say that I wouldn't go climbing on it again, should I happen to be in that area.
dagibbs: (biker_me)
After work today, since it was a gorgeous evening, I headed for the local very-hard sport crag with Flo, who is a much stronger climber than me. He lead, then I tried to follow Sausages (5.10c), the easiest climb at Down Under. I got it with about 3 falls along the way. He then went to work on his 5.12a project. I took another try at Sausages, working the early crux, then lowered off. He went back to his project. I took a 3rd run at it, and happily, got it clean. Now, of course, I have to work on leading it. Flo lead a 5.10d with a few hangs, then tried it on TR, but didn't get it clean.

We then wandered to a nearby, less than vertical rather than overhanging face. I lead, with one fall, a 5.8 -- I should be able to get it clean, but was tired. Then I followed (clean) a good 5.8+ route.

For an after-work evening of climbing, it was really good. Well, except for the swarms of black flies. Ah, May in Canada.

I should get some bug netting, I think.
dagibbs: (biker_me)
I spent the weekend rock climbing in New Hampshire with Kate, Jessica, and Bruce. As with previous trips, we stayed at d'Acres permaculture and teach farm. The travel, about 1400km in total, went generally smoothly -- about 15 minutes at the border on the way down, and 1 hour on the way home. Not too bad for a long weekend.

Saturday we climbed at Rumney, where I on-sight lead a 5.8+, two 5.9s, and a 5.10a. That's the hardest I've lead at Rumney. Sunday we split up, Jessica and I did 4 pitches of Beginner's Route up Whitehorse ledge, then came back to Rumney where I red-pointed a sustained 5.8 that I've taken two previous tries at. Sunday night it rained, and the rock was wet Monday morning -- but I still onsighted a 5.8 and 5.7+, which is quite a bit more scary on wet rock.

All-in-all a very good weekend of climbing with friends.
dagibbs: (biker_me)
The weather has been gorgeous the last couple days, and it looks to continue that way for a while yet, including, especially, this weekend. So, it's going to be my first local climbing weekend of the year, and I'm really looking forward to it. Montagne d'Argent on Saturday, then a mixed day of climbing and route development at Lac Sam on Sunday.

The weather looks nice enough next week, that I'm hoping to get in a couple days of after-work climbing, too.
dagibbs: (biker_me)
Planet Granite Sunnyvale continues to be a good gym, even if the grades are soft. I got there around 6:45, and did a bit of bouldering, probably about 6 problems, a mix of V1 and V2 problems. Then the guy I was meeting arrived, and we did some lead climbing from about 7pm to 9pm. I did some good routes, and took a few lead falls. Not takes, but out-and-out falls, which is good. Then he was too tired, and headed out, and I joined a few people from the class I was training and did another 1h45 of top-roping with them. I finished with a long 5.11b, where I fell at the final crux, right near the end. After a few tries, I did manage to finish. I think it was a soft 5.11b, even for Planet Granite, though -- probably no harder than 5.10b/c at Coyote -- though much longer.
dagibbs: (biker_me)
The training I was supposed to deliver today got cancelled -- lack of people, so today's was combined with tomorrow's. So, I had a free day in San Diego, and despite the really gray start to the morning, it cleared off nicely and was a lovely day. So, I looked around for some local climbing/bouldering, and I found a lovely boulder field in town. Ok, in a suburb called Santee -- but it was about a 20 minute drive from my hotel, then 5-15 minutes of walking depending on whether you went to the closest or farthest boulder.

I wandered around, generally climbing easy stuff. I have no idea what I climbed, since I was doing it almost completely based on what looked easy, and not-too-comitting. I was climbing alone, with pad or spotters, I didn't want anything too hard. And, I was always making sure to check out the down-climbs before getting into anything, too. I still managed to scare myself a bit a couple times, where something got tougher than I expected near the top of a problem. I also backed off on two or three problems, rather than finishing them -- though I'm sure I could have, and would have with a spotter & crash pad.

And, while bouldering isn't really my thing, it was still really nice to get out on some real rock on a sunny day.

Unfortunately, much farther south than I had realized, so I also have a noticeable sunburn. Oops.
dagibbs: (Default)
Today, I was off to Planet Granite Sunnyvale -- it has been, and continues to be, one of the best climbing gyms I've ever visited. And I've visited almost 50 different gyms. They have interesting and varied walls (including a bunch of cracks, slabs and even a chimney), as well as interesting route setting, a bunch of bouldering and some quite tall walls. In the past, I've found their grades a bit soft, but they seemed a bit better this visit -- still maybe 1-1.5 letter grades soft as compared to home, but not the 2-3 I've hit in the past.
dagibbs: (Default)
I managed to make it out for a day of climbing -- found a guy (Andrew) in San Francisco interested in going out, so we headed north up the Napa valley to Mt. St. Helena. It has a few crags, but we climbed at the closest one (about a 35 minute approach, uphill the whole way, varying steepness).

We started on a route called "The Old Ladder" which was, apparently "5.9". Ok, somewhat old-school 5.9, since on The Crag, it clocks in at 5.10b. Andrew lead it cleanly, I took two falls on the follow, but made it up. I then lead a 5.5 trad route up a corner with a bit of chimney work, and Andrew followed. Then, while waiting for another climb, we reversed that, and I followed. Finally I lead a slab climb which was "5.7", took a decent lead fall, then a 2nd fall at the same point before I worked out the sequence. Andrew lead it as well, and then following I got it clean. It was technical, on some little pockets.

After dropping Andrew back home, I head over to thatguychuck's place and had dinner with him and Erica, and they're 2-year-old. It was great to see Chuck and Erica again, it has been (and always is) too long between visits.
dagibbs: (Default)
Friday night I had people over for gaming.  I got a goodly crowd, enough for two tables of 4 for a game at each, plus 3 social visitors who arrived a bit too late to game, but did hang around and be social for a bit.

We played Wings of War a bit to start, then I collected four people for <a href="http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/2507/liberte">Liberte</a>, a new-to-me (though published in 2001) Martin Wallace game.  I think everyone who played would be up for playing again, and I quite liked it.  (Though, it doesn't have a punishing economic engine.)

Today I went climbing at Calabogie after a 7am start.  We headed out early because several of today's crew had to be back in town for early afternoon things.  Other than meaning I had to be up way too early, it was actually kind of nice being out at the cliff before the day heated up and before the sun got on the rock. 
dagibbs: (Default)
I had a few people over last night for gaming -- I played At The Gates of Loyang with ilanikhan, ironphoenix, and beable. arndis and tchang also showed up a bit later, played a game of My Dwarves Fly, then headed out.

This morning I got up and headed to the far right section of Home Cliff (i.e. Farm Rock) with Celine, K8, and Phil. We had a good day there, despite the heat. I got 5 climbs in, including one solid trad lead and a harder route on top-rope. The top-rope went through the section where I broke my ankle 3-1/2 years ago, which was a bit freaky for my head.
dagibbs: (Default)
To perhaps noone's surprise, I spent last weekend climbing.

Saturday was Lac Sam with Phil -- more route cleaning, some route climbing, and a dip in the lake to round out the day.

Sunday was a day up at Montagne d'Argent, currently my favourite almost-local place to climb, because it still has a lot of climbs in my range that I haven't already climbed. We had a gang of 6 of us out this time, and did a bunch of easy stuff in the Grand Canyon, as well as one hard one (5.10b) that I got clean on top-rope this time. The lead (mixed gear & bolts) looks like it could be quite difficult, though, as I think in the crux section the only gear placements may well be the only holds, too.

This morning, the stairs at work felt far steeper than normal.
dagibbs: (Default)
Apparently I've climbed a lot of different places outside. Something like 18 different areas in 7 different countries.

Europe:
Stanage Edge, Peaks District, UK.
Swabian Alb, Germany
Swiss Alps, around the SAC hut Capana Albigna, Switzerland
French Alps, Vizille France (near Grenoble).

Mexico:
El Potrero Chico, Nuevo Leon, Mexico

United States:
Reimer's Ranch, Texas
Barton Creek Greenbelt, Texas
Rumney, New Hampshire
Whitehorse Ledge, White Mountains, New Hampshire
Adirondacks -- various crags, New York
Minnehaha, Spokane, Washington

Canada:
Montagne d'Argent, Laurentians, Quebec
Val David, Laurentians, Quebec
Eardley Escarpment, Gatineaus, Quebec
Lac Sam, Gatineaus, Quebec
Mont Rigaud, Rigaud, Quebec
Mazinaw Rock, Bon Echo, Ontario
Calabogie, Ontario
Kingston Mills, Ontario

This has been, mostly on granite or granitic gneiss, and limestone. Exceptions are: gritstone (Stanage Edge, UK) and schist (Rumney, NH).
dagibbs: (Default)
I climbed a recently put up and labelled as "5.11" route at Coyote today. Took one fall, but it feels like I should be able to send it in another try or two. And, while I've felt like I've been climbing pretty well the last while, I'm also not climbing well enough to be sending 5.11. I think they either mis-set for what they were aiming for, or mis-rated the route. This is on one of the new walls they've recently finished, and Andy (one of the guys who's been there for a while) says they still don't quite have the hang of judging how hard/easy routes are on the new walls, which are just barely overhanging. I'd have to agree they don't quite have the judgement right.
dagibbs: (Default)
Again? There are hints there was one a while ago that closed.

It is east-end of downtown, as I understand these things, and looks ok. I visited, but since much of their bouldering was closed (setting for a comp) and I couldn't be sure of finding someone to top-rope with, I didn't actually stay.

I did bump into Jody (the manager of Coyote Rock Gym in Ottawa) while wandering around looking. Apparently he was in the gym helping to set for the comp.

Next time I'm in town, I'm sure I'll return and actually climb.
dagibbs: (Default)
That's the third one this weekend! And it's November 27th, in Ottawa. This is highly unusual and highly awesome. I think my first day out was mid-March this year -- that's an amazingly long season.

Ok, it's probably over... but wow.

And, it did rain on us today, but at least it was warm rather than cold November rain.
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