Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Eldred Valley - B Branch Boulders - Inverted Area. Just Another Project.

Matt H  - Just another project

This beauty was uncovered by Matt in what has become a cluster of problems I'm dubbing the 'Inverted Area', right near the beginning of the B Branch trail. This problem is a stone's throw passed the awesome Inverted Academics, which I fired the second ascent of before we started sessioning this project.

See the FA of Inverted Academics here.  This is a tough problem to grade...especially since I've never done anything similar to it with such a full on leg hook before. I agree with Matt's idea of it either being a softer V6 or a sandbagged V5. Matt and I are pretty different height wise, so our styles are very different, and my lack of reach made me have to be fully extended and move dynamically. Looks like it'll need a 3'rd opinion.

The new project feels like a V6 or even a V7, but it's so hard to say until it's actually sent. Our fingers were fairly destroyed, so maybe it's even easier. Matt came super close to cranking it during the session, and whichever of us gets back on it next will likely nab the FA.

Also in B Branch, to the left of the main boulder right by the parking spot, I put up a new easy problem called Communication Eater. Basically, the problem ate my phone when I was cleaning it. I love it when a problem name's itself.

On the same boulder, there's 3 cool dyno problems starting from the same hold. It's like a mirror sequence of the seaside boulder - all starting on the same good hold, one going straight up, one going left, and one going right. This is why our fingers were so shredded.

I (mostly) sent the very fun leftward campus problem, which will be called Doobie Sloth (V5/6?) though I kind of cheated and had some momentum from leaving the ground so need to go back and send it properly before I truly claim a first ascent.

We also did some exploring in the Buttress Boulders, and found what I think might be the best problem in the entire Valley so far. It was too dark to take a photo, and we only tried the first move. It's hard, starting with what may be either a campus or very difficult heel hook on a rail (exactly like the super classic 5 star Sunshine and Lollipops in Squamish). It's steep, and though the top out was quite mossy, it looks like it will involve a very difficult, fairly high mantle.

 I can't wait to get stronger and put in some work on it to see how it'll turn out!

Oh, I also found out the possible grade of the new route 'Against the Current' on the Buttress. I think I heard somewhere in the 11+ range. I hope I have time to get on it before the season is over...so much to do so little time.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

New route at the Lake Bluffs + A short film spoofing Planet Earth

Hit up the lake bluffs yesterday, and lead up Christie Dionne's new route, which I believe is called Memories....or possibly Mammaries....but probably Memories. Beautiful route that starts up a massive flake then goes right up more of a face. Bomber gear and very good quality rock. Felt to be in the 5.9 range. Could be a classic. - Come to think of it, that might not have even been the route... Man I can't wait for the new guide book! So much less guessing...

I then attempted an on-sight of what may have been either Charged With Vanity (the old guide book calls this route both 11+ and 12+), or the aid line Perserverence (C4) which turned out to be a little too lichen covered. It was a beautiful, exposed arete split into 3 sections by two lower horizontal cracks, before continuing passed a bolt on what appeared to be bouldery face climbing.

It felt too difficult to be 11+, so 12+ would be likely if it were Charged with Vanity.  In the old guide book there is no route with a bolt in that area...This line also had a fixed pin, which is what makes me believe it was Perserverance. If that's the case, I think that if it were scrubbed, it could go free. Just another project to add to the endless list. However, the description of both of those climbs in the old book doesn't fit the line at all....so who knows.

Whatever it was, it was really beautiful. There's a bail biner on a fixed pin up for grabs now, if anyone's keen.

In unrelated news, here's possibly the most original short climbing film I've ever seen. Granite Earth

I'm heading up the Eldred for a day, hopefully a few projects will go down - but it's been pretty hot out. Might be another lake day.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Yet another project, and, a side-project

Here's a little teaser of something I decided to start working on - a Powell River/Eldred Valley bouldering guide.
 A new guide book is currently in the works, by the person by-far most qualified to make it. I told her I'd help out with the bouldering part, and so far have only produced a hand drawn map...time to step it up! My recent trip to Squamish, and purchase of the new bouldering guide book got me super inspired.

The Stacks: SeaSide Boulder
1. Old School - V3    2. Middle School - V4/5    3. New School - V3

Since my budget is 0.00$, I'm attempting this project entirely with free software. So far the main challenges are creating decent maps without photo shop. I use GIMP, but I have a huge learning curve to deal with before getting good enough to illustrate decently with it.

My plans to head up the Eldred tomorrow may not work out due to car problems, but, here's a pic from my last time up there where some actual climbing went down. Matt H on the mega project, Dog Day Boulder, B Branch.
Projecting in B Branch

For the guide, I'm hoping to be able to use icons (crimpy, reachy, highball, etc) the same way the Squamish guide does, but may have to find away around that as well. I just want to make a printable PDF really, but of course want it to be quality. Wish me luck!

 I just found enough free-ware to build my own version of Adobe Creative Suite! I'm currently using BetaCreator to overlay images with lines and starting points, GIMP to add text/format images/edit photos/create maps, LibreOffice for text drafts, and Scribus for 'publishing' it all together into a book format.

 Thank God for all those people out there who want to make the world a better, freer place! 

Here's my first draft, trying to figure out how to use Scribus.  (*PF stands for personal favourite, I've decided not to use the classic star rating system, for reason which are explained in the guide) Also, the names and First Ascents in the sample below are likely to change, as I still have to do some research.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

First Ascent - West Main Buttress - Eldred Valley

I got back from a great bouldering trip in Squamish to this status update from my buddy Matt Hodgson:

"We started our climb @ 7 am. 
18 hrs later Brent & I we're enjoying the comfort of the ground!
First Ascent of the formerly unclimbed wall, The West Butress
Against The Current, 13 pitches"

Congrats to Matt Hodgson and Brent (last name currently unknown) for getting the FA of the Buttress.I know it took some serious work. This leaves only one wall left in the valley unclimbed - Caradhras.
Hopefully I can get some photos and beta from Matt soon. I've heard the 9th pitch was 'another overhanging off width' - sounds pretty rad! Ill post updates when I can.

The climbing in the Eldred Valley has started to gain momentum. The first few low angle slab pitches of this route will serve as an approach to the head wall, where many more climbs await.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Eldred Valley Camping Trip

The historical FCA (first chihuahua ascent) of Log Jam (V1) 
 Now that the climbing season is in full swing, I'll be posting a lot more sporadically. I work 4 days on at a Kayak place way out in Okeover arm, near Desolation Sound marine park, and camp near by. For my 4 days off I'll of course be climbing, so I'll mostly be living out of a tent for the rest of the summer.

 I was recently in the Eldred with a big group of friends on a camping trip. I learned that after several days of rain, the B branch boulders that are in the woods will still be wet. The exposed boulders were too hot, being baked in 25+ degree heat. We climbed on two of them, then headed to Goat lake to swim all day.

 There's been a massive rock slide on Carag Dur. A chunk of the wall to the right of the arch fell off, leaving an obvious dirty white scar. If you look close, it looks as if someone dragged their giant nails along the wall underneath, leaving behind chalk-board like scratches all the way down. The forest beneath was literally blown apart, and there is a massive cedar graveyard over a section of the trail. It has the appearance of a mini clear cut. The only tree left standing was a rotten dead cedar, which now has a hole blown right through it from shards of rock bombarding it. Thank god no one was on the wall or near the trail when this happened. A humbling reminder of the awesome power of nature.
Rock Scar,  scratches and debris

Carnage - The rock fall blasted a hole right through this cedar
I actually only took my camera out once, to snap a shot of the West Main Buttress' unclimbed vertical wall.  Here's a couple shots to check out. I still haven't hiked to the base of this yet, even though it's not far at all from the road. I've been on the only route on the Buttress, which is to the right, around the apron, which will open up potential to attack other lines on the head wall once it's completed. I have a feeling the vertical wall is going to yield some difficult, high quality climbing,

I'd also like to thank the group of Californians who were in the valley, and donated $40 to go towards supplies for camp! Thanks guys! A new splitting maul will be in the wood shed soon.