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marc_leclerc

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Everything posted by marc_leclerc

  1. Trip: Joffre - Central Pillar (Beta/Spoiler) Date: 9/11/2013 Trip Report: Yo, so a couple months ago I climbed the central pillar of Joffre with my lady. She'd spent some time in the alpine and is a great rock climber, so after reading the guidebook description of 10c climbing on good rock we figured the central pillar would be a good choice for her first real alpine rock climb. Seeing as 10c is piss for her and below my limit for multipitch onsight soloing we opted to go light and take maybe 4 or 5 cams up to a #2, a set of wires and one single 8.5mm half rope seeing as we wouldn't be falling off anyways. We climbed 'The Shadow' the day before, both lowering back down and taking multiple burns on the pitch so our hips were really feeling it on the walk in. Lots of rockfall hazard on the approach, mostly from snowmelt running down the Twisting Couloir. We crossed the schrund to the right of the Twisting and did some 5.9 soloing and a couple quick hip belay maneuvers to get onto the Pillar and away from the Twisting Couloir as quickly as possible. So after lunch, she led a simul block of mostly 5.7 or 5.8 climbing to the start of the pillar on good'ish rock. Then I took over and led the three supposedly '10c' pitches to the top. I thought perhaps I was getting sick, the Shadow had completely fucked me the day before, or I was malnourished and dehydrated as the 10c climbing felt both surprisingly hard and scary. The rock wasn't the worst I'd ever climbed, but not 'excellent' by any means. On the second pitch I had to run it out about 40ft to 50ft off a cam behind a suspect block on sustained steep climbing on suspect holds. A fall from the crux would have meant two broken legs if you got off easy, possible death if you really fucked it up. The routefinding was hard on this pitch, and many of the cruxes would have been desperate to reverse. We topped it out no problem in the end but it felt like one of the more engaging adventures of my summer. Luckily Brette is a very competent climber with a good head and had no problem handling the whole mission despite it being more full on than expected. I personally found all of this really fun, but I know a lot of people who would disagree. I love this kind of climbing and found myself right where I wanted to be in the end, I am certainly not slagging the route. Just telling people how I found it. I wanted to write this as a heads up to anyone thinking of hopping on the route who may be unsure of their ability level. Its a great route and a fully worthy adventure, I would highly recommend it to anyone who is solid and capable and looking for the full experience. Just don't expect it to feel like 'Life on Earth' or 'Mouses Tooth' or other similarly graded routes in the area. Those routes are complete and total piss, this route is hard. Its not long but packs a punch. Bruce you sandbagger! I'd call it 5.10+++ R/X. I would recommend being able to onsight 5.12 on gear consistently and comfortably at the crag before climbing this one, or having elephant sized balls of steel. Maybe I'm just soft, who knows... Took us 14 hrs car to car. We were tired. Bring helmets. Walking in. P1 of the main pillar. This pitch was fine, look out for the next one though... The sick pinnacle belay before the pitch. On the summit. We descended the standard route to Anniversary Glacier. Its fast and obvious. If you want safe climbing on good rock I'd go for this one instead.
  2. Trip: Slesse Northeast Buttress - 2nd Winter Ascent - Date: 4/6/2015 Trip Report: This is a full month late, likely a by product of my brain exploding after my Patagonia trip as well as this climb I am about to describe. It is now undeniable that I have some kind of addiction to climbing Slesse Mountain. I have climbed the mountain more than 10 times by at least five different routes both solo and with partners. I think the main reasons for this are that: 1: It is ridiculously easy to access from the East. 2: The East flank of the mountain is hands down the raddest face in the area. 3: I can be a creature of habit. I had always wanted to climb a big route on Slesse in the winter, and after learning to 'really' mixed climb in the Canadian Rockies it became even more of a priority. I spent most of my winter in Patagonia, managing to bang off some great climbs in the Torres, including a solo ascent of the beautiful Cerro Torre. As I made the journey back north to Canadia a bit of sleuthing had me convinced that Slesse must be in the 'condition of the century' for winter climbing. I tried to find a partner to attempt Navigator Wall, but with only one or two days of stable weather remaining it was too short of notice. Listening to an interview with Stevie Haston on the airplane, I heard him describe his free solo ascent of The Walker Spur in winter which got me psyched, so I began to formulate a new plan. I had climbed the Northeast Buttress of Slesse too many times in summer, including a speed ascent in one hour and fifteen minutes. But in winter the line would certainly provide a completely new challenge. The line had only seen one winter ascent, in 1986, which required several bivouacs as well as aid on the upper headwall. Because I knew the route intimately I was able to slowly convince myself that I may be able to free solo the route in winter, for the 2nd winter ascent and first free winter ascent. It seemed a bit of a lofty goal, so I brought along an 80 meter 6mm Esprit cord and some pins and wires to bail with 'just in case'. John Scurlock photo. Isn't it just irresistible?! My sister, who lives in Chilliwack dropped me off at the start of Nesakwatch Creek FSR and I briskly walked to the Memorial Plaque beneath the mountain where I spent the night. I awoke at 4am the following morning, and after spending nearly an hour huddled in my sleeping bag I mustered the psyche to get a move on. At 5am, I left the memorial and approached directly through the basin beneath the mountain. The snow conditions were generally quite good, and a short WI2 step soon brought me to the slightly threatened slopes beneath the toe of the Buttress. I veered left here, joining the standard summer approach through the pocket glacier cirque. The upper section of the cirque still held a surprising number of deep crevasses, likely caused by avalanche debris from the East Face forming deep craters on impact. I crossed over several bergschrunds on the right hand side of the cirque then climbed directly up to the bypass ramps leading to the Buttress crest. This section, normally a third class ledge walk in summer, was a surprisingly steep and exposed traverse on snow. As I neared the crest the angle and exposure kicked back and I quickly made my way upwards on good snow to the first 5.8 rock pitch. This pitch was surprisingly easy in the conditions I found it in, the air was just warm enough that I could climb barehanded, as long as I stopped every two minutes to re warm my numb fingers. The pitch only required a few minutes of careful climbing and soon I was back on steep snow and neve, now accustomed to the exposure. Dylan Johnson photo of the route, taken the day before my solo. Line shown in red. On the traverse into the Beckey Ramps I climbed slightly too high and had to make a very exposed down climb to reach the correct ramp on the north face. The ramps were coated with perfect ice and neve, making for fun, fast and easy climbing with a spectacular view down into the 'Heart of Darkness'. "This is rad", I said out loud. The ramps led me back onto the crest of the Buttress and the second 5.8 rock pitch, which looked to be slightly more mixed than the pitch lower down. I removed my gloves again, and was able to climb about half the pitch with my hands before transitioning to proper mixed climbing. Finding a thin crack for my right tool, I danced over leftwards with my feet on small patches of ice until I could reach a thin veneer in which to place my left tool. The pitch felt around M5 in difficulty, and above the climbing slowly eased off until I reached to huge bivy ledge at mid height. At the bivy ledge I took a break to eat some snacks and assess conditions on the upper headwall. The steepest pitch appeared to be fairly free of ice, but above, where the angle relented slightly, the rock was decorated by a patchwork of thin white ice. It looked interesting to say the least. The snowslope leading to the headwall was relatively boring and does not need much description, nor does the WI3 runnel I took to bypass the first 5.8 pitch on the headwall. The 'rotten pillar' pitch was straightforward enough and soon I was on the crux, stemming in crampons around detached flakes in a corner. On top of one of these flakes I paused to remove my crampons and warm my hands before embarking on a slightly insecure bit of climbing on downwards sloping holds. I traversed back right to a small roof which I passed on juggy finger locks, and now at the apex of the small overhang I was able to peer upwards to the iced up slabs I had observed from below. It was clear I was going to need my crampons again. I placed a large nut and clipped myself to it for security, then gingerly stepped into my crampons one foot at a time. I mentally rehearsed my next sequence as it appeared from my airy stance, then removed the nut securing me to the wall and committed. I switched my feet on a good hold and stepped up and right onto the slab. With my frontpoints set in small divots I balanced upwards, holding a small edge with my left hand for balance. I uclipped the ice tool from my right side and reached upwards for a small bit of ice pasted to the wall. Now at the edge of my comfort zone, I gently tapped the tool twice against the ice until the first two teeth sunk in. I tested the tool carefully, then took care not to make any sudden movements while I slowly searched out higher edges for my feet. The edges I found sloped slightly downwards but my frontpoints found purchase enough to balance higher still. I carefully pulled out my left tool and placed it in thin but good ice above bringing me to a comfortable stance on a ledge. The crux now behind me, I allowed the mental RPM to decrease steadily until I was ready to continue. Jim Nelson photo from their 1986 ascent. This shows the crux pitch with the same patches of thin ice that I encountered. As I climbed excellent mixed terrain above I could really admire my wildly exposed position on this beatiful mountain. The whole buttress stretched out below me, black stone stained white with snow and ice. My tools found purchase on the well featured rock and the climbing gradually eased off pitch by pitch until I crested the final summit ridge and found myself standing in the sun. Eating a bar with the summit register in hand, I wrote, "Northeast Buttress - 2nd winter ascent. March 9 2015. Very exciting". The crux pitch was likely delicate M6, perhaps M5+, but someone will have to do a second free winter ascent to verify. The west side of the mountain was surprisingly warm compared to the shady, iced up North face, but the ledges and gullies were still covered in snow and neve making for a quick and pleasant descent. Descending the scree slopes on the Crossover Pass descent was nicely facilitated by the well settled snow and I was rewarded with a spectacular view of the route I had just climbed. After stumbling down the steep wooded trail below, I arrived at my bivouac site and ate a candy bar before packing up my equipment. Walking the road back towards civilization I pondered my options. I had no ride back and considered walking the fity kilometers to my sister's house through the night. I thought back to the ascent I had just made, it's often surreal when a long time dream, like climbing Slesse in winter, glides into the present, then into the past. I knew that my mind needed a break, I needed to relax and digest the adventures of the past months. As I thought these things, an animal control vehicle pulled up to offer me a ride. The driver was a likeable guy named Mark and we chatted, mostly about travelling, until he pulled up to a bus stop in Chilliwack and bode me farewell. A bus arrived a moment later and soon I was just a block from my sister's home. Her husband Robert saw me walking down the street through the window and came to greet me at the door. They welcomed me in happily, and at 6:30pm we all sat down to a delicious supper. Parting shot, taken from a plane that flew around the mountain the day of my solo. If you zoom in on a high res version my track is visible bottom center. Gear Notes: Lightweight bail kit! Approach Notes: Super chill relative to radness of climb.
  3. Trip: Harrison Bluffs.... - Lead Bolting 101 Date: 3/20/2010 Trip Report: So I thought I would put this up.. just to follow up my 'how to lead bolt?' thread a while back. I had a couple projects I wanted to bolt, and one I wanted to actually send... and Scott called me up as he wanted to get some photography in on Saturday. Scott has a drill, so it just worked out perfect! Tamara came out to belay and I just hopped straight on Proj #1. This one I had originally wanted to highball as it is only 20ft of hard moves before it joins another bolted route, but the landing is brutal and a friend mentioned it would never get traffic if I made it sketchy, so I decided to make a compromise and lead bolt it!. I climbed up a decent stance and Tamara was actually able to hand me the drill by standing on a tree stump uphill from the base, and I put the only bolt in, surprisingly hard to do from a 'not perfect' stance. I went for it and fell at the crux, lowered pulled the rope... fell again.. tried again and sent! Called it Midget Love' and it goes at solid 5.12, with one hand slap on an arete and tricky sequential feet. I thought I was going to fall on every move as I could feel my feet slipping, but I moved fast enough to just scrape by. After the crux there is a wee runout on easier ground to where another route joins the arete and you get a couple more bolts.. classic! then Tamara took off to go work and another friend who was clibming came out and gave me a belay on 'The Matrix Project', the slab I was reffering to in my lead bolting thread earlier. There are intense boulder problems between decent stances in pockets, so I could pull the drill up and bolt between hard sections and it ended up being like a regular sport climb for the first third, then you can just go for it and punch through 15 feet of really desperate moves without worrying about hitting the ground until you reach out into a crack and have easy moves and good pro to the end. I got all the bolts in but had to stand on a lower bolt to put in the last one as I started slipping and didnt want to fall with the expensive drill... I am not even close to sending it though, it is by far the harderst slab I have ever been on, absolutely desperate! Lead bolting is hard, thats all I have to say Thanks everybody for helping me out and I am stoked on the new line and the new proj!!! FA of Midget Love... awesome fun! Just hanging out... I look like a cocoa puff... Tamara is always happy... The Matrix Project.. so sick! Totally doable but absolute desparate, long term project for sure. purty colors I will get more pics up when I get them...
  4. Trip: Two White Boys on a Big White Hill - Cheam Peak - Random NW couloirs Date: 5/24/2008 Trip Report: So.... I was thinking of going and doing an alpine route last weekend but the weather was going to be super hot with frequent avalanches... I ended up going to a youth confrence in Chilliwack instead. I had e-mailed my friend Jared from mission to go climbing last weekend and when the trip was cancelled we postponed the trip to this Saturday ... our plan was to climb up to the NW bowl of CHeam peak and then hike low angled snowslopes to the toe of the West Ridge to gain the summit. He picked me up at 6:00 at my house and we drove over to the pulloff from the highway where we were to begin our ascent.. We hiked up the creek draining the NW bowl and then moved into the trees to avaid some huge cliffs in the gulley, It was a major slog but we eventually dropped bak into the gulley (now filled with snow) to gear up and hike into the NW bowl... we started up the gulley and just as we were about to get into the NW bowl we got a phonecall.. my other climbing friend Lorne said, "if you look up towards the toe of the west ridge what do you see", and I was like, "holy crap! Its you!" He and his Dad decided to run up to the west ridge earlier to ambush us for no apparent reason.. they didnt go to the peak but they left a cool pattern in the snow for us to look at. We talked and they took off down while we kept climbing up the NW bowl... it was getting hot in the sun and we skirted around the west side of the bowl so we wouldn't get killed by stuff falling on us, it got so hot on the snow that we had to stop and take off our pants and wear just our gore tex shell pants with boxers underneath. We eventually started getting bored of doing the easy snowslope route that Al and Lorne had done so I started looking for an alternative. There were some rock towers above the west side of the bowl and it looked like there was a cool gulley going in between them so we set off to climb this mysterious gulley. We ditched our packs at the base of the gulley and Jared set up a quick belay with my lucky tri-cam and his ice axe. The belays were not really nessecary in the first gulley but we had lots of time and used them anyways, all we had brought was an 8mm, 30m scrambling rope so I led up 30m to a tree sticking out of the snow and belayed Jared up and past me another 30m where he set up a makeshift belay with his ice ax. We stuck to the shady edges of the Couloir where the snow was firmer and less sketchy.. I led up again and set up a belay on a couple crappy bushes and then Me and Jared did some simul-soloing to the top of the first couloir. From the top of the first couloir the slope joined another steeper snowlope going up towards the ridge crest. We switched leads and diagonally ascended the slope for a few more short pitches. Jared's final lead to the crest was quite steep (60 degrees) From there we climbed a cool ridge and up a last short slope (with a vertical buldge of snow) to the toe of the weat ridge... It was getting late and we didnt want to slog all the way to the top so we glissaded and plunge stepped down easier angled slopes back to our packs and then hiked all the way down the trees and creek back to the car at the Highway. Overall the route was super fun with plenty of excitement but not at all scary... there was no gear on any pitches, we climbed from belay to belay. Approach Creek Old Snow Bridge Cliffs in gulley Almost in the NW bowl Our route starts in between those rock towers Slogging it out in the Bowl Crap bush belay Starting second snowslope, above the couloir Jared Leading on the second snowslope Heading up more steep snow, Yes Im wearing aviators Looking down the second snowfield Red Pyramid Me leading a super fun section Jared on a steep section Final Ridge Posing at the top of our climb Big Cheam Packing up Snow Pattern Descending Gear Notes: A few slings for tree belays, light rope, ice axe, crampons not nessecarry... aviator sunglasses and my lucky tri cam are a must! Approach Notes: Up drainage to big cliffs, up forest to bowl... up snow to couloir.
  5. Trip: Cheam Peak - North Face Date: 6/10/2009 Trip Report: After my grade 12 graduation this past weekend I wanted to kick off my summer by doing something big and committing and to do it solo. I look up at the North side of Cheam every day and I had noticed that the 1976 route on the North Face looked to be in nice condition, so I put that on my itenerary. Cheam Peak has some burly relief on the north side rising just about 7,000 ft from the highway to the summit, the first half of this gain in elevation is mostly steep, dense bush and the upper half is composed of a mixture of steep snowlopes cut by steep rock bands of crumbling choss.... perfect! I packed up my bag, bringing no rope, harness, or protection other than my ice tools. I threw in some food, 2 liters of water a sweater and some shell pants too. My parents forced me to carry crampons even though I knew I wouldn't need them.... I mean seriously, I'm graduated! I set me alarm for 5:15 AM and slept a few hours, then I had some breakfast got dressed and woke up my Dad to give me a ride over to the base of the mountain. He dropped me off on a powerline road branching off the Highway just East of Bridal Falls. I started hiking up at 6:00, hit the creek draining the face in a few minutes then reached the wooded ridge I would follow a few minutes later. I was hiking up a bear trail low on the approach when I ran into a big black bear. I the bear politely let me pass and I had no other encounters for the next two hours of thrashing up the ridge. At 8:00 I emerged from the forest onto the moraine and snowlopes below the North Face. I got my first real view of my objective then and was rather intimidated by the large steep face. I ate some food then hiked up the snow to the left of a large rocky outcrop then cut back right onto the knoll at the top of the outcrop. I started the technical climbing above the knoll at 9:00. I traversed some steep snow right of the knoll, then skirted around the bergshrund on some rocks to the left. I climbed up a short but terrifying rock step made up of crumbling, wet choss sprouting moss and grass. It was probably only about 5.4 but it was extremely dicey, especially the last 15 ft which was pretty near vertical. Above this I hit the long, right trending snow ramp leading to the NW ridge. This section was tiring and took a long time, I had to be careful not to slip and fall down the face but not linger too long and get hit by rocks falling from the summit. By the time I reached the upper NW ridge I was pretty tired of snow so I avoided the upper section of the ramp by climbing rocks to the right. The headwall was surprisingly easy but very exposed and the rock was awful. The last 200 ft to the summit was loose, exposed and steep, but 4th class gravel covered ramps led to the summit ridge and I topped out just west of the summit at 1:00. A few victory whoops later I was on the summit enoying some 'pop tarts' and cold water. I descended the west ridge then glissaded easy snow slopes into the bowl below the NW face and hiked a long ridge beside the drainage gully draining the NW face. The descent was quite fast and I reached the Highway at 4:00 PM, making this a 10 hour round trip... not bad. Overall the route was pretty loose and exposed but definitely worth doing once. For a grade like 5.4 and snow to 45 degrees it is quite serious. Definitely my biggest, most commiting solo yet. Pics: A long way to go... from the approach. Me and the North Face.. Objective Up the snow and rock bands, then around the corner onto the ridge. Looking down the NW ridge... I came up from behind the ridge. Looking west shortly before topping out. Self Timed shot of me on the Summit. Edited photo showing my route, I had much less snow, the rock crux isnt even exposed in this shot! Gear Notes: Ice ax... if you plan on using ropes and crap bring some LA pitons and runners and leave everything else at home. Approach Notes: Bushwack... lots of it.. unrelenting... look out for bears and wasps, I ran into both.
  6. They just found a better way. There was a fair bit of speculation on where the logical free climb would go between us. Good on tony for making so many trips up there to price it together, and great that Jacob was stoked to go up there. Both those guys are great. Somehow I think our Chinese Puzzle wall line, while harder, is a bit more plaisir
  7. Based on the lack of comments, people are clearly way more psyched on the 20,000th ascent of the NEB... Hats off to Tony and Jacob !
  8. Squamish Climbing

    It is quite a bit busier than it used to be. The energy of the place is good though and you don't have to look to far outside the box to find quiet. Parking can be horrendous. Parking in town, or near the North Walls and riding a bike is often a nice option.
  9. Slesse Conditions 2017

    From air this April. Zoom in real close to see the missing chunk of glacier, lower right side of pocket cirque, and the angling serac wall left behind. Unfortunately a shitty photo but at least it's something. I went up there within a couple days of the slide, and saw it all cleaned right down to rock, but didn't think to take pics.
  10. Slesse Conditions 2017

    As of May I was driving to the TH in a stock sidekick without problems. There was one washout about 2-3 kms with some boulders, but easily negotiable in a jeep type vehicle. Could be better by now though. Go get it while there is still snow on crossover. Seems like an unusually sweet year for NEB! Glacier gone early and still plenty of snow on the descent to boot ski. Makes for a helluva nice ride compared to talus hopping all the way out searching for water in the hot sun. As for 2wd vs 4wd. It's nice to drive all the way to the TH, of course, but the approach is easy by alpine climbing standards and a 5km road walk add on shouldn't really be a big deal. I've walked from Chilliwack lake Rd to the mountain easily more than 20 times. Probably 15 times on skis even...
  11. Brette and I just did this again a couple weeks ago, and were surprised by how chill it was even with some snowmelt in the gully (easy water!) It's mostly 4th class with little 5.6 sections. Took us about a hour from the third peak to the propellor cairn. That being said it requires a certain degree of 'self assuredness' with route finding on wet/loose/slippery rock. It's a lot more technical and the route finding is much less obvious than the standard descent. I liked that bugaboos shot in the original post, I was trying to figure out how in earth I missed that bit all those times!
  12. Viennese Clarke traverse

    We got lost in the fog on the way from Lower Statlu to Upper Statly and missed the lake altogether. Then we traversed Recourse, thinking we were climbing Vienesse in nearly zero visibility. It ended up being a day trip carrying bivy gear... I hope you get better weather! I would think that from the alpine bench above upper Statlu, that it would be possible to make the traverse in a day and to leave the bivy gear behind for the actual climb, light packs are always good for morale! So three days isn't a bad itinerary - one mellow paced day finding your way to a high bivy above upper Statlu, a day to do the traverse and descend to the bivy, hike out the following morning. But if you only have two days, perhaps cutting the traverse off short after recourse and hiking out the same evening would be an option if that is a suitable pace for your party. I am not usually too concerned if I have to pick my way down off a mountain by headlamp, but in the Chehalis the terrain seemed complex to the degree that I felt such an endevour would quickly become an epic... Something to keep in mind.
  13. Slesse Access FYI

    We watched the glacier slide three days ago from chinese puzzle wall. It was pretty f---ing awesome! NE butt should be fairly accessible now.
  14. Slesse Access FYI

    Good shot steph! I was there yesterday, still there. Looks passable to me but likely not a great idea, best to wait till a bit more falls off. Brette and I skirted the left side on slab and under the upper blocks in similar condish a couple years back. But it required some shoulder stands to get from one slab to another, which was actually a lot of fun. E pillar and Navigator wall are good to go!
  15. Cerberus 5.11d Squamish - Pendulum Fall

    As noted by the author, the pendulum fall is not on 'Cerberus' at all, but on Catharsis Crack, which is the first pitch of 'Labyrinth', a mostly independent and still unrepeated free route that crisis crosses over the final pitches of the aid line Wrist Twister. It is a shame that it remains unrepeated as we intentially bolted the line safely to encourage repeats, although the it is more reminiscent of the Verdon in terms of bolt spacing vs say Chek. The direct start that takes the thin crack of Wrist Twister is still a project, likely 5.14- and a bit run at times. The reason for the name Catharsis Crack is that I had initially suggested doing a 'new route' to a girl I was after, you know like an arts and crafts date for big kids who climb. She was stoked on the idea and even put in the first bolt, but a few days later told me things weren't gonna work between us. I was pretty gutted, and knowing that she really wanted to FA the route as badly as I did I went to finish the job alone as a sort of 'getting even'. The thing was that that afternoon it was raining cats and dogs, and being an undercling traverse beneath an overlap the route was quite the running waterfall! As I self belayed out the arch, laden in gore tex, ice climbing boots, ski goggles and a drill on my harness I struggled to hold my breath each time I stuck my face into the torrent to eye up the next cam placement. Eventually one of those cams ripped from the flaring fissure sending me on a pendulum fall that I can assure was quite a lot more exciting than the one in the film, it was large enough to draw a decent quantity of blood from my hands and face. After this I added some extra bolts to prevent such things from happening again, and so that people might actually climb the route as I had clearly demonstrated that the gear was 'insufficient'. Needless to say I went home that evening with much less anger in my heart, and a day or two later the girl let me know that our status had shifted from 'not happening' back to 'maybe'. I asked her if I could finish putting in the bolts, so that we could free the route together the next weekend... She agreed. Being a young impressionable climber who had missed out on the stone master era, I decided that the route ought to be bolted in proper style. And so some funny paper accompanied me on the final push to equip the line. What followed is a bit fuzzy in my memory although I remember getting into A3 terrain before remembering that I was supposed to be placing bolts, and had to back aid to get the bolts where I needed. Later I found myself unable to judge whether the edges I was trying to hook were sloping or incut, no matter how hard I concentrated the damn things kept changing shape! I passed this crux by throwing a sideways dyno out of my etriers to a small tree, which I am sure is a key hold for those who repeat the line still. This was the last time the paper ever came out on a bolting mission, I don't know how Bridwell made that all work back in the day. Anyways, the lovely lady and I freed the route a few days later finishing on Cerberus. The route was such a success that she only dumped me once more before finally deciding I was alright. Labyrinth came a couple weeks later, when my housemate Luke and I spied the dyke leading from Cerberus over to the Wrist Twister proj where the difficulties end on that line. Hopefully someone repeats that soon. It would be fun to write a condensed TR of the things we got up to around Squamish back then. But I have to wait till I'm at least 40 so I don't get fired by my sponsors for being a bad example. Anyways.... Some background on the video at least!
  16. Routes You Don't Onsight

    I'd have to disagree about the Daily Planet in Squamish. That is a typical first 12a on sight for a lot of people. Easier than the 11c pitches on Astroman I'd say. But 'Boogie Till You Puke' is a hard onsight. Lots of inobvious 180' spins off of chicken wings to get around awkward bulges and constrictions. It spat me out few times on my first go which is not normal for me on 5.10c! The Stern Farmer in index really strikes me as a nails onsight. It boggled my mind on the onsight attempt, then felt effortless once I knew how to enter the flare.
  17. Leclerc

    I knew the equinox was the 23rd. I have no doubt that if I tried to claim the 1st solo winter ascent of any of the Torres on the 22nd, plenty of people would be more than happy to rip into it and discredit it. Early spring it is. The climb was so fun. Just classic aesthetic climbing, never particularly hard. Just really good times in a really great place.
  18. funnest winter mixed mountain climbs

    Hey JMS, how's it going?! I'd recommend the E ridge of Alpha in mixed conditions. Done it twice, both times great! Try to nail conditions when the trail to lake lovelywater is still dry and you can hike up with your boots in the pack. I've always stashed my shoes at the lake, and hit snow line just above. There is a short pitch of M5, usually 5.7 or 5.8 in summer. Then another slightly easier pitch above, then just really aesthetic 4th class mixed interspersed with tricky moves. Also, in similar conditions, when the peaks are icy but the road/trail is dry, the Nesakwatch spires have great mixed climbing. Good rock and protection, lots of options both easy or hard. Well worth a look!
  19. Silvretta Hunt

    Hey guys, it's a bit of a longshot, and typical last-minuteness on my part. But I am trying to put together a pair of ultralight approach skis to take winter climbing in Patagonia, leaving on Sept 9th. If any of you guys have a pair of Silvretta 404 or 500's kicking around that you'd like to get rid of for cheap-ish and ship to Cali I'd love to put them to good use.
  20. Silvretta Hunt

    Thanks again! I will be in touch, but it seems I may have found another pair in the correct size out here. Cheers!
  21. Silvretta Hunt

    Hey Einer! Sweet offer and thanks for the fast reply. Do you think they might take a Batura size 45? Or would that be too large? Cheers
  22. RIP Dean Potter

    The video of Dean soloing the nose is an all time classic, and if I had not watched that as an impressionable youngster, for better or worse, the vision for some of very special climbs may not have happened. Definition of a pioneer. What I love and respect the most about Dean is although sometimes peculiar, and 'out there', he never changed to suit the expected 'image' of pro athletes these days. He was a genuine soul, true to himself. Not a cereal box type of athlete, which some people didn't like, but that's their issue. What a badass, huge respect. He might be gone but legends never die. Long live Dean Potter.
  23. first female 5.15a

    Basically what keenwesh and I both said. Sorry for drifting the thread. As far as 5.15 goes as the list the OP suggests, it can't be far off. It would make most sense if a woman with VERY strong bouldering skills does it. I've never been on a 5.15, but once the 9a grade is reached it seems that hard boulder moves are always involved, rather than the pure fitness that can often comprise low and mid 5.14's. By pure fitness, I mean there are consistent moves in the V7 to V8 range, maybe a bit harder, to V9 or V10 if it's a bouldery line, but routes 9a (and harder I would guess) usually have a crux or multiple cruxes in the V11 and above range. There are many strong, badass and super inspiring women climbers around today, as well as in the past, in all areas of the game. It won't be long until a lady climbs 5.15. Another question: when will we see 5.15 on gear from anyone at all?
  24. first female 5.15a

    NEB of Slesse in summer is a way casual solo, you are totally correct there. Basically a bunch of low 5th with the occasional 5.9 in the gym sort of pitch. The north rib is a bit less casual, as it has more slabby type cruxes and trickier route finding, but if you asked Brette she'd say it was nothing more than a fun day out, 2/10 in seriousness in the grand scheme of what's been done. Many routes have a much fiercer reputation than they deserve. That said, NEB in winter is infinitely more serious to free solo. +1 vote for Silvia Vidal, proper badass. 5.15 sport is an indication of extreme athleticism, but not 'badass-ness'.
  25. first female 5.15a

    Been done, Brette onsight soloed the north rib as well. She also free soloed 'Chiaro di Luna', 20 pitch 10d in Patagonia which is way burlier than either of those two, especially with the much less trivial descent. I don't really see her climbing 5.15, not really her kinda thing. But she did lead the grand illusion, 13c crack, placing all the gear. So u never know
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