Secret Bouldering Spot!

Found this pretty neat boulder while hiking around yesterday… what can I say… I just had to climb it!  Can you spot whats up with this photo?

Also, heres some extras from the weekend!

Maha, The Niagara Glen

Maha, The Niagara Glen

I’m Trapped!!! Another View into Running Man, The Niagara Glen

Ty on Sharp Shooter, The Niagara Glen

Stucco Wall, The Niagara Glen

Take care and climb safe!

Competition Setting!

Setting for the 80′s Boulder competition at Grand River Rocks

Last night Ty and I went in for an epic setting session at our home gym, Grand River Rocks. The gym is having a Tour de Bloc style, 80′s themed bouldering competition. I managed to put up 3 problems ranging from V2-V4. It was far too hot to wear my costume while setting, which looks a little like this….

Inspiration for my 80′s costume for the competition

The first problem should be around a V2 and used a combination of Climb It and Teknik holds. It’s got a sweet tension-y jump start to a Climb It side pull/pinch, and crossovers through some Teknik Meatiums with high feet.

The second problem consisted of the entire Teknik Blade Runner Series on 45 degree angles traversing out of our cave. The climber would have to travel feet first out of the cave, switch around ninja style so feet are directional to push with, then out through some Teknik Fat Pinches. You can see the start of this problem in the right of the third photo with the blue holds with orange tape, and the finish in the first photo in the left of the photo. Maybe V3?

Feelin’ up my baby: Climb It Patina series in the cave

Finally, there’s my baby. I used holds from the Climb It Patina series, and threw (more accurately: very thoughtfully placed) them in our cave. Some of the highlights of the climb include a side pull start with a toe hook, large throws off of small holds, and a bump through a terrible sloper. Hopefully the climber will get some air time in for one of the final moves.

All in all, 8 of us put up around 40 new problems for the comp. We generally stuck to using one colour of hold per climb, so the gym is looking pretty darn sharp now :) I’ll get some photos from tonight… fingers crossed for best costume!

Finished Project!

I’ve some some damn good news! Yesterday Ty and I had a long session at The Glen and I finished Ripple! Yeah! FINISHED! Its safe to say yesterday was the best climbing day of my life. But lets start from the beginning…

We woke up a bit earlier then usual and arrived around 9am. The sweet smell of sending was in the air… and a bit of bug spray. (I actually managed to get some on my lips later in the day and my lips went completely numb! Blahg.) I was trying to not think about Ripple as I descended down the staircase from hell. I felt like I had all the beta worked out, but the only thing keeping me from completing it was my fear of falling uncontrollably since the boulder is higher then anything I’ve done – besides Stucco Wall.

Stairs from hell

So we made our way over to Stucco Wall! Its my favourite warm up in the Glen, close to Ripple, and pretty high, which, now that I think about it, probably helped me get used to the height before I attempted Ripple. Its also adjacent to Sharpshooter so Ty was finally able to get on it again.  I’m really itching to get on Sharpshooter, but we decided to save the energy for Ripple.

Stucco Wall, The Glen

We dragged our pads over to Ripple and I managed to stay calm and didn’t feel much pressure to send. I just felt like I knew what had to be done, and had to go for it and just do it! (Damn you Nike and your kickass tag line.) I tried one attempt at it and don’t exactly recall what went wrong, but I felt pretty strong on it which solidified that I literally had to just do it. I took a long break and made friends with a Golden Retriever puppy named Charlie who was bouncing around the trails with more energy then he knew what to do with.

I chalked up and kept calm without much effort. I moved quickly through the initial traverse up the arete, and got to the business. Here the feet disappear and the holds get father apart. I started to panic and my breathing became so laboured, it sounded like I was giving birth to a cow. Actually, my breathing was so loud it attracted a group of climbers from a few boulders down the trail. Whoops. I reassessed potential feet and managed to find a little chip that I *think* I did a drop knee off of. About a minute later I was over the top and shaking like crazy.  Yippee! I owe a big thanks to Ty for giving the best spots I’ve ever got and encouraging me through the whole ordeal. 

Ripple, The Niagara Glen

After this, we were going to head down to River Wall to FINALLY check out Maha (I’ve been eyeing this one for a while now).. but stopped to take a touristy photo in the birth canal. There is a climb that goes through here called Running Man. I tried it once before and literally got stuck inside of it as the sun was going down. I had managed the best knee bar of my life, which actually pinned me inside the canal for a good 5 minutes. I had my buddy yank on my free dangling leg for a while until I was pretty much birthed by the birth canal.

Running Man, The Niagara Glen

We checked out some climbs as we hiked down to Maha. I’ve got my eye on Brave New World. Just saying. Anyways, Ty cleaned up the sloping crimps and got his send on the first go! After 3 attempts I wasn’t getting very far, but at least managed to get around half the problem done. 

Maha, The Niagara Glen

I was feeling pretty gassed by the time we got here so its hard to tell how long this problem will take me.  My tendons were able to keep up with the crimps, but I havnt pulled on something so tiny since I stopped doing routes. We took a little rest by the river and watched the Whirlpool Jets zoom by and soak all the people inside of them. We also found what we think is a Eastern Milk Snake, which stemmed its way up the rocks to travel up and down the slope.

Whirlpool Jets, The Niagara Glen

Eastern Milk Snake (?)

After a little snooze we packed up and headed over to Tractorbeam Traverse. We checked it out I felt I could potentially finish it that day… wishful thinking! Ty got it in a flash, and I was able to do the whole problem but in two parts since I was getting so tired and its a bit long. Excuses, I know.

Tonight we are going in to set for the 80′s boulder competition at Grand River Rocks. I’ve got 6 problems to put up ranging from V0-V5. I’m pretty psyched to do it and wish it was 4pm so I can go in already!

Long Weekend Bouldering!

Its Victoria Day here in Canada, which in my mind translates to Bouldering Day! After making the trip up to Halfway Log Dump last week, Ty and I stayed (somewhat) local and made our way down to the Niagara Glen. We arrived around noon to be greeted by smouldering heat and the smell of family barbeques in the upper park area. Once we made our way down the stairs into the climbing area, the temps seemed to be a bit more bearable but still over 30 degrees Celsius.

We ditched our gear to check out the Crusade Wall in The Neighborhood area.  I had found a climb around the right corner that wasn’t quite on the guide and am excited to try.  It was very overhung and had decent sized moves to shallow pocket/jug-like holds with few foot options.  We didn’t end up staying long in the area though because the mosquitos were oddly concentrated around the boulder, and the pockets were filled with millipedes…. which we found out about the hard way.  We had seen maybe 5 or so of them crawling on the boulder, but didn’t think about what might be lurking deep within the flakey pockets. Ty wanted to get on Speed Bump to warm up and managed to squish one extremely crunchy millipede. His hands were covered in bug juice and have been stained purple for the last 24 hours. Blahg.

We then headed over to the Old Country to jump on Sharpshooter. Every time we have gone to this climb there have been other climbers warming up on Stucco Wall, which is adjacent to Sharpshooter. We politely asked if the group would like to share crash pads and climb together, but we were clearly not welcome. I found the encounter very odd since anyone I have ever met down in the Glen had been very friendly and kind.

We quickly moved on and worked on a plan B. Ty had wanted to get on the X Boulder in the same area and needed to do a bit more warming up. It just so happened that Ripple was in the area, and I was dying to get back on it. Last time was an epic failure, and I needed to prove to myself that I was better then the tantrum I pulled on the climb last time. I had forgotten the beta last attempt and recalled my first time on it being so easy and fluid, that I underestimated the climb.

Without much effort I remained super positive on it, although I still forgot the beta for one part of the climb. Ty and I managed to work out something even better though that involved a sideways toe hook on the start hold. This was a success in itself, but I also made major progress on the end part of the climb. The tricky part about the end of the climb was that I had to do the entire problem from the start since starting midway was impossible. This is something I like to practice anyways, but it is a longer climb so I kept getting gassed by the time I reached the last 2 holds to feel safe to throw for them.  The funny thing about Ripple is that the climb looks like a jug-fest.  It is the combination of the length, lack of feet on the face of the boulder, and the sloping, frictionless pockets that make this problem more then a jug haul.  The Glen in general is filled with choss, bad/nonexistent feet and “jugs” of sloping pockets which can easily spit off the most determined climbers… but you grow to love it.

At the end of my session on Ripple, I had the beta down solid and climbed it smoothly, and am about 2 holds short of a top out. We had such an amazing time sessioning this climb, I can’t wait to go back again and finish her up.  I did end up taking one large fall from nearly the top of the climb and hurt my ankle and hip. I may (or may not have.. ahem) cried for about 30 seconds from the sharp pain, but was back to laughing and chalking up for another attempt immediately.  Ty managed to give me a really awesome catch style spot on the next attempt which solved this issue.

After this we headed up to the X Boulder where Ty worked a bit of a few climbs up there, and finished Floryshe. We were both feeling the effects of the heat and pretty beat so we headed over to The Great Wall of China in Romper Room.  This is an interesting climb and requires massive amounts of endurance.  Below is a photo of the climb which starts on the jug in the left side of the photo and finishes a bit past where the pink and blue Organic pad lies.  My plan is to warm up on the different sections of this climb to figure out the difficult areas and where to shake out, and piece it together in maybe a month from now.

Ty and I have been looking into finding more places to climb within a 6-ish hour drive of Ontario. Does anyone have any recommendations? We were looking into the Adirondacks or The Gunks, and are wondering if theres any gems we are not aware of.

Bouldering Trips and Recent Shenanigans!

Ripple, The Niagara Glen

The past few weeks have been filled with numerous gym sessions and trips to the Niagara Glen and Halfway Log Dump. For the first time in a year my shoulder and finger are both under control and nearly pain free!  I’ve had an extremely messy chronic shoulder issue and a torn collateral over my PIP joint on my middle finger.  I can’t even express how excited I am to be healthy again and am seeing major improvements on a daily basis. It’s great to be feeling stronger, especially in time for the summer competition and outdoor season. This will be my first season competing and going outdoors due to fieldwork and injuries last summer.

Later in the month there will be an 80’s themed bouldering competition at my home gym,Grand River Rocks.  Below is a photo of Rebecca and I recently training in 80′s clothes. Ty and I have been invited to set for the comp so I’m hoping I will still be able to participate. I’ve got a party-trick style climb already in mind and am psyched to set it. Setting has been a huge focus of mine in the recent months during my injury. Its been about a year since I’ve started and I’ve definitely improved, but I love to continue learning more.  The head setter at the gym is helping me push myself and to produce gym favourites. I was setting several party-trick style climbs while I was injured, but have been focusing on setting at my limit lately. Its such a great feeling to be able to forerun my problems now, and climb at my max. I’ll post some photos of our setting session and comp later this month. I’ve got a Jane Fonda inspired costume ready to go! Hello brightly coloured spandex!  Later in the summer there will be the Summer Sweat Fest touring through Ontario. There is a small possibility I will be able to help set for that as well – fingers crossed!

80’s Training Day with Rebecca

The photo way above was taken at a recent trip to the Niagara Glen. I had jumped on Ripple again for my second session on it . After a pretty rough start to the day I was able to make some progress on it… by that I mean I was able to reach the next hold. This is my first season outdoors so I am slowly learning to be more patient with projects. So far its been a great learning experience and I’m loving getting out of the gym.  I have a list of projects a mile long:

Backstroke

No U turn

Shocker

Pica

Running Man (last attempt I literally got stuck inside of the hole and had to have a friend pull on my legs to get me out)

Great Wall of China

Novacane

Maha

Energy crisis

Sibishi

Thunder and Lightening

Amnesia

Ripple

Super Sharp Shooter

I’m doing my best to stay healthy throughout the summer so I can compete in Tour de Bloc this coming fall and winter. I hope that going outdoors will help me learn new techniques and skills that would help me do well in the comps.

This past Wednesday and Thursday Ty and I went up to The Bruce Peninsula to camp at Cyprus Lake and climb at Halfway Log Dump. The conditions were crisp and cool with minimal wind – perfect for scrambling and climbing around the tightly packed limestone boulder field.

After making the tricky hike out to HWLD, we dumped our pads at the first boulder field and scrambled through the area to find projects for the day. Some of the more alluring climbs in the area were wet or surrounded by water such as The Whale.  I had my eye on Queensnake and Cliffbreak as fun overhanging warm ups.

Queensnake

Clifbreak

I worked on Cedar Arete a bit, keyword being “bit.” I was ecstatic to make a few of the start moves and look forward to going back to work out the mid section of the climb.

Cedar Arete

After this we moved down to The Maze to work our projects for the day.  I was eyeing up Wanna Be My Baby? We had some difficultly identifying the start to the climb so I went “low and around the corner” for a start with a small crimp, a compressiony bulge, and a high heel hook over my head.  I’ve had this obsession lately with heel hooking far over my head so I was psyched to apply this to an outdoor climb. I was drawn in by the overhanging nature of the climb. I worked out the start by using a few campus moves since feet were few and far between. Once coming out from the overhang I loved using a balancy heel hook as sort of shown in the photo below. The area was somewhat difficult to take a decent photo in. The top out definitely pushed me with its sloping nature since this is definitely my weak spot.  I attempted working out the longer variation of the climb that traverses out left, Wanna Be My Daisy?, and think finishing it may be possible. I wasn’t able to get a proper send in that day, but definitely have all the pieces worked out.

 

Wanna Be My Baby?

After this the crew headed down to The East Maze to compile all of our crash pads together to try Hortop Slab.  I was able to get about ¾ of the way up and felt satisfied. The slab was a highball and  had a pretty rocky landing. I rolled over my ankles a few times working this and didn’t want to risk being unable to hike out of the boulder field. I never climb slab so I enjoyed pushing myself outside of my element. I threw the pads a little to the right to go up Hikers Slab, which allowed the use of the arête.

With little gas in the tank I put in 2 attempts at Wolverine before heading out for the day. With little energy, I found I was able to stay more calm and focused on the climb and managed to finish about half of the problem in my first go!

With a 3 hour drive home, we decided to head out. The day couldn’t have been more perfect. We had a great, supportive group out that day, perfect conditions, and more crash pads then anyone could hope for.  I ate enough food for a small country over Wednesday and Thursday and had a memorable day of climbing.  It’ll probably be a while before we make the trip back out there, but I’m looking forward to trying Nighthawk, The Whale, and Rose Patagonia, which were all wet.

Here’s a link to the guide for Halfway Log Dump.

The Glen Strikes Back

Mother nature took a turn for the worse this weekend when she snowed on my climbing parade.  With a week and a half off before the spring term starts up, I prayed to the climbing Gods for cool, dry weather (if there ever was a climbing God, it would be this guy: Hanuman).  I religiously checked the weather reports for the week and Sunday promised to be the perfect day.  Friday afternoon I spent setting and climbing in the cave at the local climbing gym, Grand River Rocks, in preparation for Novacaine at The Glen. Ty and I got up earlier than usual Sunday morning so that the sun wouldn’t be in our eyes while climbing some of our projects. It turned out that didn’t matter anyways since it had rained in the morning and the rock was wet. We snuck in a quick warm up in before the rain reappeared and took cover in the cave. I ended up working Novacaine in a few sections and had difficulty keeping warm.

It was great to work out some beta and I know it will go over much better next time in slightly warmer conditions. We ended up scoping out a few more projects and found some new rock to try an eliminate climb on.  We finished the day climbing and setting again at the gym at night and put up a seriously fun problem in the cave.

Novacaine, The Glen April 22
Novacaine, The Glen April 22 - 1
Novacaine, The Glen April 22 - 2
Novacaine, The Glen April 22 - 3
Novacaine, The Glen April 22 - 4
Novacaine, The Glen April 22 - 5
Novacaine, The Glen April 22

Glen Season is Here!

After an intense few weeks of studying for exams, I finally completed my last exam yesterday morning!  It was the toughest exam I had ever written… not because of the material I was being tested on. Unlike other students who were cramming those last few precious minutes before the exam, I sat on my blackberry checking the weather out in St. Catharines, ON. The Weather Network displayed sunny skies, and a high of 10 degrees. Could life be more perfect?  It was fate: I was meant to finish my last exam and celebrate with a day of climbing boulders at The Glen. But first I had to kick some ass on my final.  The test was physically impossible to write. My finger tips kept beading with sweat as I had flashbacks to projects I’ve been working on, my pulse raced as I thought about topping out the highest project I could have completed to date. It was pure torture sitting through that exam and I was the first student to finish. I impatiently flagged down a proctor and ran out the door. I actually ran all the way to my car too!  As I raced home the two crash pads in the back of my Matrix swooshed back and forth. Music to my ears.

I arrived at the Glen around 1pm with my Mother. She’s always wanted to see what I’m so obsessed about, so it was the perfect time time bring her out. We each threw a crash pad on our back and headed down to the Upper Romper Room to warm up. I farted around on some V4′s and then went to scope out some projects. I was a bit concerned about my Ma seeing me climbing anything over 10 feet. Last year my family accidentally saw a photo of me 20 feet up with no ropes and my Dad gave me “the silent treatment” for days. So with this in mind, I went to piece together The Great Wall of China in the Lower Romper Room.  My strategy to finish this beastly traverse involved some campusing and big crossovers in order to move faster. The traverse is pretty low and involves a lot of heel hooks, but is overhanging enough that campusing is possible without dragging your body along the rock. Sounds fun eh? Plus it just looks more bad ass to campus. Our final stop was in the Old Country, where I worked on Pica and Ripple and repeated some previous climbs. I almost flashed Ripple! This also the second V5/6 I’ve ever attempted. Who knew!  The issue, and my excuse I guess, was that my crash pads were 5 feet to the right below me, which wouldn’t do much if I were to bail. I down climbed and moved the pads over. At this point I was bouncing around, barely containing myself since I had gotten so close on my first try. The next few attempts were fruitless as the top out was a bit more tricky than I had anticipated. I’m super psyched to get back there this weekend and finish her up with a good spotter!

Overall it was a perfect day and I couldn’t be happier! Any day that I get to climb on rock is the best day of my life. I also got to bond with my Ma and show her my sport and my passion.. and my biceps. I can’t wait to get out again this weekend and go down to the cave to get on Novacaine, Maha, and finish up Backstroke. The cave is my fave!

P.s. Best Mom ever.