Tag Archives: rock climbing

E is for Elvis, Ed Viesturs, Everest, and Easy

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Me playing around on the cool, textured rock (once a coral reef, I think) at Graceland… that leg on the left might just be a jiggling… 

One of the things I’ve found most entertaining over the past year is the way in which climbing routes are named. Take Graceland at Grassi Lakes. Every route on the wall is somehow Elvis-related. Some of the route names include: You Ain’t Nothin’ but a Hang Dog (5.10d), Memphis (5.10d), Elvis Lives (5.10b/c), Heartbreak Hotel (5.10d) and Sunglasses and Sideburns (5.10c). Not that I can see why one piece of rock is more evocative of one song than another, but in the minds of those who put the routes up, there must have been some kind of logic.

Elvis’ name is used in another context at the crags. Having a bad case of Elvis Leg (sometimes known as Sewing Machine Leg) is the rather unnerving leg quiver that develops partway up a climb, the result of fatigue or nerves (or both). Generally, it happens at the worst possible moment, when you are perched high above the ground, one toe wedged onto a thin lip of rock, all the muscles in your leg tense, trying to balance or shift your weight and reach just… over … there… to some teeny weeny bump of a pebble-sized outcrop so you can reach up and over and continue climbing. If the jiggling gets too bad, it can send your whole body into sympathetic convulsions, a state of being not conducive to reaching the top. Elvis Leg often precedes a fall – wise belayers get ready to take action when the shaking begins…

The climb called Naked Teenage Girls at Barrier Mountain is named sort of sensibly, I guess. That particular wall is very smooth – no lumps and bumps to grab onto. Assholes of August at Skaha Bluffs is a nice, long crack climb – maybe the first ascenders were behaving badly in the summertime? [Editorial aside: It’s high time more women started putting up routes – surely we could come up with better names?]

Meathooks at Grassi Lakes is logically named as the steep, overhanging rock means you wind up hanging there a lot. When we were there last week there were bodies suspended everywhere (mine included… because of the overhanging angle I was suspended so far away from the place I fell off I had to be lowered, the rope twirling me like a top so I could start again from the ground)…

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Meathooks area – a place climbers go to hang(out)

Someone who probably doesn’t suffer from Elvis Leg too often is Ed Viesturs, a guy who is pretty famous in the climbing world. He’s the first American (maybe the only one?) to have climbed all 14 of the 8000 meter peaks, all without using supplemental oxygen. He’s a writer and motivational speaker and recently Fabio and I have been listening to the audio book version of his book, No Shortcuts to the Top.

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It’s a fascinating read that talks about his quest to reach the top of all the world’s highest mountains, perfect for our drives back and forth to our own mini expeditions. Ed was part of the IMAX film team that was shooting on Everest during the terrible 1996 season that claimed eight lives. That disaster became the focus of the book Into Thin Air by John Krakauer (another great read). Ed has climbed Everest seven times, which is why he made it onto E-Day.

And, finally, I wanted to say something about days when things go a little better than other days in the life of a geriatric climber. I’m in my fifties and sometimes it’s really discouraging to see all these youngsters in their 20s who are climbing hard and making it look easy, especially when I’m having a particularly off day. My list of creaky bits is getting long – I’ve talked about my recovering elbow more than often enough, but that’s just the first of a number of annoying failing  body parts that vie for my attention. There’s something wrong with my left shoulder (made worse in the fall) and which needs to be properly dealt with at some point. My physio’s theory is a torn rotator cuff, but to be honest, I’ve been leery about getting a scan and then learning I am going to need surgical intervention. Some things are better left unsaid. So, I tape up my shoulder and strap on my brace and take some Tylenol and get on with the day. Nights are for icing and, so far at least, even though I look like my arm is being held together by tape and velcro, it’s functioning well enough.

Long approaches are really hard on my arthritic hip, the one that was injured many moons ago when I fell off a bridge with my horse (long story, and nothing in there starts with the letter E, except maybe EEEEEk!). I use a ski pole and try not to be too hard on myself when I’m slow on uneven terrain, especially when carrying a pack. I really feel my age on days when the big toe joint on the opposite foot starts to act up. That’s pretty much seized up from arthritis and can be incredibly painful on long hikes. I’ve found that cranking my boots (when ice climbing), approach shoes (for hiking) and climbing shoes as tight as humanly possible basically immobilizes the joint, which makes things mostly tolerable. Various joints in my fingers and thumbs are starting to ache – in part because I’m climbing some stuff that requires hard pinching, crimping, and pulling, but in part because old injuries are coming back to haunt me with the onset of arthritis in all those joints, too… (this is the moment when, if you happen to have one, you send me your best suggestions for dealing with arthritis!)

Listing the aches and pains has taken me a bit off course, but the point is, some days it’s easy to get discouraged, to question what on earth I think I’m doing heading for the crags day after day to climb alongside mere children!! And then, there’s a day like yesterday at Barrier where I tackled several things that I have, in past visits, found difficult (or impossible) but which were, yesterday at least, EASY!! First, I LED a route – not a hard route – but still, a lead (the 5.7 everyone uses as a warmup). Nevertheless, I wasn’t stressed (too much) and made it all the way up pretty smoothly. So, progress. After that, I climbed several of the slightly harder routes, all without any trouble at all. Feeling thoroughly warmed up, I decided to challenge myself and climb my hardest-to-date outdoors route (a 5.11b called In Us, Under Us which even Fabio admitted was ‘stiff’) and would likely have climbed it clean except I missed a very obvious hold (just didn’t see it – it was right in front of my face – here, I blame my trifocals because, hey, I was probably the only person climbing yesterday who was wearing trifocals…) andI  popped off when I made an ambitious move (and almost made it!) to the next hold without using the previous (unseen) hold. Keep in mind this was on a steep, pretty blank, balanc-y face where I was trying to transition around to a corner, also without a whole lot of holds to work with… I actually had managed to grab the upper hold but just as I was about to grip and get settled, my foot (which I had managed to get nice and high with a heel hook!) slipped and I didn’t have quite enough grip on the upper hold and fell. I was a bit rattled at that point and it took a couple of tries to repeat the move (and a couple more falls) before Fabio called up, “Why don’t you use that hold right in front of your face?” At which point I saw the hold in front of my face, which was exactly where it needed to be, and I easily (EASILY!) made the next move and finished the rest of the climb without much trouble.

I tell you, that felt GREAT! I’ve been feeling a bit stuck recently, like I wasn’t making a whole lot of forward progress, but getting up to the top of that one was very encouraging. So much so I decided to have another go at the 5.10c crack climb (End Dance) that had given me such trouble on a previous visit. Flailing, I think was the word Fabio used to describe my efforts on my first attempt. Yesterday, float might have been a better word. It was so strange! It certainly helped that I had climbed it before (and done it so badly – I knew exactly what I didn’t want to do). It also helped that friend and roomie Paul was there to give me some advice as I climbed (good beta, Paul!). And, it helped that I had just climbed something I didn’t actually believe I could climb. The last time I tackled End Dance, I thought I could power up the crack by hauling myself up. This time, I used my feet, used my head, stayed relaxed and, yes, E is for Effortless!

This may all sound a bit bragalicious, but I feel quite confident that failure at the crag is just around the corner. Climbing is like that. The next time I attempt that crack climb it’s just as likely I’ll be back in flailing mode. And that’s ok. In the balance, the good moments outweigh the bad and that’s what keeps me coming back.

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Assholes of August is the crack on the right – there’s a dude on there, if you zoom in… 

Bring on Assholes of August! I’m going to lead that puppy, you mark my words!!

C is for All Things Climbing, Apparently

 

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Crazed crack climber at the U of (forgive the deer in the headlights expression – that’s what happens when the photographer suddenly appears above you when you’re least expecting anyone to be up there! – thanks, Paul…)

How to chose what to write about today? Cliffs? Climbing as a philosophical metaphor for life? Crimps? Cracks? Carabiners? Chimneys? Chalk? Chicken heads? (yes, that’s a thing – I’m not getting confused with my past life as a farmer…) Chicken wing? (also a thing – actually, a technique and quite different to a chicken head, which is a type of rock formation). Campus boards? Clipping in? Crash pad? Crampon? Crags? Careful footwork? Crusty scabs? Couloirs? Camping? What about cranking? Cordelettes? Corners? Clipsticks? Or, the most common word people who don’t climb use to describe climbers – Crazy! Just listing the possibilities could add up to the day’s blog post!

And then there are the people – Conrad Anker – or Chris Sharma – or Chris Bonnington – Alycia Cavadi – or the names of specific climbs – Cookie Cliff in Yosemite or Cat Wall in Indian Creek… Or more general climbing destinations – Croatia, Colorado, California…

Where to begin??

How about calories? As in, how many calories does a climber burn? According to nutristrategy.com, a 130 lb person will burn about 650 calories in an hour of climbing rock. More, I guess, if you are carrying a heavy pack. The more you weigh, the more calories you burn, which makes sense as it’s a huge effort to haul yourself upwards…

This handy dandy calculator estimates how many calories you’ll burn if you climb for an hour (based on age, gender, height, and weight)… [I would burn off about 350 calories, my climbing partner 450 calories]

Which might account for why, after we leave the crags after a full day of climbing we can be ravenously hungry even if we’ve been snacking… say, on CLIF Bars!!

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The one on the left contains 250 calories – the one on the right, 200

 

 

 

 

B is for Bouldering, Broken, Barbara, Brace and Best

Bouldering: the art of hauling oneself onto large rocks – imagine hunks of stone the size of a school bus or a garage – using only fingers and toes (and heels, if you know how to do a heel hook)

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Bouldering indoors: the art of simulating hauling oneself onto large rocks inside a climbing gym using moulded plastic holds bolted to the walls – using only fingers and toes (and heels, if you know how to do a heel hook)

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Bouldering indoors badly: the dark art of hauling oneself up a wall using fake holds, leaping for the last hold up under the roof/overhang/tunnel entrance of the climbing gym (10′ off the ground), missing, and falling sideways, then crashing onto the ground

Aftermath of bad bouldering: If one lands on the heel of one’s hand (nothing to do with heel hooking), the full force of one’s body slamming onto your arm results in a double-dislocated elbow as both bones in the forearm shoot past their usual home in the elbow joint. This is not a pleasant feeling. As a matter of fact, this is an experience far worse than childbirth. A pain that borders on… I can’t even come up with a comparison as I had always been led to believe that childbirth (no stroll in the pleasure park) was about as bad as it gets. Trust me on this one. Blowing your elbow apart beats birthing a big baby by a billion miles (how’s that for using up my letter b’s?)

Fact: If the ER doctor gives you too much Propofol and not quite enough Ketamine (or the other way around – what do I know? I was supposed to be unconscious…) prior to jarring said wayward bones back into position, then one is lucid enough to believe one is dead and to remember much of what happens next quite clearly. And, really – I don’t think I was so far off in my conclusion that I had passed over to the other side. I even told the doctor that he should be careful not to kill me because wasn’t it Propofol that finished off Michael Jackson? Some rather spectacular hallucinations further supported my ‘I guess I’m shuffling off this mortal coil’ theory. When the room fills with white light and you have the sensation you are climbing out of your body and up the face of El Capitan in Yosemite – free of ropes, free of any obligation to return, climbing like a ballet dancer, crawling upwards toward oblivion, quite aware that this (climbing into the light with a grace even more graceful than Alex Honnold** demonstrates on his best days) could mean only one thing – I was dying – or already dead. I had the brief sensation of my back pressing flat against the emergency room ceiling and then heard the sound of someone screaming somewhere at the end of a very long corridor. I later learned that the screamer was me as the doctor snapped everything back into place. The noise was loud enough that anyone who was ambulatory fled the waiting room of the emergency department.

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Which brings me to Barbara, climbing partner, good friend, and there with me at the gym when I took my spectacular fall. Fortunately, Barabara’s name starts with a B so I can talk about her here. Also fortunately, in her day job she is an ER nurse, so she remained cool, calm, and collected while she scraped me off the mat at the gym and cajoled me into the back of our mutual friend’s car (thanks, Larissa – you were a trooper). Even Barbara, though, couldn’t handle the cries of desperate agony emanating from yours truly and raced away to take refuge out of earshot.

All this happened not quite a year ago – late on a Friday night. I strapped my useless arm to my body and started climbing again on Monday using the other arm (I blogged about that here …) and then started on a course of physiotherapy and quite a bit of whining and complaining. Eventually, I was fitted for a skookum custom brace, which I still have to wear every time I climb (or make bread or move a box or carry groceries). Things do not look good in terms of avoiding surgery, but the brace has proven to be fantastic in terms of keeping me functional for the foreseeable future. Slowly but surely my muscles have been rebuilding in the damaged arm so I’m mostly able to climb whatever I want to climb (yes, yes – as long as I’m not leading). The nerve damage that temporarily had my left thumb forgetting how to exert pressure on anything is more or less healed (that took about eight months) so now I can’t blame my fumbling clipping of the climbing rope into the draws on anything other than total lack of coordination.

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Tying the climbing rope to my harness with one hand (my non-dominant hand no less!!) on that first night back at the gym was incredibly awkward. This isn’t a great photo, but you can see the bulgy padding (an oven glove) protecting the injured elbow, which was stuffed into a sling and then covered with a tight T-shirt so there was no risk of getting hung up on the sling or bumping the arm in case of a fall.

As it turns out, having a serious injury in an arm was about the best thing that could have happened to me when it comes to improving my technique. Because I’m pretty strong and don’t weigh much, I’m blessed with a strength-to-weight ratio that is really helpful when it comes to climbing. The temptation is to haul yourself up through tough spots, which can work ok but isn’t efficient or particularly effective. Technique begins with the feet – it’s way easier to lift your body weight using the big muscles of your legs than it is to do a series of chin-ups all the way to the top of the cliff. Placing your feet well, finding your balance, trusting that the rubbery souls of your climbing shoes are not going to slip off that ludicrously tiny pimple of a hold makes it sooooooo much easier to keep going than using brute force. Even if a wall is steep, if it doesn’t have any bulging holds on it to grab onto and pull, if there are lips and cracks and bumps big enough to wedge your toes onto it’s amazing what you can climb even when the wall looks blank.

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Sometimes there just isn’t much to grab hold of. Note the awesome red brace holding my arm together. It would also work well as a face-smashing device should I ever get mugged. Bam! 

Blank. Bam! Good words to end on, given this is B for Boy oh Boy No More Bouldering for Me Day.

**Yes, I know Alex was the poster boy on A is for Ace Climbers Day – what can I say, I have a bit of a crush…

 

Powerful Climber Rocks! (and, yes – she’s a girl…)

Ashima Shiraishi is, objectively, amazing. Just a few days ago, the 14 year old climber from New York became the youngest person ever to send a V15 boulder problem. If you’re not a climber, you might not have a good sense at just how remarkable an achievement V15 is, but it’s the kind of grade […]

via Ashima sends V15 (Guest Post) — Fit Is a Feminist Issue

Winch Handles vs Ice Tools

When I quit farming, I suddenly found myself with a lot more time to write and enjoy some of my other passions. I also realized I had extricated myself from a farm time vortex and needed to think about how to make the most of my remaining functional years here on the planet before I got too ancient and could no longer drag myself out of the nursing home…

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About a year ago, I was lucky enough be be asked to be a crew member for my brother’s sailing trip in the Caribbean – after six weeks or so on the boat I returned home and all I could think about was when I could get back on the water… 

Sailing was something I’d done a bit of years earlier, as was climbing… I picked up that hobby/sport again at the beginning of 2015 after a break of a couple of decades and haven’t looked back! I’ve documented a few climbs here, here, and here. Early on in this reinfection with the climbing bug I met this guy:

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I have actually lost count of how many things we’ve climbed since we met about a year ago… and, we are still climbing. Which has brought up the interesting question of – what next? How are we going to combine these two very different ideas of fun? Rock vs water… ocean crossings vs mountain summits… Or, is there a way to combine the two?

It turns out that there are some amazing climbing destinations accessible from the water… Kalymnos in Greece comes to mind… Thailand is another popular destination… There’s also climbing in Puerto Rico and Mexico and… well, all over the place, when you start thinking about it. You can even sail right in to Squamish…

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On Virgin Gorda we brought our dinghy in to the tender mooring area and then swam ashore to do some bouldering… Yes. This is my idea of heaven on earth. 

Sometimes the climbs start in the water (I had an awful lot of fun playing in the boulder zone of Virgin Gorda last year) and sometimes one might need to do a bit of a bus trip to get to the base of the mountain, but it turns out that sailing to various climbing destinations might just be an ultra cool way to go about this…

Consider this blog post to be a planted seed. We are a year away from actually getting on a boat (at this point we are thinking Turkey/Greece/Italy might be a good place to start), but I have already started brushing up on my boaty skills with a navigation course put on by the Canadian Power and Sail Squadron. I was a member years ago (and, in fact, took an earlier version of this course way back in the last century) and hope that plotting dead reckoning points and solving distance/speed/time equations will help keep me occupied while we get ourselves organized to pack our belay devices and head for the high seas…

 

 

 

A Tale of Two Rock Piles

In the world of rock climbing there are a few places that everyone has heard of and added to their rock climbing bucket list. Hueco Tanks in Texas is one of them, particularly if one is into bouldering. Located just outside El Paso, the park is named for the hollows formed in the rocks – some large, some just big enough to hook a finger in when climbing.

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Fabio enjoying some easy climbing at the start of this hueco-pocked climb…

We headed there after a visit to Big Bend National and State Parks waaaaaaaaaaay down in the southern part of Texas hoping to spend a few days climbing and exploring. Alas, Hueco Tanks has fallen victim to its own popularity. Gazillions of visitors, some armed with spray paint and stupid enough to deface ancient cave paintings and others too lazy to haul out their trash created a big problem in this beautiful place… The desert environment is pretty sensitive to heavy traffic and the combination of people stomping all over the fragile flora, leaving their junk everywhere, and vandalism resulted in a major pendulum swing in the ‘we’d better protect this place’ direction.

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I was pretty happy when we found this pair of cracks in the middle of hueco-land. 

Now, it’s tough to get in at all – only 75 people are allowed into the park at one time, permits are required, you certainly can’t take a dog in there, and activities are severely restricted. Access to 3/4 of the park is limited to visitors who come in with a guide. The result of all the hoops we had to jump through (including finding a local campground with a kennel where we could leave the dog for the day) meant we had a rather unproductive half day of climbing in the park. Granted, the climbing was fun (and, ironically, we were the only people rope climbing – the few others we saw were bouldering), but we wound up sprinting out with our packs at the end of the day to make sure we didn’t get locked inside when the gates closed at 6 pm sharp. The result was a stressful visit where we felt more like intruders rather than appreciative visitors.

We decided not to stick around for another day and headed instead west. Plan A was to make for Cochise Stronghold in Arizona – but along the way we stumbled across a State Park in New Mexico that sounded like it might be worth a look. City of Rocks was everything Hueco Tanks wasn’t.

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Set up to welcome visitors, the campsites were roomy and private, nestled in among the boulders. The visitor’s centre was spotless with clean bathrooms (Hueco Tanks was having some plumbing problems when we were there…) and as long as we kept the dog on a leash and picked up after him, Tuulen was welcome. There were no places we were not allowed to go and our afternoon spent scrambling up a few boulders and poking around was pure pleasure.

 

Every time we turned around there was a convenient garbage can, excellent directional signage, and a bathroom or outhouse – which meant the park was spotless. It was also pretty much empty, at least on the side where they had the tent sites. Knowing what we know now, we would probably have skipped the Hueco visit and spent a couple of days in City of Rocks…

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Bridging Practice

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Fabio – tidying up a bit… 

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One of the RV/Trailer sites – step out of your door and start climbing!

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What a great tent site! Check out what’s hanging over your head while sitting at the picnic table! And how can you beat the view while eating your s’mores!

Climb On

Turtle Island, Lake Louise

Turtle Island, Lake Louise

I don’t even know where to start with the past month or so of climbing adventures. Started on Vancouver Island with some local cragging (Fleming Beach and Mount Wells with various friends) before heading east… Squamish was stop number one – managed to squeeze in a bit of fun at the Smoke Bluffs and then tackled Deirdre, a multi-pitch on the apron of The Chief. Who knew there would be a queue at the start of this popular climb? Turns out it’s not only quite common to pick a number and wait your turn for popular climbs, it’s also very common to start chatting, swap contact info, and later send fellow climbers photos of each other. The climbing fraternity is a friendly one – small enough that everyone pretty well knows someone who knows someone – and large enough that on any given day one is likely to run into total strangers from halfway around the world and neighbours from back home.

Eli - met in Lake Louise and the next day climbed Gooseberry (the back side of Tunnel Mountain in Banff)

Eli – met in Lake Louise and the next day climbed Gooseberry (the back side of Tunnel Mountain in Banff) with him and Fabio – glorious afternoon – spectacular views, fun climbing – who could ask for more?

After Squamish it was off to Canmore (climbed Ha’Ling), the crags at Heart Creek and Cougar Creek, Banff (Black Band Crags and then the multi-pitch Gooseberry).

Freezing our backsides off at the top of Ha'Ling in Canmore

Freezing our backsides off at the top of Ha’Ling in Canmore

While up in the Rockies it was impossible not to also visit Lake Louise. Though winter kept threatening, the day we climbed was nothing short of glorious.

In Banff, met up with a friend from Australia and spent an afternoon playing about - can you beat that backdrop? (Black Band, Tunnel Mountain)

In Banff, met up with a friend from Australia and spent an afternoon playing about – can you beat that backdrop? (Black Band, Tunnel Mountain)

After three weeks of climbing nearly every day (the last couple of climbs in Cougar Creek near Canmore were finger-chillingly cold) it was time to pack up the tent and head west again – to Skaha, climbing mecca in the Okanagan Valley. Pulling into town it was a balmy 24 degrees and the next five days were just lovely. We climbed a mix of stuff – harder, steeper stuff with teeny ledges and crimpy finger holds that tested one’s nerves and balance, some cracks (including Assholes of August, which we climbed twice – the first time in the near dark, the second on a sunny afternoon). What was most exciting (at least for me) was starting to lead – both sport climbs and gear routes (where there are no pre-existing bolts in the rock).

Getting lowered after a slab climb at Heart Creek - a bizarre feeling to basically be holding on with friction when climbing some of these slabs.

Getting lowered after a slab climb at Heart Creek – a bizarre feeling to basically be holding on with friction when climbing some of these slabs.

Leading adds a whole other level of terror to the whole climbing experience. Unlike top-roping, the lead climber heads up first, clipping draws into secure bolts (and then the rope) along the way. After clipping, there is always a stretch of time (the distance between bolts varies and depends on the particular climb) and it’s during this bit of time after you have climbed beyond your last clipped in protection (increasing the possible distance you will fall if you come off the wall and before the rope catches you) that the mind starts playing tricks. And, once the mind panics, it’s a terrible feeling to be stranded above the safety of the clipped draw, frozen against the face of the rock, convinced upward movement is impossible, horrified at the thought of climbing back down again… That is exactly what happened on my first lead – complete mental meltdown. Incapacitating. I wound up coming back down, Fabio led the route, I top-roped it (and realized I could in fact climb past the tricky spot without much trouble) and then re-led it. Switched gears and climbed some other stuff and a couple of days later led a couple of climbs of the same wall without difficulty.

Not a super difficult climb, but my first successful sport lead so I was feeling pretty exhilarated at the top!

Not a super difficult climb, but my first successful sport lead so I was feeling pretty exhilarated at the top!

If clipping into bolts can get exciting, placing gear (nuts, cams, and other bits and pieces of climbing gear used when there are no bolts), then trad climbing is even better – or, worse, depending on whether you are inspired or horrified by adrenalin surges. I had my first couple of experiences leading on gear routes – easy enough climbing, but a whole different ballgame when you add in the strategy of where to stand (in a relatively balanced, comfortable spot) while choosing from the assorted gadgets dangling from one’s climbing harness, fiddling to wiggle nuts or cams or whatever into any available crack or corner, then clipping a draw to the protection and, finally, the rope into the draw. Though hugely stressful at times (I wound up bailing off a route as dusk was closing in and I completely lost my nerve – poor, patient Fabio had to climb up and rescue what gear I had managed to place), I think the trad climbing is the most interesting and compelling of what I have tried so far.

Location of my first gear climb - a modest crack when compared to something like Assholes of August - a climb located a little farther along and higher up the same crag

Location of my first gear climb – a modest crack when compared to something like Assholes of August – a climb located a little farther along and higher up the same crag

The additional mental puzzle of figuring out what’s available (both in terms of the rock and the gear) and then keeping a cool head while matching the two up makes the whole experience of getting up the wall all the more challenging. Starting to learn these new skills has also had the side benefit of taking some of the pressure off challenging myself to climb harder routes – the elbow brace is holding up remarkably well, but the injured arm is still injured, so I have to be careful not to overdo it, especially when climbing day after day. The easier grades mean the physical climbing is not so bad, but the leading those routes or starting to try my hand at gear placement keeps things… entertaining.

Assholes of August - we climbed this one twice - once as darkness was falling, the second time in daylight - lots of fun. Maybe next time I'm in Skaha I might be able to lead this one... It never hurts to have goals!

Assholes of August – we climbed this one twice – once as darkness was falling, the second time in daylight – lots of fun. Maybe next time I’m in Skaha I might be able to lead this one… It never hurts to have goals!

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From a bit farther back – Assholes of August is the crack on the right…

All of this, of course, has taken me outside almost every day, hiking into some of the most beautiful places in the world and climbing some of the most spectacular rock anywhere. I wonder if one ever gets tired of the vistas one encounters as one  hauls oneself up and over the top of a cliff face. I hope not.

I do like these crack climbs...

I do like these crack climbs…

Lake Louise

Lake Louise

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View from up on a ledge somewhere on Outhouse Wall, Lake Louise