Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 Picks of the Pics

Some of my favorite images of this past year: 

Marty T. at Blue Pillar just after new years.

Huge ice crystals formed at Hayes Falls

Marty T. climbing a fat pillar at the upper flows of Mt. Misery 
Self portrait. Alone. Late night at Waterfall Wall.
A digital communication outright fail. No night-ice partners anywhere.

Chris H. entering the crux of Torpedoes & Jellyfish
Aaron D. eyeing out his jam beta to
Waterfall Layback

Singlespeed project getting it's 3rd coat of lime.
Singlespeed project complete
Franca Z. on her epic send of Moby Dick
Laurent J. clipping bolts on Chica Bonita
Liz. M. cornering the berm at Wilson's Loop

Aaron D. leading the nose of Weeping Whisker
Grace... my niece. Rocking a sprinkler.
Jill. My wife. Picking up speed in Fundy
 (taken from well up into a tree)
Liz M. cruising at the lower end of Viagra
Liz M. again. This time in Star Wars Forest at Woolastook

Melissa C. on a well-earned redpoint of Smells Like Rain
Shuttling bikes on a snowy day at Cypress Mt., B.C.
Stef K. bombing switchbacks at Woolastook

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Poaching Routes Outside of Official Climbing Season

The weather this November has been top notch... and still we have another solid week of Sun in the forecast. With the temperature today reaching 5-6 degrees, I wanted to get a few pitches packed into what was absolutely an excellent weekend. This cries afoul of last week's Facebook announcement by the UNB Rock & Ice club that rock season has come to an official end as of Oct. 31st. Write me a ticket!

Climbed a number of good pitches and worked a little closer towards a send of Dihelio. Dom showed me a small but key chip in the rock that I didn't know about before. I will put it all together soon. I think if I was in the same shape I was this spring I might have it - so I'm getting back on the running - and off the cookies. 

It is cold tonight. Icicles persisted the entire day today at Sunnyside in a few spots. I'd bet a beer that Parlee has started to form. Who will get the first NB ice this year?

Dom on Stairway to Heaven

Dom's pics of me working Dihelio

Looking swole? 

Melissa on Smells Like Rain...

Topping out the red-point!

- psyched -

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sh#t-Show Direct at Cedar Pt.

Climbed Monday at Cedar Pt. with a van-load of kids. Got a few images of the affair. Actually... I missed the real affair on camera. Tony decided to adventeneer himself a new gully route: 'Sh#t-Show Direct 5.4 R'. Climbing in high-winds after sunset he finds himself scrambling 35' off route up the loose gully to the right of the easy escape route. Brian winds up having to second the thing wearing 2 packs and without a headlamp in the dark. Way to turn a well-bolted 5.6 sport line into an adventure lads... well done.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Climber's Trail Day

Saturday was perfect November weather for working on trails. Cool enough to make hard work bearable and wet enough so that nobody was doing much climbing. A plan hatched on the climber's forum to work on the climber's trail up Cochrane lane worked well. Tool loans, wood donations, a crew of 10 solid workers and a small amount of anonymous cash made a lot of good happen.
Dom got us permission to drive the truck to the trail-head. Gold.
Once the trail heads up hill past the stream erosion has made quite an impact. Water runs directly down the center of the trail. Over time the trail has also gotten wider from people hiking around the water, which only makes matters worse. Also the stairs on the final steep 50' leading to the first aid box were getting in rough shape with many rotten treads and little goat paths leading off on all sides.

Over the course of the day, the crew put in 7 well built water-bars with french drains and did a lot of work on the staircase replacing rotten treads, smoothing the soil, and even installing some new granite steps. Everything looks great and works well. I really hope it rains next time I'm there just to see how much water it's all able to handle. Please use the intended pathway rather than skirt around side of it. This should go a long way towards controlling the erosion in this location.

Franca swears that she didn't just stand around drinking beer all day.
Adam's fort. Water does not get past this. 
Staircase in the process of being fixed. 
Would very much like to work similar projects at Sunnyside and the steps up to Lower Dawn Wall. If you missed your chance to work yesterday you'll probably have another opportunity.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Riding the North Shore

Back from Vancouver!

While there for business I managed to sneak in 2 days riding in North Vancouver's world class freeride trail system. Totally unreal! This was entirely thanks to the awesome Dave Henni-bomb, who put me up on his couch, lent me his downhill rig, and guided me around. (Check out his graphics skills btw).

We spent both days doing shuttle runs down Mt. Cypress. This place seemed to me to be pretty technical, even though we apparently focused on the easier lines. Big roots, wet rocks, some drops, and a bit of north-shore woodwork. This place had lots of fresh dirt and the whole thing felt pretty extreme to me having never been on a downhill bike before. A full 8 inches of front / rear travel took some getting used to.

Although I crashed a bunch  I didn't get hurt too bad. We ended up finding a guy who did just bounce off a botched-landing from a jump. He figured his back was pretty hurt and he was still tangled up in his bike when we encountered him... by himself... in the late afternoon.  After talking over options for a bit he elected to have me and another guy carry him out rather than call in official emergency services (which he was pretty much prepared to do when we found him). When he could almost stand under his own power we concluded that he'd just been winded and was probably going to pee some blood but otherwise had no spinal injuries. He was apparently too cocky in his approach and it came back to bite him.We learned that earlier in the day he'd bombed past some other girl who wiped and instead of helping he just yelled at her for being crashed in the middle of the tail. Who does that? In any case... he learned a lesson in humility the hard way as this girl later found us planning the carry-out and totally called him on it! We delivered the dude to his awaiting fiancee at the road and she drove him off to the hospital. Here's a shot of the whole ordeal:

Sunday was better. We woke up and heard rumors of 10cm of snow at the top of Cypress. We went out anyway picking up a few other guys along the way. The rumors were true:

We did a few very exciting and cold snow runs, we got lost a bit, and crashed a bit more. A friend of Dave's busted a rear derailleur... which are considered disposable parts in the west. Luckily, this was gravity riding and having no functional drive-train doesn't really slow you down much. Seems expensive for a disposable part though.

Super fun! You are looking at the real possibility of breaking bones (almost everyone there had at one point or another) but the risk is worth it.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cold October Climbing

I have climbed seemingly very little in the past month. Several weekend trips were ditched on account of rain. However, recently that streak has been turned around and between last weekend and yesterday, both proved to be a good day out in the cold fall air. 

I think unused bones accumulate rust. It sure felt like my knees were out of tune. Maybe it was rusty nerves. Either way I thought twice about swimming up the soaking wet first half of Waterfall Layback last weekend.  I eventually came to the realization however... that if one waited for this entire route to be dry... it would never get climbed. Glad I made the choice however... since by the time the difficulties appeared the sun had dried my shoes, and I finally got a clean lead of it (something that's been on my list for a long time). Actually, that same day we climbed Warm & Sultry, making back-to-back two of the nicest pitches in Welsford. 

Yesterday it was my turn to follow some nice pitches, which was a nice switch, top roping and cleaning Comrades in Destiny, and Sparky Start.  What's been very nice to see this year is a lot of new interest in traditional lead climbing. I can think of at least 5 climbers who've been asking a lot of good questions, and following smart processes. It's a pretty exciting feeling to start becoming the most experienced person in the party on a particular day and I've witnessed a couple people make this transition recently. I've also heard the statement a few times: "I don't want to clip any bolts today". I wonder where this has developed? A few years ago there were alarmist statements being made in N.B. about the decay of the local traditional ethic. Every time a new bolt was drilled, it was claimed it would lead to a new generation of pansies... only interested in safe sport lines. Generally, I just don't see that happening. The traditional climbing approach is thriving in the area and new leaders are in many cases safer, smarter, and sometimes even bolder than those in the past. 

A few shots of the fall: 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Fundy Coast Bike Trip

I'm betting over the past weekend we burned trough a few sets of brake pads. Transplant a half dozen Fredericton-trained riders into the rugged terrain of the Fundy coast and the brake levers suddenly get a workout. My index and middle fingers are actually feeling it today. I can't be the only one. Here's the run-down:

Fundy Park - Hastings Loop: I messaged Fundy Park and asked about rumors that the White Tail trail would be converted over to mountain biking. The response said that the project was no-go yet but he encouraged me to try a new 4.2 km single-track that the park had freshly built. Closed to all by cyclists. I was intrigued, and we all decided to check it out.

Park at the entrance to the Hastings auto-road at a huge lot that's freshly cleared. You'll see the trail at an archway marking the start. Head right at the split. The loop takes you around. I use the word 'trail' loosely to describe this. It's not a single-track as described. It more closely resembles a narrow, well-constructed gravel road. It's got a 15 foot right-of-way, a properly crowed and hardened 3' surface, and it's designed with purpose built curves and bumps through gradual to flat terrain. Riding it is pretty contrived and not to the style of any us who rode it. I won't come right out and say that it's foolish... but it's probably better catered to a crowd of families with young kids or those riding hybrid bikes. Don't make the trip for any 'single-track'. Liz and I had a lot more fun bombing the 114 highway from Chicgnecto campground to the Fundy Headquarters. We apparently did a little better than 60 kph on our mountain bikes. Now that's fun!

Alma - Green Snake: Outside Fundy park the Village of Alma had a bike trail built up 4 km of the Salmon river valley a few years ago. It was actually hard to find info about it online and I've never heard mention of it among Fredericton riders. It apparently was built over a summer using a wad of grant money from various sources but then fell into dispute over neighboring properties and liability concerns. Finding the trail-head is tricky. However don't give up.... this line not only exists... it's the best thing I've ever ridden! Hands down. Liz described it as "effing magical... like unicorns and rainbows were shooting out of our asses"!

The entire length of Green Snake is burmed and bench-cut into the steep river valley and neighboring plateau. It is smooth as a baby's bottom. The 4 km climb out goes pretty quickly and any in-shape novice can make it... it's neither technical... nor steep. But is is up the whole way. You will eventually be spat out at a junction to a logging road where the single track stops on top of the plateau. Catch your breath, take a drink and turn around. If you move with a purpose I bet you could be back to your car in less than 10 minutes! It will be the most exciting 10 minutes you'll spend that day. The decent is fast, flowy, and 100% manageable for a total beginner. That said, I think anyone of any level would enjoy it. Watch for some broken bridge planks (that appear to be in the progress of being repaired).

Park at the intersection of School and Falcon Ridge. Follow gravel road uphill.
Hillsborough - White Rock Recreation Area: This place is rad. The karst topography from the gypsum bedrock gives this place a real sense of terrain. Ridges, sinkholes, and steeps! There are also some fun curvy trails built on the mine tailings from the gypsum and Albertite mining that used to take place in the area. It's a unique terrain.

Getting a bit lost is a real possibility here. A map is not yet published (although it's in the works). I pieced together a map for the crew from some hearsay and some poached Strava data. The landscape is a spaghetti of single-track and ATV trails.. many of which are not visible from Google earth since the trees have crowned over. I contacted the HMBA for a map... they gave us a guided ride instead! Sweet! Dwayne and Susie joined up with us for the afternoon and took us to the best the place had. White Head follows the natural flow of a ridge for about a km and is probably as nice as anything gets. The Whoops feels like riding the rails of a mini roller-coaster and is super fast and smooth. Climbing the Heart-Attack hill is well worth it to take Viagra down a nice hardwood ridge back to the cars. The tempo of Viagra slowly picks up as you go from a casual roll to a heads-up downhill bomb. "If you don't come back down in 30 minutes call an ambulance". Classic.
Behind the golf course. Park at either end and look for trails.