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Slovenians Climb New 5.12 A3 Up Saint Exupéry in Patagonia

Slovenian alpinists Luka Lindic and Luka Krajnc climbed a new 700-metre 5.12/7a+ A3 up Aguja Saint Exupéry in Patagonia from Feb. 20 to 22. They called their new route Mir, which is Peace in English.

They started up Petit Prince then moved away into a splitter crack system through overhangs and the crux. They climbed 15 new pitches away from Petit Prince and bivied on pitch nine and 16. For gear, they brought a double set of cams to #4, one each to #6, two sets of TCUs, stoppers, RPs, five peckers, three angles, seven lost arrows, three knifeblades and two hooks. They only placed one bolt.

Due to the steepness of the face, it would’ve been too difficult to rappel their route, so from the summit they descended the Italiana. As Rolando Garibotti pointed on in his Instagram post, Mir was first attempted in 1998 by Marcelo Galghera and Horacio Gratton.


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Sonnie Trotter to Speak at VIMFF This Weekend

As the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival (VIMFF) 2020 wraps up this weekend, climbers will be treated to a number of great films and speakers.

On Friday, you can catch a number of climbing films at the Rox Theatre, including Gone Tomorrow: Kentucky Ice ClimbingPacific Lines and Climbing Blind. For more details see here. Award-winning photographer Corey Rich has been documenting adventure sports for over three decades, and he loves to tell stories. You can catch him at the Centennial Theatre on Saturday, more details here.

And on Sunday, top Canadian climber Sonnie Trotter will be speaking at the Richmond Oval where there’ll also be a beer garden and other films, including The Terminator about Allison Vest climbing V13. More info here. Among other major climbs, Trotter made the first ascent of Cobra Crack 5.14 trad in Squamish, The Path 5.14R trad at Back of the Lake and Forever Expired 5.14d (unrepeated) in Ontario.


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Canadian Women Make Olympic Qualifier Finals

Canadians Alannah Yip, Becca Frangos, Allison Vest, Jason Holowach and Brennan Doyle finished in the top-20 of the 26 women and 22 men climbing in qualifiers at the Pan-Am Olympic Qualifiers in L.A. earlier this week. As of now, Sean McColl is the only Canuck heading to Tokyo in August.

The women’s semi-finals were on Thursday and men’s semi-finals are today. After strong performances, Frangos qualified for finals in eighth and Yip qualified in in sixth. The two Canadians will have to fight hard against their southern rivals for the top spot. Watch finals here.

American Lauren Bair qualified in first, while Chile’s Alejandra Contreras and Argentina’s Valentina Aguado finished in second and third respectively. Regardless of how she places, Bair will not be allowed to qualify for the Olympics as the U.S.S. has already filled its quota with athletes Kyra Condie and Brooke Raboutou. Finals will take place on Saturday.

Holowach and Doyle will climb in semis today (Feb. 28) and will have to give their all to make ground on climbers higher in the rankings. Holowach finished in 19th and Doyle in 15th while the top-10 is dominated by climbers from the US, Ecuador, and Brazil.

Ecuador’s Carlos Granja qualified in first, beating out second and third place qualifiers Sean Bailey and Colin Duffy. Granja will be tough to beat with three Youth World Championships and four Youth Pan-American Championships to his name.

The men that qualify today will compete in finals on Sunday. Only those who take first will be able to compete in this year’s Olympic Games. For more information, click here.


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Mega First Ski Descent of Mount Macdonald in Rogers Pass

Christina Lusti and Andrew McNab have made the first ski descent of the famous Mount Macdonald. The peak has a number of summer rock routes, a few winter mixed objectives and was named after the first Prime Minister of Canada, Sir John A. Macdonald.

Lusti had been watching the ski line, which you can see from the Trans Canada Highway near Rogers Pass, for nearly a decade. The descent required three rappels between steep couloirs. Lusti is now based in Revelstoke and was once a World Cup GS racer.

In an interview with powder.com, Lusti said, “The snow above the rappels was really good. We skied nice fluid turns right up to the first rap anchors. Then there was a hanging shelf couloir that was holding even better, deeper snow. It was so amazing to have that quality snow for the descent.” Read the full interview here.


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Canadian Men Miss Olympic Qualifiers Finals

Canadians are climbing at the Pan-Am Championship this week in hopes of grabbing one of the last few spots at the Olympics. What started as five hopeful athletes is now down to two after Jason Holowach and Brennan Doyle just missed the finals cutoff.

Doyle finished in ninth, one spot away from the top-eight finals, and Holowach finished in 11th. All hope is not lost, however, as Alannah Yip and Becca Frangos will be competing in women’s finals tomorrow.

Visit here for more and stay tuned for finals.


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Watch Canadian Women in Olympic Qualifiers Finals

The Pan-Am Championships are taking place in L.A. this weekend and five Canadians have been reduced to two after four rounds of competition.

Allison Vest, Jason Holowach and Brennan Doyle all competed in qualifiers and semis, but didn’t finish top-eight so don’t advance to finals this weekend. However, Alannah Yip and Becca Frangos did advance and will compete.

The final eight women (see here) all have excellent comp records and all perform well in speed, boulder and lead. To reach the podium will take a lot of focus and precision. Go Canada Go!

Women’s Final

 


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New Scottish Route and Bold Repeat by Canadians

Scotland’s International Climbing Meet has been taking place for the past week and once again Canadians are leaving their mark.

Peter Hoang and Maarten van Haeren have impressed the local hosts with a number of fine climbs. Simon Richardson reported on Scottishwinter.com: “The standout performance came from Peter Hoang and Neil Adams who made an ascent of The Shroud VI,6 followed by Mega Route X VI,6… Peter used his extensive Canadian icefall experience to judge that this potentially very risky ascent was in safe condition. Even so, he rated the climb at WI6/WI6+ on the Canadian scale and commented that he had never climbed an icicle that did not hang vertically before – it had been blown sideways by the wind.”

Hoang is based in Canmore and has repeated a number of classics over the years, including Gimme Shelter VI WI6 and Cryophobia IV M8. See the list of routes he climbed on his trip on Instagram below.

View this post on Instagram

The 2020 Mountaineering Scotland International Meet is done and I’m cooked! Off to Edinburgh to enjoy some less-than-vertical adventures now haha. . Wanted to give a special shout-out to my host climbing partner, Neil Adams. It was a stellar time roping up with him and learning about all the things that makes Scotland climbing so special. . Together we climbed: • Day 1: Sundance VIII/8 @ Beinn Eighe. • Day 2: Nothing! haha – walked for 4+ hours and got gnarly avi conditions. • Day 3: Kellett’s North Wall Route (VII, 7) @ Ben Nevis. • Day 4: The Shroud (VI, 6), Mega Route X (VI, 6) + bonus summit slog @ Ben Nevis. • Day 5: Defenders of the Faith (IX, 9), free to the top, but not clean after a fall off turf @ Creag an Socach. • Day 6: FWA of The Gralloch, which we figure is IX/10 @ Garbh Bheinn. . #Winterclimbscotland2020 @mountaineeringscotland @alpine_club @teambmc @salewa @climbscotland

A post shared by Peter Hoang (@pete.hoang) on Feb 29, 2020 at 7:07am PST

Bow Valley-based Maarten Van Haeren teamed up with Andy Inglis and made the first ascent of a new route on Minus Two Buttress.

“Calculus VIII,8 takes a line directly through the overhangs that girdle the buttress at one-third height,” said Richardson. “Andy led the Grade VI entry pitch up icy grooves and Maarten pulled out the stops with a superb lead up a stepped corner through the overhang on tenuous hooks.

“Easier ground shared with Central Route (VI,7 with 2pa and unrepeated) led to the crest of North-East Buttress.”

View this post on Instagram

The 2020 International Scottish Winter Meet is over, with over 150 routes climbed amongst 30 teams from over 20 countries! We had the privilege of starting our meet in the CIC hut below Ben Nevis for our first few nights. We enjoyed home-cooked food and incredible conditions on the mountain, especially icy conditions on the big Minus and Orion faces. Climbed a really nice line on the Minus face and on day 3 climbed solo to the highest summit of Great Britain via the classic Orion Direttissima. Descriptions of the photos below. I can’t thank my climbing partner and host for the week, Andy Inglis, enough for a great week. He made sure I got a full overview of Scottish winter climbing, driving for hours to show me his favourite winter climbing venues around Scotland. He’s also just a really nice guy, with a relaxed attitude to life and climbing! Thanks Andy! . . P1: Rare clear view of the Ben, with the Orion face directly below the summit, Minus face to the left. Orion climbs almost straight up the face to the summit. The left hand skyline is the Northeast Buttress. P2: Andy starting up a shorter line on our first day at the Ben, fun climbing on snow, ice, rock and turf. P3: Andy walking up to the Minus face on day 2, we certainly considered bailing at this point due to the weather… P3: Andy fires up pitch 1 of our new line, Calculus (VIII, 8) on the Minus face. P4: The line of Calculus, with the crux second pitch breaking through the band of overhangs. After this, we joined an existing line of classic Scottish gullies to the NE buttress. P5: Below the Orion Direttissima, about to head up. @verti_call @thenorthface.canada @thenorthface_climb #neverstopexploring #iceclimbing #mixedclimbing #alpineclimbing #climbing #climbing_pictures_of_instagram #climbing_is_my_passion #visitscotland

A post shared by Maarten van Haeren (@mvanhaeren) on Feb 29, 2020 at 8:47am PST

Marc-Andre Leclerc’s Visit

The late Marc-Andre Leclerc visited Scotland in 2016 and racked up one of the most impressive lists of ascents ever. He climbed nearly all the following routes onsight solo.

He climbed: Scabbard Chimney V, Tilt VI, Chimney Route VI, a harder variation of Twisting Grooves into Moonshadow, Spectre, Central Buttress VII, Sioux Wall VIII, Tower Ridge IV, Thompson’s Route IV, downclimbed from the last few metres of Winter Chimney V up the ice smear right of Winter Chimney, Gargoyle Wall, Green Gully and The Banshee.

He also climbed Point Five Gully V, Hadrian’s Wall Direct V, Smith’s Route V, Minus Two Buttress V into Northeast Buttress, Italian Right-Hand IV into Tower Ridge.

“Jon Walsh and I climbed Happy Tyroleans IX in the Cairngorms on the last day,” said Leclerc. “The weather was terrible but it was good to climb something a bit more technical at last!” Below is a video by Walsh of Leclerc in Scotland.

A full trip report about Hoang and Van Haeren’s visit to Scotland will be published after their trip.

Leclerc in Scotland


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The 50 V-Threads and Bad Bolts in Louise Falls

Louise Falls is one of Canada’s most classic and famous ice routes. From when it forms at the start of winter until when it melts in spring, the three-pitch WI4/5 will almost always have climbers on it.

One climber in Banff, a mountain guide who goes by Mike Barter on social media, thought it would be funny to lace-it-up with 50 V-threads in order to create a sort of “sport” ice climb that he called Little Fishes. The issue was covered heavily on social media with the consensus being that it was a dangerous thing to do. The V-threads were removed for safety reasons and because if left in the ice, they would have littered the creek.

Barter also added a few anchor bolts mid-route that have since been removed because they were in bad rock. He added videos on YouTube, watch below. Louise Falls can be protected safely with ice screws on pitches and at belays. Climbers must remember that Lake Louise and the surrounding mountains are in a national park and disrespecting the area could lead to access issues. Join the Canadian Rockies Ice Climbing forum for more information. The V-threads were found by many climbers, which led to some confusion before being removed.


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Le Pèlerin is New 160-metre WI5+ in Quebec

Le Pèlerin (The Pilgrim) is a new 160-metre WI5+ along the Moisie River in Quebec that was first climbed by Charles Roberge and JP Bélanger last week. The two climbers used snowmobiles to travel around 35 kilometres to access the remote granite wall.

Le Pèlerin

Earlier this month, Bélanger had teamed up with Jas Fauteux for a lap of the rarely repeated La Ruée vers l’or, a 330-metre WI6 M4/5 (M7+ on the first ascent in 2001), in Quebec. The two also climbed the famous Rainbow Serpent WI6 in the Canadian Rockies this year.

The first direct pitch of Le Pèlerin wasn’t formed, so they climbed behind using some rock pro to access the second pitch. Pitch-two is a 60-metre WI4+ and the final pitch is the crux with a number of steep moves.

They then attempted a new route to the left they dubbed L’orpailleur, but bailed due to difficult conditions. Roberge said Le Pèlerin was his most memorable and aesthetic first ascent to date.

Belanger attempting L’Orpailleur Photo Roberge

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Lee Hak-Jin is 12 and Just Sent 5.14+ First Time Outdoors

Lee Hak-Jin from Korea has sent Creed, a classic 5.14+ at Railay Beach in Thailand. The 12-year-old has only been climbing for 15 months and this was his first time climbing outdoors. Last year, he was the Asian Combined Champion for 11-year-old climbers (the results are not posted on the IFSC site for this age category).

The climber’s site 8a.nu reported that his trainer Han Man-gyu, said, “He trained at the center three times a week for six hours a day from the beginning… with pinches, pockets and H.I.T training.” After that course, there was a focus on endurance, interval training and running. “The important training method is onsight exercises. New routes with 50 to 60 moves that are made every day.”

The center he trains at is the Ilsan Climbing Center. Despite being only 12, he’s already 170 cm and 50 kg, which is pretty big for his age.

Lee Hak-Jin Photo 8a.nu