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Behind the Shot: Matt Bolton’s Wild Line Past a Rock Climber

Squamish is famous around the world for its massive granite slabs. First in climbing, then in mountain biking, the slabs of Squamish are featured in countless magazine spreads and videos. Matt Bolton combines both into one photo, which is quickly making the rounds online in mountain biking and climbing circles.

In the photo, captured by Clint Trahan and Travis Bothner, Bolton descends a near-vertical rock face, travelling parallel to a climber going in the opposite direction.

Bolton is no stranger to Squamish’s slabs, he has a hand in setting some of the hardest lines in the Sea to Sky and riding many more. Sharing a route with a rock climber is different. The line, which he’s named Finger Biter, is an escalation of difficulty, and an impressive feat.

“I’m always trying to push my limits with trail building and riding,” says the Squamish-based freerider. “I’ve done similar steepness slabs in the past but this one had almost no run in and a tree right beside the run out. I pretty much had to get on my bike at the top and track stand before going over the edge.”

In the sequence, Bolton’s rear wheel is clearly off the ground for most of the slab’s top half. While nose-manualling a near-vertical rock face, where most would be worried about surviving on two wheels, seems crazy, a difficult entry to the feature made the added flair necessary.

“The entrance to this slab was a 90° edge,” Bolton explained. “I was worried about scraping my bottom bracket so once my front wheel was over I lifted the back wheel and nose pressed the slab.”

Scouting and setting up the shot

While the riding is impressive, it’s only part of the story. Getting the shot took planning and a bit of luck.

“I’d been looking for a slab I could ride down at the same time as a rock climber ascending for a while,” says Bolton. The final find came on foot. “I stumbled across this one while hiking and I saw it was already bolted, so I knew it was perfect.”

To complete the shot, the Squamish freerider called in a few friends. Clint Trahan, a pro photographer who spent most of his August travelling with the Crankworx Summer Series, and Travis Bothner – the founder of one of Bolton’s sponsors, NF joined behind the lens. Bolton still needed someone to join him in frame, though.

“I told my climbing buddy Adam what I wanted to do and he was super stoked on the idea.”

Finger Biter: by the numbers

Bolton cleaned his route, scraping away some moss for his own entry to parallel the climber’s ascent. For those into numbers, the crag has several bolted routes, ranging from 5.9 to 5.11c in difficulty.

For those not familiar with climbing, Bolton says “The bottom of the rock, closest to the transition, was 69-degrees (I can’t make that up!) but the top and middle are closer to vertical.”

Written by Terry McKall for Canadian Mountainbiking, one of Gripped Publishing’s many media.

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Five Best Liquid Chalks for Canadians

Climbing gyms are open, but with COVID regulations in place, the gym is not what it used to be. In some ways this is nice. Quiet sessions may allow for a more meditative climbing experience and fewer queues between routes. However, one point of consternation has been the elimination of loose chalk and the inclusion of liquid chalks.

What should you buy?

Mammut Liquid Chalk:

If you have ever seen a competition climber rubbing liquid chalk into their hands, there is a good chance that it was Mammut. This stuff is easily one of the best liquid chalks on the market. What makes it so ideal is the shear alcohol concentration. The drying effect is substantial and can allow for some seriously radical burns on route. The tube comes in both 100ml and 200ml versions. Though Liquid Chalk is certainly more expensive than regular loose chalk, you do not have to use as much of it if you are tactical with your application. Try rubbing in a base coat at the beginning of your session to remove the excess oils from your skin. Though all liquid chalks are meant to be used with loose chalk, this one climbs well regardless. You can get the 200ml tube for $10.63 from Alpin Store.

Friction Labs – Hygienic Secret Stuff:

The Secret Stuff from Friction Labs pursues a slightly different direction than Mammut. Instead of an aqueous solution, the Friction Labs product is more of a cream and excels on low friction holds. It dries on thicker than Mammut’s liquid chalk, but sticks to the skin much longer. At 80% alcohol concentration, it is the world’s first Hygienic Chalk.

If you are climbing in a gym with high-friction holds, you may not notice a difference in its durability compared to Mammut, but if you are climbing on classic polyurethane, it should stick around a bit longer.The drawback with this chalk is the cost. Friction Labs’ high quality comes at a price. At $19 USD for 75ml, you are spending a lot if you are using this chalk. Of course the increased durability might make it worth it. If you climb primarily on a board, like a MoonBoard or spray wall, this might be the perfect chalk for you.

Friction Labs – Alcohol-free Secret Stuff:

If you already have dry skin, the above options may not seem very attractive to you. Mammut Liquid Chalk is made of over 75% alcohol while the Secret Stuff from Friction Labs brings with it around 45% isopropyl alcohol. Either concentration can be a lot for someone with easily irritated skin or particularly dry skin. As such, it might be worth trying the alcohol-free Secret Stuff. It still comes complete with a high density of Magnesium to increase your grip, and keep your hands dry. With that said, if you have sweaty palms, this will not dry your hands as well as the alcohol-based version. It is also $19 USD for 75ml.

Tokyo Powder Industries – Boost:

If you are looking to try something a little out of the ordinary, look no further than Tokyo Powder Industries Boost. Perhaps one of the most underrated condensed-chalk products, Boost is granular, high concentrate chalk that feels like glue when it is applied to clean skin. For $25.50 USD, you can get two packets of this chalk type from So iLL, their distributing partner. It is a unique chalk that should theoretically last a long time by virtue of the fact that one or two pebbles are enough for an application.

That said, it is pretty addictive and you may find yourself using more than the prescribed amount. The drawbacks with this chalk are that it takes a second to get used to and it comes on to the skin like a wax. For some people it may feel worse than regular liquid chalk. It benefits greatly from an additional layer of loose chalk over-top its base layer. That said, on low texture holds it is much like glue.

Tembo Liquid Chalk: Climber’s Bulk Bottle

Looking to buy Canadian? If you are willing to drop $69.99 up front, Tembo will send you 1000ml of liquid chalk in addition to two free 50ml, refillable dispensers. For those that are sure to burn through large amounts of liquid chalk, this is easily the best value for your money. If, however, that $70 price tag is too steep, you can get a 500ml bulk bottle for a more affordable $44.99. This package comes complete with one 50ml refillable dispenser. With an alcohol content of 70%, this liquid chalk will dry your hands, while the fine grain of tembo chalk will ensure solid sweat absorption.If your facility is currently liquid chalk exclusive, this product is highly recommended. 

 

 

 

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Jérôme St-Michel Sends La Zébrée 5.14 Trad in Quebec

Quebec crusher Jérôme St-Michel continued his impressive 2020 yesterday with a tick of the popular-in-summer-2020, La Zébrée 5.14 on Mont-King in Val-David, Quebec.

St-Michel worked the steep crack over 14 days this summer and told us today, “I hope this will inspire new Canadian climbers to push their limits… trad climbing is still something that’s worth doing.”

Earlier this summer, St-Michel made the first free ascent of Fun With a Gun at Weir and graded the old aid climb 5.13R. Emilie “Em” Pellerin, who’s onsighted The Shadow 5.13 trad in Squamish, was the latest climber to send La Zébrée for the fifth known ascent in August.

On the fourth of July, Julien Bourassa-Moreau became the fourth person to redpoint the steep finger crack. His ascent ended the 13-year drought since it had last been climbed.

Canadian crack master Jean-Pierre Ouellet made the first redpoint ascent of La Zébrée well over a decade ago. The crack is one of the most difficult trad free climbs in North America and was first freed by Jeff Beaulieu, who climbed it on pre-placed gear.

Ouellet made the first redpoint with a pre-placed first piece. Then Sylvain Masse upped the ante by placing all of his gear on lead, including the first piece. The line was first led as an aid climb in 1972 by Alain Hainault at A2. Many legendary climbers have tried and failed to free “La Zébrée, including Louis Babin, Russ Clune and Peter Croft.

St-Michel works the upper section of La Zébrée © Richard Mardens

What’s next for St-Michel? As Gripped writer Anthony Walsh talked about in his feature story on St-Michel in the August/September issue of Gripped magazine: “Next up? Big walls in Torres del Paine, Patagonia. St-Michel said his naturally apprehensive personality influences his inclination towards portaledges and a capsule-style approach. While a free attempt on Riders on the Storm VI 5.12d/5.13 A3, 1,300m, on Torre Central may sound like a tall order in itself, St-Michel reasons that, for him, coming back to a portaledge with food and water each night is much less committing than a night out on Fitz Roy.

“Whichever way St-Michel chooses to approach his future climbs, it is sure to be with the same mix of rationale and confidence that have brought him this far, ‘The mental aspect of climbing is very important. If you don’t have confidence [in your abilities] you won’t be able to do anything.’”

After his end-of-summer send, St-Michel told us: “[I’m] proud to be at the heart of the Canadian climbing scene.” There’s still a few more days of summer, as the official start of autumn is Sept. 22.

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Nomad Walls – Indoor Bouldering, Outdoors

Conventionally, climbing gyms look alike. There are those with Moon Boards and there are those with coffee machines, but at the end of the day, a climbing facility is a warehouse-like building with a front desk and some routes. Though this type of facility is what we have come to love, the advent of outdoor climbing on indoor walls has changed what a climbing gym needs to look like. Nomad Walls has taken it even further.

We sat down with Babacar Daoust-Cissé, Sales Director at Nomad Walls to learn more about their unconventional approach to climbing walls. He said, “Our aim is to bring innovation to the climbing community.”

The Quebec-based company was built out of Nomad Bloc, Canada’s first outdoor climbing centre. Babacar said, “We first founded Nomad Bloc back in October of 2017. We built the design of our first mobile structure over the course of six months, we assembled it ourselves, and opened our gym in August of 2018.”

The team itself was originally composed of four engineers that had a passion for climbing. According to Babacar, “We realized that during the summer, with our busy schedules, we didn’t always have time to get out of the city and plan a trip to the crag. Being in Quebec, there wasn’t much in the way of outdoor climbing structures because of the winter and everything that comes with it. We thought we should brainstorm a structure that we could close or protect in winter, and that’s when the idea of the mobile bouldering gym came to my partner Fred. At first, he pitched it as a joke, but we dove into it and designed it from scratch. We wanted to make the modern high-quality bouldering gym mobile.”

This mobile structure would become the Nomad Summit: the world’s largest mobile climbing structure. Though the original Summit was designed specifically for Nomad Bloc, but they’re invention caught the attention of many in the climbing community.

Babacar said, “As soon as we opened Nomad Bloc, we received a bunch of requests for mobile projects, but we weren’t actually set up for being wall builders. This year we decided to create Nomad Walls and started delivering projects for clients.”

In a recent piece, Gripped covered the re-opening of the Richmond Oval in Metro-Vancouver. Along with their reopening came new climbing walls, many of which were built by Nomad Walls. According to Babacar, Nomad’s the Escalate, a modular wall design, came as a direct request from the Oval.

He said, “They reached out to us at first because they saw the Nomad Summit on Instagram and they were interested in having a mobile solution. They wanted, at first, to have a training wall that could be used for competition isolation, and they wanted a wall that they could split. They also wanted something that could be moved in case they wanted to use it outdoors on the plaza, so we actually designed it completely for them.”

For ease of installation, Babacar said, “It comes with an IKEA-like user-manual. We did the first installation at the Oval, but since then, they have been moving it around themselves. It’s so easy to use and assemble that we can uses it for events as well.”

As such, The Escalate joins their Summit and Rise products as ideal event-solutions. He said, “We are going to use it for a location rental also. We are going to use it for an event at the Olympic stadium in Montreal in two weeks.”

What makes these mobile walls even more amazing is the fact that products like the Summit and the Rise are electronically actuated. As such, installation is easy. You can even bring the boulder problems with you! Babacar said, “Some of our products you can move with the problems on the wall. You can set up a few comp sets, drive to the site, pop up and then you have an event. They all have their specific characteristics, but it gives you a lot of flexibility for what you can do and where you can bring high quality bouldering.”

One of the obvious issues with outdoor structures is how they might fair in the rain. To that end, Babacar said, “We design everything to withstand weather. We have mats that are covered with vinyl, the wood panels are all coated for outdoors, and everything is galvanized steel or powder coated.” As the structures come complete with awnings and squeegees, it is easy to remove water from the matts and keep the walls dry.

Each of the Nomad products are designed to be accessible to everyone. The Rise and Summit products come built on trailers, while the Escalate’s wall-angles are entirely adjustable. In reference to the Escalate, Babacar said, “We streamlined it to be the simplest structure. The manual is something that we have had good feedback on from the Oval. It has all the pictures, all of the steps, I think it is probably the simplest structure you can find. Any routesetter would feel very comfortable using a structure like this.”

Though Nomad does specialize in these mobile climbing wall designs, they are not limited to these structures. Babacar said, “We are also working on standard gym products. We like every aspect of climbing and are actually working on building regular climbing walls as well.”

With that said, Babacar and the Nomad team are excited by other engineering products they currently have in the works. They are expecting to produce a more household based structure that just might be the first of its kind.

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Watch Free-Solo of “Europe’s Separate Reality” Legoland 5.12

Legoland is a splitter roof crack in Valle dell’Orco that has been dubbed the little sister of Yosemite’s famous Separate Reality, both being around 5.11+/5.12-.

It was first climbed in 1984 by Bruno Balma and Daniele Caneparo and later freed by Roberto Perucca. Giacomo Meliffi recently free-soloed the steep crack and took a video from the belay of the send.

In contrast to Seperate Reality, you can’t run Legoland out on lead because you’re constantly climbing only a few metres above the rock below.

Legoland Free-Solo

Separate Reality

Separate Reality is a 20-metre crack famous for its exposed crux and six-metre-long crack in its roof. You have to climb 200 metres above the Merced River to access the base.

The name is from the 1971 novel A Separate Reality: Further Conversations with Don Juan from Carlos Castaneda and was first climbed by Ron Kauk in 1978 and graded 5.12a.

In 1986, Heinz Zak took a now-classic photo of the late Wolfgang Gullich on the first free-solo of Separate Reality 5.12a. In the short film below, Austrian climber Zak succeeds in making the second free-solo in 2005.

“I suddenly had an impression that it was not a game of gambling with my life,” Zak said. “It was not subjectively dangerous. It is the thought of death that teaches us to value life.” To prepare for the free-solo, Zak built a wooden model in his garage.

In summer 2006, the late Dean Potter became the third climber to free-solo Separate Reality. Since then, other climbers, including Alex Honnold and Canadian Will Stanhope have free-soloed it.

Check out this photo from 2014 by Stanhope of Canadian Mike Doyle hanging from the lip and watch Zak’s film below.

Zak in Yosemite

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For the Tick-List: The Colossus and Titon Crack in Ontario

The Colossus and Titon Crack are Northwestern Ontario classics found at Orient Bay north of Nipigon, about a 14-hour drive from Toronto. They rise above Lake Nipigon, the headwaters of the Great Lakes and the biggest lake completely within Canada. The area is also known as the Palisades of the Pijitawabik, which has a history dating back thousands of years.

A plaque near the climber’s parking lot reads: “Here at Pijitawabik Bay and other Lake Nipigon localities ancient rocks of the Precambrian Shield were overlain by a diabase sheet formed approximately 1,200 million years ago. Erosion by water and ice removed the covering rocks and sculptured the sheet into rounded, flat-topped hills bounded by escarpments which rise in some places 152 metres above Lake Nipigon.

“The hills are separated by deep, narrow valleys. The towering pillars of the cliffs are the result of columnar jointing, a cooling phenomenon developed during the solidification of the magma. Frost action along the cracks in and around the columns causes splintering of the rock and occasionally the collapse of entire pillars, leaving the imposing palisades seen here.”

In the late 1990s, a group of climbers built a campsite and established a number of climbing areas and routes. Da’ Projects has a dozen high-quality sport climbs up to 5.12+, while Taj-Mah Wall has trad climbs up to 100 metres.

Climber’s trail at Orient Bay

The Colossus

From the climber’s campsite, which is only five minute from the road, the 100-metre-tall Taj-Mah Wall can be seen rising dramatically from the tree tops below. The most obvious feature is a huge roof that has a slab and crack below.

It was cleaned ground-up using a mix of aid and free climbing and cleaned using a painter’s pole and scrub brush. It’s one of the most iconic climbs in Northwestern Ontario.

It’s climbed in two pitches over 80 metres and goes at 5.11a. It was first climbed in 1998 by Jody Bernst, Randy Reed and Steve Charlton. There’s still a “summit log” at the end of the last pitch with all of the ascents to date. There are less than 30.

The first pitch heads up a techy 5.10 slab with mixed gear and the second follows a splitter seam to the roof, where you turn left and climb a fun crack to the roof’s end.

The Colossus starts up the slab, moves right to the crack and up to the roof. The wall right of the roof is an unfiinished project

It was my first major multi-pitch trad climb before visiting Canada’s west coast for the first time. My climbing partner Jon Banfield and I climbed it in spring 2000; the mosquitoes were bad but our stoke was high.

I’ve since climbed it a number of times and recently visited, but was shut down by wet weather. The old trails have grown over and the campsite, where we once celebrated a climber’s fest called Festivus was all but gone.

The stoke for hard big wall-style faces in northern Ontario isn’t what it used to be. Locals are more focused on hard bolted projects at Claghorn and Silver Harbour, but The Colossus will forever be one of the best must-climb trad routes in Ontario.

Titon Crack

Titon Crack, only 50 metres left of The Colossus, might be the most continuous splitter in Ontario. It’s climbed in three pitches and goes at 5.9++, so feels about 5.10b from bottom to top.

The first ascent was by Randy Reed and Ryan Treneer in October 1998. The then-leading climbers found a piton high in the crack, but nobody knows who made the first attempt at the vertical line. Just look at this thing:

Titon Crack with Black Rain (a 30-metre 5.11a sport route left and Temple of Zeus 5.10 up the most-left corner crack

The first pitch is 40 metres and goes at 5.9. It follows the prominant hand crack past ledges to a short offwidth section and corner. You then pull the small roof (crux) and continue up the crack to a belay.

The second pitch is the crux at 5.10 and climbs 40 metres of varying crack. From the belay, climb up and through the flaring squeeze chimney, which is protected by a fixed piton and a bolt.

You then continue up the strenuous crack to a good ledge. It was originally graded 5.9, but has since been given 5.9++. The third pitch is a 35-metre 5.5 that takes you to the top of the wall.

The route is burly and will test your crack climbing and gear placing skills. It takes great gear and gives you a feeling of being high above the valley below.

It might be the best multi-pitch trad climb at the grade between the Rockies and Quebec. You can rappel from bolted anchors, as there’s not easy walk-off.

Festivus was held on Thanskgiving every fall and there are rumours that a group of climbers will be there for the October 2020 long weekend. See you there?

From the climber’s Festivus 2001

For the Tick-List

Crime of the Century 5.11c in Squamish
Gooseberry 5.8 in Banff
Pennylane 5.9 in Squamish
Exasperator 5.10c in Squamish
Sunshine Crack in the Bugaboos
Five Val-David routes in Quebec
Northeast Face of Ha Ling in Canmore
Slab Alley in Squamish 

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Wildfire Smoke Forces Yosemite Wall Climbers to Bail

The wildfires in western U.S.A. are blanketing the Pacific coast in thick smoke from California to northern B.C. and Alberta. It’s created unhealthy conditions for people to be outside, especially on big walls.

Nearby resident, Holly Webb, recently said, “My husband and I work in Yosemite, have a business in Yosemite and live in Oakhurst. We are physically ill right now from the smoke even though we have spent 90 per cent of our time indoors since the fire started. We have a cough sore throat headache and general illness starting today. I would say you’d be crazy to be climbing outside. It’s toxic.”

Canadian Pete Zabrok was one of the last climbers on El Capitan despite the smoke, but recently said he was bailing: “We all are coming down due to sore eyes and lungs.”

Hayden Robinson on El Cap on Sept. 15 Photo Pete Zabrok

Yosemite National Park updated followers with: “Smoke from the Creek Fire and other wildfires continue to affect air quality in Yosemite National Park. The air quality index for Yosemite today remains in the unhealthy to hazardous range. When air quality is hazardous, everyone should avoid all physical activity outdoors.”

Some Yosemite wilfire history: George Meléndez Wright, after noticing serious mismanagement of wildlife in Yosemite and other national parks, dedicated his career to creating a wildlife biology plan. In 1933, after years of hard work and funding the entire program himself, Wright was named division chief of the newly establish Wildlife Division of the National Park Service. In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed him to head the National Resources Board. He spent the next two years traveling to and researching areas where new national parks could be established before his untimely death in 1936.

“We are at a critical time: The West is burning. People are dying. The smoke is literally starting to cover our country, and our way of life as we know it is in danger,” Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines of Montana said Wednesday during testimony in support of an emergency wildfire bill, co-sponsored by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, that would direct more resources to prevention.

There are tens of thousands of firefighters working to contain the blazes, including teams from Isreal, Mexico and Canada. Sixty firefighters from Quebec have spent the last two weeks battling the the firest and Alberta will be sending support this week.

There was recently a wildfire in the Ghost River Valley of Alberta that created heavy smoke near Calgary and the Bow Valley. There are 23 active fires in B.C., check out this map for locations.

Many areas in western Canada have been affected by smoke from south of the border, forcing people indoors. Below is a photo by Julia Nakowski of the Okanagan Valley sunrise on Sept. 17.

Sunrise on Sept. 17 in B.C.

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Watch an Iceberg Roll on Experienced Ice Climbers

Explorer and climber Mike Horn tried to climb an iceberg, but unfortunately it ended up flipping. Who is Mike Horn? Well, according to his website: “Mike Horn is globally acknowledged as the world’s greatest modern day explorer.

“From swimming the Amazon River solo and unsupported to an unmotorized circumnavigation of the globe at the equator, Mike’s list of accomplishments as a solo explorer is unparalleled.”

Canadians Will Gadd and Ben Firth made headlines years ago when they climbed an iceberg off the coast of Labrador, watch below.

The Story

Aweberg

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Winter 2020 in Canada: Big Snow and More Ice Thanks to La Niña

A La Niña climate pattern has arrived and is predicted to last through the winter, according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. NOAA issued a La Niña Advisory. The last winters La Niña was present in Canada was 2016/17 and 2017/18.

What is La Niña? It’s a natural ocean-atmospheric phenomenon marked by cooler-than-average sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific Ocean near the equator, the opposite of El Nino. Upwelling brings the cold water deep from the ocean to the surface and it drops the temps.

La Niña brings above-average precipitation and colder-than-average temperatures throughout Canada.

The forecast is good news for powder hounds and ice climbers. Early snow will bring good skiing conditions to Western Canada that will last until late spring. As waves of Arctic air focus on the prairies, rounds of storms will deliver plenty of snow to the Canadian Rockies. Compared to last winter, the upcoming one is expected to be colder and wetter from the eastern prairies to Quebec.

The result will be more ice to climb from coast to coast to coast. The downside is that there will be more avalanche hazard. Being prepared for avalanche season can save your life. Read Ice Climbing for Beginners: Avalanche Beacons and Recco Tech.

If you’re a skier and heading into the backcoutnry this year, 100 per cent carry avalanche gear. You should be practicing search and rescues in advance so you know how to use the gear. Take a course if you’re new to backcountry. Visit Avalanche Canada for more info.

After one of the last epic La Niña season, Attack of La Niña was released with some of the world’s best skiers. Check it out below.

Attack of La Niña Film

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New Eight-Pitch 5.11 in Bugaboos is Furry Friends

In July, Ethan Berman and Uisdean Hawthorn made the first ascent of Furry Friends on Lost Feather Pinnacle in the Bugaboos. The new 355-metre eight-5.11 alpine rock route follows corners and splitters.

Squamish-based Berman met Hawthorn in the Bugaboos as the season was starting to ramp up thanks to improving coniditions. Hawthorn would go on to have a big summer in the Bugaboos with routes like All Along the Watchtower VI 5.12 and the first ascent of Voodo Chile, a 500-metre 5.11 on North Howser (read more here).

Berman spent last winter in the Rockies and the a number of noteworthy climbs, including the first ascent of the 700-metre M6 WI5 Eye of the Storm (read more here).

The route is named after the many critters that roam the campgrounds and walls in the Bugaboos. When you camp in the park, you’re camping with many “furry friends” that sometimes nibble at your gear and eat your food.

“The parking lot was empty,” Berman wrote on his blog. “The bivy was still full of snow. The sky was spitting rain and whipping wind. No one was around. Not even our furry friends.” When the animals arrived, it was time to climb, but to also be on guard.

“We tried to keep the atmosphere as cordial as possible, only hurling the occasional rock while yelling a brief obscenity. ‘Hey you! You’re not my friend! That’s my third to last bag of Dorritos you stole!’ Tensions reached an all time high when Paul, having left the top left corner of his tent door slightly unzipped, and upon returning back from a late lunch for a mid-afternoon siesta, found a slightly obese and unwelcome visitor gnawing at the well-worn waistband of his harness as if enjoying the salty rim of a margarita.”

Also in the Bugaboos this summer, Jon Walsh finished his 5.12 called Gravy Train on Fingerberry Tower, visit here to read more about the multi-year project.

To read more about the climb and for a pitch-by-pitch description visit Berman’s blog here.

Topo by Ethan Berman