Saturday, February 26, 2011

Grit trip

In a few days I'll be off on another trip, this time to the the gritstone edges of England. I am very excited about this one. My friend Jeremy Blumel will accompany me for most of it. I've climbed with Jeremy a lot, and he and I share a similar infatuation with movement on rock. A real climber's climber, with ballerina footwork and vice-strong fingers. Hopefully I'll be able to pry Hazel away from her studies to come join us too.

Josh Wharton, Whit Magro and Nate Opp just sent huge in Patagonia, completing a much sought-after free link up: Desmochada, to the La Silla, to Fitzroy. This was a pipe dream of loads of climbers (myself included). I can't see the prize going to a more deserving team.

Jason Kruk and I climbed Desmochada back in 2008. The razor-sharp granite was punishing on that peak, but it still stands as one of the best adventures I've experience. Onsighting steep rock, on such a wild peak, provided a strong cocktail of adrenaline. At the top, in a burgeoning storm, I felt my first tinges of frantic summit fever, while wedged in an icy chimney. Jason said, "Calm the fuck down!" and I slowed a bit, taking extra care. We topped out just as white clouds engulfed the Torre valley, rapped all night, got ropes stuck, and staggered back to camp completely worked. That was a mission I'll never forget.

I've taken a couple years off from Patagonia recently. The peaks down there still call to me, but I needed a break. To climb well in down there you must be psyched to the hilt, and I just haven't felt that requisite headspace lately. In Patagonia, you get told when to climb by the weather. And when its game on, you better be ready to play.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Just a quick note to say congrats to my friends Jason Kruk and Chris Geisler for a really impressive bid on the Compressor Route on Cerro Torre in Patagonia.

Jason's got a great write-up on his blog:

Basically, those guys pushed real hard and came a stone's throw from the top after some all-night aid jiggery pokery. Despite not succeeding, they pointed the way forward. To me, the Southeast Ridge of Cerro Torre is one of the most elegant lines I've ever laid eyes on. To climb that feature without Maestri's bolts is way cool.

Here's a couple snaps of the boys themselves.

Geisler eyeing up some burgers on top of the Split Pillar:

Kruk eyeing up some cocktails at a party last year:

Jason, with a penchant for fine denim and ear-splitting dance music, is one of my favourite partners in crime. While Chris is back in Vancouver, Jason is still down there, aiming for another try. Suerte, amigo!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

VIMFF 2011

I'm back in North Vancouver for a couple weeks here. Its pissing rain right now- classic winter west coast. Since being home I've been augered into writing mode, which is lots fun, and just starting to put something together for the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival which runs from Feb 11-19. If you find yourself in this neck of the woods this time of year, I highly recommend you make it to one of the nights. Alan Formanek never ceases to put on an awesome event. Jasmin Caton, Sean McColl and I will be presenting on the finale night: saturday Feb 19. Its been fun leafing through the slides of the past year, trying to come up with a coherent theme to present. This past year has been a blast- and doing this slideshow is forcing me to reflect on lessons learned, and plans for the year ahead. I like how putting together slideshows do that.

I hope everyone's doing great and enjoying their winter.

Hope to see you on Feb 19. Heckle, drink some beer and get stoked on the absurd activity of climbing rocks.

Here's a few snaps from my trip overseas.

Alex and Stacey hit the slopes... in Turkey.

Peak district sunset.

Bullet-hard limestone. Antalya Turkey.

An Efes Pilsen between chairlift rides never hurt anyone.... I hope.

Hazel bringing in 2011 with our Turkish friend. I have never seen anyone this hammered yet still standing. Despite his inebriation, he still had better rhythm than me.