Wednesday, 14 September 2016


After a summer of an immersion in the joys of Squamlandia I loaded up the duffels and hightailed it to one of my favorite parts of the Planet: The Arctic Circle.  Landing in Iceland our posse assembled to take in the flavor of the place.

                                                  Paolo, is always all in...

                                               Vicky: funner than a drunken Monk

                                                    Matt is always ready for more

                                                       Ange is a rabble rouser

                                     Cool as a cucumber, Julian keeps it tight behind the lense

We dined at a traditional Icelandic Restaurant and opened our hearts to embrace this strange new culture.

It wasn't long before Vikki got us kicked out of this building, not all Icelanders are as friendly as Bjørk.
Except maybe this guy: Rasmuss (though he's actually Swedish), First Mate on our passage to Greenland.

And his boss, the stern but psyched Vidar; captain of the good ship Aurora

Sailing across the Denmark Straight took 3 days and it was not only nauseating but moved me to tears when we finally saw land.  As I found out there's no "TAKE" in sailing.

 When we finally got down to the climbing it was really good!  The rock was a mixed bag of quality and the views were so so as well.

Here's Paolo tacking out a 5.11 pitch on the First Ascent of the South West Buttress of Hidden Peak.

Vikki on the proudest lead of the day, somewhere around pitch 12.  Does that crimper, gaston, highstep combo high above a glacial fjord strike you as a gentle romp in the hills?

Anyway, Vikki is badass, but on the second rappele (out of 17) her left rock shoe slipped off like that time Cinderella was in a hurry to leave the Ball.  Needless to say, the route named itself.  Note the sock/athletic tape setup Vicky rocked for 16 more raps plus 300 meters of down-scambling.

Paolo gunning for advanced basecamp which we reached well into the Arctic night.

 Next stop, the unclimbed, unnamed peak in the center of the photo.  Highest summit of the Mythics Cirque at a whopping 1450m above the sea.  We took the obvious ridge left of the hanging pocket glacier.

Getting established on this feature proved tricky but the rest of the ridge was dreamy...

Ange getting after it!

                                                                     Summi slopes

A lot of people could care less if the're first, I care alot, it's my thing.   I don't care so much about being first to the top, but rather, being the first to consider, to try, to see if it's possible. 

The walk off after a bivi on route, day two.  Plenty to do here still...

After the "real" climbing, we managed a few pitches right out of the Fjord.  This spicy number is named "Camperella" after a new Italian word Paolo taught me.       Vikki Weldon Photo

                                         Fun, engaging climbing and good stone.     Vikki Weldon Photo

We departed from the Fjord (named Kangerttitivastiaq - no kidding) after about ten days of sessioning and cruised south 100km to the village of Tasilaq.  The Bergs were a highlight.

The village was a sight for sore eyes and the village people were very sweet.

This guy invited us into his house for coffee, sweets and Whale blubber.  The blubber was as you might expect chewy but nourishing.  It's always nice to see how other humans do it!

One of the highlights of the trip for me was a flight I snuck in about an hour outside Tasilaq.  You can see my wing's shadow at bottom left and our ship, the Aurora, is a speck just left of the mountain shadow at the head of the bay.   The air was magic and I soared out over the Yacht and landed in a meadow just 20 meters from shore.

                Greenland is stacked with potential, I can't wait for another visit!  Thanks team!

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Summer in Squamdale!

With a few unexpected turns in fortune, I found myself at home for an unprecedented month this summer.  Squamish in it's prime is really too good, everyone knows it so everyone is here.  Between the hoards and the heat, locals have little else to do than hang at secret beaches and run to the hills.   Finding solace in the redneck 'pine is one of my favorite activities and poking around an unknown corner couldn't be more enjoyable with the company of good friends.

  Checking out an unexplored canyon above the village with the remarkable Klemen Mali

We equipped this box canyon with 10 rap anchors, the crux is the walk out

 Refreshing pools are always welcome

The eerie Ice Box Canyon with Will and the Gibson clan.

The focus changed horizons with Crosby Johnston new routing on the Fluffy Wall

Glamorous work it is...

Spot the climbers!

Crosby and Chris Trull wait for a break in the weather to beat the crowds new routing on the Chief

For a brief interlude, Helen and I headed to Port Renfrew where I discovered the panorama function on my camera

 The far West Coast rarely disappoints, calling this marine park mystic is like saying Fred Becky has put up a few new routes

Fred, after establishing a few first ascents has segued into crushing established classics.  When you turn 93, please remember: it's is not an excuse to to make Bridge your passion.

 A day of Legends; Jim Sinclair and Fred remembering a climb they did together over 50 years ago

Another more spry legend on hand Peder Ouram.  He keeps saying he's over climbing but he's out more days than most.

Back in action with Crosby on another project in the backcountry

Ground up!

You just don't find this every day...

Tommy Gruber on the Ganesha Project...Stay tuned

Monday, 27 June 2016

The Academy and around the bend

Last week, I once again had the pleasure of joining in the Arc'tertyx Alpine Academy in Chamonix. It's basically a fondue of great people with good attitudes, who just want to get into the mountains and play.

Sometimes these same people get up to mischief...

Cham is great because in spite of the bustling tourism scene,  it's got some character, like my favorite mountain shop, Technique Extreme - it's in the name.

All manners of different styles and techniques are used in Cham, like this guy who really likes his quickdraws.

People really like to go and get some here...

After the Academy, I jumped in a van with Jesse Huey, Vikki Weldon, Paolo Marazzi, Ines Papert and Seppi Pfnur (there were two vans in fact) and drove a couple hours to beautiful Cadarese, Italy.

Cadarese is so delightful! the climbing is on great gneiss full of splitter cracks and the local flavors are really rich.
This fellow was the real deal

Paolo was our ringleader, his specialty is skiing but he attacks the stone with a vigor that reminded me of myself as a young man.  I learned a lot of new Italian words from Paolo...

                                    Giulia Monego another bad ass skier who crushes rocks

                                                                Jesse on a rowdy groove

                                                        Vikki on the Arco with Matteo and Jesse

Yosesigo: Italian for Amazeballs!  The splitters here were all time, this route Paolo is starting up, Super Simpson goes on my all time top ten list.
Ange and Vikki, chillin' at the crag

Riky Felderer, local crag developer and lensmaster.

Village life was as good as the cragging

A cheese truck would turn up when you needed it most.

But the easy pace of rural living had to come to a close, so we hightailed it for Courmayeur and headed to the Torino Hut in search of big rocks.

 Big Rock Candy Mountain

The joys of the early morning carfuffle

Hut life was also civilized: Jesse stays updated and a French man expresses himself through Yoga

I teamed up with Vikki for a lap on the Trident du Tacul.  The line called Bonne Ethique follows the most continuous splitter system

Jesse and Ines on the neighbouring Grand Cappucin

 Stiff warm up for pitch 1

Vikki crushing the crux pitch 2

Again on pitch 4

You get the idea...

Climbing high above a glacier on a tower of rock dressed like a European is my life's passion

On our final day, Ines and I snuck in a flight from the Brevent.

The vistas from the décollage were majestueux!

From the landing field it was not too bad either

Europe is soooooooooo good!

Grazzi Mille!!!!!