Friday, July 20, 2012

Cougar Canyon - Bouldering Update!

A couple of new boulder problems have been put up in the Moss Hollow area at Cougar Canyon here in Vernon, B.C. Great additions to an already cool little alcove with 2 classic problems. A cold refrigerator kind of breeze offers some relief from the hot summer sun and provides a great atmosphere to work these routes. The MEGA MAN area or what I'm now calling the BURROW (the rats and caves and such) now has two face climbs, a steep cave like problem and a slopey traverse climb. All four routes have exhilarating finishes and offer a wide range of quality holds. Basically bring a couple of pads, some good friends and this little spot should be enough to fill your day. With the new Cougar Bouldering guide and this new topo you should be good to go...........


1 - MEGA MAN - V5 ***
Start down low to the right and follow the slopey rail to a wild left pinch and a big throw to the finish. Amazing holds and features, a must at it's grade at Cougar.

2 - VEINS - V6 ***
Find the best holds down low in the cave, move to the lip and pinch your way to a good hold and an easier finish. Some beta makes this one a little easier,

3 - POSSE - V1 ***
Climb the left side of the face on crimps, laybacks and sidepulls. Lots of cool stemming and a fun finish up high!

4 - TOXIC - V3+ ***
Stand start on the crimpy rail. Some dynamic and balancy moves await those with good footwork. Bigger holds to finish. Grade still open for discussion.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Recommended Route(s)

En route to the WHITE WALL

 I am a huge fan of the Boulderfields in Kelowna. An awesome setting, approach and climbing, if you are into some steep aesthetic climbing, then this is the place for you. I will keep this simple because Jani and Karen have done a great job outlining the area in their 'Kelowna Rock' guidebook. I am merely posting a great topo/photo of the WHITE WALL, which hosts 4 great routes of high quality that people should be climbing when they climb here (and that are not all included in the guide). All the climbs are full value, long and feature great wavy rock with a ton of variety packed into each climb. Thanks Jani for putting up these great climbs! And did I mention these routes are in the shade after about 1pm and are adjacent to the Grad Wall and Wedge Wall that offer a ton of great climbing. Here it is!!! Explained left to right.

1 - Body Language 5.11b - Bolts - 30m **
Easy climbing leads into a body tension crux and then cruiser holds to the finish! Slopey!

2 - April Flowers 5.10b - Bolts - 30m ***
Some cool pockets lead into 2 tricky sections and a steeper finish. One of the best for its grade at the Fields! High Value.

3 - State Of Shock 5.12a/b - Bolts - 30m ***
This one begins with a fun steep start and then some more slopey climbing (fun). A wild throw at the crux with diminishing holds leads into a wonderful juggy finish! Great rock!

(Test Driven By NATO 5.10a - Bolts 22m ((dotted red line, could be a nice line if it were cleaned up))

4 - Heavy Metal 5.11c - Bolts - 23m ***
Climb big sandy holds to a roof and exit left (read: bolts split left and right) into some delicate and tricky climbing. The holds then get better for a bit until you get to finish up the steep prow. Great climbing!

Here's the photo! Enjoy

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Climb Smarter & Safer

I personally have used this technique ice climbing, where my anchor is quite set back from the top of the real climbing. Using terrain that is suitable is the key. There are other tricks to doing this but this gives you the idea.  Play safe!
Tech Tip - Trad - Extending an Anchor on a multi-pitch route

By Molly Loomis
Illustrations By Keith Svihovec

A guide’s technique for belaying novice seconds

As the adage goes, speed equals safety in the mountains. But this doesn’t mean speed instead of safety. Maintaining constant visual and vocal contact between you — presumably, an experienced climber and/or guide — and a neophyte under your tutelage will yield easier passage through terrain otherwise known as time-suck territory. The more Beta you can offer him whilst he cleans a stubborn piece of gear or works through a dumbfounding crux, the less time you’re likely to waste shouting commands and vital advice into the wind or hanging around, waiting for an electrical storm to swoop in.

A Brand-New Masterpoint
There are many ways to extend an anchor, in order to come down from the top of a pitch and keep an eye on your second. But often the question remains, how do I, once the second climbs up to me, keep him on a top belay (instead of transitioning into a lead belay) while he moves from the extended anchor up to the primary anchor — potentially a necessity in tricky terrain or in certain “institutional” (i.e., climbing-school) settings? The following technique should be utilized by experienced climbers or guides only, and on terrain below your limit.

Illustrations By Keith Svihovec
After constructing a bomber anchor atop your pitch, attach yourself to the anchor’s masterpoint with a münter hitch (instead of the typical clove hitch, etc.). Next, use this münter to lower to your desired belay stance (the side of the rope leading down to your partner is your brake strand). Because you’re attached to the anchor with a münter hitch, you must keep your hand on the münter’s brake strand at all times. If you want added security, tie a knot some feet down the brake strand and clip it to your belay loop.

Illustrations By Keith Svihovec
Once at the perfect spotting perch (e.g., a small ledge), pull up three feet of slack in both strands of the climbing rope. Because you have to pull slack through the münter hitch, your belay will be compromised momentarily. Standing on casual terrain will increase safety, as will that brake-strand backup knot clipped to your belay loop.

Illustrations By Keith Svihovec
With your three feet of slack, tie an overhand- on-a-bight using both strands together, with the knot above both you and your second. This knot will now function as an extended anchor, as well as a tie-off to lock off the münter hitch on which you just lowered yourself. Attach a locking carabiner and an auto-blocking belay device (e.g., Reverso) through the eye of your overhand-on-a-bight; this will be the new belay point for your partner.

Illustrations By Keith Svihovec
As your partner works his way up the route, coach and congratulate from your perch, pulling in slack through the belay device and stacking it as he comes. When he reaches your stance, back up the belay device by tying off the brake strand with a figure-8-on-a-bight and clipping it to the masterpoint. (This blocks the rope from feeding through the belay device in the unlikely event that the belay device should slip.)

Illustrations By Keith Svihovec
Now you and your partner can simultaneously climb back up to the original, highest anchor. As you climb, slack will generate in the system between the overhand-on-a-bight (to which you both are attached) and the münter hitch. (In order to maintain the belay while climbing, you must pull down on the münter’s brake strand.) Considering the multi-tasking involved — climbing while keeping a hand on the brake — and the potential consequences of taking your brake hand off the rope, it is important that you use this configuration on terrain well within your comfort zone.

Do not release your brake hand until you are both clipped into the main anchor. Finally, disassemble the extended anchor, restack the rope, and fire the next pitch.

Molly Loomis, a mountain guide, has used this technique more than once to encourage a second.