hey ya’ll,

I have started a new climbing blog which will be my predominate site for climbing.

it is:

http://thomasinapidgeon.blogspot.com/

 

cheerio!

This fall in Squamish was wet. It was much wetter than normal. When it happened that the sun did come around I either had to work at Climb On or watch the sun dry every other problem around except my precious dripping wet project. With low motivation I reluctantly escaped the impending week of rain and so as the birds fly, so do we.

The first and obligatory stop that makes my heart miss a beat, a stop which could potential steer our plans in another direction, was the dreaded US border. All my knots and butterflies were for nothing. It was surprisingly easy and we both yelled out a big whoop as we headed down the I5. Well, truthfully it was I who yelled YAY. Cedar looked at me oddly and then she did the same and we giggled like school girls who just got away with skipping class.

Leavenworth was our first destination. It proved to be short and well, an interesting turn on life. I believe everything is just as it is meant to be. Everything, right now, is perfectly in place. It is sometimes hard to accept this as sometimes things don’t go our way but we won’t know what is good or bad for us until after the case. I am a self proclaimed fool for having made plans. As barefoot Jody once said, “if you want to make God laugh: make a plan. Ha! Life will bring to you what it wants. Everything is all thrown together like chaos into perfection, weaving in and out of order. And so with that…. Oh yes, Leavenworth. Great place, weather was great and the rocks, even better.

While tittering on the brink of insanity with beauty and stillness surrounding me, I left Leavenworth before I was ready and not quite sure where to go. But that’s life and not all that seems bad is bad, if only I could remember this at the time.  Meanwhile, the comforts of home sounded appealing but the rain didn’t so my optimal choices included Utah, Yosemite, Kentucky or Bishop.

The valley won out. I haven’t spent an extended time in Yosemite until now. And Wow! Good stuff. Sandbagged and good. Getting spanked on the warm ups is wonderful and humbling. I’d rather not find a project here but it seems impossible. There is so much rock and my tick list is only getting bigger.  Trying new things is fun, especially in Yosemite where v4’s feel like v10’s.

A rainy spell expelled Cedar and I from Yosemite. We ended up being neighbors with the pig pen at Coiler’s. What could be better than having adventures with ol’ James Lucas and mad Max… We adventured to do routes, something I haven’t done in 15 months. The walk to the crag proved a bit of a hike which Cedar had no problem with. I however had to ask papa smurf how much further it was. He replied” thomo, we aren’t going bouldering”. Ha, indeed. And big surprise here, my endurance didn’t prove much better than my cardio. Steep limestone is pumpy, but fun. Then there is falling. Falling on to a pad is easy; falling 50 feet up with a piece of spaghetti in between your legs however is not. Falling with a rope takes getting used to. There is something about being up that high and just, letting go. Baby steps baby steps…

So while James hiked the routes, Max and I were left to the warm-ups and flailing on our one project that we tried the previous day. Neither of us sent anything but the warm ups but we both had fun, at least I did. We were at least a source of entertainment for the other climbers present and ourselves.

So having to choose between spending a crisp day in Yosemite or a day exploring haunted houses is not a hard decision for me. The haunted house won over as did the company. I love scary houses and I got my fill of them the last rest day. The first house had a perfectly placed hawk skeleton in the top window, which died trapped between the window and the screen. The paint on the house was tattered and peeling. The wooden porches lay broken with holes in the floorboards that felt they would break with your own weight. How could one resist. The outside was spooky and the inside was just as impressive. There were letters dating back to 1932, old newspapers, uncashed cheques for $1. 78. Trendy flattops from the 60’s, rat poo and tattered bed mattresses. The floor was piled knee high with stuff. Apparently the owners just got up and left, leaving their belongings behind. It was amazing; there was even an old beautiful piano that was just right of a blue door which was left slightly ajar. The inside was dark since all but one window was boarded up. My eyes gathered in as much detail as they could with the small phone light that I held. I feared the next corner would hold the body but it was all just abandoned stuff. It reminded me of death and how amazing it is. My thoughts were interrupted by an upstairs noise and I jumped back to the present. I walked cautiously to the window and pounced out of there as fast as I could. Besides, it was getting dark; I didn’t have a head lamp or the balls to hang out there any longer.

So we find ourselves back in the dark valley with the car alarms and hoards of tourist.  Conditions are ripe and the weekend crowds amass. I usually climb alternate days but with friends around and crisp conditions, bouldering 3 days on here is easy to get sucked into. My body is paying for it today. (This probably coincides with that fact that I took the time to write this). My finger feels tweaked yet surprisingly my shoulders don’t. My psyche remains high but I reckon another rest day may be needed. I will have to recover from last weekend and so prepare for the next weekend warrior ship arrival of friends. But the forecast doesn’t look great so perhaps this is the end of our stay. What happens will happen, and so it looks like 2 or 3 more days on is mandatory. My body doesn’t like this idea but whatever; it’s the way it is.

By the way, yosemite rock= hard. I am not a writer.

Although I was born far from Squamish, I consider it my home, or at least I consider the Squamish boulders my home. And Hueco, and Joe’s and well… perhaps just about any boulder field.  And since I consider these places my home, I do my best to treat them as such.

For example:  I pick up after myself. This includes my tape, spilled chalk, garbage, foreign fruit peels, and as well, I try to keep my belongings in one pile rather than scattered all over the place for others to trip in.

Not limited to my own items, I do my best to keep this forest tidy. I pick up others garbage, I watch my pad placements: taking care not to crush plants and trees. I try hard to stay on trails, maintain trails, and if necessary, creating trails if a particular area shows spreading and degradation.

The Squamish forest is full of life.  Green life, brown life, slimy bug life, people life…  I hope that people realize this and see that they too are part of this life and must do their best to care for these climbing areas and take care of it.

In recent years the forest has taken a beating, this year in particular. There are more people in the forest, bigger groups and unfortunately more garbage. Although people are getting better with staying on trail, there are still quite a few walking off trail. To help keep the forest with its special charm (and every other forest or desert) we need to keep these points in mind:

∞ STAY ON TRAIL.

Trails are usually marked with logs, bush, and rocks. If the ground is packed and worn it’s likely a trail; If it is soft, mossy and covered with twigs, big or small, it’s likely NOT a trail.

∞ Do not widen trails.

If pads or people are in the way, just say “excuse me” instead of walking around them which has resulted in unnecessary widening of trails and erosion in areas which are normally untouched.

∞ Pick up your tape and garbage.

Used tape is the number one item littering the forest floor!  (And cigarette butts)

∞ Take care when placing your pad or throwing your pad. Green life doesn’t bounce back as fast as one may think!

∞ If looking to put up a new problem, think before you clean the rich moss of a boulder …

∞ Erase tick marks, brush the holds

∞ Encourage others to do the same!

NOTE:

As one of the self designated trail Nazi’s please do not be offended or take it personally if I or another well meaning trail Nazi asks you to take more care…! We care a bunch for the areas we climb in and don’t take it for granted.  ; )

Newfoundland. What else can I say. If I hear that one word my ears perk up and I listen. What are they saying? are they newfies? Do they have accents? Maybe I know them?! I grew up on that island. I thought it was horrible, desolate, lonely. I left for ‘bigger and better’ places. Yet I return. and return and return. They say you can take the newfie out of newfoundland but you can’t take newfoundland out of the Newfoundlander. It’s true. Its a place that is more dear to my heart then any other, yet a place where my wings won’t let me land. yet!

I returned home this spring for a short visit which i extended (as usual). In the past few years I have returned only in the winter when the land is covered a mile high with snow. This time however i made it there for the sun. New dry rocks awaited. The thought of bouldering along side the wild, dark atlantic ocean made me shiver.

The bouldering in Newfoundland is good. It’s not great, but its good. Maybe I am spoiled. Well, yes I am spoiled but I still appreciate what is there. The people are psyched. The rock dries faster then sandstone in font.   The atmosphere can not be found anywhere else. Sure that could be said of many places but where else could one boulder on the edge of the oldest city in north america and watch whales and seals bob up and down and have them watch you? It’s beautiful and makes the whole package one of its kind and a unique experience in its own right.

We bouldered in a few different areas, Flatrock, Marine Lab, Black head, the Barrens, Placenta Bay. The bouldering there is rather spread out with most areas being comparatively small so there usual is enough time to hit up a couple areas in one day. The locals don’t complain about this though, they are psyched to have the areas they do and are amongst the most psyched people I know to be seeking out new rocks.

My favorite areas were Flatrock, Marine Lab and Fort Amherst. Flatrock has bouldering and routes which is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean while Marine Lab is just 10 minutes south along the same coast line. Both offer an abundance of fresh air, ocean breeze and solid rock. There is everything from v0-v10’s at both areas and the routes entail a mix of sport and trad, 1-2 pitch going as hard as hard 12/ 13a. While at the Marine Lab you can also go to the Marine Lab itself and say hi to the seals and the touch tank which is full of ocean critters.

There is some potential for new problems and routes, the only constraint at this point is time and weather! Perhaps a full summer spent roaming the whole island would be good. There were areas left undiscovered for me which are meant to have some of the best boulders on the East Coast.  Gull Pond, Seal cove… But for someone who was meant to be visiting her family, a 8 hour drive to this area seemed a bit unreasonable. Then there is the exciting Blow me Down Cliff. The very remote setting entailing long multi-pitch routes don’t work just yet for Cedar and I but perhaps down the road.

Anyways…  Newfoundland. Worth the trip? yes by’. Giver. Its some good by’. Just be ready to explore more than climbing and don’t forget the bug spray. Oh yeah, the custard cones are to die for.


Marine Lab .  Greg Foote works “me ol’ cock”, a new line I put up while there. Me ol’ cock means sweetheart or dear in newfoundland. I called the problem this because I was inspired by the line when I first saw it and the movement was really unique and powerful. I quickly became attached to it (silly me. its just a rock!) and it was for the time being, my dear. Fun-ness!

Black head boulders. Dave Stack scoping out a new line

The view from the passport office

Cape St. Mary’s bird Sanctuary, 1000’s and 1000’s of birds. amazing.

Oh yeah, I did a slideshow and climbing clinic while there. Kind of awkward but the peeps were psyched with all the door prizes from Arcteryx, Vega, La Sportiva and Metolius. Yay!

oh dear…

it has only taken 6 months of procrastination to try this thing called blogging and well, perhaps there is nothing else left to blame except maybe my incapabilites/something else… to set up a webpage and rearrange pages and do web ‘thing-ys’ that really do not interest me in the slightest. but do as i must. ask and you shall receive. i shall blabber er’ i mean blog about things that may come to my small head which is often filled with fluff and perhaps something good (or bad) will pop out of it and turn around and actually do something to better that which is already perfect. maybe no one will read this anyway, yet, maybe they will. we don’t know these things…

and so it flows…

more to follow…

the end of the world

Hmmm, can you see this? really?? If you can see this you must have magic powers