Thursday, March 21, 2013

Winter Crack Climbing!

Living in Quebec in the winter isn’t the best way to improve as a crack climber… or is it? A lot of people ask me what I do to stay in shape for crack climbing in the winter...

I tell them, well I just crack climb all year around. No matter how wet or cold it is, you can always crack climb.
Sometimes I crack climb icy cracks with ice tools (also know as mixed climbing).

Sometimes, on warmer days on south facing crags, I go sans-tool and crack climb with gloves and boots on. Sometimes I crack climb in my garage. It's all good and I like it all.

Remember everything you do is training for something else...

Sometimes I use tools for icy cracks. Here's my buddy Alex torquing his Cobras on a little 5.9 variation on the Whitney-Gilman on Cannon Cliff.

Looking at the Pipe-Pitch on the Witney-G

Sometimes, on warmer winter days I like to rock climb (warmer can be relative...) This is a picture of me leading the second pitch of Black and White 5.10+ at -4 Celcius. To warm-up for this 3 pitches routes we did a nice WI4 route just around the corner... We did not aid the route! We free climb the whole thing. The crux was the mantle in 1 foot of snow at the top of the cliff...

Sometimes I crack climb in my garage. I believe this crack is the hardest crack on the east coast. It is still a project!

Two weeks ago I went to Exit 30 crag in the Adirondacks and checked out the Fecalator. I had wanted to climb this route for years but had never got around to make the trip down there. This route is simply amazing! It was put up by bad-ass Chris Thomas (a BD co-worker) in 2004 and at M10 it proudly stands as the hardest trad mixed route on the east coast.
The first pitch is M7/M7+ and could be considered scottish style. It has everything from steep crack moves to frozen turf to ice blubs…
The second pitch is the business. A 10 meters slabby section brings you to a very steep and wild looking hand crack. Right at the end of the steep wall an ice dagger comes out of the crack. It is a very unique route because one needs a large bag of tricks with a wide range of movements to climb it. From fist and hand jams to ice tool hooks and torques to overhanging ice climbing (I used about 50% hand jams and 50% ice tools torques)…

Getting psyche for the crux pitch on the Fecalator:

Right in the middle of the business:

Winter crack climbing is fun! 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Here's a little video of me trying the first crux section on my latest project... The red point crux is 5m from the end of this 45m long splitter. And at first I thought that maybe it wasn't possible... But I ended up finding a sequence that just barely goes... I just hope that the tiny crimp I'm using stops crumbling...

Wish me Luck...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

All right a few days after get back to Moab I went back to the White Rim to check out some undone lines.

So after 1h30 of rough driving down to the "ditch" we got to work.

The White Rim view!

I tried a line I had seen last year, but the rock quality and climbing didn't work out so great so I move to another route. I check out the "Vadge", a 5.13- roof to steep groove put up by Rob Pizem. As its name implies, it's a great looking line. And the size is just how I like them. Nice and tight. Tight hand it is. To my surprise I flashed it. It cheered me up a bit...

This is Tom Randall on the Vadge... Looking at his face it looks like he's got his arm stuck deep...!!! Or maybe he's looking for his watch or something???

Toward the end of the day, on the walk out, I saw another roof crack... An unclimbed one!  I had not seen this one before has it's kinda hidden in a corner. I walked up to it and was pretty psyche on the way it looked. I decided to give it a go. It's about 18-20 meters long and starts as a boulder and then slowly gets higher and higher, so you have to place gear. It's starts as a fist crack for a while and then gets to the weirdest size... not quite fist and not quite a cupped hand... its pretty insecure to climb this size on a vertical crack... so in a roof it was a little bit of a battle for me... Toward the end it gets to a few good hand jams and then to a few thin hand jams. I ended up also flashing this one... WTF?!?

I asked around and it seems like it would be a FA! PSYCHE! Good way to start the trip. I'm calling it Fisting the Crack... As far as grade goes...  It definitely felt harder than the Vadge, so I'm gonna call it 5.13.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

My Orange Nano

A little while ago I had to retire my rope. It was my favourite rope... Here's the Story:

My Orange Nano.

It was love at first sight… She’s a beautiful tall and skinny one. With her bright orange tan she makes heads turn at the crag. I’m not jealous when people look at her because she’s mine.

We met a year and half ago. She was introduced to me by JB from Sterling Ropes when I visited the factory in Maine. Instantly, I knew it would be a fun relationship. I wasn’t sure how long it would last, because with her delicate looking body she didn’t look like she could endure much abuse…

We had success on our first climbing trip together when, along  with her little sister Photon and my two friends, Damien and Yannick, we made the 2nd ascent of Daedalus on Cannon Cliff, NH. Then the following Spring, I made my usual Utah desert trip. She came along and she performed like no other. We did some cragging in Indian Creek for 3 weeks and then with my buddy Sly we climbed the incredibly classic Moonlight Buttress. Back at home we worked on a project I bolted at my favorite local crag, Weir. This spicy sport project is a fairly long pitch (50m) and I knew with her light weight she would be really helpful. Although I didn’t sent the rig we got so close so many times, I’m sure next season I’ll send it. Alas, I won’t be able to climb it with my orange Nano. Because she’s been murdered.

To my surprise, she still looked good 8 months (and many pitches) after our first climb together. I guess she could have used a bath but I really didn’t mind. So I decided to bring her along on alpine rock climbing trip to the Bugaboos. Unaware that she would be in great danger left alone, Matt and I left her stashed in a dry bag, to save weight on the approach. We tought she would be safe at the base of our project on the South Howser tower. When we came back 48 hours later we were devastated to find her and her little cousin the 5.5mm tag line all chewed up… The incredible bugaboos predator, the Snafflehound, chewed through the dry-bag and completely destroyed her… It was a cruel scene.

One day I will have my revenge, beware of my slingshot you monster snafflehound!

No Way Jose

Weird traverse on Le Gros-Bras

Full conditions!

Secret Proj...

Matt cruising the flared hands pitch on the Wandering Direct

High up on the South Howser

Racking up for the loose pitch on the Wandering Direct

Looking at the damage

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

No Way Jose

Here's a litte Holiday gift Video I shot last year with my friend James Q Martin. I hope you enjoy:


Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Awesome news! I just did the first free ascent of Necronomicon today! It’s totally crazy! More details and photos to come soon!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The NEW Proj!

For the last 10 days or so, I've been working on the craziest route I've been on in a long time... I haven't that psyched on a route in a long time... I first heard of that route from my friend Rob Pizem a while ago. But he wouldn't show it to anybody... After a few years of begging, Rob finally gave up and showed me the beast. Basically the route is 90 feet long and is totally horizontal. I one-hung it 3 times the other day... It's going down soon!