The Glen aims to please

Last weekend Leanna and I had a wonderful visit to the Niagara Glen. The whole weekend was fun and very relaxing. It honestly felt like we were on a vacation from our regular lives. We stayed with my good friends Al and Nikki in St. Catharines. They are amazing hosts and treated us like we were at a Spa. They gave us an excellent queen sized room with an on-suite bathroom ;) We woke up Saturday to a bit of water still on the roads, but it was sunny with a few clouds. We got a late start and got climbing around noon.


We went to the Fly Wall to warm up but it was all wet. Leanna put a two hour+ session on Arete Love, a great climb that you can see featured in my Niagara Glen Bouldering video I made a few weeks ago. She is remarkably close. It's much harder for her than it is for me because of the reaches. That climb is much easier if you have longer limbs. She was extremely close and all of her gym sessions are certainly paying off. She was psyched.

After that we went to check out Crucifix V11 at the Captain Hook Cave. Some good news here and some bad news. Good news: I managed to figure it all out in about an hour and a half. The holds were pretty wet and I still managed. The climb is great. I love that style. I virtually finished it but then comes the Bad news:

Bad News: I doubt Crucifix goes anymore. On my sending attempt I was in position on the two opposing crimps in the roof. As I was collecting, positioning for the powerful "Crucifix" move out to the pocket on the lip when I heard "CRAAACK" and I instantly realized that the huge big chunk of rock in the roof had slightly detached! I was terrified that this thing was going to pull off onto my face and kill me. It is about the size of wash basin or really small sink perhaps. I made a reluctant move out to the pocket but I didn't commit and consequently my fingers slipped out.

Coming down I noticed that the whole rock under the roof had detached by about 3mm. I wiggled it and instantly one or two pieces of rock the size of cheese blocks fell off. Looking at it now, I can't see how it is secure. It's not wedged in by anything and there's cracks around the whole block. It wiggles now and each time you wiggle it more rock falls off. I really suggest that no one climb on this thing. You're taking a risk of injury that's for sure. I wasn't willing to try again. Sad, 'cause this is/was a great problem.

We then went to Bizarro so Leanna could throw down on Minihang / Discman. This boulder is right in the middle of the path in Bizarro. It's a perfect problem with a sit down and a top out on incut holds up an overhung face. Leanna has tried it twice in the past, two sessions like 3.5 and 2.5 years ago maybe but her best attempt she fell off the topout jug. This time, she sent it 3rd try! She's getting so strong - we're so happy. She'll do well on our year off! I'm still so happy about this send.    

Al and Nikki made us an amazing BBQ dinner and we relaxed with a great bottle of red wine for the evening. Perfect way to relax.

Sunday climbing was fun. Warmed up in Oz and I walked to check out Jeremy Smith's Who Run Tings V10. Certainly contender for best boulder problem in Ontario. We need a crew of hard climbers to go and check it out. It needs pads and psyche.

Leanna was worked so she didn't climb much. She did work on a nice tan. I went over to Bizzaro in hopes of finding something hard to get me motivated. I hiked around and found Ian Irving's Closed Eye Visuals V10. Beautiful secluded line up an overhung face on tiny crimper pockets. On one attempt I broke another hold - the razor crimper. It just chipped off under my fingers a bit. Makes it slightly harder, but nothing to influence the grade.

The pockets were very damp inside but after a couple hours of attempts and chalking they started to get better. Plus, the sun started shining against it and that might have helped them dry. I was about done my attempts, ready to admit defeat when Leanna told me to try once more. I did, and very very surprisingly, I sent. I didn't expect to at all. I hadn't even reached the "It'll go now" point yet. I was ecstatic, and so was Leanna.

We hit the road and had dinner on the beautiful shores of Lake Ontario at The Lakehouse.

Spring bouldering in the Niagara Glen

On April 02 weekend I went bouldering in “The Glen” with my friends Joe, JM, Pallek, and Denise. I’d had enough of this shit weather here in Ottawa. There’s still too much snow to boulder locally – I had to get out. The guys were easy to convince and we decided Niagara was the destination. It was calling for small amounts of rain, up to 40% chance, but the weather was incredible the entire weekend. [vimeo video_id="22121350" width="580" height="326" title="Yes" byline="Yes" portrait="Yes" autoplay="No" loop="No" color="00adef"]

JM, fresh off his return drive from Bishop, had the stamina to drive Pallek and myself straight to Niagara Falls in one push from Ottawa. We didn’t downshift from St. Laurent to Lundy’s Lane. We got a nice room at the Travelodge using Govn’t rate. Saturday I woke up psyched. I hadn’t been to The Glen since 2008 so a return was long overdue. I was excited to get on real rock so I ran around touching everything. Saturday I did some repeats of some classics and super classics. JM sent Super Sharp Shooter V6 with some short person beta. Joe also sent, which was EPIC, in all meanings of the word. I eventually made it over to The Gunt, a V11 FA’d by Tim Doyle apparently of all people! I blew the flash, falling on the first “hard move” after not getting the hold correctly. I put a session on, but I was holding everyone back so we packed it up and moved over to Bizarro. In Bizarro I showed JM The Real Bruce Lee, a classic V9 eliminate. It climbs on a slightly overhung vertical face on sloper crimps and sidepulls. I tried it in the past in 2008 but I didn’t know which holds to eliminate. Now that I had beta, it went down after about 7 goes. It’s great. JM was also super close, but at the end of the day it was too much for him. Nogoko V7 was not too much for him however and he sent it with ease.

After that, went back to The Gunt to put another handful of attempts on it, but being too tired at that point we packed it in for a good dinner at Syndicate and then to the room. I was so tired I was falling asleep at the restaurant.

Sunday was breakfast with my friends Al, Nikki, and Sarah, all of whom I see very infrequently and it was amazing that the timing worked well to see them at all. Back down to the Glen with another day of stunning conditions. There are no leaves yet, or buds, or any green of any type however. Very grey and serious. The forest was wide open covered in decaying leaves on the ground. Blue skies again and nice temperatures. We warmed up in Oz where Joe bagged his second proj – Thunder and Lightning V6. I took everyone down to the river to climb on the sandstone, where JM flashed The Pondering V5 and Joe got a quick ascent as well. Pallek was very close. JM also snagged a quick ascent of The Honeymoon V8 on his way out.

I went back to The Gunt, sent that piece and then went to Danzig to meet up with Pallek. JM was super close on the low start to Life O’Reilly V6 which is around V7. I did the stand, then had a rare ascent of the sit to Electric French Fries V6. I love that climb. The grips are so cool.

In the end it turns out that JM was awarded climber of the weekend.