Showing posts with label sport climbing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sport climbing. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Dodging the Rain.

When early season rains dampen Squamish many climbers flee to the Okanagan, a dry belt on the east side of the Coast Mountains. Near the city of Penticton is an extensive cragging area, Skaha Bluffs, that offers close to 1,000 single pitch climbs on beautifully featured gneiss. The nature of the climbing is varied and the dozens of excellent cliffs are connected by a pleasant network of hiking trails. Spring and fall are the prime seasons; summer is crazy hot.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Kalymnos, Take 3

The Greek island of Kalymnos, a stone’s throw from the Turkish coast, is world famous for its limestone rock climbing. My first visit to the island was with my wife in 2005. We enjoyed it so much that we vowed to return, and we did 4 years later with our young daughter in tow. That was 2009 and I just returned from my third visit to Kalymnos. I was pleased to see much has remained the same from my fist trip almost 10 years ago.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

There Goes the Summer!

After missing last summer entirely due to intense classes and obligatory studying, I had big plans for this summer: climb, hike, fish, develop routes and boulders, relax, etc... However, this summer brought with it an unexpected surprise: a stubborn concussion that I got whilst water skiing--oops!

Because of this, I ended up missing a lot of work and spending week after week indoors, eyes closed and curtains drawn. 

However, just as my concussion started to fade, David's entire family arrived from Sweden for a visit. While they were here, we did all of the things I'd been planning to do:
Fishing on the Madison

Monday, June 2, 2014

Life in Skaha

Skaha is a vast single pitch climbing area in the Okanagan region of British Columbia. Since the climate is very dry, rain beaten coastal climbers make regular weekend trips. Easter is the most popular time of year due to the statutory holidays and typically wet (or snowy) conditions found elsewhere in the province. This year, we joined the throngs of climbers and enjoyed three days of pleasant cragging. The camping on the lake shore is scenic and the sport climbing is excellent, with hundreds of quality face routes on crisp orange edges and white-washed overhangs. Next time you're getting rained on in Squamish, consider a quick side trip to Skaha to dry out your gear and work out your muscles!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Finding Motivation in Weakness and Inspiration in Success

Since David and I met more than four years ago in Spain, our life has been a blur of extended climbing trips in the US and Europe, interrupted by bouts of seasonal work—in large part because our international relationship required frequent border crossings such that neither of us overstayed our visas in the other’s respective home continents.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

St. George, UT

I am going to let the pictures speak for themselves in this one. The pictures are of The Black and Tan wall and our awesome camping spot. We are on our way to some sketchy motel for a shower and mimosas by the pool. More to come.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Chulilla, Spain - New Climbs in an Old Area

While climbing in Spain’s Costa Blanca in 2012 we were encouraged to visit Chulilla, an area to the north that came highly recommended. We were told that if we liked Wild Side at Sella – and we did – we’d really enjoy Chulilla since the climbing was similar: long, gently-overhanging routes with plenty of limestone tufas. A year later we were back in Spain, Valencia to be exact. Upon arriving in Chulilla we were suitably impressed. The climbing zone featured a pair of deep gorges with tall, tufa-streaked walls. Sound good? Read on for more beta…

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Idaho - A Short Report

Heather Lords climbing Jigawatt 5.11+ at the Portal in Pass Creek Canyon, Idaho
 It was a long, hot, and dry summer here in Idaho. Massive wildfires raged on during portions of August with little to no rain most of the month. Temperatures remained above average for July and August. Meanwhile, we did our best to chase the shade and climb. As September arrived, Heather and I concluded our new routing efforts at various local crags.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


I have probably been whining about a lack of climbing during the last months in some of my recent blog posts. There is already enough wining and excuses to last a life time in the climbing community–which gets tedious after a while–and I do NOT want to be that guy. So, anyway.
Recently I’ve been going up to Wolverine to bolt and climb. This is an old crag that grabbed the attention of local developers in the last few years. New lines are being established all over the place.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Product Review: Mammuts Realization Shorts (Climbing Harness)

Just wanted to do a quick product review of Mammut's Realization Climbing Shorts that are actually a pair of shorts with a harness, complete with waist belt and leg loops built right into the garment.

As a member of Mammuts Athlete team I have been using all manner of Mammut products for many years now and have always been impressed and reassured with the quality, durablity and functionality of all of it.

The Realization Shorts have been on the market for about a year now,  and I must admit when I first heard about them I was a bit skeptical. But as I am curious by nature and they are new and different I finally got around to trying them out.   
  I have never been a big fan of too many bells and whistles and have always appreciated the construction of the lightest gear and the aesthetic of the cleanest lines in design,  this product does both of those things.  They are pared down to the simple basics you need for most cragging and gym climbing. Two plastic gear loops and two UIAA certified tie in points that serve both as the carabiner attatchment for belaying and rappeling as well as the rope tie in point.
The construction is solid and well fitting, I have about a 32inch waste and the medium size fits well.

I spent some time cragging in them this spring including some lengthy sessions projecting some sport routes hanging around for nearly an hour at a time.  My first pleasant surprise was that this rig was definitlely a bit more comfortable than a traditional harness....I attributed this to two factors....

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Home Sweet Home


The Esoteric Project - Arcane

It's been a busy spring season with a lot of airport time and various Mammut sponsored events across the country. As always, it's great to get out and see friends and climb with other Mammut athletes at these events. There is somewhat of a lull in events this time of the year which allows me to focus on getting some fitness at my home crags.

Heather Lords warming up on Mr. Hanky 5.12a - South Park
photo: Dean Lords

Friday, May 10, 2013

Spring Climbing in Montana

Though I grew up in Bozeman, I left to attend college in New Hampshire in 2000. And because I started climbing in 1999, I had just less than one year as a (total beginner) climber in Montana before leaving.

In the years since I moved away, I’ve been back to visit Bozeman numerous times. However, in the last few years—during which David and I have primarily been “on the road” for climbing—we never climbed in Bozeman. We always figured that, when in town to visit the family, we might as well take a break from climbing, and do other stuff that is best done with access to a shower—like hiking, biking and the like.
David on Silver Surfer Suit

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Neon Gear 45

I got this backpack in the summer of 2012, and I feel like I've used it long enough to write a little review on it.

First, let me say that I'm usually skeptical of over-engineered gear--that is, gear that "has to" be used in a certain way. However, this backpack is NOT that way. It has many features meant for certain things (i.e. gear loops for quick draws, a pouch for chalk bags, a slot for climbing shoes, and a tarp for a rope). But, in my opinion, it has exactly the right amount of features to be helpful, instead of annoying or excessive. 

The bag is easy to pack. It has a wide opening on top, as well as a separate and even larger opening on the back, making it easy to stuff gear into it, and take gear out of it. 

It is comfortable to carry, even with a full day's worth of sport climbing gear--that is, a rope, draws, shoes, chalk, clothes, food and water. If I need to carry more gear, I take the rope out, coil it, and strap it to the top of the bag to create more room for other stuff. Size-wise, I think it's a perfect day climbing pack.

Below, see close-up photos for the pack's details.

Chalk bag pouch: can be unclipped if you don't want/ need it. Keeps your other stuff free of chalk. Nice!

Shoe pocket: big enough, and well-ventilated.

Gear rack: can comfortably fit 12 draws and a belay device.

Rope tarp: draw string closure and tabs for carrying around at the crag.

The whole shebang, as opened from the back.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sport Climbing in Mallorca

Much has been written about the incredible deep water soloing in Mallorca, but what many seem to forget is this Mediterranean island was once a famous sport climbing destination. European climbers have been coming here for decades and after years of indecision we decided it was finally time to take a risk and check it out for ourselves.

What we found was an island lush with amazing stone. As you drive the incredible mountain roads, vast walls of tufa-streaked limestone poke out from the many valleys and sheets of grey, water-worn rock blanket the ridges and barren peaks. A friend of mine compared the climbing in Mallorca to a miniature European continent and the comparison was apt, I thought. There are many different climbing venues and all have a distinct flavour, much like you’d find travelling form crag to crag across various European countries.



Conditions play a big factor in planning a trip, and which month you choose determines where you’ll likely climb. We arrived in late September and it was hot. Aside from fantastic swimming and snorkeling in the crystal clear coves, the advantage to this time of year is the north-facing mountain crags are free of seepage and in good condition. October, strangely enough, is the rainiest month of the year in Mallorca, but this is when the temperatures start to cool which opens up more options. We experienced somewhat tumultuous weather, but in the end we were able to climb at all the crags on our hit list. Locals claim May is also a good month for a visit because the weather is stable and starting to warm, but I question how dry the high elevation tufa crags would be at this time of year – seepage can be a problem.



Despite the vast amount of rock in Mallorca, much of it is on private land, a condition that plagues local climbers. Incredible cliffs have been closed over the years and some of the best sites on the island remain intensely protected secrets due to their tenuous access situations. Unlike North America, Spain has no organized access groups to work on behalf of climbers, so good crags can be easily lost forever. The guidebook is full of quality cliffs that are free of problems, but we were lucky enough to climb at a few out-of-the-way spots thanks to the help of the friendly Mallorcans. Be inquisitive, show respect and they’ll point you in the right direction.



From a travelling perspective, Mallorca is well equipped since it’s a major tourist destination. We chose to stay in a traditional inland village and were glad we did. It was quiet and culturally interesting, yet we were only 15 minutes from a fantastic beach. Renting a car is easy, and if you stay centrally nowhere on the island is more than a one-hour drive. The Lonely Planet guidebook and Walking in Mallorca were invaluable additions to our luggage as they provided excellent beta on touring the island and exploring the fabulous network of groomed trails.

The only real downside to our Mallorcan climbing experience was the presence of corroded bolts. The maritime environment has rendered some routes practically unclimbable and this factor was glossed over in our guidebook. Luckily, the most popular climbs have usually been rebolted (sometimes two times!) and the newer areas are in better shape. For current route information, visit the Palma climbing store Foracorda. The employees are very helpful and their website,, has a page devoted to topos for popular cliffs, some of which aren’t in any guidebooks.

Having been to Kalymnos twice, we found ourselves constantly drawing comparisons between it and Mallorca. We decided that for sheer density and quality of climbs Kalymnos is hard to beat, but for non-climbing activities Mallorca takes the prize. It’s a truly beautiful island with a rugged coastline that begs exploration, both on foot and in the water. Plus, I can almost guarantee you’ll never have to wait in line to climb one of their excellent, popular routes. Try going to Kalymnos in October and making that claim!

Marc Bourdon – Squamish, BC

Friday, October 26, 2012

October Sport Climbing/ Sport Watching

In terms of normal-livin', the weather here in Ten Sleep has been A-OK the last few weeks. It's been cloudy with daytime highs from 30-50 degrees F here in town/ the valley. However, if you're gonna try to sport climb (and if you're a wuss like I am), this isn't gonna cut it! Thought it's definitely possible to climb here in October, you really need the sun to shine long and hard. So for the past two weeks (aside from a few Cody bouldering attempts) we've been milling around the house in slippers and sweatpants, running into each other and the walls. 

But this morning we woke up, and it was sunny! So today, even though it was one of the coldest days yet this fall, we decided to bust a move into the canyon and see whether or not David really is from Sweden. Turns out that he totally is from Sweden and I'm not. After freezing myself silly on one pitch, he climbed a few more pitches and I sport watched. 

Porch in the morning

Temperature at the parking

Cracks are cold even when it's sunny.

Derv exploring an old school slab... bolts are much, much more spaced than they appear.

David looking in vain for the next bolt