Sunday, 22 December 2013

Speed Comp

 On Sunday the speed competition was held. Traditionally speed climbing is done on ice, but because of the structure that was not possible. Instead two routes were set side by side that were very close to being identical. Two climbers would climb at the same time and each would get a time for the route. Then they would switch routes and climb a second time. The times would be combined and the lowest time would win the round.

The first round was just to establish baseline times. After that climbers were divided into heats and the winner would advance to the next round. If a climber fell off they would get a time of three minutes.

Rebecca also climbed in the speed event as her first competition. She did pretty good and finished in 6th place for the women's division.

Rebecca on the left.

I had done a little bit of speed climbing. This year I'm planning to do it in the World Cup along with the difficulty.

 I finished in 3rd place overall for the speed event.

Lead Comp Part 2

After a quick break to switch out holds on the wall round two of the prelims started. In the first round we only had three minutes to climb, but the route only went to the top of the wall. In round two we had 5 minutes and the route went past the top of the wall and across a beam to a third tower.

In the 2nd round I didn't climb as well as I would have liked. My arms were still tired from climbing in the cave on the Thursday prior. I also had a little bit of nervousness heading into the climbing. In the end I climbed well enough to get into a three way tie for 8th place and squeaked into Finals.

For finals we had to go into isolation and would be climbing with no prior knowledge of the route. The women climbed first and because the men's route was similar and would use many of the same holds the men had to wait in isolation while the women climbed.

I was second to climb in the finals, so for me isolation was shorter than it could have been. Starting on the finals route there were two moves sideways to the right before reaching up and left to the third hold.  I had a bit of trouble down low, but once I got past the second hold I climbed pretty quickly to the top of the main wall. Hooked into the hold before the beam leading out to the third tower I was getting a quick rest before continuing out the steep climbing to the end and slipped out of the hold. It was pretty disappointing to fall off there because I still felt pretty good and wasn't even moving when I popped off. Several others got to that hold and were able to thrutch around on the hold and didn't come off so I either didn't get into a sweet spot on the hold or my picks weren't sharp enough to bite into the hold well enough. Falling off ended my attempt and I placed 7th overall.

Bozeman UIAA Competition

Its been over a week since the comp and I'm jut finally getting to making a post about it. I've been super busy with work, travel and working out future travel plans for this winter's Ice Climbing World Cup.

As with all UIAA competitions you start out with the registration and rules meeting. The Comp was the next day so after the meeting you have time to go back to your room and get prepared for the next day,

The comp format was different than most UIAA ice comps, but the same way that the Russians do their comps. There are two preliminary routes and no isolation for prelims. There is a forerunner who climbs the routes so everyone can see how the route is climbed and all the competitors are free to watch and cheer on their friends. This make the whole comp experience a lot more fun for everyone. The first route was fairly easy and most of the men topped out. 

The structure was temporary and built out of scaffolding. They are in the process of raising money to build a permanent structure where they can have World Cup comps and athletes will be able to use to train. 

Starting the 1st prelim route.

Topping out the 1st prelim route.

Next post coming soon!!

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Ice Festival Time!

Today was the 1st and only rest day of our trip. Tonight is the athletes meeting and tomorrow is the competition that we traveled out here for. I wish I could say that the last few days have been filled with climbing hard routes, but they have been mostly a bit laid back.

On Tuesday we hiked up to the Black Magic Wall to do some drytool routes there. The hike in was a bit more than we expected. The steep mountain approaches take a lot out of us flat landers and breaking trail along the slippery slope at the bottom of the cliff was slow going.
The approach to Black Magic wall
We started out on Roman Candle. Its one of the more classic moderate sport mixed routes in Hyalite. Even though the air temperature was warmer than it had been the last few days, the wind had picked up adding a windchill that seemed to negate the warmer temps. It took what seemed like forever to climb the route. I would do a few moves, then stop to warm up my hands, do a few moves and then repeat the cycle.
Onsighting Roman Candle

There is an extension that goes on above the anchor for Roman Candle that would have been nice to try, but it was too cold and we weren't having much fun so we called it good for the day.
 On Wednesday we decided to climb some ice. What seemed like and okay road quickly tuned into "the only way off is up". A sketchy drive up the unploughed road in our rental car and we were at the parking lot.  A nice 45 min hike thru the forest covered in fresh snow and we were at the ice flows Omega and Alpha.
Rebecca coming out of the woods and up the talus slope below the ice flows.

 I was hoping to climb all three lines at the cliff, but on closer inspection only Alpha seemed to be in good enough shape. We were able to do a bunch of laps to practice our ice climbing since it was the first real ice route of the season for us. We were happy to make it a short day since we wanted to make the drive out form the parking lot while it was still light and while we would be able to find someone to help if we got stuck.

Thursday we ended up back at the Bingo Cave. Lots of people had started to show up for the Ice Festival so it was pretty crowded.
 Rebecca got to try Straights of Gibraltar some more, this time with some borrowed fruit boots.

 I got to try the other hard route in the cave. The House of Flying Daggers. Fortunately Will Gadd had already climbed it the day before and got the holds cleaned out and ticked so working it was pretty easy. I went for a redpoint go for my second attempt and came about as close as I could to doing it without doing it. After pulling the lip of the roof, my high tool ripped out of the ice and sent me flying. In the process breaking off the small dagger of ice at the lip of the roof. I gave it one more try, but I melted off just short of the lip. I was tempted to go out today and try it once more, but I was really in need of a rest day. The next two days I'll be competing so its unlikely that I'll be able to get back out there this trip to finish it.

Tomorrow (Saturday) is the big lead comp which I will be climbing in. On Sunday is the speed comp which Rebecca and I will both be climbing in. The comps will be live streamed at 
The comp will start at 8:15 AM MST. I will be climbing around 9:20AM There will be two rounds for prelims and the second round should start just before noon and follow the same time schedule and order. Finals will be in the evening.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013


After two days of brutal cold it finally started to warm up here a little. We had spent the first two days at Nameless Wall mostly in the Bingo Cave not climbing very much.  There are a few routes in the cave that are supposed to be some of the most difficult in North America that I was really hoping to try, but the cold was making it very difficult. On Sunday near the end of the day I finally got on the most hyped up route there, "Inglorious Bastards" which was originally rated M13 and for the time being has settled at M12.

Happy to have an extra heavy down jacket and puffy pants.
My first try on it I just wanted to find the holds and check out the moves. I was fortunate to have Whit Magro show me where most of the holds were so I wouldn't need to spend much time searching around. When I finally got to start climbing the route I was shocked at how easy the moves felt. I was expecting the holds to be small and technical and the moves to be big. It is however a pretty long roof so the forearm pump would definitely be a factor when linking all the moves together. I was also a bit worried because the big ice dagger at the back of the cave had just broken off eliminating a good stance a couple moves into the business of the horizontal roof making the route full value.
The first hard move.

Its a long way to the lip of the roof.

On Monday the temps were a lot warmer than they had been, but still pretty cold for hard climbing. For my warm up I climbed Inglorious bolt to bolt to refresh my mind about where the holds were and workout the foot holds a little better. After belaying my wife on her project, "The Straights of Gibraltar" it was time to try to piece everything together. I didn't really expect to link the whole route first try, but I took a long a few ice screws and some gear to build an anchor just in case.
Rebecca working on The Straights of Gibraltar.
 Starting out I felt good, but unsure how things would go. Getting into the roof I hit a rhythm and quickly worked my way out the huge roof. Before I new it I was getting close to the lip and at the first pseudo stance and could shake my arms out a little. I made the last clip and another move or two and I got into a stance with a good foot hold where I could get some recovery in my arms before doing the last move to get to the ice. The last move is also the most tenuous, so I had to make sure to do it as smoothly as possible. Any thrutching around would have likely made my pick slip out of the shallow pocket as I swung my body around 180 degrees to kick my feet into the ice.
Tagging the ice.

After getting established on the ice I hung out for a while and worked the lactic acid out of my arms before swinging around to the front of the ice curtain.

Easy cruising up the vertical ice

 I'm super happy to have climbed this route. I did it in three tries total over two very cold days. Thanks to Rusty and Justin Willis who were there and snapped some photos of my ascent.