Monday, 25 March 2013


After a very slow start, winter just didn't seem to want to quit this year. I thought I was done climbing ice after leaving Russia, but cold nights and daytime cloud cover were enough to push the end of ice season in Southern Ontario to nearly the end of March!

Bec seconding "Space Jam".
This past weekend we made the 4+ hour drive north to get our last ice fix for the season. Warm days and warm nights the next week look like they are going to put a quick end to any difficult ice climbing this year. The lower angle north facing flows should last well into April
Bec seconding "Fishing For Hooks"
 We had a chance on Saturday to repeat a new route that went up this winter as well as revisit a couple of my older routes at McCauley Lake. I was pretty happy to repeat Forked Tongue Devil. Usually there is an inner dagger that makes the route a bit easier as you can climb off the rock onto the ice sooner. The rock holds seem to run out near the top of the cliff and I wasn't sure if would even be possible to climb. After searching around I was able to find a couple of small, marginal holds that allowed passage high enough to just barely swing over to the ice.
"Forked Tongue Devil"

 On Sunday we went to Diamond Lake. I was hoping to equip and climb a moderate new route that I had toproped earlier in the season, but the ice on it has long since fallen down. The sun there is very strong and was quickly rotting out the remaining ice on the cliff. Despite the less than ideal conditions we were able to still get in a pretty good day. I found another line to try which turned out to be really hard. The higher you get the harder the moves seemed to be with the exception of one move in the middle that I wasn't even able to do, yet. Perhaps its best to finish the season with unfinished business for next year.

"Dark Angel"

Monday, 11 March 2013


The wall was an easy 5 minute walk from the hotel.
I'm back in Moscow. Didn't post from Kirov because the internet was way too slow. I didn't climb nearly as well as I would have liked to but it was still lots of fun. The format of the comp was different. Instead of one route for qualifiers there were two routes. The time allowed was supposed to be 5 minutes which is down from the usual 6, but it was changed to 4 minutes just before the men were supposed to start climbing.

Starting out on the first route.
Getting near my high point on route one.
The first route was going well until I made a big mistake and left my tool hanging from the ice bollard while clipping. Normally I put it in my mouth to hold it but the holes in the ice were deep and it seemed secure. While clipping I bumped the tool and it fell out, ending my attempt.

2nd route.
2nd route near my high point.
The second route I was going pretty well, but when the wall got steep my energy ran out and my hand slipped off the tool. I don't know if I was climbing to fast or if it was the cold/flu I have been trying fighting off that drained my energy.
Speed climbing.

This competition was the first one that I participated in the speed climbing event. I came in 36th out of 49. The top 24 were all Russian. It was also the speed climbing championship so each country got a team ranking. They take the top 2 men's and 2 women's scores and add them together. Gord and I both climbed but there were no Canadian women who wanted to come to Russia to participate. Overall Canada came in 7th.
Lowering off after climbing the 1st speed route.

I was expecting Russia to be kinda bad but it was definitely one of the best and most fun for the actual competition.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Moscow Day 2

Had another short day of training today at the Structure. On the way there I started noticing all the traces left of the U.S.S.R. Its difficult to think that 25 years ago this trip would never be happening.

Monday, 4 March 2013


Training at the Moscow climbing structure.

I feel like I lost another day of my life. I left home Saturday afternoon and arrived at where I'm staying in Moscow around 8pm on Sunday. It was only 11 hours of flying, but the layover and 9 hour time difference really ate away at the time. Today Pavel, Gord and I went to the Moscow climbing structure and did some training. Via subway and some walking its about an hour to get there from where we are staying . Most of Moscow can be easily traveled by an extensive subway system. The structure itself is in a park and is surrounded by apartment buildings. It is open to the public for a nominal yearly fee and in the summer its used for rock climbing.

Tomorrow will probably be much the same. Hopefully we will get to look around the city a little before we head to Kirov. The competition runs over three days starting on the 8th.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Off to Russia

Its been a very busy three weeks since I came home from Romania. I have a full Korea post almost done that I'll be posting soon but haven't made time to finish. Hopefully all the layovers on this trip will be productive and I can finish up the full post for the other countries as well.

I'm on my on my way to Russia!