Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy Holidays

It was good to spend this Christmas at home on the west coast. In the few days preceeding the holiday I wasn't convinced I was completely in the spirit of things. But the snow, the treats, and the fact that my mother is a wonderful cook made me come around. Besides, I find it really easy and fun to shop for people I care about.

This Christmas Eve was a wacky one, for sure. After meeting friends and doing some last minute shopping downtown, I met up with my friends Will and Elsa the dog in West Vancouver in the late afternoon. The sun was shining and it was so beautiful that we both had one thing on our mind - deep water soloing.

We arrived at the edge of the seaside traverse about 40 minutes till sunset. The sun-kissed rock was still retaining a lot of heat (for Canada), and the high tide was sending larges waves crashing down upon the cliff. What better training for the alpine than this, I thought, as I removed all valuables from my pockets. I was pretty sure I wasn't going to make it across, one way or another, and I was trying to push the reality of how cold the ocean is and my lack of swimming ability to the furthest reaches of my mind.

I got wet, really wet. A rouge wave of icey saltwater came and soaked me, instantly sending my teeth a chattering any reducing the contents of my chalkbag to soddon, milky mush. I managed to reverse the sketchy moves I was already commited to. Will soloed out.

When I knocked on my parents door half an hour later, I didn't tell them why I was wet, instead hid my cothing with a jacket untill I could change.

That night my car was broken into. The thieves smashed a window, bypassed a few grand worth of climbing and rigging equipment, several pieces of high-end outerwear, and instead made off with my Ipod, my sweet sunglasses [ouch!], and my Chevy racing hat [green flames (!)]. All I hope is that someone listens to the music on my mp3 player before they wipe the memory, that stuff changes lives.

Merry Christmas, everyone!


Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Anderson on

My good friend Craig McGee is responsible for adding 3 very high quality new alpine rock routes in the Anderson River Valley Range of BC. McGee is motivated to the point of suspect ADD, and is also newly engaged (congrats to him and Ruby). I was involved with one of these along with Brad White, and it still ranks as some of the nicest climbing I have done!

A new trail has been cut to get into the area, so now there is no reason not to check out the awesome established lines and explore the amazing potential this area has to offer.

Read the Alpinist report.

Happy holidays,


Friday, November 30, 2007

Mia Patagonia!

As January draws nearer, I am having a very hard time controlling my excitement and nervousness. Will Stanhope and myself are travelling to the Patagonian region of Argentina to [hopefully] bag some towers.

Free climbing FA's on turbo granite is the mission, and the granite there is some of the best on Earth. The only problem is, weather-wise, we are trying to send in one of the most hostile environments as yet discovered by man..

Will's my best friend, we make a great team. I appreciate the fact that we can talk each other into the stupidest objectives while trimming down the gear to an uncompromizing minimum. Yea, this approach has lead to some memorable epics, but the sting is not long after forgotten, it seems. We are looking forward to applying our kamakazi-style tactics and free climbing rally ability to 6000 feet of mixed rock and ice in one of the most beautiful arenas for sport on this planet. Who knows, a weather window may never appear and we may spend six weeks drinking scotch in basecamp. We make great drinking partners though, too... Infact, it's Friday night and I think we'll go and do a little 'training'..

Very large thank-yous go out to both the Mountain Equipment Co-op and Metolius for kicking some serious support our way!

Hasta luego,


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Team Canada in Yosemite


Well, it's my birthday and I am sitting in the Lodge, unable to lift my arms from burns on a finger crack yesterday, listening to an awesome retro hip-hop mix by one of the talented dudes in Certified Bananas. Bubba's climbing with Samuel, the Swiss powerhouse, the boys Will and Jer are currently sleeping after stumbling back to camp at 7am this morning, back from a terrific rally of the NW Face of Half Dome - free!

Apparently, Will on-sighted the Zig-zags by headlamp and stuck the final crux 12b in freezing temps! The pair endured an unplanned bivy in a trailside outhouse with one down jacket between them. The unlucky alternate was forced to rap their ropes around them in a futile attempt at staving off the freezing temperatures.

It definitely feels good to be in Yosemite and representing for a change. All too often this place schools even the most studied of granite climber. I consider myself and Will's team free of the West Face of Leaning Tower to be my personal highlight so far. I was very pleased to come away with a no-falls ascent of such hard, low-percentage climbing. Of course, coming back for a bit of Monster O-dub retrobution on me and Bubba's El Cap mission was also rewarding, the fact that I failed on the boulder problem pitch was both frustrating, and motivating. I have climbed the least amount this past year after my strength-sapping trip to Waddington then any other year I can remember. The fact that I have been able to confidently cruise hard and often scary terrain closing in on my strength limit is comforting reassurance that I am becoming a far better climber. Any way you dice it though, I was bummed to fail on a pitch I did second try a year ago..

In other news, Will did the Excellent Adventure while Bubba and I were across the Valley on the Phoenix. An ascent is not valid without a celebratory Croft fist pump at the top, a la Masters of Stone.

Well, that is pretty much it so far, except for our successfull infiltration of the Staff Halloween party. No arrests this year.. I went as a 'junior park ranger'.



Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Yo. I am hanging out in Yosemite with a good crew from all over. Yesterday Will and I checked out the Westie Face on Leaning Tower - so steep, so slick, so amazing! I am hoping that with another attempt it will fall free... not a single pitch is easier than 5.12, bananas! In other news, Brad White came off Astroman with a send, nice work! Samuel went up Freerider to 'check it out' and hopes to go for the send with Will, meanwhile Ross and Crosby are currently also on route, and hope to top out tonight!

Ciao for now,


Monday, October 08, 2007

Fall in Yosemite

I am off tomorrow morning with my bro Brad 'Bubba' White en route to Yosemite California, the land of big granite, big tourists, and overfed wildlife. First stop is Bend, Oregon to drop by the Metolius factory and pick up a portaledge and other big wall goodies. Maybe we'll even get a few pitches in at Smith in the afternoon, too.

The Captain.. the ground zero of North American freeclimbing right now.

The big objective of the trip is the Golden Gate freeroute on the SE Face of El Cap. I've been dreaming about this line ever since it was first established by the Huber brothers in '01. It's a big freaking route and I am pretty sure I am going to get my ass handed to me, but it is just fun to play around up there without all the gack and gear required for a standard aid ascent.

There is going to be a terrific crew sending in the Valley this year.. I can hardly wait to get down there!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

A Pogo Named Ogo

I just rolled into town and was greeted with a very wet Vancouver evening. I was travelling home from Penticton and work for Russ Turner in the Skaha Bluffs, instructing 45 teenagers from West Point Grey Secondary in Vancouver. Will Stanhope was working his very first contract as a rock guide too, and in between polling the kids on the 50 vs. Kanye battle, Will made sure he educated all on Ogopogo safety. According to Will, pogo identifies the species of reptile, and Ogo is the name of the Okanagan Lake inhabitant (The Lock Ness Monster being another identified Pogo). The most important safety precaution when dealing with the Ogopogo, says Will, is to never approach the Ogopogo. A very concerned student named Franklin was adamant that there should be more scientists studying the creature, we all agreed thoroughly.

I threw the rock rack into the trunk before heading east as I heard about an unclimbed roof crack on one of the Bluffs' northern-most crags, the Jug Haul Wall. In Skaha Rock Climbs Howie Richardson describes the the line as 'the biggest unclimbed roof in Skaha, split by a crack'. Well, Skaha isn't exactly a Mecca of roof cracks nor a bastion of traditional climbing, but I was very intrigued and willing to hike (and hike some more) to get to what very well may be a disappointment.

Will was easily convinced to come along as he was keen to continue in his tradition of establishing short, hard, poorly protected gear routes in Skaha. Several years ago Will and I scrubbed a short seam on a crag east of the Euphorium. The only gear we could find was a 00 Metolius Power Cam about mid-way up. Undeterred, Will went for the lead and the result was Groundfall Alice's, a stout 5.11 named for the local strip joint Slack Alice's, an establishment neither of us were old enough to patronize at the time. I remember a young Will being quite disappointed that Sean Dougherty, the man behind wouldn't add the line to the online list of new routes in the bluffs.

Groundfall Alice's
The thin seam of Groundfall Alice's

Groundfall Alice's
Will, inspired by a 'borrowed' Blurr hoodie (it's finders keepers in the Isuzu) gives his best B-Unit stance at the base of Alice's

As we stood under the roof looking up at the unclimbed seam I couldn't help but think of some similarities between the two routes.. As we pondered how hilarious it would be to be known for putting up scary, sort of stupid trad routes at a destination sport cliff, Will booted up for an attempt.

A local climber had apparently tried the line before and a few small slider nuts were in place in the roof. Will dogged out to the lip and managed to back up the crux piece, a #1 Slider Nut, with a 00 Metolius TCU. Thin. After a few tries at the sequence, he handed the sharp end over saying 'just don't die', and I went up to take a look.

The Pogo Named Ogo Crack

I struggled and chalked up a couple more holds, then lowered off to try and lead it from the ground. I was unsuccessful, but found a very thin crimp that set the body up for the reach to a miserable sloper at the lip. From here, it was just a matter of sticking a ridiculously fun flying-squirrel move around the lip to an arete jug. Yeah, definitely a silly route, but fun nonetheless. The boulder grade might be something like V6 or V7, so 5.12+?

We both did it in the next try or two, pinkpoint. The stunning line has yet to see a redpoint, integral. You don't need much, but bring the 00 and 0 tcu. Before we sent we even had a name for Skaha's biggest, boldest, proudest roof crack. In a land of hard roof cracks, The Pogo Named Ogo Crack is a King Line...

The Jughaul Wall
Gangsta Will and the new route..

Sunday, September 23, 2007

COLT Fall Squamish trip

I had a great week in mid-September working with Jim Miller and his students on the rock in Squamish! Canadian Outdoor Leadership Training (COLT) is a great program for adults looking to develop a career in the outdoors while gaining amazing life experience and personal growth.

Skye all smiles on our Snake / Squamish Buttress day

We had a students from all walks of life linked by one attitude - appreciation of the outdoor lifestyle. Another common attribute shared by all participants was that they were crankers! Keen and quick learners, we managed to get through a huge curriculum in such a short time while sending some big lines on the Chief!

Ulric from Denmark, happy to be through the crux of the awesome Split Pillar pitch on the Grand Wall

Snapping a quick digital momento

Ulric on the Flats pitch of the Grand Wall.. only 1 more pitch to go!

Thanks all for an awesome week! For more information on the COLT program check out the COLT website.


Friday, August 31, 2007

Hello all, and welcome to the reincarnation of Jason Kruk's online identity.

My vision is to use this blog as an easily updatable venue for my current thoughts, projects, and interests.

Please leave a comment here or drop me a line via the contact section of my website.