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'.