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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Who is Okanagan Bouldering?

I've been meaning to write this for a while, but now that winter has finally set in and we're only climbing outside a day or so a week (yep, we can climb here all year round), I think it's time to get this going...

I'm a firm believer in giving credit where credit is due, and I think it's time to shed a bit of light on who the faces of Okanagan bouldering are, past and present. With a conservative estimate of well over 1200 established problems in the valley right now, we all owe a lot to the individuals who have put in the time and effort to open the doors of Okanagan bouldering for everyone to enjoy.

The nature of this endeavor goes well beyond the scope of one post, so please stay tuned for the sequels which will highlight some very important folks in our climbing community. On top of that, and maybe on a slightly self-serving note, this exercise will also help with the creation of a key section of the upcoming Okanagan Bouldering guidebook.

To start things off, I figured I'd highlight who I know to be the 3 most prolific developers in the Okanagan over the last bunch of years. Each of the following climbers has personally put up hundreds of problems, and has played a vital role in making Okanagan bouldering what it is today.

Doug Orr AKA "The King of the South"

Doug on Saturday Night in Mosside (V4) Rusty's Sack
Doug Orr has been at it in the Okanagan for about as long as anyone. He's south Okanagan through and through and over his tenure in the valley, he's explored, discovered, and developed more areas and lines than most people can dream of. Developing popular areas such as Rusty's Sack, Boulder on the Bench, Badger Bluff and The Butcher Shop among others (and in addition to all the work he's done in the sport climbing community in the south Okanagan), and then happily sharing the info, lines and offering a spot is a great indication of what Doug's about and what he's brought to the climbing community here. Just a couple of Doug's lines not to be missed (among many others) are The Roofer (V10) in Rusty's Sack and I'd Rather be Golfing (V5) at the Milltown Boulders.

Jason Duris AKA "Squeeze Holds Until they Cry Jay"

Jay on Crouching Dragon, Hidden Tiger (V11) Cougar Canyon- Photo: (Jess Zotto)
To the best of my knowledge, Jay is the most prolific developer in the history of Okanagan bouldering. He's explored, scrubbed and climbed so many lines, it's pretty hard to believe! He's a crusher on the rock and loves to share all of his info and experiences with anyone interested. For the last number of years, Jay has been an integral part of almost everything that we've done to enhance and promote bouldering in the region. He may not look for or receive the credit that he deserves for much of his work, but I know I wouldn't have been able to do what I have in bouldering here without his help. From the Boulderfields guidebook, to Rock the Blocs, to filming with Clayton, Jay has been a key member of the climbing community and a bit of credit here is well-earned. Just a couple of Jay's classic lines, not to be missed are Dangleau (V10) and Surf Arete (V8) in the Boulderfields.

Andy White (Me) "Crimp Down Like a Baby Andy"

Me on a new project in the Winter Pig Hotel

I suppose I've done a little bit in the bouldering community here in the Okanagan. To be honest, I can barely remember what I ate for lunch yesterday, so trying to remember how many lines or areas I've developed is near impossible. Let's just say it's a few. Since becoming a "boulderer" and realizing the potential of our "virgin" playground, I've had a fire for developing that's been hard to put out. Not only that, but along with others around here, I feel like Okanagan bouldering has something really special to offer, and as a result, I've put in the work to promote it and share it with the climbing community. I just hope that in the future I can continue to wander freely, putting up new lines and sharing them with others. If I can do that, I'm a pretty rich man. A couple of my favorite lines would be Driven (V11) in the Boulderfields and the Mistress (V9) in Cougar Canyon.

So, there's part one of a series of posts about Okanagan bouldering's key faces. If you happen to see any of these people or the ones yet to be mentioned, give them a high five for what they've done to open up this region's potential so we can all do what we love.

Stay tuned for more...

Monday, 10 November 2014

A Very Late Fall Visual Treat

So it's a been a little while again. That's mainly due to the warmer than usual fall temps we've experienced this year which puts us into a frenzy of squeezing all the outdoor juice out of the season before heading back into the gym for the winter.

Overall, this is another big photo/ video dump, but that's a good time, eh?

As more and more people are finding out, we're nearly done filming the Okanagan bouldering flick and Clayton passed along these frame grabs of our last day of filming in the Fields. Some beauties of Staci on Full Chub Morning Weezer (V6) and Surf's Up (V6) as well as Clayton on Tie my Rope (V1) and Hit the Lights (V5). Not much longer and y'all might get a little teaser!

This year, we've been putting up lines late into the season. Here are a couple of my recent additions. What Lies Beneath is in the Fields and Mega Mon is in Cougar Canyon.

Here are a few videos of Jay, Aaron and Adam on a new V4/5 line just put this past weekend in the Fields (yep, new lines going up in November in the Boulderfields- crazy talk!)




A few pics from last weekend in the Fields...

 Staci on the new One Bump Chump (V5)
Loic, Staci and I pulling on a newly cleaned, end of the season discovery. This project is beautiful!

And somehow, the Dominator Boulder keeps on pumping out great new lines late into the season. Here are a couple pics from Adam and Loic of the new lines...

Adam working the moves on Land Before Time, another great new line on the dominator wall.

Kris working the moves on a new v 4-5 at dominator.

And. finally, I leave you with some great shots passed along by Jakub and Solveig just after they left the Fields in the fall. Some of these really capture the essence of the Boulderfields experience.


Monday, 13 October 2014

Boulderfields Video from the just Go Climb Crew

As I've mentioned a few times before, we were lucky enough to have a great crew in Brandon, Ben and Gabi (the Just Go Climb crew) visit the Fields for nearly a month this year. They put up a bunch of new lines, repeated a bunch of others and when it was all said and done, created a great video edit. As promised, here it is!

The Fields, Freedom, and First Ascents from Just Go Climb on Vimeo.

Thanks a ton for coming up guys, you'll be missed for sure!

Check out the Just Go climb site here...


Friday, 3 October 2014

A Guy Named Jay

This is Jay...
If you've bouldered for any amount of time in the Okanagan over the last bunch of years, you've probably met Jay. He's a super motivated, strong, focused fella who is always keen to do what's best to develop the bouldering scene around here. In fact, there are probably only 3 dudes that can claim they've put up into the hundreds of lines around here, and Jay is definitely one of them.
I feel pretty lucky to know and boulder with Jay. For about 6 years now, we've been partners in crime. I guess it all started at some point a bunch of years back when we managed to emerge from opposite corners of the Fields and meet somewhere in the middle. It wasn't long after that that we were running around the Fields documenting hundreds of lines for the Boulderfields guidebook, then coming up with a crazy idea of starting a bouldering festival, then making a movie with Calyton, then another one, and now consistently guiding visiting crushers around while working on a huge, full-valley guidebook.
If it weren't for Jay, I'm sure I wouldn't be the climber I am today. For quite a while, we've had a bit of a somewhat unspoken (or at times, slightly spoken) competition going on. Through our hundreds of hours of jabbering each year, we're constantly updating each other on new lines and areas, progress, sends, etc. I think I can say for sure that this motivates the hell out of both of us! In my busy work months, Jay gets out and crushes and keeps me revved up. In my summers off (prime bouldering time for me), I'm pretty sure I keep him on his toes as well.
Jay while filming with Clayton on The Distillery (V11)- one of his many, awesome new lines (Thanks for the pic Clayton, I stole it from you)
This is in addition to the fact that we really work well together when it comes to putting up tough new lines. Maybe we're a bit different around here, and it's probably because we have the luxury of so much untouched rock, but when we go out exploring and find lines, we share everything with each other! This extends to the point where if I find a line that is steep, burly and has huge moves, I'll call Jay right away and tell him where to find his next project. This is even more true when he finds a mega thin, techy/ crimpy line. I usually get a call within minutes of the find and I know where my next project will be. I can safely say that since having Cedar, and subsequently having less time to explore, I wouldn't have been able to put up as many tough lines in the last couple years if it wasn't for Jay.

So, I guess what I'm saying is that I feel really lucky to have shared so much of my climbing time with this guy. I have a lot to thank him for and I think the whole Okanagan bouldering communtiy should give Jay a collective high-five for what he's done in the last bunch of years. He's a developing machine and without his hard work, many of the great things that have been happening around the Okanagan bouldering scene wouldn't be possible.
I got a call the other night from Jay telling me where to find my next project in the Fields. It's looking like another sunny weekend of crimpy pulling. Thanks buddy, and keep up the amazing work!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Some Busy Visitors!!!

As I've mentioned before in a number of posts, this year has been the busiest season ever in the Boulderfields. This is especially true with the number of travelling climbers coming to check out what the Okanagan bouldering scene has to offer.

Most recently, we've had a super motivated couple from Germany make a stop in the valley. Jakub and Solveig made their way up to the Fields after a stop in Squamish and they were quickly hooked. I think they originally planned on leaving a while ago, but they saw all the untouched rock and couldn't leave (wait a minute, I think I'm just repeating myself from a few other posts this year).

In the end, Jakub and Solveig got to work quickly and started scrubbing in another explored, yet unclimbed zone in the eastern Fields. It wasn't long before they put together a great collection of problems (and projects- with one possibly being V13+) to create the beginnings of a whole new area. This is a solid addition to what I think are already 5 or 6 new areas in the eastern Fields (all new as of this year!). This new zone is called the Burning Man area, and it's just north of the trail before reaching Serenity. There's a ton of rock out that way, so I know many more lines will be added soon enough.

Jakub (and almost everyone who's travelled and developed here this year- thanks y'all) was terrific at passing along FA details, pics and problem descriptions and here's a bit of the awesomeness!

Jakub on the Apfelstrudel Project (amazing roof)

Jakub on Mountain King Low (V8)
Also recently, we had to say a sad goodbye to Brandon, Ben and Gabi (the Just Go climb Crew), but only after they stayed in the Fields for nearly a month and repeated and put up a ton of terrific lines! I can't wait to get all their FA details and definitely can't wait to see their edit from the time they spent here. Check back soon if you're interested because I'll share their video as soon as I see it.
These guys were great to have around and we got to spend a fun last day in the valley with them in Cougar Canyon. Here are a few pics...
Ben on a fun V4 line Jay refers to as "The Static Dyno"

A couple shots of Brandon on "Crouching Dragon, Hidden Tiger"- V11
I think it's great to see so many people travel to the Okanagan to sample the rock. So far, the reviews have been great, and I hope next season we continue to see even more people make the trip. Who knows, maybe soon some of these big-time crushers will take the area seriously and come put a few of these long-standing projects to rest?

Saturday, 27 September 2014

The Fields Keep Givin' as the Season Nears an End

Here's a bit of an update filled with some Boulderfields visuals. A ton more lines are still going up even as the temps start to dip! At this point, I can't even estimate how many new lines have gone up this year and can only assume that The Fields easily hold well over 800 problems at this point with hundreds more to go! Next season will surely see us pass the magical 1000 problem mark!

This is a short edit of a couple recent lines I put up (one east of the Serenity boulders and one in the High Speed Dirt area)

Another nice FA in the High Speed Dirt area

Loic on the FA of Darkness Closing (a great, new line east of the Serenity boulders)

Jay's been like a spirit bear lately. Almost impossible to get a pic of him! Here he is on a terrific cave line he named Just Go Climb- V9 (named after the Just Go Climb crew- Brandon, Ben, Gabi- who stayed in the Fields for nearly a month and discovered this beauty)

Jess repping the ladies on the classic V Power (V6/7)

Staci crushing on Surf's Up Low (V7)

 Ben Dory stylin' the sun hat on a sweet V4 dyno Jay recently added to the High Speed Dirt boulders
 Staci working around the dyno

Kay on her new addition to the boulders east of Serenity (Velcro Spider- V1)
Staci on an unnamed V2-ish line in the Golden Hour Boulders
Meshkat on Golden Hour (V5)
Pretty beautiful in The Fields this time of year
 As always, if you'd like more info on Okanagan bouldering, please let me (Andy) know at okbouldering@gmail.com

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Okanagan Bouldering Flick

As many people around here already know, but others may not, we're currently in the process of filming a bouldering flick that will highlight areas we're lucky enough to frequent throughout the Okanagan Valley. The film is being shot and put together by none other than the amazingly talented local climber and creator of last year's "The Fields- A Bouldering Film," Clayton Arnall.
Since the spring and leading into next spring, Clayton's been cruising around with a small, but dedicated crew of local developers, shooting prime lines throughout the valley. I'm super excited for this project to come together next year. No date for when it'll drop has been formalized, but hopefully late spring will see this film blow the lid off what we have here!
Here's a sequenced shot from yesterday when we filmed the incredible Heart of Chaos (V11) in The Fields. This is a screenshot and it gives a good idea of the quality of image Clayton puts together!
Stay tuned for much more info on this project...