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Friday, 24 January 2014

A Busy Outdoor Winter Season

It doesn't seem like those words should all be in the same title. Busy is not the first word that usually comes to peoples' minds when they think about bouldering outdoors during Canada's lovely winter. Still, the weather has generally played nice for the season and that's resulted in a bunch of people getting out to boulder in the Okanagan over the last couple months.

Earlier in the winter Jay and Loic started making trips down to the Winter Pig Hotel in Penticton. This is the massively long roof/ cave that saw it's first development last year. They quickly got to work playing on a number of new lines, but very notable is the addition of the low start to an aleady difficult, unclimbed line cleaned last year. This thing is really long and every move is tough. Even with a solid effort, this baby isn't close to a send yet. Best estimates right now put it in the V12/13 range! After that, Jay got to work on a couple other cool lines, one including an awesome roof crack and the other has a great foot first sequence. Both of these will likely fall in the V9/10 range and Jay is pretty darn close to FA'ing them.

Here's a video of jay on the roof crack line.


The view from the Winter Pig

Jay starting the roof crack problem

Try hard face near the end

Ryan starting the roof crack

Jay on the foot first line

In addition to these lines, Ryan Williams and I managed to add a new V9ish super thin seam in the Pig Hole (the line that felt much harder last year). If you like thin, hard crimps, this is the line for you! With a tricky sequence and very technical movement, we found it quite fun. About a week later, I also managed to sneak back into the Winter Pig and bag the FA of a long, powerful connection between Jay's roof crack and the already established Greased Pig (V6) and this connection feels like V8/9 or so.

Adding to all that action, I know that Garrett, Doug, Jay, and Nikita have all been back into the Pig Hole since then. Needless to say, it's getting a ton of action (almost every weekend) and beauty new lines are still going up.

Aside from the Winter Pig, a good amount of people have also been hitting up Pebble Beach. With a number of new lines near the end of the beach adding to the long-established lines as well as the calm, scenic surroundings, lots of people love getting out to Pebble. I know the Heywood boys are still making trips out there and just this past weekend, Braden pulled the FA of a line scrubbed this past season which falls somewhere in the V6-8 range. We managed to get down to Pebble a little while back and I was almost able to get the topo finished for the new guidebook. It's funny how there are a lot more lines there than most people think... with a bunch more climable rock mixed in with the pooh pooh.

Cedar keeping it real at Pebble

Taking a break between drawing topos


Even more action is happening almost as far south as the boulders go in the Okanagan. Doug has been putting a load of work into retro-cleaning the Bighorn area just south of OK Falls. Yet another of Doug's previously established areas from years ago, the Bighorn rarely sees any action. However, with the huge boom of bouldering in the region right now, Doug- in true Doug fashion- has shared all the info for the area and gone back in and done some work so that it's in tip-top shape. There are some established classics here with what sound like some of the hardest lines around waiting for their FA's. I love how we can say that about almost any area in the Okanagan right now! A huge thanks to Doug for getting people psyched about the area.

Here are a couple videos from Doug and Curtis's day at the Bighorn yesterday.




The Bighorn with Vasseaux Lake in the background (thanks Doug for the pic)

Otherwise, I've been hearing about many peoples' forays into areas throughout the valley, and I'm super excited that we have a much larger, dedicated bouldering scene developing here. I keep saying this, but people haven't believed that it's super good here in the past, and then they get out bouldering in the Okanagan and realize that it's for real!

Finally, I also want to give a big shout-out to Stu Smith who just started Grandwall Skin Repair. Stu is a strong climber based in Squamish and he made a trip up last year to develop a whack of new lines at Boulder on the Bench. He just sent me up a bunch of his product (oh man it's gonna get a workout setting the comp this weekend) and I'm stoked to help represent this stuff. If you want more info let me know or check out Grandwall Skin Repair on Facebook.

Grandwall Skin Repair "From the gym to the big walls!"

As usual, if you have any questions, comments, or FA info, please email me at okbouldering@gmail.com

1 comment:

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