Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Halfway Log Dump

We spent the last week at the northern end of the Bruce Peninsula, at a small bouldering area in Bruce National Park called Halfway Log Dump. It's a beautiful area with boulders right on the shore of Georgian Bay. Here are Kristal and  I among some of the boulders, photo courtesy of my brother Roman, from the top of the escarpment.

During our first few days there the weather proved to be all over the place, with quite a bit of rain and cold. Here is Kristal escaping the cold in style.

Despite the rain, which mostly fell at night, or in the early morning, the boulders dried out super fast and we were able to climb most days. The area isn't very large, but there are many quality problems. Here is Kristal on Queensnake, V2...

climbing Cliffbrake, V3...

and topping out the easy slab Whooping Crane, V0.

We were once again treated to the variety of life on the peninsula, with several encounters with turtles...



The carnivorous Pitcher Plant

and more amazing views...

Sunset over Cyprus Lake

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


The weather over the last week has been fantastic, which has, of course, made great climbing even better. Jason and I spent a day enjoying the sun at Lion's Head, where the white cliffs overlook water so clear that from hundreds of feet away you can see fish swimming. Seriously. It's ridiculous.

Last weekend, an old friend of mine, Deryl, came up from London. We had a great time climbing, eating cake for breakfast and lunch and were thoroughly amused by hikers. As one group came up the trail we heard them loudly scolding their kids to stay out of the caves 'cause they're full of raccoon crap. Seconds later they came around the corner, spotted us and hollered, "Hey! Are you freebasing?" We didn't quite know what to say, but hiker number two quickly corrected him, "No, no. They've got rigs."

We finally managed to get some climbing shots. Here's one of the classic sport lines at Cape Croker, Secret Garden, 5.10a.

We also checked out some of the new sport lines at TV Tower, short but fun.

TV tower also has some amazing cracks. Every time we climbed one, I'd think, "wow, that's the best line on the escarpment" and then the next one would be even better. Here's me cleaning the amazing Excalibur, 5.11b, a splitter crack that starts with some stemming and ends up overhanging about 45 degrees.

After five days of hard climbing, we figured some ice cream was well deserved.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Life on the Peninsula

We've climbed some super fun routes over the last few days. Here is Kristal hanging out the top of the escarpment at Cape Croker. Although it may not look like much of a cliff, the trees hide a surprising number of quality climbs.

Here I am leading Jojo 5.10c.

As impressive as the climbing has been, the beauty of the area has been even more so. I could do without the fields of Poison Ivy, the bushwhacking through dense foliage and the swarms of mosquitoes, but otherwise it seems every day we stumble upon some cool plant...

Lady Slipper


Red Spotted Newt

or view.

Vulture circling over Sydney Bay

The Bruce Trail, which runs roughly 800km, from Niagara Falls to Tobermory along the Niagara Escarpment, provides some amazing hiking, and often takes you to cool areas off the beaten path.

The beaches on the west side of the peninsula are also pretty amazing. Here I am running in search of deep water at Oliphant beach.

You have to wade out about 200 meters before the water even reaches your knees. Because it's so shallow the water is incredibly warm.

Even the seagulls, usually the most annoying bird on earth, provided some entertainment. Here are a couple who decided to do some synchronized squawking for us.

And if all that doesn't keep you satisfied, you can always go hang out with Wiarton Willie.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Bruce

As the Niagara Escarpment makes it's way north through the Bruce Peninsula, various sections of the exposed cliff line provide some excellent climbing opportunities.  Most of it falls into the single pitch sport climbing category, which as most of our friends know isn't really our first choice of climbing style, but the scenery more than makes up for it.

We spent the last three days climbing at Lions Head, TV Tower and Cape Croker, and will probably spend the next week rotating between them. Our first day at Lions Head turned out to be a bit on the wet side, as we had to take shelter from passing showers on several occasions. Here is Kristal trying to keep dry under the tarp from our rope bag.

Thankfully the cliffs are incredibly exposed, and with the strong wind blowing we didn't have to wait long for the rock to dry.  While we were waiting we decided to hike part of the Bruce trail down to the shore line.

Lions Head is pretty interesting as the climbs are approached from the top, and many of them only climb the top half of the cliff (the bottom half tends to be relatively poor quality rock).  This means you rappel down from the top to a hanging or semi hanging belay stance (if you are lucky there will be a good ledge) and then climb back out. It makes for some pretty interesting and exposed climbing. Hopefully we'll get some decent climbing shots in the next week or so. In the meantime here's an epic shot of my feet as I'm sitting at the top of the cliff lowering Kristal down.

It's been mostly cloudy since we've been here, and pretty cold and wet, with rain cutting our climbing days short. Hopefully that changes soon and we get more clear skies like this.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Glen

We left Ottawa a few days ago, and were pretty excited to get back on the road. For a change we've decided to stay relatively close to home for the summer. Our plan is to climb on the Bruce Peninsula for a few weeks, enjoying some of the beautiful areas on the shores of Lake Huron and the Georgian Bay. From there we will probably make our way to the Maritime provinces, to check out what the east coast has to offer.

But first things first. We spent the last couple of days bouldering at Niagara Glen, a cool spot along the banks of the Niagara River, just north of the Falls.

The hills below are littered with limestone boulders hidden among the trees.

We've actually climbed there quite often in the past, but it was nice to come back and check it out after having been gone for so long. It was really great to once again meet up with some friends from Ottawa, who were there for the weekend. Here are Dax, Kelly, JM, Jeff, Jorge and Vittoria hanging out in front of the popular Danzig boulder.

Here is Vittoria on the classic Glen sandbag, No U-Turn 'V1'. The holds have been so polished from all the traffic over the years that it's probably more like V3 these days.

And JM topping it out.

Here I am on the classic Life O'Rielly V6, confident in JM's atypically good spotting technique.

Here is Kristal getting ready to climb in front of the Crusade Wall boulder.

And climbing the awesome Gillronamoe V3.

It was great to enjoy the awesome weather in such a great setting. Hopefully a good sign of what's in store for the rest of the summer.