87. Free Ice Climbing Guide to Nova Scotia

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Well… it’s that time of year again.  If you said, October you’d be correct.  But also, it’s that time of year when it’s been so long since you froze your ass off, while hanging from a giant popsicle with medieval weapons and dubious pro, that you start thinking. “Hey, ice climbing isn’t that miserable, I’m excited.  Soon I’ll get to suffer in a new and frosty way.”

If this is your thought process, you’re clearly, like me, an idiot with a penchant for suffering.   However, we, the fortuitous few with this kind of proclivity for misery are the lucky.  Life is a pile of suffering, and if you can take some sort of sick joy in immersing yourself in that reality, then real misery will be easier to confront. 

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Seb on the FA of Equinimity WI5 Black Rock NS

I’m savagely thankful for each day I get to torture myself in some ingenious new way.  Thus, I’m doing my best to share joy.

So if you keep track at MEC, they’re all sold out of the ice guide to Nova Scotia.  I sold the last few hard copy guidebooks to Climb Nova Scotia.  You might be able to get a copy off them… Check their sweet new website.  

However, the power of technologizing is amazing.

This is a pdf for the Ice Guide to NS! TADA! FREE!!

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Here’s a low quality original of the back cover… and also one of the coolest ice routes in Nova Scotia.

Also, there’s been some local Nova Scotia ice crushing by the prolific Max Fisher.  He put together a nice little guide to some of the routes he’s put up in the Cape Chignecto area.  This is a beauty area, that likely has lots more potential for new routes.   It’s about 3 hour drive from Halifax, but only 2 hours from Moncton or PEI. 

This is a link to Max’s sweet blog and his Ice Guide to the Chignecto area!  TADA! FREE!!

So there it is, a free guide to increased joy through suffering acceptance.  Have at, supplicate the higher powers for a cold winter, and go kick some goals!

dscn1242Moose River, Nova Scotia.  With all of the ice.   Photo cred Max.

Well… I remain unsponsored, if anyone at  Scarpa/Arcteryx/BD or whoever have some gear laying around and wants to donate.  I’m your man.   I remain confident I’ll be hearing from you soon. Fame, fortune, and free stuff.  Here I come!

img_1582Also, if you live in the Rockies.  Ski season has started.  Here we are hiking 32km for ten turns in not enough snow.

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img_1562So we went higher up… and wore tutu’s in a white out.

img_1456Luke… in a tutu… in a whiteout.

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img_1435Skiing without seeing.  No tutu.  Alex Armstrong skis by smell.  She’s sponsored… can you climb by smell?  #k2alberta  #hookmeuptoo

img_1322Here I am suffering on Swiss Cheese M9

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86. Great gear for the financially impaired

IMG_8323Chicks Call me Daddy 11c at Lake Louise.  Chicks are also impressed by my uninhibited pant flexibility. 

So despite my rugged good looks, wit and superlative climbing career, Arcteryx/Scarpa/Columbia has yet to sponsor me.  I assume my contact info was lost in the mail.  However, I’m not chagrined.  This unfortunate turn of events has led to a unique and positive learning opportunity for yours truly.  I’ve achieved a level of frugality unbeknownst to my sponsored brethren.   

Now I don’t mean to say that I manage my finances wisely, however, I choose to freely wonder around playing in the mountains, hardly a system for economical success.   My frugality lies in finding great mountain apparel, brand new, for cheap. 

img_8372Lake Louise is possibly the easiest place to take epic photos.  Alex cruising 10a

My Arcterxy/Scarpa/Columbia clad friends may declare such a feat impossible.  Hogwash to our costly clad brethren.  Dirtbags take note, the days of paying $100 for great pair of climbing pants are gone.

Wants pants that are tough, flexible, comfy and purchasable by the pallet.  Allow me to introduce, the Urban star.  These are the jeans of dirtbag climbing legend.  Yup, they’re from costco.  I shit you not.

img_8551Here I am rocking the Urban stars.  Spandex jeans… also make your butt look more then appetizing.

IMG_0798They even work for the whole walking thing

Upside. 

-Stretchy like Yoga pants (not that I’ve ever had a pair… of yoga pants… but to be honest my body doesn’t bend in such a way that these pants limit anything.)

-They seem to last  (These pants are pretty hard to kill… not saying a knife and some anger wouldn’t do the job, but if that’s a day to day concern, you’re fucked anyhow).  I blow through a pair of Carharts quicker then these beasts.

-Comfy in that special way  (They don’t cup my balls in that way I don’t like when I’m wearing a harness… you either know what I’m talking about or not…because you’ve got small balls.  Ha.  I’m laughing like a child as I write this)

-Cheap as child labour  ($15… a pair.  I don’t have an adequate understanding of world finances to understand how this shit is possible, or if ethical, but that’s a shit cheap pair of pants.)

img_1315Alex follows up the last crappy bit of Takawakakaka Falls 5.7  The book puts the route at about 1300ft long.  Though most of that is traversing… it’s more of an invigorating walk then a climb.  There is however, a cave at the end!

Downside.

-The child labour sweat gives the pants on odd smell.  

-They’re kinda hot.  My special bits get sweaty in a way I’m not quite jiving.

-They’re a cotton spandex blend.  Cotton you say?  That’s shit in the rain.  Well, if you’re climbing in the rain, you’re pooched anyways.

Go Pants!

image1 (1)Climbers tips for the hordes

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img_8565Also have had the chance to pursue my other favourite activity.  Larching… it’s like leafing, but more relevant in the Canadian rockies.  Here we combined Bouldering and Larching up at RockBound Lake.

img_0142-2Here’s Fred Giroux following up on our Epic First Ascent of a route on Yamnuska we’ve dubbed “Red Dream Shirt Bed” 5.11b/8 310m give or take. Requires exquisite route finding skills, a determination to keep traversing at random, and a strict commitment to not checking the topo. A classic any day of the week.  By this I mean, we started up Red Shirt 5.8, then got lost and ended up on Dreambed 11b.

IMG_8483Oh… and I went to Rifle, Co.  It’s super america amazing.  Ben Quek in the Skull cave.

85. Fricks, Chicks and Pics The wonderful and subtle art of self motivation

We seem to delight in entertaining the fortuitous folly that we are the sage and sovereign rulers of our will.  That we, as humans, can choose some random and seemingly insurmountable obstacle, to pit oneself against, and by sheer shit dogged tenacity, we can kick whatever goals we wish. 

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Attempting to kick goals.  The classic Dance Me Outside 12a

We love to indulge in our society’s classic myth; that any self starter with bucket load of personal drive and a little bit of luck, can and will, achieve any ambition they set themselves to.  This obviously ignores reality, the truth that the world is fraught with systemic social and genomic norms of inequality.  It sucks, but it is reality.

Poet William Henley famously wrote “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”  Despite this, he had TB and was periodically losing legs, and more to my point, went on to inspire the classic, Treasure Island character Long John Silver, thus leaving the indelible mark of being the only Victorian Poet to further America’s long lasting love affair with fast food fish and chips.  Fact.  I shit you not, look it up.  Amazing, I know.  The take home lesson here is thus; fate does as it pleases, we don’t master it.  However, sure as shit, we humans have a wonderfully admirable trait; that we can and will, trick ourselves into thinking we have control.  For that matter, we can trick ourselves into just about anything.  Magic sky friend comes to mind. 

IMG_1028Along those lines, we surely will find that “self motivation,” is a merely marvellously clever ruse we lay upon ourselves, and consequently we can frame “it” any way we want. However, if we drop kick the beast of self motivation, and tackle it straight, we can devise certain dubious wisdom.

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Fred cruising the perfect ice in Kicking Horse Canyon

How do I up my self motivation game and kick all my life/mountain related goals, you ask?

I propose, the factual and fundamentally Darwinian based motivations of “Fricks, Chicks, and Pics”,

High Fricks…  Short hand for the devious, but ever pursued “Friction.”  It represents what perfection.  All the objective obstacles are removed.   It’s climbing in autumn’s cold crisp dry weather. Friction is all time, it’s hard to fall off them sloppy crimps. We’re talking green light, zero humidity, we are talking all time.  Conditions are perfect, beyond perfect. 

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White out in Hidden Bowl… Well, Shit.  Motivation Low.

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High Viz and untouched in Hidden Bowl… Perfect.  Motivation High

This is the shit of legends, like skiing blue bird days of fresh soft plush powder, avi danger zero, and the soft stunning light that comes near the end of long days. In real life, it’s easy to quit trying and let the motivation die.  All you need is a day of the drizzly misery which nature is more than happy to provide.  Nevertheless, there will inevitably come the rare rapturous day when everything is perfect.  You find yourself in an position to freely pursue whatever purpose you’ve chosen.

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Grassi lakes steep  Holy Shit 11c

At this point, when nature, for once, seems to be on your side, and everything comes together, and you find yourself unable to slay dragons. Well then… then you are, straight up, shit out of luck.  You are doomed to a life of goals unkicked.

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Training session with the Skull of Destiny!

2) Chicks…  Or, to avoid gender exclusivity, any attractive member of the opposite sex. 

Nothing promotes “trying hard”, like attempting to show your physical prowess to the other gender.  Anyone who’s been to a climbing gym can attest to this effect, I think we’ve all seen some pretty intense levels of effort put on to impress others (whether it’s an effective method with which to impress, remains highly debated). Personally, as a seasoned self motivator, when I climb I generally endeavour to surround myself with a pack of naughty she-huskies (actually in all moments of my life). Try it, we’ve got millions of years of evolution backing this system, you won’t regret it.  Goals will be kicked.

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Kieran impressing the ladies

3) Pics… Nothing ruins a photo shoot like getting stuck at the first bolt.   

The goal of any modern sports enthusiast is to take the most intense moments of our lives, and interrupt them to capture our latest profile picture.  Truly, no nobler goal exists.  Now you can’t have profile photos that contain the climbing of grades well within your ability. 

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Everyone knows, to impress the internet, there’s nothing wrong with a little misleading deciption.  It’s all about displaying photos that may or may not reflect your actual ability, but reflect you in a favourable light… and to be honest, first bolt photos just won’t cut it.  So you’ll need to tap into  that herculean effort and hit that third bolt, and with that, hit high societal gaols, and acquire that perfect profile pic.

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Cameras out.  Time to crank out some pull ups!

So there it is, all you need to kick your climbing up a notch.  Follow my lead, harness your inner narcissism, and embrace motivation by tapping into Frics, Chicks and Pixs.  The time is now, get off your butt.  Surround yourself with beautiful people, pack your camera, head out in in perfect weather and kick some goals. 

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Big lou performing for the Chicks and Pics!

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Also, this is what happens when you roll a truck down a mountain until something stops it.   Take home message, you can’t kick goals if your dead.  So drive Safe!

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Ice climbers will like this.  His inbox is still up at work in Prince George.  What a legend.

84. This happened; Recap Edition

Ok… here’s a quick break down of what a dirt bags year can look like.

This took about 5 months… so that all of the fun can happen.  Arrived back in the Bow Valley at just that hell of a time when the world is too cold for rock climbing, but to hot for ice climbing.   I had to make due.

IMG_6553This route is Swiss Cheese…. it’s a dry tool route originally graded M11.  Planting makes you so skinny, that after months of not climbing, I did this route on my third try.   Petzl take note.  My new thing is to rule the “off the couch” climbing scene.

Then this happened…IMG_6738

Snow… a lot of it.  So I had to make due.

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We did a lot of snow walking… so we could do this

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And it just kept coming… so I suffered on

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I was so brave…

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After a lot of that… managed a bit of this.

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Then for some reason I don’t yet truly understand… this happened… for free… my life rules

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Then it was Christmas… and I was stuck with these crappy skiers.  So I ate lots of bacon while they tried to learn to ski normal.

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Notice the poor body position… leaning to far back.

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This one is just straight up facing the wrong way…

Today this happened… Steep snow walking

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…but it happened for this

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I continue to suffer…  I’m sure you’re all sympathetic towards my plight.

Anyway, gonna get back on the blogging train… Petzl, take note!

83. Zen and the art of being crusty

Well, it’s been some 4 months that I’ve been lost to working in the bush.  It was as per usual a glorious harrowing joy.   No other experience can assuage ones need for escape from this barbaric slaughter house we call modernity, as the sound prescription of awe for the natural world, combined with a soothing amount of self induced punishment.  Yes, punching yourself in the nuts and climbing also fills that void… but, as far as I can tell, that’s about it.

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Rich making it happen in Owens

However, these episodic escapes from the comforts of life do not leave you without imparting their own indelible mark.  That mark, is the glorious self induced quality we call; crustiness.   

Crustiness; it’s more then a excellent ideal, a fine veneer of crustiness should be the goal of every climbers and outdoors persons career.  That, and if you’re a man, growing a sweet beard.

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Slightly further along in making it happen

Here’s why crustiness is so good.

#1.  It’s that point, when you can stand up on top of rock, knowingly look off into the middle distance and say in a slow drawl “weathers turning”, and everyone else nods submitting with awe to your superior meteorological knowledge, of which it is assumed you’ve gained by intimate connection with the natural world through hard living and punching bears in the face.

#2.  Crustiness is also important in all social situations.  Attaining crustiness gives you many an advantage over your average outdoorsperson/climber;  your tired bleary-eyed morning stare will often be mistaken for perceived wisdom, when in fact it reflects a crippling need for caffeination. 

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Naked ski patrol… probably the best photographer experience I’ll ever have.

#3.  It reflects an ability to give zero fucks about suffering, an important step towards transcendence and bondage.

#4.  Lastly and possibly most importantly, it allows you to cut through the piles of bullshit,  that those lacking an appropriate level of crust, often exude.  Some people (who lack crustiness) may perhaps, in reference to climbing, say shit like “it’s moving mediation for my soul”,  and then post photos of them engaging in some sort of whimsical limb tearing yoga with lots of scarves in an alpine environment, this will inevitably be hash tagged #blessed.  Crusty people would never do this, crusty people would have the appropriate reaction to these kind of things, which is a visceral response that may include puking up in ones mouth and then doing something awesome whilst giving zero fucks.  And if so inclined would finish there day with mountain top yoga, cause they can.  Crusty folk are a quirky breed.   

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Crux grrring in Red Rocks

Now you might be thinking, aren’t crusty people just assholes?!!  But alas no, there is a fundamental difference .  Both have the feeling of entitlement that allows them to spew their outspoken cantankerous point ,of view.   The difference is crustiness is like wisdom, earned through suffering, hardship and drop kicking adversity in balls.  Assholes are in contrast, are just assholes.

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Reaching this state of crustiness, you can to transition from the shit eating joy of youth to the higher art form of grizzled crust.  Truly this should be everyones goal, the step up from transcends, Maslovs hierarchy 6th step.  If you believe in yourself and do your best to include unbearable and pointless suffering in your day to day life , you too can be crusty… or some bullshit like that.

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The kind of nonsense that goes down from bush crustiness

82. Upgrading to success

For Sale…
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Ultimate Ice Axes of ultimate destiny! Colloquially known as the BD Viper. These weapons of mass destruction are the strong mans tool of choice. With the ability to displace vast amounts of ice, they offer an experience those of the utmost physical burl and mental robustness crave. If you need to pre-emptively shut down a russian revolution, or bash the sweet mercy Jersus out of the local classics, this is the instrument for the job! They are the veritable Excalibur of axes.

Now these particular tools are experienced, which might sound to the untrained ear as “used to shit”, but lets reframe that. Just like a new sex partner, you want ice tools that know what they’re doing. It’s simply safer that way. These axes have seen things! And they’re not fazed! Honey Badgers of the ice world! They’ve frozen their tuckass in Norway, slammed around all the Rockies classics, FA’d all across the maritimes, and even repelled intruders from a poorly thought out evening in Bangkok. I guarantee these tools won’t let you down.

Also these are multi-purpose. They double as Back Scratchers! Got an itch, that reading 50 shades of grey just can’t scratch. Well these Back Scratchers can deal with all sorts of freaky itches.

Of note… They come with an extra fucking pick! How sweet is that!?! No charge!
You might ask yourself, “Why, are those sexy ass tools of ultimate destiny covered in green bike tape?”… Because; 1) Hipsters love the colour choice! 2) It insulates the tool on those especially cold days! 3) It is so grippy, you couldn’t possibly fall off due to loss of grip. Literally, you’ll stick to these tools!

Now you think?! “These tools are amazing! Why could he possibly be selling them?!” Well, it hurts to say, but I’m getting old and soft. I can no longer handle the magnificent destructive power of these ice axes. I’m being forced to be a bitch and go Nomic. Help a brother out?!
350?!
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Getting after it in the meowtains…
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Sheri (member of team Xtreme) cruises up the ultra classic This House of Sky, 500m’s of WI3

So, I’ve had what in the lives of most mere mortals would be considered the best possible month of ones life. As I’ve recently retired, and with this new found retirement, I’ve manage to spend almost every single day, doing something awesome.

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Nette making his way up pitch 2 of Louise Falls WI4+

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The joy of Ski Touring

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Charging!

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Charging more!

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Why so much Charging!?

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Tree Charging!

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Charging through the air?!! This isn’t safe!?!

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Flat Charging!

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More Flat Charging! On the way to Bow Falls

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Topping out Grotto Falls WI3

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Thin Conditions in +5C

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Different schools of thought on how to prep for a hard lead?!

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Topping out in the Ghost Wilderness Area

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Time to Charge relaxing!

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Charging Food!!

81. Gettin’ after it…

 

10338531_10152586963446843_912471047078375609_oDirt bag livin’… no more!  Ok… well, probably some more.  It’s hard to break old habits.

So, I haven’t written for a while. This is because I’ve been busy driving around the continent pretending to be getting after it…. and mostly just being lazy. This is secretly what most dirtbag climbers do. Cats of out of the bag. Now, why someone would put a cat in a bag is another matter.

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Anyway, went to the desert and met up with some trouble makers. Butts were kicked, loved it. Matt wrote about it with the articulation one would assume of an academic warrior poet of his prowess.

Check him out here  http://journeytoalpinism.com/2014/12/12/trip-report-indian-creek/

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Tower of the desert variety

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Artsy as shit, hipsters be jealous.

Then I went to Vegas.

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The thing about the city of vice is they’ve got temptation dialled in.   Whenever you top out, you’re tired and hungry.   But when you top out, you can always spot the strip!  “Come on Jamie, screw climbing, let’s have some fun!”

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Instead we woke up ungodly early and climbed some bigger objectives.

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Lots of climbing, stuck ropes, and general adventure.

Then after a bit I ended up here. It is a kind of nowhere, famous for nothing at all and has an appeal because of just that.

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This is Yellowknife, it was -40C.  It’s about 4000km straight North of Vegas.

So for the first time in 4 years of wandering I’ve settled down in one place for a bit. I live indoors and shower semi regularly. I don’t yet regret it. I generally try to live without regret. This stemming from the knowledge that if one lives with regret, you’ll end up like a crazy old man who yells at kids running across his lawn, yelling things like “hey kids, no running across this lawn”.  Anyway it’s only been a month and the lawn is tiny.

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This is just down the road from my house.  I could probably walk there if I wasn’t so lazy.

From this base I hope to endure cold frosty hell which is the beauty of the Canadian winter. I’ve got a touring set up, ice gear, and too much time on my hands. Only good can come of this.

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First pitch of the mega classic Guinness Gully WI4 in Field, BC.

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Marble Canyon… not the famous one in Utah.

 

80. Leaf peepin’ and such

IMG_3447Nathan making moves on one of Nova Scotias newest/raddest new sport routes… sandbagged 1oc NS style, 11b everywhere else.

Fact: I’m a goal setter
Fact: My goals are usually stupid

Here are some of my goals;
1) Discover a new species of megafauna
2) Ride a killer whale into battle
3) Climb the Sentinel Tower
I’ve recently kicked off two of my long standing goals. You can be sure whimsy and delight ensued.

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Just up from Lake Louis… tower on left

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Goal #3 kicked…

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Two Headed Grizzly!
I’d like to announce my recent scientific discovery of the first two headed grizzly. The long sought and rumoured creature of lore has emerged in the wilds of BC, and yours truly has the evidence. I anticipate that soon the two headed grizzlies, with their increased brain capacity and general bad assedness will become the new top predator. I for one would like to welcome our new overlords.

Goal #1 kicked…

_MG_1461Tom on Thunderstruck 12a

Anyway… goal #2 remains. But I remain optimistic.  I’m currently back to my leaf peeping ways down in America.  In particular the New River Gorge is has wonderful foliage this time of year.

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Check the shit out of those leaves.  Pretty as all get out.

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Photo Cred to the super talented Aidas Rygelis

Also I lived and worked (gross… I know) on a barge on the Sunshine coast.  It looked like this.

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79. When life gives you lemons…



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You cut that shit up into quarters and gently rest it on the edge of your Gin and Tonic.

Ok, first off I’d like to address my sponsors (Petzl/BD/Rich people/Metolious/Scarpa…), with a big fuck right off. Due to your inability to see my prowess and general amazingness I had to revert to the ways of the common folk and had to exchange my precious time and effort on the accumulation of dollar bills. I believe in the common tongue these are referred to as a job. Gross. I know… I feel so dirty.
The thing is this tragedy was completely preventable. But don’t worry, I am a forgiving sort, you can act now and prevent this calamity from continuing. If you start sending me piles of awesome stuff I’ll let you off the hook and we can make up.

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Krissy attacking her Spicy Elephant 13b

So I’ve escaped the indignity of exchanging my exceptional talents for cash, and can now continue my philanthropic work and volunteer my time to ensuring the betterment of the world…by climbing all the chossiest choss around. Thusly I voyaged back to the Bow Valley to play at climb. Then this shit happened…See below.

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Snow… for mixing into your Gin and Tonic?! But managed to make due anyway. My toughness and bravery know no bounds.

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Ben warming up on his 5.8 proj

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Scooter, the legendary rig pig himself at The Lookout.

Also, because the internet without climbing porn sucks. I’ve added some oldies but goodies…

Folks have been asking what Flatangers is like.  It’s big

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This is what the climbing looks like.  .

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And this…

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The only problem with Norway (besides the exceptionally expensive beer and the endless hateful winter) is you don’t get to dry hump tufas.

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Samantha juicing tufas in Turkey

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Yes, this is the year.  Sponsorship will be mine!  Also, Tanqueray I’d be willing to entertain sponsorship possibilities.

 

78. Home for a rest

 

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Thailand… how lovely!  Evan pulling on Burnt Offering 12a

Sometime I make questionable choices. Ok, rather often, but that’s neither here nor there.
I thought being warm in Bali with nothing to do but surf and ride my motorbike along the sunny shores was just a bit too enjoyable. So, I decided my sojourn about the Earth has taken me away from my beloved Nova Scotia for far to long. Thus, I left the impeccable weather and bikini clad ladies to fly home and catch the last of the dank Canadian winter. It’s a rather rude transition to arrive and immediately suck on the ice cold popsicle of awful which is April in Nova Scotia. Freezing rain appropriately mixed with gale force winds. Classic maritime weather. Sometimes I reflect (generally I find it best to avoid this indulgence) that it is amazing that anyone gets into climbing here.

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Keith topping out Loas most classic 10c multi-pitch

The result has been mixed. I’ve have the opportunity to spend more time inside then I have in several years. Living out of a tent for a few years changes you a bit. There comes a time when you start too miss some of the more inane time burning distractions that fill most peoples lives, like daytime TV and the accompanying long minutes of commercials, predominately extolling the virtues of products who main attribute is the ability to keep ones bowels sleek and mobile. Oh the joys of a sedentary life. On the other hand the weather did briefly clear now and again, giving me the opportune to play with my beloved East coast granite.

IMG_2931This is what it some of it looked like…

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Granite Everywhere…

IMG_2992You may notice there are not holds.

This shoulder breaking move…
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…turns into this move… Amanda working Green Jug V6

Well I’ve battered my body enough that it’s being held together with Tequila, Ibuprofen, duct tape and a faint glimmers of hope, that soon the pain will all stop. Time to take time for recovery. I’m off the deep dark Canadian bush to spend vast amounts of time alone in said deep dark woods and not climb. Minus the absence of climbing, this generally suits me well. I recently realized some positive things about myself: I can still cook a decent frittata, and I hate humans in groups bigger then 8 (further, cats in groups bigger then 8 is also less then desirable). There’s a certain point where a group inevitably descends into assholery. I think it’s at the 8 person mark. I mean, it can fully happen around the 1 person mark, but chances of assholery seem to increase at some critical mass around 8. This is why I spend vast amounts of my time secluded and in the wilds of Northern Canada. You only have to deal with assholery of one’s. Woot!

IMG_2969Again… no holds.  Jeff don’t care

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