Friday, October 26, 2012

Riding the North Shore

Back from Vancouver!

While there for business I managed to sneak in 2 days riding in North Vancouver's world class freeride trail system. Totally unreal! This was entirely thanks to the awesome Dave Henni-bomb, who put me up on his couch, lent me his downhill rig, and guided me around. (Check out his graphics skills btw).

We spent both days doing shuttle runs down Mt. Cypress. This place seemed to me to be pretty technical, even though we apparently focused on the easier lines. Big roots, wet rocks, some drops, and a bit of north-shore woodwork. This place had lots of fresh dirt and the whole thing felt pretty extreme to me having never been on a downhill bike before. A full 8 inches of front / rear travel took some getting used to.

Although I crashed a bunch  I didn't get hurt too bad. We ended up finding a guy who did just bounce off a botched-landing from a jump. He figured his back was pretty hurt and he was still tangled up in his bike when we encountered him... by himself... in the late afternoon.  After talking over options for a bit he elected to have me and another guy carry him out rather than call in official emergency services (which he was pretty much prepared to do when we found him). When he could almost stand under his own power we concluded that he'd just been winded and was probably going to pee some blood but otherwise had no spinal injuries. He was apparently too cocky in his approach and it came back to bite him.We learned that earlier in the day he'd bombed past some other girl who wiped and instead of helping he just yelled at her for being crashed in the middle of the tail. Who does that? In any case... he learned a lesson in humility the hard way as this girl later found us planning the carry-out and totally called him on it! We delivered the dude to his awaiting fiancee at the road and she drove him off to the hospital. Here's a shot of the whole ordeal:

Sunday was better. We woke up and heard rumors of 10cm of snow at the top of Cypress. We went out anyway picking up a few other guys along the way. The rumors were true:

We did a few very exciting and cold snow runs, we got lost a bit, and crashed a bit more. A friend of Dave's busted a rear derailleur... which are considered disposable parts in the west. Luckily, this was gravity riding and having no functional drive-train doesn't really slow you down much. Seems expensive for a disposable part though.

Super fun! You are looking at the real possibility of breaking bones (almost everyone there had at one point or another) but the risk is worth it.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cold October Climbing

I have climbed seemingly very little in the past month. Several weekend trips were ditched on account of rain. However, recently that streak has been turned around and between last weekend and yesterday, both proved to be a good day out in the cold fall air. 

I think unused bones accumulate rust. It sure felt like my knees were out of tune. Maybe it was rusty nerves. Either way I thought twice about swimming up the soaking wet first half of Waterfall Layback last weekend.  I eventually came to the realization however... that if one waited for this entire route to be dry... it would never get climbed. Glad I made the choice however... since by the time the difficulties appeared the sun had dried my shoes, and I finally got a clean lead of it (something that's been on my list for a long time). Actually, that same day we climbed Warm & Sultry, making back-to-back two of the nicest pitches in Welsford. 

Yesterday it was my turn to follow some nice pitches, which was a nice switch, top roping and cleaning Comrades in Destiny, and Sparky Start.  What's been very nice to see this year is a lot of new interest in traditional lead climbing. I can think of at least 5 climbers who've been asking a lot of good questions, and following smart processes. It's a pretty exciting feeling to start becoming the most experienced person in the party on a particular day and I've witnessed a couple people make this transition recently. I've also heard the statement a few times: "I don't want to clip any bolts today". I wonder where this has developed? A few years ago there were alarmist statements being made in N.B. about the decay of the local traditional ethic. Every time a new bolt was drilled, it was claimed it would lead to a new generation of pansies... only interested in safe sport lines. Generally, I just don't see that happening. The traditional climbing approach is thriving in the area and new leaders are in many cases safer, smarter, and sometimes even bolder than those in the past. 

A few shots of the fall: