Thursday, 1 June 2017

Route building and FA's, Angst and thanks

FB, has seen lots of posts about projects and no red tag or such on them, and some climbers doing the projects, or at least trying hard to send them. They have noted that their was no information about the projects, so how were they to know?

Well it seems that FB has a lot on information about what's going on and new routes ...

I have been outspoken on this as I have been a builder since the mid 80's and know the efforts that go into a new route and the respect to be given to such ... like the extra effort to find out if it's still a project.

Greg Tos has been developing Echo Canyon since the start of it and has put countless hours and funds into such, and no posts on media about his sends ... just building and sending. He did not start this rant, he was the one defending the builders and a Pro Climber (PC) noted that no red tag so how are climbers to know? To me that was another response to one of the PC poaches from last summer.

I have posted about a particular Pro Climber (PC) as he poached a route of mine last summer, and the fact it was not fully cleaned  was even worse. This was reported on the TABVAR page on FB which I know the PC reads and he utilizes social media for his profession. Up to this point that PC and I had been friends for 25 years ... and I had been a supporter of his to those who questioned his motives ... then BAM! all gone in one send of his ... and I was still cleaning the route, it took another half day to clean off the crap that I had not gotten too in the roof. Yes I was pissed, and still carry a bit of that this season. NOTE: to me a builder it was like doing a deck and then the client paying the PC instead of me ... BTW, there was no spray about the send of a this new route at Acephale, but yes I was very happy for many reasons to actually be able to send again ...

He should be the one who holds back and supports the efforts of those who build ... as he is a PC with the biggest companies in the industry ... so with his behavior, we get the behavior of the companies that sponsor him. His public persona should be industry first personal left at home. whereas those of us older and or not a PC, can have and often do get our personal to the public. I have called out on this PC as having the competitive and angst of the 80s and 90s, Get ahead of all other climbers, just so you can afford to live the meager PC life back then, this seems to be the way he still lives life, as he continues the, no red tag means send, send, send.

I have been called a liar, coward, asshole, and many others, like grow up, once I let my personal views out on this PC in public. That's okay as others love this PC and that's life, he carries the media ... they can have that.

A route in reality costs with labour about $1,500.00 ... so if you poach then prepare to pay. If you have not done all the other routes in an area then stay off the projects, check TABVAR on FB. Thank the builders as you would have nothing to climb if it was not for them. There would be little or no routes at Acephale, Bataan, Echo, Carrot, Lake Louise, Grotto, The Ghost, or Yam.
Don't just take the media for information, ask around, learn and move on.

So on that note, I will Thank the current builders, Greg Tos and Bonar McCallum for Echo, Mark Norman continues to build year in and out, Evan Hau even bolts some for us to send, Josh Muller for the same on that, Craig Doram for the Unicorn, Andy Genereux for the Ghost stuff and a bit of Yamnuska. Levente Pinter for a route a year, and again ones that we can climb ... Likely leaving others out.


Monday, 23 November 2015

What's happening to climbing in the new age of Social Media

What happened to climbing? We have in a few short years gone from selective leading edge media coverage to this Social Media age of instant posts, likes, instagrams …where the individual is the “selector”.

Note: this is not a bitter old grumpy post, more a what the frick happened and is happening, to get a good dialogue. Disagree, agree, but please try to keep either decent and no FU replies.

Bit of background, (mostly from a Bow Valley perspective):
I grew into climbing during the mid 1980's. Born and raised in Calgary, AB, Canada, we really had limited routes to climb, and being young and keen I ventured to the infamous Smith Rocks with one of my original climbing partners. It was Smith or the "Valley" and seeing as I was more into sport climbing, the Valley was a no go, plus Smith was closer and one could live there quite cheaply.

Smith created the current stream and backbone of today's  North American (NA) sport climbers and the sports ethics, styles and traditions. Smith hosted the hardest routes in North America and brought in all the world's best climbers in a very small area. The top climbers of the time did get media coverage, the magazines poured over Tribout, Edlinger, Le Menestrel Brothers, Moffat, Moon, Gullich, Huber, Skinner, Franklin, Speed and Karn. However a host of other climbers were sending as hard or close, and often building the routes ... Alan Watts (who is largely forgotten or likely no one has an idea who he was/is) built a large percentage of the Smith routes, and climbed 5.14 back then ... yes Jibe did FA most of Alan's routes, a bit of a standoffish in how it was done, yet that was pretty much how the community was, if you built it and not send it, one of the other's will be on their way to send, and most often not in a friendly way. 

Back then when routes were sent and in the media, it was because a new hard leading edge route was sent an FA or repeat ... To Bolt, Leave it to Beaver, La Rose and Chouca, Liquid Amber, Hubble, Action Direct, Om, Houlihan, White Wedding, Super Tweak, and world cup winner and top 5.14 repeater. 

Does it (did it) really matter if you hit the media? Well many who sent a lot of the hard routes and those who built and sent, remained somewhat anonymous to the outside world of other climbers, the core certainly knew who you were, Goddard, Griffith, Piana, Sandahl, Azin, Beck, the AF crew, the Rifle crew, Holt, Sandford, Reid, Guyn, LeBlanc, Milton, the Wilson's and Pinter, Bergman’s Oats … I am certain to miss some ...  Most of these climbers built and sent leading edge climbs of their era. Some pushed the grade boundary to the upper elite 5.14+, others in the 5.14-. So how does this matter? Well back then any sponsorship meant you had more time training, building and climbing translation less time working for money, to allow the time to climb.

Back then as today, there are paid pro climbers like Sharma, Ondra ... the world cup crew, and others who are able to get the gear and often help on trips. All of these climbers have made it because of what existed to them to gain experience and push their limits, and for the few push beyond. To me, this is the key as I see the sport, pushing the grade and adding new areas/routes. An example is in the freeride MTB, where "rampage" has pushed the limits and now backflips/front, corks ... 50ft plus drops, 50ft plus gaps are becoming the norm for the top riders. This then provides more to the recreational or up and coming club level rider to realize what is possible and maybe push those limits later on.

Back in the 80's and 90's 14c was pretty much the limit (yes it seems that Hubble and Action Direct are upped to the 14d), Hubble, Action Direct, Om, Just Do it. Today we have 5.15a (15b Ondra in Mollans), with a host of climbers at the top end of the 90's range, probably as many as there were 5.12 and up climbers in the 1980s. Today however we have online media, just what I am writing on, where we can share our opinions, views and sends instantly, regardless if it is old-era media worthy. Climbing gyms provide the ground to get better quicker, to learn movement and gain power and ability. Some of our pro athletes have made their living off promotion via the media, laying the groundwork for the next generation to follow suit.

Note: Many female climbers back in this era added to the elite level, Destiville, Hill, Ebersfield, up to and sending 14a. The women did not have first female ascents, just ascents, and often they had second ascents of the upper elite level routes. I was fortunate to climb with Lynn Hill back in the late 80's and used her beta for a few hard Smith routes ... yes she sent most of the hard routes before most elite men.
Other euros who were building, like Lafaille at Ceuse;  Onsighting 13c and redpointing 14b, Raboutou; Nicole brothers, Bain de Sang, 9a, and all Fred’s boulder problems v14, hey it’s Fred; Manolo, Atkinson, Dawes, Dunn, Pritchard ... Nadin for world cup wins and 13c OS.

Today, we have many climbers who post sends of 13+, 14 - in an era where 14+ is the bottom end of the elite. If you climb 14c today you are in that bottom elite world class level. Yet time and time again we read media reports of particular climbers who have sent cool and respected climbs, that are really only media worthy of promoting that particular climber (as some have put it, self-promotion). Our current climbing media community is now seemingly built on how much you can post and tweet. There are many good climbers today, many that are at the top level of "our" era, that it may seem worthy to us, yet back in our era it would be like a 5.13a climber getting the media and the coveted dollars (minimal) that went with photos and sponsorship. Today we have 5.13 climbers who are sponsored, in an industry where dollars are very limited and tight ... that's just silly for a sport. Yes it helps the companies spread their brand, and add more climbers to the funnel, but does it help the sport?
My thoughts are no, as it does not push the limits, unless it adds new routes and areas for those new climbers to enter and climb on.
An example on this, let’s say you just sent a personal best 13c, well fricking awesome for you, for real, however is it worthy to send to "Gripped" to report on a send of a route that was likely sent years before or decades? Just like when I do a few link ups, are they worth reporting on ... NO! But they are certainly fun and challenging for me.


Do I think it's awesome when a person sends a personal best, heck ya! regardless of the grade, to me this is a big Woo Hoo ... But talking about the big picture of the sport, Ondra sending a new 15b, around St. Leger, Southern France, and a 22m rig to boot. So it’ll remain hard no matter your endurance … How often does Hubble get sent? Action Direct? Compared to some of the enduro 9a’s?

We are not like Tennis, where, as a game, it would show instantly that the 5.13 vs 5.15 would just not stand. We are more like Surfing, a lifestyle with competitions and leading edge athletes. Maybe this is a core issue? Our WC’s just don’t carry the same weight as an ATP open Grand Slam event. We are way more into the 9a send trains of Sharma or Ondra, and that kid Megos … he’s not just sending, but crushing the sends – the next generation.

As a longtime climber who pushed the limits of my era, I respect all climbers, I really enjoy other climbers sending projects, however one starts to lose a lot with this new realm of media-gratification as if they are the "shit" when they are just good recreational climbers, but plaster Social media with their sends.

For example if you are a Canadian competitive climber in the open category and you are not placing in the top of these national events, then you are likely not the "shit", just another good (a tennis goes) Club player. Our top competition climber, Sean McColl, is not just winning WC’s, he’s sent 14d, trains in Europe, where there are a lot of 14c/d climbers, so if you want to be better and/or win in WC’s, then you train with them and add your edge to try to be better.

The sponsorship game should be from the top end climber, then downwards to those that climb well for their area, build areas, get more people into climbing …
For most companies and sports, this is the way they have sponsorship set up. However, Social Media is seemingly eroding this and the more likes or friends you have then the higher your sponsorship level will be, as selling products is the companies goal. (note on this; most of these climbers are still good mid-level climbers, 5.13, it takes a lot of effort and dedication, but still far off that top end mark that keeps the sport moving forward).
Club level is darn good, many folks don’t have the time or ability to go “pro” but can ascend to a high level and push themselves while working on a life in the normal world. As the pro world is very different than the one most people live.

In our small area of the Bow Valley we have a few top level climbers, Pinter still has the 5.14d top end, Hau, Muller and McGurk who just sent 5.14c. The old (young) guy Milton still has the Canadian top elite climber emeritus status. Trotter is still in that elite level, but he's aging like we all do, and he's sort of a Bow Valley resident now. Most of these are pushing the boundaries and providing the benchmark for the next generation to hike Bunda Ju Fara … it’s the 75ft drop effect. Personally when I hit a 4ft drop I am the shit, in my own mind … likely just scared the shit out of myself. These climbers are the benchmark or those about the reset the bench for our area, and maybe at the top end level.

As a person and climber I respect those who build routes and or send new elite level routes vs. those who repeat routes that have been around for 2 decades or more and media the crap out of them just to get more exposure. This behaviour is not adding to the sport, but it is certainly adding to the likes or whatever that twitter has? It’s mostly about the “look at me this is what I have done; look at me, myself and I”.

As Greg Florek pointed out on a FB comment very well, there are different levels of sponsorship ... totally, the upper end does get some money, some are paid very well, others add by using speaking engagements, slides shows, talk’s, and these are more often the most well- known. My response is backed in our history; If you are a sponsored climber you best be better than the club level climbers or your area …

History Example of media and climber levels:

Skinner was likely the finest at this, a top end climber who also recognized he had a following and a way to use that and his experiences to allow him to work differently and climb as much as possible. Skinner was a friend of mine, one I respected and many climbers did. But there were many climbers who disliked his media prowess. He made a very good living off this. He was also a top level elite climber and a builder or new routes. He was a very good guy, and energy that was fully infectious. Skinner had the media savvy and the rock climbing ability to back it up!

Piana was Skinner’s long time climbing partner, and a climber who was in that elite level realm, but less known to the “public”. He was one of the original elite level climbers and builders who was sponsored which allowed him a little less work time and more time to build routes … another climber who without, you would have less Wild Iris and Sinks Canyon, oh yeah and that Salathe Wall thing.
Both of these forms were the norm of our generation, however the Skinner media push took off to a crazy level with Facebook … one of our locals Gadd has this game so dialed that at one point he had to ask people to stop friending him. Sort of a reap what you sew … Gadd however is a very good all round adventure athlete, but the top mixed climber, where he mostly gains his other climber respect. Yes he is a good ice climber, but there are many good top end ice climbers.  He also wrote a piece on Social Media, see below.

For a climbing company it's all money to them, either in gear or gear and actual dollars and most of those in that position are old school dirt bag climbers who are very frugal/cheap ...

Today our climbing community seems to have put a weighting on the media/promotion versus pushing the sport. To me pushing the sport is the only way to go, or it will fall off. What the heck happened to pushing the limits of the sport in your era? Being the best, or one of the best at rock climbing? From an elite level, be it on the low end, I find it sad that today, climbers are getting sponsorship based on how much they put out in the media vs, climbers who instead are out there pushing the limits of their era. Many of the existing elite level climbers have to push themselves on this media insatiable aspect of more and more ...

The generation that followed mine we have Levente Pinter, who set the bar at the 5.14d level with Bunda je Fora, Acephale. He really put it on the line for the sport and kept the envelope expanding. He was not a poster, nor a tweeter, (we really did not have that back in the late 90’s and the early 2000’s, so maybe that’s the real issue) but he was a top level climber (14d) who also added a lot of new routes for the generations to climb on. He had to “fight” to get gear, climbed on crappy draws or ropes just to send … While during this time some 5.12 climbers who could mixed climb were able to gain more sponsorship. Really a sad focus on the climbing industry, as they focused on this craze leaving many rock climbers behind. Hey, as a mixed area builder and leading-end level mixed sport routes, I feel I can state this, it’s fun, but it just does not have the same breadth as rock climbing, less climbers, it’s cold, and only a few places in the world have sport mixed climbing/drytooling.

I do think that the current media is crumbling away the foundations that our previous climbing generations had built.  I hope that the core climbers of today keep pushing the limits, as the sport has become large enough that the recreational side and posts/tweets, are overtaking the professional side.


What happened to respect the elders, push the era and pass it on, all keeping it as merits versus mouth/keyboard?

I just read a Gripped article on Yamnuska, where the poster laid out their new bolted routes from 5.10 to a 5.12a grade, one does it matter to the scene? Or is this just a way to get a bit of attenion? The attention the person likely gets is just less respect, more spew, and more grid bolting on the Yam, so a win for some and a WTF for others. Again it’s awesome that new routes are getting done, but does the person really need to spew this forward?

A good read on mentorship, scroll down to that section:

Another evening sends article on Kinder, who states: training paid off, and I have new goals, but keeping them out of the social media, as too much pressure to complete. He is 35 years old, so at the elite level, it’s tough to stay there … well unless you are Dani Andrada ... Kinder was a leader in the Social media push as well … seems to be a change back to just climbing.


Sort of ironic on Gadd, as he has utilized the media about as good, as anyone out there, but he is the shit on the mixed climbing, and at being a top level athlete.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Shep Steiner

Shep Steiner; Climber, builder, Bow Valley Alberta, PhD. Art History. Prof at University of Manitoba.  
1993 … A wet season spring in the Bow Valley, but we did get Bataan rocking during the chinooks of January and February … Then came late springtime, Shep Steiner and LeBlanc hitting up what we know now as Acephale. LeBlanc’s mentor/partner, Joe Buszowski was very busy guiding and being a husband – he and Steiner climbed a lot together back then – they built the Carrot Patch and a couple of classics on the Ravens nest buttress in Carrot Creek … so we end up as the Steiner/LeBlanc team. The duo lugged up bolts, ropes, tools and the Buszowski/LeBlanc Hilti, with the turbo kit, as it needed 36 volts and when built the three 12V motorcycle batteries provide 80 plus bolts, all with a 30ft cord … it helped out immensely (note: so did Bill Rennie as he funded the hardware about $5k) we of course needed lots of coffee and brought up a stove for coffee … a bit of history on this tenuous partnership, as I was a Calgary climber with a place in the Bow Valley, but not really a part of either. However, as I learned from Buszowski, I had the passion for adventure and building, Todd Guyn, likely the preferred partner for Steiner, but Guyn was just too damn lazy to build, he’d go away climb, shred and come FA our builds … but that’s a story on Guyn.
Now this team had a very intriguing background on an off for years, LeBlanc the younger one had met Steiner in Harvie Heights, early 1980 as they had cabins in the hamlet. Back in 1984 Steiner could drive and convinced LeBlanc to go on a climb called the Gonda Traverse, 5.7, (1982) … LeBlanc was 14 and Steiner 16 with a car … so they went onto the climb and LeBlanc had the first incursion of his love for “slabs” scared and freaked, Steiner then figured why not do the roof to top out and get this kid off the cliff. So on came, the Gonda roof and as usual Steiner hiked it and then to their surprise LeBlanc followed much better than the slab … wow like that doesn’t tell about his career … Then came 1984 and Steiner dragged LeBlanc into Grotto Canyon where he taught LeBlanc how to climb sport routes (with Buszowski and where LeBlanc and Buszowski became friends) and LeBlanc sent Farewell to Arms, 10d/11a … it had 3 self-drive bolts and a pin.  As the summer of 1984 ended, LeBlanc went off to school in London, Ontario and Steiner went off on his own and built some awesome climbs.
1988 rolled around and Steiner became a central figure in the “Water Wall” debacle. This was really a division of what was acceptable and not … the Calgary scene thought that the manufactured holds on water wall was way too much and “borrowed” all the builders gear that was left on the three routes (Known now as Shep’s Diner, 13a; The Resurrection, 13+; and Crimes of Passion, 13a). A few heated phone calls, a few lycra tights got rumpled … as the dust settled these routes are excellent training and fun routes, no less real than any other route. Steiner and Andy Genereux had the most back and forth “tuss”. Steiner’s route, Shep’s Diner 13a; Steiner had a “Head fuck” with this route 1 fall a zillion times … back to University he went … PhD. In Art History UBC, Shep’s Diner was FA’d by the notorious Scott Milton 1990 … LeBlanc and Jason Holt had lapped it, but left the chain clipping, as this was with respect to our friend Steiner … Milton did not share that, nor should he have, as there was little respect between the two of them … that’s a Milton story and it’ll come.
Shep’s Diner name came from the fact that we ate dinner at his pad in Harvie Heights almost nightly … so the route name just fit and stayed that way.
Late March 1993 … Upper Wall Acephale (named by Steiner, as the Journal of Acephale was part of his academic background) Le Stade du Mirroir became … FA Steiner, 12b and an impressive FA … blew off the last two bolts … true Steiner fashion full belief, consequences stay way back in the mind. However a bit of terror for the belayer, as his head bob getting into the undercling to clip the anchor had not just a 60ft whip, but one that would stop short at 30ft by a massive dead tree angled perfectly to “catch” a whipper. LeBlanc sent (FA) the left route called, Le Blu du Ciel 12b. Steiner built a few more, Le Jeu Lugubre, 12c;   Full Fathom Five, 12c; Port Hole to Hell 13c/d FA Todd Guyn; Sweet Thing 13c FA Guyn. Then off to the lower wall where he built and sent, La Part Maudite, 12c. Steiner was the machine for this back then and his education found the name for the crag. He truly built routes for the next generation – screw the current rules and limitations, but keep the style and ethics, just push the envelope and then keep going.
Acephale in 1993 was truly a crag. Sure it had routes from 1992 from Richard Jagger, Daren Tremaine and LeBlanc, but the 1993 season with Steiner pushed it onwards.
The lower wall also got the Steiner influence. Steiner built “The Accursed Share” 12c; and did a few other obscure routes, like SR16 12-, (Shep’s Rig 16). LeBlanc built and sent Naissance de la Femme, 13b, Guyn FA’d the route. To some of us it didn’t matter to FA, but to build new lines, create and send. Steiner got a bit injured and left the building scene, finished his PhD. And is now a professor of Art History University of Manitoba, with a wife and daughter … wow how grown up.
Some stellar Steiner routes, Carrot Patch; The Carnivore, 13a, FA LeBlanc; Mouthful of Freddie, 13c, FA Guyn; Oedipus Complex, 12b; The Gizzard 12c, Ravens nest buttress. I think he built this one just to piss Genereux off, as it goes straight through The Wizard, 11d/12a a very good Genereux route of the 1980’s. Steiner placed a bolt that is crucial for where the Gizzard goes through the Wizard – but this may well have been placed by Buszowski … however he always managed to stay unscathed from these kinds of altercations, yet a central figure … wonder where I learned from.

Shep also had the best dog, as he was the first of “us” to have one, named Tuzo, a Malamute with a bit of some rather large, wild and pack like in him like maybe a ¼ … he was about 120lb and became the first crag dog for Acephale … he had a lot of history and some great stories … he was the first, coolest and Steiner’s best friend ever … maybe his daughter may be overtaking that, but it’s a dog/master relationship that is crazy special. Harvie Heights 1984? Tuzo had crazy energy as a puppy, so Steiner and Momma Steiner figured the best place for Tuzo at night would be the garage … morning comes and upon entering the door, the inside held bottles, glass ones, as it was the 80’s … the place was littered with shards of glass everywhere and Tuzo was like WTF? See what happens when you leave me alone. Tuzo was the Alpha dog in the Bow Valley, and at about 12/13 years old, Steiner and LeBlanc were in Carrot Creek, doing some obscure route at the entrance area, SE side … some dude on a “trail” run with a large young dog behind him … LeBlanc on lead and then it all slowed down … the young dog noticed Tuzo sleeping next to the creek, way off from any issue … the young dog decides to be alpha and holy crap … I was a t a bolt so clipped in and in that moment Steiner’s off belay sprinting the 50ft’ish to Tuzo … Tuzo let’s the young dog know he’s old and not interested … Steiner’s at about 30ft away … a few more barks from the young dog and then TUZO is happening … the young dog is in an quick moment in the water … like under it with Tuzo on top and not gonna let go … Steiner now tackles Tuzo, the young dog sprints frantically away and the dude about 3 minutes upstream saunters back … meanwhile Tuzo is soaked and fully pissed at Steiner, Steiner is soaked and the dude then decides to yell at Steiner … let’s just say that even if his run was over, we never saw him the rest of the day … Tuzo you rocked and we still miss you … 20+ years. Tuzo did become a house dog (likely right after the garage escapade) as well, he and the Steiner household cat created a cool bond that lasted until Tuzo passed.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Big Rock

Big Rock, Okotoks Alberta.

This erratic has been a longstanding bouldering area since the 60's? Think of the Lockwood route and others.
During the late 80's, the area got a lot of new school activity. Jeff Marshall had that place dialed, sending many obscure problems and all the standards. Of course you had the "others" from the era, one of their finest was Bill Stark, and he may have done the hardest problem back in the 80's, on the North East corner wall East rock (pretty sure it is 12a, as more of a route height) Barry Blanchard called him in his book "The Calling" a "Mercurial: climber ... seemed to me from knowing Stark that he was just as much a climber as "Bubba and Wally". So nods go to Bill Stark for being a kick ass climber, doing his own thing and being a climber. I am sure that Barry and Kevin Doyle hit the rock up lots, but they saw it just as a training place, not the way Stark saw it. I know this as I met Stark via Jason Holt, who I climbed with from 84 to 89, on a lot of trips with a lot of days.

The Stark route ... not sure if it has a name, but Holt and I had top roped it a lot and I managed to go for the solo of it back then and was super stoked ... and then Stark told me that he had sent a while back ... so no FA.

During the 80's Stark noticed a young guy ... Jason Holt ... who managed to become one of the best of his time, unfortunately cut short (his climbing life) by being Holt. Done and moved on in 1989 at the crag called Buoux, Provence/Luberon France. Holt sent many of the classics in flip flops ... remember no padding back then. He then set sights on the East Rock North, right of chasm on a problem he named the Resurrection ... V7, 1988. During his time, Holt manage one of the early ascents of Rude Boys, Smith Rocks and became known as a force. It was a pleasure and a torment to have those days with Holt, however it was and is one of the best times of my climbing life and actually turned me into becoming a climber. Holt's last route was J'irai Crache Sur Vos Tombes, back in 89 given 8a. Jerry Moffat did an onsight and downed it to 7c+ ... a very prolific thing to do back then with a longstanding tradition of hammering on your competitors.

The 90's came along and the "Rock" got another resurgence from LeBlanc, Todd Guyn and Richard Conover ... followed by/with Seth Mason, the Wilson twins (they repeated most or all the problems as well). The West Rock, NE side on the "Green" section ... the longstanding undone open piece of bouldering got sent (LeBlanc 92?) called the Torment of Evil V10/11. Then it got the usual added starts and finishes ... This actually got so ridiculous that "we" the aforementioned, started to take away finger usage to add to it ...like no pinky ... silly competitive BOYS.

Then the "res" wall got more and more deviations/variations, low traverse, mid traverse, high traverse and into the existing problems ... thank Richard Conover for these ... that dude could lockoff for hours on end ... and a ridiculous ape index.

Then came likely the hardest boulder problem V12 what is now Jabba ... FA Seth Mason, '94/95? This was a LeBlanc project (so many attempts and yet so many failures) (I just saw a video of Josh Muller sending and his sequence was awesome ... and then Adam Curries' send which looks like the sequence I used) and of course with the competitive nature of that era Mason was out to send before ... and successful. I did manage to send after ... however I did not do any sit start, Mason may have, likely that he did. We as well did links into it later, from the low traverse, as this was our training area.

Mason also did Mon Col the roof project just to the South of the East rock NE corner ... V11 and saw repeats ... LeBlanc, Archimbault (Dan Amal), Simon Villeneuve ... likely others I am missing.

This rock was and is stellar and holds a huge spot in the climbing lives of most in the Alberta area.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Drytooling/Sportmixed climbing

There has been a solid push and commentary by a few Euros on what I call sport mixed climbing, where you clip bolts and rarely hit any ice, some do venture into the ice zone, like a few in Haffner main area, or the Cineplex, but may others are pure ice tools on rock with light small boots with usually just the front section of bolt on crampons. Jeff Mercier has done a lot of this conversation, they call it Drytooling and Drytooling Style.

Back in 2004 I was part of a crew that ended up building quite a few sport mixed routes. We built a lot of routes in the Thriller cave area of the Stanley Headwall, and most of those had lots of crazy ice and some giant daggers. The Haffner cave known as the Hoar cave with the Sean Isaac Caveman test piece and maybe first M10, saw us add in 4 new routes. They are from M8 to M12, and have now seen many ascents. One of the cool things is all but Piltdown Man have gone in a non Figure four and no heel spur method, as back then it just seemed to be the purest style and like most other genres of climbing, that's what you seek. For Example Neolithic went down with heel spurs in and that particular ascent took about 30 minutes of climbing (kinda crazy how long one could stay on a steep wall with them spurs). Compare that to the no spurs (which of course are now long gone ...) you just could not hang around too long ... just fell off when pumped/out of gas. Take the Figure 4 and 9's out and you had to pull and hang on and use all your power and skill to make the top. Again only Piltdown man has not gone this way and it is M12 vs M11.

This may well be very silly to say that no F's make the ascent better or pure'er, but it sure makes it harder, kind of like doing a rock move vs grabbing the draw to help through the move. If I am unable to do a rock route, maybe it's just too hard so why try to use other methods to bring it down to your level? (if anyone reads this, I may well get some flack for this). F's just make a move easier, to gain height, distance and decrease the pump. Personally I just rather fall off than use one of the f's - yes I have used them but back in 2005/06 I decided to for me go as pure as I can. I even have under heel bolt on section still on my boots, the only help they have is keeping me from teetering over on flat ground. FYI I do not use knee bars unless you can just scum your pants, meaning no cheesy knee pad coated with sticky rubber to me that just seems silly ... took and still take a lot of flak in Rifle for that, but to me just seems the way to climb.If I remeber correctly back in the mid 1990's Alex Huber visited a crag in southern California known for must use knee bars and pads to be able to ascend the routes and Alex Huber did chain all the routes with no knee pad, just brawn skill and endurance. So why would one continue to use knee pads? Why do mountaineers still use oxygen tanks on climbs that have been done without oxygen tanks? It seems that the ascent often overshadows the style. So to quote an older Grivel USA add "... Style Matters" kinda funny that this was based on a very skilled and outspoken Alpinist named Mark Twight. And I a sport climber ... okay just old school climber share the same thought on this.

This genre of climbing to me, is just darn fun and super physical and with our winter in the Calgary area of the Canadian Rockies, it seems like a good way to spend some time.

Way back in 2004 I also built the website www.sportandmixedclimbing.com this has most of the route info, some broken links, will get to that, but requires my old machine booted up ... However most of the routes are still around, there is a new Drytool crag on Grotto Mountain, Canmore, Alberta, not to be a dick, but my guess is full F method.

Anyways, had a few to put some words down, enjoy the climbing but remember Style does matter!


Wednesday, 6 March 2013

From the UBC dialogues on "Is sport worth the risk?"


I had the pleasure to be a part of the UBC dialogue series on “is sport worth the risks”?

What I gathered from the dialogue was that sport is a bit general, is it sport as we see it, or recreation? If we see it as Sport that is pushing the limits, then we can really dig into the risk factors. For example, grass roots league hockey vs. the NHL. This follows with the other aspect, safety in sport.

Example of Hockey:

Grass roots should not have hitting; this should follow similar patterns to school, where each grade has a shift in level appropriate to the age. When the athlete reaches a certain age, then the full impact of hockey can take place.

At the upper levels, the full realm of the game should be played and respect for all players must be adhered to. The elite level, NHL, has an increase in risk, with the level of all players being so high, but the risk is not just accepted blindly, but taken into account as part of the player’s ability to deal with the risk is at the same level as their athletic level.  Accidents do happen.

It would seem that the safety equipment is at a very high level, and this may well be the cause for certain recurring injuries, like concussions. The shoulder and elbow pads have such a good protection level for the player’s impact, but what about this impact of the opposing player? At 30mph, getting hit in the head by a hard shelled elbow seems to produce knocked out players. This did not happen as often 10 years ago with the small soft elbow pads, as the elbow’er would feel the impact as much as the opposing player. Don Cherry of all people has been a big proponent on removing the current elbow and shoulder pads to a soft protective impact.

At the elite level sport is worth the risk, as the actual risk is not as high as the public perceives it. We do though need to ensure that those coming up the “ranks” know all aspects of their game, and not just respect it, but all others playing it. Athletes such as Lance Armstrong failed to respect the game and the other player’s; he was in it purely for himself, otherwise he would have played the game at the respect of the sport level. This is the other risk of sport, the lure of fame and fortune.  Lance has proven that he was no longer in it for the sport, but for the fame and the business, millions of dollars were at stake.

Here’s the unique thing with the sport of climbing, safety and risk are always at the forefront of the sport. Every year the gear gets better for safety, which does help with the risk. However, now we are in an era where risk has been greatly decreased because of the gear. The media has also played a major role here, where they focus on the snippets of “rad” and leave out the effort and behind the scenes – all the work it takes to get to the level of these “snippets”.

Back to the “Is sport worth the risk? – YES! However for the grass roots, recreation-sport should not have risk until the participants can handle the risk.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Bow Valley History Brief.

Sport Climbing History in the Bow Valley


This is information based off Galloway’s new Bow Valley guidebook - this BOLD writing is JD LeBlanc’s historical perspective on the Bow Valley – take it for what you want, but I have tried to add in as much as I can remember – I may miss some things – but as I was a part of the scene from the mid 1980’s, I have a good historical perspective, but may well be out, or off, on some things. I would like to give Galloway big props for getting this completed and into retailers – a big job – this is really a comprehensive source for the Bow Valley sport climbing areas. I have added in a bit more in the history of the area – it’s a blog, so don’t expect post doctoral work. The Black is the Derek Galloway text.
The Bow Valley and the Canadian Rockies has a rich climbing history that officially started over 125 years ago. The Canadian Pacific Railway brought over the first mountain guides from Switzerland to safely guide the adventure hungry tourists that the newly completed railway brought.
...
1984-1985
Dave Morgan was one of the pioneers of sport climbing in the valley, he pushed his limits and those of everyone else, so much that he blew his elbows out – a super amazingly skilled climber, that if still able to climb would have hit the 5.13 level easily. Dave also lent LeBlanc a battery powered drill for a lot of the 1992 development at Bataan, as the Buszowski/LeBlanc drill had battery issues. This battery issue led to the first usage of the battery series of 12volt motorcycle batteries, where we were able to get 80+ holes per charge. (Our drill became famous in the hands of Barry Blanchard for his local area movie set work – we even got money out of it. This TE10A finally hit its end in the winter of 2004 bolting in the Haffner Hoar Cave, another Buszowski/LeBlanc route effort, where we added 4 more lines to the original two). The sport grows, and grows: 1986-1990
The momentum that was created in 1985 continued through into 1986/1987. Both development and difficulty remained firmly rooted within the narrow canyon walls of Grotto Canyon. Much of the low hanging fruit had been grabbed in the previous year, but there were still routes to be had. Sean Dougerty nabbed the highly fingery Importance of Being Ernest 5.12a, along with the steep Mr. Olympia 5.11d. Bruce Howatt managed to jump the standard ahead a few notches to 5.12d with his desperate testpiece; Tropicana 5.12d with the help of a couple chipped edges.  
A new addition to Hemingway wall was Success Pool 5.12a; this was bolted by the trio of Haberl, Parboossingh and Milton. FA’d by Jason Holt, as a jab at the duo of that trio, Simon aside. Jason Holt was really the “man” of this generation; he had done ascents of the Smith Rock Test Pieces, Rude Boys, 5.13c, 3rd North American to repeat it - Oxygen and pretty much every route up to the 5.13c grade back in the late 1980’s. Holt was a force, in more ways than one, and the inspiration to Marc Dube’s “Jason Lives” 5.13a, back of the lake. Holt had a tendency to poke other climbers in a “not so nice way”.
One good true story is a conversation between him and Sean Dougherty on the “Success Pool” bolt which is clippable on the route Walk on the Wild Side 5.11c, Sean was really upset that you could do the crux without placing gear, Holt replied that is there a better style then, than bolts or gear – Sean replied that “yes, no bolts or no gear is a much better style”. Holt then asked if the best style is sent, then is that the way the route should always be sent in. Sean said absolutely! Holt then replied “I just soloed it today, and then down-climbed the 5.8 chimney! Sean said “bullshit” but I had witnessed it, and anyone who knew Holt, knows he would never lie, not matter what, it’s just not in his nature. Let’s all be happy that there are bolts still in it, even though the solo style was better, but I am pretty sure it would only have an ascent or two – but it is too bad that the retro bolting is totally off the original line.   
Back then we had the illegal “Mine” routes, of which Howatt and Steiner had put in some great effort – Buckshot 5.12+, and the El Norte 5.13+. They have since been off limits and are no doubt now in some building somewhere in Canada, as the actual walls have been blown up and crushed.
A small pre-curser of what was to happen across the river on the near blank Water Wall. While the walls laying along the creek were being picked over by the others Joe Buszowski, Marc Dube, and Jim Sanford (Sandford was really a keen driving force, learning under the master, Buszowski, he would become one of the few 5.14 Canadian climbers, and the single driving force behind the top end Squamish sport climbs, like Bravado, Pulse and many more) found an entirely new wall lurking up the east fork of the falls; The Alley. Several worthy additions such as Barchetta 5.11c, Submission 5.11d, and Grace Under Pressure 5.11d made all the cleaning worth it. In the mid 1990’s Daren Tremaine added a few great classics to this wall. However the Milton route “Big Breasted Girls Go to the Beach and Take Their Tops Off” 5.11b surely ranks as the best name ever and one intended to add as many letters to the Jones/Martin guidebook.
Let’s not forget that this area had the illustrious Will Gadd, maybe the most competitive climber most will meet. Will grew up in Jasper, AB, moved to Boulder, CO for school and climbing. Will would redpoint Crimes of Passion while doing 3 pull-ups off the huge incut top rail – only to add it to 8 or 10, maybe more, as LeBlanc and Guyn would add in one more each time until Will got fed up, added a couple more, then that was that.
...  
In the following couple of years John Martin took his newly acquired drill and set to work developing Cougar Creek; a brand new area. By the time the 1990’s rolled around he had turned it into a full-blown area with over 80 routes. It even started to compete with Grotto Canyon in terms of popularity. Grotto held its ground on the technical difficulty front though with the additions of Joe Buszowski’s Mr. No 5.12b, Joe Buszowski and JD LeBlanc’s Cracked Rhythm 5.12c, Simon Parboosingh’s Tintin and Snowey get Psyched 5.12d, and Marc Dube’s Crimes of Passion 5.13a. Shep’s Diner 5.13a was redpointed in 91 by Scott Milton, however, back in 1989, Jason Holt and JD LeBlanc were able to lap it to the final jug – without clipping the anchor. Reason: Shep Steiner had put so much into it and so much more in the Bow Valley (without Buszowski, Steiner, Dube and the previous factions of Pochay, Zacharias and Howatt, the Valley may not be what it is today!) that neither wanted to take away the effort by Steiner, who was ridiculously close a lot. The route name came about via Shep’s house, as he hosted us a lot for dinner, housing and sauna. This was also the years that the Water Wall’s harder routes were manufactured on its blank looking right end with the help of a gas powered generator rented from town. Much drama ensued. The generator went missing, which led some to think it had been stolen in retaliation for its use. In the end it turned out that a flood had buried it completely. Making for an interesting story when it had to be returned! It should be noted, before you curse and think poorly of those involved, that at this time across North America route builders were just getting used to the idea and possibilities that the hammer drilled provided them, and there was much experimenting with it to build holds and entire routes before it was realized that this wasn’t such a desirable path to take. Just look to the Kacodaemon boulder in Squamish and the harder routes at Smith Rock as a couple of examples. As time passed, tensions eased, and things were put into perspective these routes actually gained a fair bit of popularity and traffic that remains to this day.

Carrot Creek’s route count continued to grow at a steady pace, with Keith Pike’s Sword in the Stone 5.12c and Simon Parboossingh and Joe Buszowski’s The Lizard 5.12b being two of the finest, Buszowski and Steiner had also added a route that dissected the Wizard ending up and right, “The Gizzard” 5.12c, then Buszowski added his “Cup-O-Joe” 5.13a. All the most desirable lines at Barrier had been bolted and development started to slow considerably, although Keith Haberl still managed to find a gem when he climbed the desperately technical Regatta de Blank 5.12b. Grassi Lakes also got a few routes at this time, but the rock quality was considered pretty poor even by Rockies standard and the area was soon left abandoned in search for easier areas to clean and bolt.
: 1991- 1995
The first half of the 90’s saw the Bow Valley break through the 5.12d ceiling and rocket into the elusive realm of 5.13. While there are many that contributed to this breakthrough in standards and would help to push it forward over the coming decade one climber stood above the rest; Todd Guyn. Not everyone in the route building community was concerned with difficulty though, and the trio of John Martin, Jon Jones, and Andy Genereux continued to open new routes, walls, and areas at an incredible pace.
Right out of the gate Todd Guyn and LeBlanc tweaked out a few of the projects on the Water Wall, and as usual, Guyn FA’d with LeBlanc straggling behind. 
Todd was also one of the premiere climbers in North America, where by the mid 1990’s he had close to 100 5.13 ascents, noted by Tom Herbert out of California, who was keeping track of his own ascents and knew of Guyn, as Todd was one of the top crusher’s of the era. 
These routes started to put the Bow Valley and Grotto Canyon on the map with a string of hard sends when he finished off the work of others and redpointed Cause and Affect 5.13a, Burn Hollywood Burn 5.13b, and The Resurrection 5.13c. Also redpointed was Shep’s Diner 5.13a by a young climber by the name of Scott Milton. A name that would later become synonymous with high end difficulty­ in the Bow Valley during the second half of the 1990’s. All of these routes were on the Water Wall and where the products of the “generator” incident that had occurred in the previous years. Simon Parboossingh proved that there was such thing as a natural 5.13 though when he climbed Metabollica 5.13a. While the hard-men concentrated their efforts on the Water Wall Andy Genereux grabbed two classics with Tour de Force 5.12a and Tour de Pump 5.11b further up stream while Jon Jones added the forgotten gem, Sidewinder 5.11b at the Paintings Wall. Up at the Alley Dave Thomson added the tough Snakes and Ladders 5.12a.
Carrot Creek continued to see a flurry of development with another 70 routes being added to the count. Among the best where Jon Jones’s No More Mr. Nice Guy 5.12a, Andy Genereux’s The Warlock 5.12a, Sun City 5.11d, and Todd Guyn’s test-piece, American Standard 5.13b. With the big jump made in difficulty during the first half of the 90’s the steep and previously thought un-climbable cave got another look, and Shep Steiner, JD LeBlanc and Joe Buszowski established a slew of test pieces, with Elmer Fudd 512d, Carnivore 5.13a (Shep Steiner), Doppio 5.13b (built by Joe B), and Mouthful of Freddie 5.13c (Built by Shep Steiner) and the classic Black Coffee 5.12d – LeBlanc/Tremaine.
Cougar Canyon also continued to see more growth with more than 50 new routes going up with John Martin responsible for most of the routes as usual. (maybe better worded – LeBlanc, Buszowski and Steiner built and worked on the Carrot Patch routes with a few FA’s, but as usual of those days, Guyn swooped in and FA’d Mouthful of Freddie, a Steiner bolted and tweaked route – same as the “Carnivore” Not to be overlooked was the Parboossingh “Last Boy Scout” 5.13-, bolted and close by Simon, but he was killed on a guides course via an avalanche. Milton FA’d that one. Steiner’s classic Oedipus Complex 5.12c and LeBlanc’s Liar 5.13b are two excellent additions to a good crag.
Along with the tried and true getting more routes the Bow Valley saw three new areas emerge; Raven Crag, Bataan, and the game changer, Acephale. Peter Arbic discovered the small but steep Raven Crag perched above the town of Banff and  put in the first pitches of The Masque 5.11d, and Telltale Heart 5.11d, PA added in a bunch of great routes here up to the mid 5.13 range – PA would also add in some of the best routes at Skaha, he’s an interesting man with a good passion and energy, plus he liked to bolt and climb – Skaha would not be the same without his efforts, and neither would the Bow Valley. Both of which he would latter add extensions to, creating two classics weighing in at 5.12d and 5.13a.Milton and LeBlanc managed to send all the lines in the crag - except the project to the right - as it happened, we were led to believe they had been sent - this caused a little rift between PA and the duo ... all good after a few beers ...
JD LeBlanc led the charge at Bataan, with ­­­Nirvana 5.13a, and (1992) Jacob’s Ladder (1993) 5.13a, Bolting of Vishnu, and the FA of the Jagger bolted excellent 24 Frames per Second/the Book of the Dead, 5.13a, However, Haberl and Jagger climbed and pushed themselves alongside Ryan Johnstone ... but soon discovered that even though the stone was amazing the hike was not, and securing a partner was next to impossible. Bataan, first route was the Haberl - Truckasaurus, 5.12a, on top of Nirvana – yes problematic, but darn good. Keith and LeBlanc hiked up ropes and lots of bolt to the crag – his efforts allowed the crag to be what it is today – we had some funny times, but mostly it was labour intensive and tough.
JD LeBlanc then turned his attention to the newly discovered “cliff of the future”, Acephale, and went to work alongside Richard Jagger, in 1992 the duo built the left end of the lower wall. (Todd Guyn and his Austrian friend Helmut Neswabda came in to the “project” later on, 1994 (May have been 1993, but pretty sure it was the year after the 1993 monsoon season with Steiner and LeBlanc and lot’s of coffee) and helped create some excellent routes).  Illy Down was the first route on the lower wall left side, at 5.12a, now 5.12c, as it’s a V7 boulder start! Jagger added in “Girl Drink Drunk” 5.12a, The Irradicator 5.12a. Tremaine created Nickel Bag 5.11a. However, the lower wall warm-up Neoconstructionist 5.11c was put up by Tim Pochay, and maybe the hardest trickiest warm up around. The lower wall yielded maybe the best route in the valley, LeBlanc’s Deal With It 5.12c, the great stone route of Naissance de la Femme 5.13b, Guyn’s Nemo 5.13a , and Wet Lust 5.13d, Neswabdas The Dark Half 5.13a, and Last Dance.
The Upper wall then hosted the infamous Steiner route “Le Stade du Miroir” 5.12b (1993), The Hood 5.13b, Sweet Thing 5.13c (Built by Steiner), The Hype 5.13c, the classic Altius 5.12c, and the uber gigga classic Tremaine/Johnstone Jingus 5.12c/d, and Tremaine’s stellar Swelltone Theatre 5.12d. Levente Pinter at 16 years old, bolted, and created Army Ants 5.13c, he would become one of the strongest and ever respected climbers in North America.
 : 1995-1999 
...
In the upper end of the difficulty range things continued to progress but there was a changing of the guards. Todd Guyn started to lose steam with his long stream of sends, while Scott Milton (Scott was the first Canadian to climb 5.14, which he did in Southern France in 1993 – Mass Critique, followed by the infamous To Bolt or Not 5.14a and many more. Sandford established the first 5.14 in Canada and added a few more in his home area. LeBlanc sent a few in the states. Todd Guyn however, continued to send almost every route up to 5.13d in Western North America and send them very quickly – if you ask me, Guyn was the finest climber of my generation – he could onsight 5.13 and send multiples in a day, his style was to not work the route much, send quick and move on – others were the opposite – work a lot, send less … Plus pretty much any where he went projector’s would cringe, as they heard of his crushing – tape or not, it he could send it, it went down. In that era, he could do such, leave and most would never know – today we have 8a.nu and the world knows!) was coming into his prime and would take Todd’s place at the top, far above the rest of the pack for the foreseeable future. His crown jewel was Acephale’s Existence Mundane 5.14b. A route that was originally bolted and prepared in 1994 by Richard Conover – pretty visionary really – glue can be knocked off with seven edges made of glue before it was still considered too hard and abandoned. Scott loved a natural line though and decided to show the climbing community just what was possible with what Mother Nature had provided. He removed all but one of the edges not sure if there was anything below that last glue edge and redpointed what would become the Bow Valley’s hardest route for some time to come. The last glue edge was later removed by visiting climber, Sonnie Trotter. This didn’t change the grade however, because of a micro edge hidden below. There’s no doubt though that had Scott gambled and removed the last edge (had there been nothing below, the route would have been un-climbable) he would have redpointed the route just the same. This was the Bow Valley’s first 5.14, but not its last.
 : 2000-2010
The new millennium saw more steady growth, both in the overall base of routes as well as in the upper range of difficulty. A few younger climbers started to emerge as the new driving force in difficulty, while a few new route builders joined the ranks and started establishing the crags for the future.
Tremaine had quietly established the Bayon at Heart Creek, home to a dozen routes, 5.12 to 5.13+. His route Salty is considered to be one of the best 5.13’s in the valley. LeBlanc then set himself on another new line – Old Timer 5.13+, FA’d by Milton, followed by LeBlanc – now considered a standard for its grade.
 Acephale had a new wall – the Junction – lower wall meets upper wall – thanks to Todd Guyn, who created the classic Hickory Dickory Dock 5.12c – 35m of great climbing – followed by his Bucking Horse 5.12b another 35m rig – then the addition of 3 more routes, Dale Robotham’s Lose Yourself 5.12b 30m, LeBlanc’s Go Ask Alice 5.12d and the 2010 addition of the Duck-Bill 5.12c/d both 35m. This adds a rope-stretcher wall with a great alpine feel.
... 
More and more people started making the trek up to Bataan and its growth continued to explode. The father and son duo of Ian and Chris Perry joined Jon Jones and Roger Chayer and set to work on developing the fledgling area. By 2005 they had added countless new routes and walls with many classics among them. Among the best where The Kinematic Wave 5.11d, Crank Call 5.11d, Goldfinger 5.11c, Significant Digits 5.11b, Welcome to the Fabulous Sky Lounge 5.12b, and Eyes Wide Shut 5.12a. Other notable ascents were Ross Suchy’s send of an old LeBlanc bolted and often tried route back in the early 90’s, but left it, as he could not – at that time – solve the crux issue. But shortly after the Suchy send, it got a second … Vishnu 5.13c, and Scott Milton’s redpoint of Roger Chayer’s brilliant Freedom in Chains 5.13c.
Up at Acephale Scott Milton turned his attention to all the abandoned projects that littered the Upper Wall and when he was done just about every bolted line was transformed into a new route. Among them were Port Hole to Hell 5.13d, Whale Back 5.13d, Fully Jingus 5.13d, Endless Summer 5.13d, and Leviathan 5.14a.
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The Bow Valley came about from pure freedom and passion – little rules, no climbers. Today we have many rules and lots of climbers, for those of us in the “older” category it’s odd, but it’s also great. Without the new generation we would not have brand new areas, like the “Echo Grotto”. Suchy, Meiss, Tos, Perry grew as climbers from what was established, then went and created more, in all levels too! Without the prod of a guy like Galloway, who sent every hard route in the Valley, added many more, heaps of energy, all with his own grading style. Really most of us think it’s his way of “speaking from the soapbox” some of us rant from it, rave from it, pontificated from it, DG grades from it. However, whether it’s 13a or b, it’s still hard. The Bow Valley hosts some amazing sport climbing, and a lot more rock to create new vision upon – you just need to be prepared to hike!
The Bow Valley would not be what it is today without the pioneering vision of Joe Buszowski – sure there were other hard climbers – Zacharias, Howatt, Korman. 
Joe created and sent most of the classics at Lake Louise on gear, most are bolted today, and he did the second ascent of the Terminator, the FA of Mixed Master and later in 2004 created most of the hard mixed routes climbers get on these days – the Thriller cave area, Haffner creek and cave. However, what Joe did was not just see new areas or routes; he saw in younger climbers a certain thing that he helped shape. Jim Sanford became one of the finest climbers in Canada – he may well have done it on his own, but Joe helped show him what was possible. Todd Guyn and LeBlanc came out of the Joe B mentorship program and it shaped our future. Todd went on to become the most prolific 5.13 climber of our era – he could send multiple 13’s in a day, he shredded up the famed Blasphemy wall in the VRG, back in the mid-90’s – alongside his hundreds of other 5.13’s. LeBlanc climbed a few hard routes, and was one of the founders of Bataan and Acephale – however this could not have happened without Shep Steiner – his passion and skill built many of the Acephale classics and his education created the name of the crag. Richard Jagger was instrumental in the building of Bataan and Acephale – he took over from Keith Haberl who unfortunately was often injured and just could not continue to sport climb. Some of the old crew was still cranking Dornian and Rennie – Rennie became a key to the whole thing as well – he was the silent funder of bolting gear. We weren’t working, or at least had no real money, so Bill funded us with bolts, brushes, hammers … this really enabled us to create what we wanted to build. Rennie still climbs 5.12, pretty well for a working old man. David is the force behind the sport climbing federation in Canada, he sits on the UIAA IFSC board and still climbs 5.12 and he’s older than Rennie …
Acephale has a few issues of dates - but I can guarantee that the first bolts were in the Hood and Hype, 1992, as I was with my wife on one of our first "dates". No other bolts were at this crag until later on in May and June 1992 with the Lower Wall routes of Jagger, Tremaine and LeBlanc. This crag had been spotted, walked to by numerous climbers, but no effort - same went for Bataan. FYI no trail really existed to Bataan nor Acephale - these were laid out and hammered down by the builders.
In closing, the new guidebook is a great data source, solid pictures, well laid out - to most they likely will not care at all. This book should help those coming into the areas for their first time. Would I buy it - I did - purely because it's Derek's effort and he's a solid climber and builder - so you need to support it.
To those who read this and think - bitter old prick - you are wrong - I have been a part of the scene since it started and provided a lot of the routes today's climbers build themselves on. I still climb and add new routes, was one of the few climbers to climb 5.14 back in the early/mid 1990's and tried to push the sport here, to help build routes and climbers. I wish Steiner would be able to have kept climbing, same for Buszowski, but life moves on and so does the scene - let's just not forget the past - and hopefully more climbers will be keen on sending and building more areas – the Echo crew is on fire – maybe we could prod a few to get into the Middle Grotto, along the “Playground” dry tool crag trail and resurrect the old cave “Caveman of the Apocalypse” …