When it comes to surviving and thriving in the battle with gravity, being a good climber is only part of the equation. I’ve been very fortunate to have climbed a very long time. Using my experiences over the years, I hope to offer some tips to reduce risk, preventable heartache and suffering.
When I sat down to write this story it was just supposed to be about this route in Yosemite called The Prophet which I completed this fall. As I started typing I realized that it was much more than just a route for me, and this made the writing process more difficult than just summing up a stack of pitches on a granite wall.
What exactly is the traditional game today depends on who you talk to. Some old-school traditionalists who say the modern game has ruined climbing. The younger generation rush to embrace modern tactics and ethics in search of ever steeper ground and harder grades.
Against all the odds, as well as my cheating climbing heart and the endless mountain passes separating us, I’m still head-over-heels for the bouldering in Bishop, California.
If you looked at the roster for the men’s competition this past January, you probably wouldn’t have picked first-time competitor Nathan Kutcher of St. Catharines to win top honors. “Nobody in the competition had ever even heard of this guy,” competition director and Ouray Ice Park co-founder Bill Whitt said. “But he came and dominated.”
Currently, the Okanagan boasts at least 10 bouldering areas with over 1000 established problems. The rock varies from Tuolumne-style, knobby granite to RMNP-esque boulder fields filled with ridiculously featured Monashee gneiss. Settings range from lakeside escapes to higher elevation “kid in a candy store” boulder fields.