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.
I had broken the First Rule of Dig Club. The First Rule of Dig Club is: you do not talk about Dig Club. The First Rule prevents the public from seeing and reacting to the removal of vegetation and therefore maintains their naïve ideas about the origin of rock climbs. It also keeps Diggers in the closet, equally naïve about how to develop a route of quality.
In the Belle Province, almost everyone who climbs knows Jean-Pierre ‘Peewee’ Ouellet. The crack phenom has been on the forefront of hard trad climbing for years, not only at home, but in the States as well. But his tick list goes beyond simply doing hard 5.13 cracks. He also climbs up to 5.14 in sport, boulders double-digits and climbs difficult ice and mixed routes.
With his numerous wins at the junior World Cup competition wins, repeated podium finishes at World Cups as an adult and redpoints of hard routes like Dreamcatcher 5.14d, Sean McColl has emerged as Canada’s top rock climber.