Axel Pic has climbed his first 5.14a at a popular crag about one-hour east of Montreal.

Pic sent Alpha Beta 5.14a at Mount Orford on Oct. 1. The steep route was one of the first 5.14s in the province. The route climbs an overhanging wall and the slopey crux is right at the top.

“Orford is well known for its highly technical climbing because it is very kneebar intensive and you must execute your climb perfectly in order to save your energy,” said Pic. “Especially since the rock has little friction.”

Axel Pic on Alpha Beta 5.14.  Photo courtesy of Pic
Axel Pic on Alpha Beta 5.14. Photo courtesy of Pic

Orford has around 60 routes and most are fully bolted. There are also over 100 boulder problems. The wall has the highest concentration of hard routes in Quebec with more than three quarters 5.13c or harder. The rock is sort of like gneiss, but smoother and hard like basalt, and has plenty of great features.

“On one projecting day,” said Pic, “I had tried it twice and then the sun set. Determined, I opted for a third try, I always gave three burns.

Axel Pic on Alpha Beta 5.14.  Photo courtesy of Pic
Axel Pic on Alpha Beta 5.14. Photo courtesy of Pic

“With a headlamp on my leg to see my feet on a critical move and the other on my head, I managed to to get up with only one fall. Muscle memory is a crazy thing in the dark.”

Visit here for a guidebook to the routes at Orford. Watch this 2013 video of Mikael Fortin making a send of Alpha Beta:

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