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Alpine Club of Canada: Newfoundland and Labrador

The Alpine Club of Canada has been an important player in the evolution of climbing in Canada for over 100 hundreds.

There are over 20 ACC sections in Canada. The most recent addition is the Newfoundland/Labrador section. For those who’ve climbed in Newfoundland, you know about the world-class rock and ice climbing. The new ACC section aims to provide a framework for new and old climbers to experience the great climbing in Newfoundland.

Climbing at Flat Rock Photo Greg Locke

Gripped’s editor Brandon Pullan caught up with Adam Hiscock to get an insider’s look at how the new ACC section is doing.

Gripped: How long has there been a Newfoundland section of the ACC?

Adam: There has been an ACC section in Newfoundland and Labrador for three years, 2015 will be our fourth year.

G: Is there a clubhouse?

A: There isn’t a clubhouse yet but there are a few areas where we’d like to see it happen.

G: How many members are there?

A: Right now we’re a small club with 32 members and in terms of demographics we’ve got a great mix with four under 18, fifteen between 18 and 34 and 13 over 34.

G: Are there many young climbers, how do you attract new members?

A:We do have a number of young climbers in the club and one of the things the local section does is sanction a provincial Junior Competition team which has 12 members. A couple of the ways we’ve been attracting members has been primarily through events whether that’s participating in events with like-minded organizations or hosting our own events throughout the year.

Jean-Pierre Ouellet teaching a gear placement at the Flat Rock Festival
Jean-Pierre Ouellet teaching a gear placement at the Flat Rock Festival Photo Greg Lock

G: Do you have weekly events?

A:Most of our time is spent on two major events throughout the year including Flatrock Fest which happens during the summer and a camping and ice climbing trip in the winter.Last year was the fourth year for Flatrock Fest and about 150 people turned up at that event which takes place at the local crag in Flatrock. Flatrock Fest has a lot to offer everyone from beginners to seasoned climbers and it’s a great opportunity for those interested in expanding their skills from the gym to outside.

The camping and ice climbing trip takes place in Lance Cove and gives people the chance to try ice climbing for the first time without having to invest in a lot of equipment upfront and for those that are interested we make it into an opportunity to get some winter camping in as well.

We’ve been working with our members to figure out what types of events they’d like to see more of so in the coming weeks we’ll be starting weekly gym meets and more technical sessions on a regular basis. Up until now there have been several smaller events that take place throughout the year but nothing consistent so we’re working to change that.

G: Are there access issues out east?

A: No real access issues.

G: How many folks travelled to Ouray?

A: Two of our members travelled to Ouray for the Ice Festival. Our ice season varies each year and the community is fairly small so a couple of us decided to head down to kick off the season, take part in the clinics, and enjoy what Ouray has to offer.

G: What are some of your local ice routes?

A: Most of the local routes are single pitch, rap in/climb out, routes along the ocean and there are probably 30 routes within a 20 minute drive from St. John’s.

A couple of the main climbing areas include:

Stiles Cove: One of the most popular areas. A couple routes include: Right Side Up (uber classic 30-metre WI3), and Booger (project up for grabs). All single pitch.

Southside Road: Known as Nocturnal wall because the lights from the warehouses light up the area in the night time. Great area, small but fun and close.

Redhead Cove: The Shining, a 75-metre two-pitch WI5+ and High Anxiety, a 40-metre WI5

There are also a pile of routes on the west coast of the province (mostly unknown/unpublished), multipitch climbs into the WI5+ range.

Night climbing at Southside Road climbing area. Photo Curtis Jones
Night climbing at Southside Road climbing area. Photo Curtis Jones