Quebec Sender Repeats Hard Ontario Route
Shawn LeBlanc is from Aylmer, QC and has been attending Lakehead University in Thunder Bay for the last few years.
LeBlanc has only been climbing for four years, but has amassed an impressive list of hard sends. Having dabbled in competitive climbing, his main focus now is hard, technical rock routes.
His favourite place to climb is Red River Gorge, but while living in Northwestern Ontario he’s focused his energy on repeating some of the area’s hardest routes.
His most difficult send to date was at Quebec’s Baldi, where he ticked the classic Leonardo 5.13b. Also at Baldi, LeBlanc sent Ulysse 5.13a.
Northwestern Ontario has a handful of hard 5.12 sport routes and a couple of very popular 5.13s. At Silver Harbour, the closest crag to Thunder Bay, LeBlanc worked his way through the hardest routes until he started to project Stirling 5.13a. “I’m not to sure why I wanted to climb Stirling,” LeBlanc said, “I guess it was really the next climb to try at the crag. And then once I got on it I was hooked. I just need to figure out the sequence and clip the chains.”
Stirling was developed in 2010 by Nick Rochacewich. The four-bolt 5.13a is left of the classic Silver Harbour Dream Line and follows an esthetic arete on side pulling crimps, pinches and has very dynamic climbing. After Rochacewich made the first ascent, the strong Rockies climber Zach Watson repeated it in 2013.
LeBlanc sessioned Stirling for over a year and made about 40 attempts before making the third ascent. “Finaly after about 40 burns I got the send thanks for everyone who’s belayed me on this thing,” LeBlanc said after his send. “It’s over.”
He has now shifted focus to an unclimbed line at Silver Harbour that looks to be the hardest at the crag.
“The current plan is to climb until mid-may and then return home and start job searching,” LeBlanc said about his summer plans. “And beyond that I’ll be making the occasional trip down to Rumney to climb. I cant wait to come back to Thunder Bay next year. There is so much left to climb.”
Also in 2015, LeBlanc repeated Wit of a Ninja 5.12c at Silver Harbour. At Claghorn, near Nipigon, LeBlanc repeated The Beginning 5.12a and Dirty Koala 5.11d.
Another route worth noting at Silver Harbour is the new Tendinitis 5.12b/c that was established in 2014 by Will Gregorash. The route climbs the steep wall to the right of the famous Mothers, Jugs and Speed 5.10.
–Written by Gripped editor Brandon Pullan who spent a number of his years at Lakehead University projecting Wit of a Ninja until making the decade-long open project’s first ascent, thanks to beta Noel Gingrich unlocked.