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Rock Climbing Weekly #2: Morin-Heights, Simon Yamamoto, E9 and Nina Williams

A lot of hard boulders went down across the country this week, as a 15-year-old crushes a scary trad climb in the U.K.

There’s a lot to cover in the world of rock climbing, so we’re bringing it to you in a quick-to-read story that highlights some of the most noteworthy sends and misses of the week. For indoor-only climbing, visit Gripped Indoors and for paddling, camping, skiing and hiking visit Gripped Outdoors.

A lot of rock climbing is going on in Canada right now, as spring temps have made it so hot in places like Skaha that climbers are running for the shade. Simon Yamamoto sent Rusty Trombone 5.13d at Raven’s Castle in Skaha. He said, “First send post-break? Felt like one of the hardest sequences I’ve done a rope, could possibly be 5.14a. I’d have to try Blackbird first to make a conclusion.” Black Bird is a nine-bolt 5.14a direct finish to Into the Frying Pan first climbed by Sonnie Trotter in 2018. In 2020, Yamamoto, who once competed on Team Canada, repeated The Path 5.14R at Back of the Lake. For new route updates in Skaha visit here.

In Squamish, a number of boulders have gone down this week. Kim McGrenere repeated the classic Stinger Low V8, after climbing Sesame Street V9 a few weeks ago. Amanda Barlaug added to her impressive list of sends this year with Secret Lives of Children V8 in Crumpit Woods. Neil Maclellan climbed Great Escape V10 and Alex King sent Black Hole Left V10. Room Service V12 saw a few repeats by Kin Wah Lai and Marco Sanelli. The Method V12 has been climbed a number of times this year, read about it here.

Dragon Fire V10 at Frank Slide was climbed by Jake Tiger, Jerome Wang and Sean Peeters. Tiger said, “Really fun flowy boulder. I love compression. I didn’t count tries, but I sent within 30 minutes. I was told this is a V10, but definitely the bottom end of the grade. Regardless, highly recommended, but I’d say avoid climbing it in the late afternoon sun because it shines right in your eyes.” Also in Alberta, Maddy Marchuk climbed Visions of 2020 5.13c at Apocalypse Cave, and James Bull sent Pass the Dog 5.13b on University Wall.

Some hard sends went down at Morin-Heights in Quebec, like Zoe Beauchemin ticking Too Far Gone V8. and Seb Lazure on Hotel Paranoia V11. Corinne Baril, a routesetter and coach at Bloc Shop climbed True Love and False Idols V9 and Moon Beam V8.  If you’re looking for bouldering videos from Alberta then check out Scott Eveleigh here, and for Nova Scotia videos check out Mo Beta here.

Internationally, 15-year-old Tom Pearce repeated Divine Moments of Truth E9 6c, a hard and dangerous gear climb at Key Nest in England. Instead of taking the original exit, he added a direct, even more run-out finish. First climbed by Franco Cookson in 2015, it has thin crux sections protected by two skyhooks 15 metres off the ground, with cams way below. It might be the hardest trad climb done by someone at the age. It was documented by Posing Productions and will feature in the new Brit Rock film tour.

In the U.S.A., Nina Williams sent Aquadarius 5.13d, which was bolted by the late Darek Kro. “This route taught me patience,” she said. “how ‘trying hard’ means slowing down and collecting myself before the next moves instead of lunging blindly for the chains. A lesson that, as primarily a boulderer, I’m still learning.”

Many of the world’s top climbers took the week off from rock, to focus on the World Cup, which was won by Adam Ondra and Janja Garnbret, read about it here. A few big sends to note, included Eva Hammelmüller, 20, repeating David Lama’s Kantenphysik 5.14b and onsighting Reine Männersache 5.13b. She skipped the World Cup because of a knee injury. And Antoine Girard climbed his first V15 with Longue Promesse in France. Watch the send below.

Longue Promesse 

Weekly Updates: Ice Season 2020/21, Rock 1,

Access: In Thunder Bay, the popular crag Grey Wolf has been closed while access issues are sorted out. Be sure to follow your local access group: SquamishKootenaysAlbertaOntarioQuebecNova ScotiaNewfoundland.

Gear and Tips: For spring rock climbing gear, check out the best climbing harnesses for 2021 and the best cams for 2021. For safety, here are five reasons to wear a helmettips to be a better bouldering spotter and 10 tips for a more fun spring. If you’re looking for some big whippers, check out Whipper below. Always wear a helmet!