Climbing in Skaha, 2009

About a year ago Delia and I did a rock climbing tournee to Skaha, B.C. Skaha is a crimper's paradise and boasts over 700 routes at all levels. I put up a little gallery from the trip. (Yes, it took a while to get around to it.) Here you go:

Skaha climbing trip photos, 2009

Skaha is simply awesome. While it may not sport many multi-pitch routes, it is filled with great sport climbs.

I had a goal to climb French grade 7a (sport). That's about 5.11 b/c on the Yosemite scale. Every long-term climber should be able to climb 7a. Period. I wasn't.

We started easy because we had only done some light bouldering that summer and not much climbing in the last few years. My first 5.8 almost got me which didn't bode well. I was shaky.

Over the next two weeks we were both getting stronger and better day by day. Quickly 5.10a became the 5.9 of the past and soon I led 5.10d that first felt way too strenuous. Climbing is a head game. Concentration and tactics play an important role in saving energy and moving efficiently. I wasn't really getting stronger in the physical sense. I was just using my strength more sustainably.

On one of the last days we top-roped in light rain a route called Tilted Glass (5.11a) and both climbed it with relative ease, to our suprise. The route was slightly slabby and with thiny holds - great fun. I would have like to have lead it but the first bolt was very high and required stick-clipping or relatively large testicles, especially considering the slight wetness of the bottom holds. We had neither.

While I don't climb for grades, I do. It's good to have goals, be it a certain grade or a certain feeling of flow or a certain place to climb at. And what better goal than to improve one's climbing abilities. I certainly was having a lot of fun doing it. Unfortunately we were running out of time and the improvement curve didn't seem quite steep enough.

In the end, I climbed a 5.11b on lead. It was far from clean, but I did it. Not that I give any credit for it: I was so wimpy on that climb that I would rather forget about the whole thing.

Coincidentally, we are heading to Skaha again this fall! I shall resume my quest.

-Markus at 3:30 am