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All posts by Daniel Brayack

and that’s all folks…..

Day 3: Continued
The hike out to the boulders – for once – wasn’t a horror show…and the boulders were quite cool. We met up with a couple dudes that have been helping to establish and keep the place open – they were really cool and I shot a bunch of photos of them and their female counterparts.
We’re talking about maybe checking out the “TV-Tower” crag tomorrow – with the major draw being the short(er?) approach. I sure hope it’s a short approach.
The interesting part about “the Dump” is that is a really sensitive ecological area. The Ontario group (OAC) was pretty key in negotiating the opening of the boulders, but you have to be really careful to not trample/mess with the flora – especially this special “Daisy.”

Day 4:
The bugs were really bad last night – I basically said – ok sorry dude, but screw this I’m going to bed (despite napping twice and the fact that I wasn’t tired) – I just couldn’t stand the swarm of mosquitoes…A few made it into my tent, though I didn’t wake up with any painful bites – I do remember swatting at a few that were buzzing around my head.
On a road trip – I think that rest days are the most difficult thing…more so making the decision that we need a rest day. We need a rest day today…but screw it – we’re going climbing. We’ll definitely need a rest day tomorrow – for sure…I think we’re talking about checking out this white sands beach or something…
I’m not sure where we’re going to today yet, though we may check out the “TV Tower” crag since it supposedly has a short approach (God I wish!!!)
This trip is really nice – It feels like I’m climbing full time again – I’ve been gone away from work long enough that I don’t really think of that as my “life” – not that I really do much anyways – having a 3 day weekend every weekend.

—–Day 4: Part 2——-
Today has definitely been the most humid day – we drove out to the T.V. Tower crag (funny enough the one guidebook lists it, but doesn’t even give directions to it – how lame right?) – well it was a total poison ivy fest/chosspile….well maybe the one route there looked good – but we said screw it – not worth it….well maybe…but not really…We ended up just taking a rest day….
I think we’re gonna climb at Lion’s Head tomorrow…

Day 5:
Totally got my butt kicked – its sad for me to admit, but I’m not climbing 5.12a anymore ☹. I really need to whip myself into shape – I put 3 more goes into “Busted at Bedford”, but was unable to do it…the third go I made it all the way to the anchors and was just too scared to risk the forty foot whipper on rusty bolts…the anchor clip is probably the crux – the holds end about 2 feet below the anchor so you basically need to dead-point clip the anchor, then lock-off and pull up rope and clip…well maybe next year right?
I did manage to scare myself up this really cool 5.10c trad route (on the Latvian Ledge) – Fastball? Or something like that…Totally thought I was gonna die…but whatever right? If you’re not scared – its not a trad climb? I need to get back into tard shape – I was feeling pretty good last season…
The bugs here….are….reallllllly…bad!

Day 6:
Today was more of a “mellow” day – at least we didn’t try anything harder than 11a – though we did try, but fail miserably to find “Katrina and the Wave” – after a nastyish bushwhack and a bunch of arêtes that all looked the same (and we didn’t seen any bolts), we headed back to past the Latvian Ledge to do a line that caught my eye several days ago – we rappelled in and did “Lady Slipper” 5.10a which was probably the best pitch we’ve done so far – then we did the companion line (mind you it took me three goes) – “Magica Moment” 5.11a. I didn’t expect to do anything hard so I only brought my “one-size big/comfy/smear shoes” to the rappel ledge…oh well…you got hosed tommy…you got hosed…
..I’ve come to realize that I am a very smear oriented climber – and well…smearing on blank limestone walls doesn’t cut it like it does on sandstone…I really need to work on my edging…I just always default to smearing when I can…We finished up by doing “Skunks Do It In Tevas” 5.9 – a high quality, variety climb with two mono moves….it was really cool. Looks like two more climbing days – and so far – NO RAIN…did I just curse myself? We shall see…
We’ve been hitting the Lion’s Head Inn every night for dinner…the food is…well pretty good – a big pricey- but I guess you get what you pay for – especially in Canada…

Day 7
You know is gonna be a tough day when its 10:00 am and you’ve already taken your daily max of Ibuprofen…
Totally hosed us – it rained today. We got exactly as low of an elevation from the car as possible when the storm hit – we went into the boulder field at Half Way Dump only to get totally dumped on…well that’s life I guess right? So we went driving around a bit – and found this really really nice, warm beach on the other side…of course it was raining… jumped in anyways…the water was actually warm…and nice – of course it was freezing so I got out pretty quick and high-tailed it…
We’re not sure but if it rains again tomorrow, we may be pissing on the fire and calling in the dog and heading to a boulder/climbing area in PA called the Allegheny Nation Forest (ANF.) – not sure yet…
We drove up to Tobermory today – it was…well…it was nice. There were trees. And some roads…and I think we saw a few rocks. We got out at this visitors center and Bob got to see what a Fisher looked like “oh and a biiiiiig bear too”. I just waited in the parking lot. I used his phone and saw a picture of a Fisher too. Of course – all these photos of this gorgeous blond popped up too. Go figure. Try doing a Google image search for a “Fisher.”

One thing that I’ve noted here on the Bruce Peninsula is the people – they’re really nice and cool – I think every night at the Lion’s Head – we chit-chatted with locals – the waitresses – other patrons – we even had two people stop by our campsite to talk to us. Super rad…

Day 8 (The day that the music died):

Day 2 and Day 3 at Lion’s Head…

Day 2:
We did Lion’s Head proper today – you know – I’m starting to see a theme around here (other than limestone and pockets) – freaking long and heinous hikes! At least there aren’t any hills…but man – they’re really long!!! – especially when carrying the camera…
We did a handful of pitches today – including two really good moderate warm-ups, a decent 11b (that felt easy) and I put two burns into this HEINOUS 5.12a called Busted at Bedford. The 2nd burn, I made it through the crux, but was just too scary to clip the darned draw! I think if I get back on this one – I’m gonna hang a dyneema from the bolt and clip mix crux instead of trying to clip off of good hands and no feet.
The climbing at Lion’s Head was on the “blue” limestone, though the nature of the routes, the movement and the sketchy bolting was very reminiscent of climbing on Endless Wall at the New River Gorge…We saw this really cool crack climb – I think we’re gonna come back and do it (and maybe hopefully send that darned 12a)
I snapped a few images today – once the sun came over, the lighting was just exquisite. After loping back (more like staggering the way my feet were feeling), we did Dinner for the 2nd night in a row at the Lion’s Head Inn.

Day 3:
“We were pondering how many ‘Toonies ’ it would take at the local brothel to figure out what a ‘Rusty Blackbird’ (V5) was, but later learned they named the problems after the Flora and Fauna in the park.”
Has it really only been three days? I’m feeling totally whooped – I guess that we’re calling today a rest day anyways – but not really – we went bouldering at this place called “Half Way Dump” or “the Dump” – the bouldering was pretty good – though limestone (I was hoping for granite – but you can’t always get what you want…)
I basically got my butt kicked – though I’m totally blaming “day 3 in-a-row” – my guns were just thrashed and I kept falling any time I needed to call in the reserves. I did do a handful of V3s that were quite good.

Lion’s Head Part 1!

I typed a trip report while at Lion’s Head – I’m gonna post it in parts….
I’m holding photos hoping to get an article in DPM

Day 0:
…was basically that – Day 0 – driving….about 8 or 9 hours of it with stops from Pittsburgh, to the campsite which is – what – not at Lion’s Head – yeah that’s right – Cape Croker. It was fairly expensive here – $100 CAD for a week – I guess all said in done that’s not terrible though.

There was a lot of cool things on the way up – though I drove the whole way and just wasn’t into the “take photos of things” mood – though I will probably try and shoot all the goodies on the way back – granted – all the cool stuff was in Canada – like the Wind-mill farms….We saw a place that had an “anti-wind energy sign” – I think I’m gonna write a separate satire against wind energy…that sounds fun?

I had threatened to be sassy to the border guard – to basically tell him to piss off – I’m an American and could go wherever I wanted – but I ended up being more like – ummm yyyes sssssir….nnooo nooo sir….West ViiiVirginia Sir….tthhhthahhank you sir.
Last night = we hiked up to the climbing at Cape Croker, though I think that we are seriously lacking for a guidebook to the area – the area was cool, with some good looking lines, but short. The mosquitoes were in fact, really bad…I must have killed 30 or 40 of them – I’m glad that I brought my hoodie – to keep them off my face and arms.
Yesterday was “Canada Day” – I guess it celebrates the day that Canada fought and won it independence or something….I’m not sure what we’re up to today, though I think that we had mentioned doing White Bluff – since its in the sun for Bob and STEEEEEEP for me ☺

I warmed up this morning on the playground at the campground here – it really is quite nice, though really busy. I guess all the Canadians are really happy to celebrate the day that they fought for their independence…

Day 1:

Not a bad day – I did sorta get spanked though! We climbed at White Bluff – which actually has a pretty crappy and long hike – no seriously – it was long! Nice though – nice scenery, nice million and half million dollar houses that we walked by on the way.
The mosquitoes here really suck which is a bummer – but they’re not horrible horrible – no worse than WV during the worst time of year for them.

I did manage to onsite two 11s and a 5.8 – though totally got spanked (one hung) this really good route – They Live (5.12b) – pretty sketchy and pumpy – I fell the first go on it because my feet slipped (Limestone is tough!) and the second time I just pumped out – I’m hoping to send it next go or two – if we make it back there.

We drove around a good bit today – mostly being tourists. I went into the water -which was cooooooold but nice…just up to my knees – I knew better than to jump in jump in – I would have frozen my butt off!
I think that we’re gonna try and climb at Lion’s Head proper tomorrow…

Wedding and the Red River Gorge


This weekend, I shot photos at Jeremy and Kim Shahan’s wedding – definitely a nice and fun wedding =). Being in the area, I decided to boulder at Coopers Rock on Friday. Conditions were hot and moderately swarmy – though temps were DECENT. I ran around Roadside and did most of the easy classics – my power was quite good – though I was having trouble hanging onto the smaller holds (taking into account the greasy holds)

I had an enjoyable time in Clarksburg WV at the wedding, – then drove down the Red River Gorge in KY.
Temps were hot…..kinda nasty, really but then its training season right? I did a few new moderates – some classics actually – two at the “What About Bob” wall – No Sleep ’til Campton and Kentucky Flu – both 5 star five tens.
I was really disappointed with the Chicka Bonitta wall though – not only did we get moderately lost on the way – but I got on a “4 star” route – The Dude Abides – I was pretty beat up but still – the bolt job was just terrible – you either climbed the obvious holds and didn’t clip the third bolt at all….or did a silly move…its just a bad bolt placement…..
and the first bolt was loose and came unscrewed on me while climbing it – I guess I was just being a Sally – but I didn’t have much fun on that route…..

Alias

Daniel Brayack

Hometown

Charleston, WV

Motivation to Climb

My motivation to rock climb is both travel - an excuse to see new places - and the love and passion for the gymnastic movement of climbing. Also, I've been climbing for so long, that it would be hard to consider doing anything else with my life :)

Most Memorable Climb

I was already through the crux, at least I thought. Until I grabbed the good hold and made a big move to what looked like another good hold. It had two tick marks on it - for the left and right and I went for the left. It was bad - 1/4 pad at best and I was out of balance, so I went with my right, hoping it was better. It wasn't. I was already 100 feet out from the belay and really wanted to do the route - I knew I would never get back to it. I was pumping out, the meter was running and the next hold was two feet away. I looked down, my feet weren't right....crap...well..crap crap crap. I looked up, saw a tick on a hold. Is it good? It better be. I dug down deep, used my momentum, and jumped for it. I caught it by the tips of two fingers and it was incut, but I was barely on it and I was extended on my feet. I dug deep and wrapped it, then did a bit of a one point pull up on it to latch it. BAM. crux done. and it was 5.10 to the anchors.It was Huecos Rancheros .12c onsite.

Favorite Climbing Spot

I am so torn between the NRG and RRG. It depends on the day the hour, the moment? I can never pick its so hard!!!!!

Bio

Dan Brayack is a climber, photographer and book publisher from Charleston WV. Dan travels to climb with the seasons, climbing at the Red River Gorge and New River Gorge during the spring and fall seasons with trips out west during the summer and winter and trips to the south east for bouldering in the winter. Dan has established over 100 routes at the New River Gorge and Meadow River. His photos have been published in 20+ books and all of the major magazines. He has published the Rocktown and Grayson Highlands guidebooks and authored the Coopers Rock Bouldering guidebook.

[full bio]

Visual/Written/Motion

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