Category Archives: Quinn Brett
|Following the crux on Cloud Tower|
I don’t project rock climbs. I on-sight. If I don’t think I can on-sight it I shy the lead away.
“No, crazy…settle down!”
“I think I have your disease…I can’t seem to take a rest day!”
|Cory Jammin up the last pitch of Cloud Tower|
The pain of my stubby right toe jammed into the one inch crack 600 feet off the deck.
The grunting exhale that escapes my lips as I shove my left index finger in the space between the parallel sandstone.
The tingling sensation as my hand cranks, forearm burning, pulsing. Breath labored.
Mind twirling, eyes darting. ‘
Finding comfort in the uncomfortable.
Taking control or just taking.
Whatever it may be, pushing because that is what we do it for.
I backed off a lead today, because my shoulders hurt. Because my right elbow aches. Because my shoes are all blown out. Because I was afraid of not sending.
Afraid of Failing.
Clinging to a pin scar on the first crux of Rainbow Wall.
|Pitch 1 on East Colombian Indirect 5.12+, Tom Egan Wall– Snowpatch Spire|
|Q.B leading up the Endless Struggle Pitch, Snowpatch Spire|
When you type in your Google search bar “genuine, good-spirited, ego-less hard mutherF#^&ing crankers,” I am positive the search will mention or show photos of a Canadian rock climber.
For years I have fallen for their niceness.
This trip sealed the deal.
Gratitude fills me to the brim!!!!
I basically had the raddest 3 week tour in the Bugaboos, Lake Louis, and Canmore.
After our first day’s first ascent, local hard man Chris Brazeau proceeded to shuffle me around the best new free lines in the Bugaboos. Many of these climbs were old aid lines that Chris and his buddies, Jon Walsh, Jon Simms, Simon Meis, Cody Lank and others opened up with much effort over the last six or seven years.
Sendero Norte was the tour opener. This 13 pitch route is stacked with pitch after pitch of 5.11 and 5.12 climbing. Links to Jon Walsh’s blog with topos and a photo of the route line.
Both Chris and I fell on the lower thin seam crux pitch and both had a fall or two on the upper roof crux pitch. The rest of the route we both climbed clean. Rappelling down I kept saying, “this was my favorite pitch, no wait THIS was…” Sendero is one of the highest quality routes I have climbed!
|Following the lower seam crux on Sendero Norte|
Our next foray on the North Face of Snowpatch Spire had us climbing another new route….
one that will be fully ready for next season!
Dark Prince starts out with a spicy 5.10 corner to a facey run-out. Pitch 3 continues up a left facing thin and technical seam/stem over a roof. This is sustained and difficult 5.11 maybe 5.12 pitch. I led up the next 200 foot pitch—and would recommended splitting this into two pitches. Climb up a steep wall on your left with dual and pumpy splitter hand cracks, 5.11, bop right to climb under an off-width/dihedral roof to a nice cozy ledge.
This ledge can blast you off two directions.
|Hell or High Water. http://alpinestyle.ca/2012/10/15/recent_favorites|
The Dark Prince or Hell or High Water. Both stellar lines. Chris just sent the Dark Prince earlier this season…check out the Canadian Alpine Journal cover!
(You can see the top of Dark Prince in the right-hand corner of photo above).
|Leading a 5.11 Pitch 7 on Sendero Norte|
This day Chris choose to finish on Hell or High Water.
I followed it clean.
AHH!!! We didn’t make enough time in trip for me to give it a lead go…”never not enough!”
Chris is pretty sure it hasn’t been sent yet….next season, next season!!
|Off-width after the bolt ladder or 5.11 slab|
Brazeau also wanted to add a few bolts –anchors and protection on Dark Prince. As we climbed, he would occasionally rap back down to do a little work. I entertained myself and everyone near the North Face with my very loud personal renditions of ‘Man in the Mirror’ and ‘Elderly Lady Behind the Counter in a Small Town’ and maybe a few other classics. 🙂
Next on the tour was the Cooper-Gran, on Bugaboo Spires East Face. Not a new Chris route, but an old line that has been freed with a sketchy 5.11 slabby rivet bolt ladder mid-route.
|Between summits on Bugaboo Spire|
|A quick summit handstand!|
It didn’t seem to have been climbed since its first ascent……either way it had some fun heads-up climbing.
After 8 or so pitches, the route gains the popular 5.8 north ridge of Bugaboo Spire about 300 feet below the North Summit. We simul-climbed this portion.
An epic storm began her grumble as we tagged the north summit. With a quick handstand, we nibbled a little chocolate, I spread some of Andrew’s ashes and then we high-tailed down the Kain Route.
|C.B Racking up on Bugaboo Spire|
Mmm, what was next. I believe we had a failed effort on something on the Minaret. We climbed two soaking wet waterfall pitches while getting totally baked in the sun.
We contemplated (I tried to convince Chris to climb) the Beckey-Chouinard but heard rumours of a line-up 6 or 7 deep (he wasn’t totally opposed but has climbed it a few times already).
|Q.B heading up a stellar 5.11+ Hands to fingers on East Colombian.|
So we bailed and did a walk-about around the Spires through glaciers and snow on our way home.
The last new route of the tour was another Brazeau route. Stellar stacked pitches called East Colombian Indirect. This blasts off on the left side of the Tom Egan Wall. Pitch one starts off heavy but sweet. A 5.12 (lead bolted) traverse climbs into a lay back flake. The pitch continues on dicey face moves around a corner and leads up to a small stance. From there a steep and long hands to fingers second pitch dihedral keeps you fighting. Pitch 3 is a finger roof pitch. The crack widens as you gain the lip and continues as a 2 inch crack for a 60 more feet.
Balance and reach through a couple of face moves to gain more moderate terrain. A short moderate pitch lands you on a sweet lounging ledge…. Hobo’s Haven. We hung out here for minute…spread a few more of Andrew’s ashes (seemed a perfectly named place for him to rest…I chuckled with tears!).
I regained my composure and with the nicest of encouragements from Chris, started up the looming pitch, “The Endless Struggle.” This is the last pitch of another wild route called The Power of Lard. The old guidebook gives it a wicked difficult rating….realistically mid-5.12.
|Chris on Pitch 3 of East Colombian|
This is a high quality 120 foot overhanging hands to fingers pitch. Probably one of the best I have ever stepped up to lead!
The crack arches left so one foot jams as the other smears the sheer wall.
Fight the pump through a short finger rail traverse right and a jug over the arete to the north side of Snowpatch Spire.
Another amazing climb, pitch after pitch of clean splitter granite.
I can’t believe I have waited this long to visit the Bugaboos!! An adventure there next summer is in order as there is much on my tick list…new routes abound and many more scrubbed up routes by the Canadians that need help sending (I need to get stronger stronger)!!!
In addition I got to climb with some rad ladies in Canmore and Lake Louis. 90 Meter over hanging sport routes in Lake Louis with a backdrop that is surreal!! Canmore much of the same, limestone amphitheather. Radical!
Michelle Kadatz and Andrea Eitle were among the few that were kind enough to tour me around,
hook me up with other partners. It was sweet to meet and hang with some rad ladies, giggling!!
|Taking the long way home. Snowpatch Spires south face in the background
Again not quite long enough! I need to make more time to climb in Canada!!
|So beautiful. Can’t wait for next summer!|
|Base Camp. Barnes wall right of sunlight.|
Greenland was a bittersweet adventure! I have been home for 8 days. As I write, I realize that reflection occurs only now, simultaneous with the blinking of my eyes.
Nestled in our craggy fjord, a Satellite message brought Colorado reality rushing in. My favorite person-a man I loved dearly– perished in the Black Canyon.
The mood abroad altered immediately.
My heart moaned, the echo lapped far across the shores in the deep blue water abyss. The granite walls quivered, as did my soul.
In this piddle of a blog, I find it difficult to give an accurate and passionate detail to our climbing adventure.
My mind drifts off, contemplating the loss and my love for the outstanding Andrew Barnes.
When rock climbing, whether it be soloing or establishing new routes on unfamiliar terrain, I feel enlightened with a certain ethereal clarity. This feeling fulfills my being, is addictive, and gets me through another day, another week, another year.
|On Morning Luxury…looking south…Brazil do you see it?|
The handful of long traditional routes we established in the Torsukatak Fjord may or may not be climbed again.
Man, I sure hope they are!!!
“Morning Luxury”–our second big ascent– is a glorious rock climb and an equally amazing summit!! It flirts a south facing ridge for 8-200 foot pitches. Stacked with dreamy finger stem-box corners, jaw dropping views, and an adventurous summit block wrestle. All on high quality granite with a dash of burnt potato chip-like lichen.
Over time, perhaps, the rock will recover from the minor abrasions of our traffic and it may appear we were never there at all.
The rock, lichen, and vegetation is resilient.
|AB and the Grand Canyon.|
I seek this quality for myself.
The death and hard lessons in this year, draw my gaze downward. I need to remember there is also so much beauty.
With Andrew, though, I don’t want the memories to fade… the vegetative re-growth in the fissures to mask his presence.
I certainly do not want the world to appear that he was never here at all. I fear with time these events playing out in all of us.
These routes we established. The roots we established.
They are life altering.
Built from the ground up, first try without hesitation. Without artificial means of support….intuitively. With love, with passion and a little try hard.
We were lucky to have found such compelling and natural lines. To climb an 1800 foot granite wall first go is surreal. Yet, we did it and three days later we ascended another in similar fashion. My two lady friends and I…giggling the entire way–oh yeah and the token male, John Dickey. (He joined us for all but the first one).
|Morning Luxury ascends the left ridge to summit.|
“Plenty for Everyone” that was our first climb in the Fjord, on an unclimbed wall we named Barnes Wall. 10 rope stretching pitches with a mixed bag of face wandering, waterfalls, loose rock, a #5 off-width dihedral, a finger crack over a roof, splitter hands, and finishing on ridge with a tiny box summit.
I am lucky to have had such a natural and compelling man in my life as my best friend and love. Someone who taught me how to compassionately love with no expectations. To remind me that “nobody is better than anyone else.”
A man who believed genuinely that there was always plenty for everyone!
Live like Barnes!!!
Thank you for reading.
|Following the first pitch on The Prow|
Wow. I had a busy little October.
Climbed the Nose in a Day again with some friends….”Keeping it casual!” I was only in the Valley for 3 days. Man I love that place!
10 days later I found myself giving a slideshow on speed climbing the Nose at Metro Rock in Boston, This even was a fund-raiser for Paradox Sports. The show went well and I thank Trango and Stonewear for providing swag for the give-aways. Also a big thanks to my brother for organizing and helping to promote the event!
During my short stay in Boston, my brother and I stole away for a day of climbing at Cathedral Ledges. We climbed The Prow. A proud line I would like to go back and free. The route was intimidating and seeping wet, we did a mixed bag of aiding/ climbing two of the soggy pitches but were able to free the rest.
|My brother and I….where is the wine bar?|
Tuesday Oct. 23, I boarded the plane in Boston at 6 am. Landed in Denver, 9am. Hopped a bus to Boulder, grabbed “Randy” (my trusty Subaru Forester), and drove to Estes. Had a quick bloody mary at Ed’s Cantina with a friend, unpacked, re-packed, then drove to the Black Canyon.
I arrived around midnight, chucked my sleeping bag on the ground next to AB and zonked out. I had been up for almost 24 hours and was cross-eyed from playing a game of frogger with deer and elk on the road!!!
|Rappelling off of Medicine Man|
The pink sky poked gently at my eyelids. Jes quietly rustled through kitchen supplies as Andrew watched the sun do its magic at the rim. After a dreary stretch, I was soon standing aside the picnic table drinking coffee and catching up with my NIAD partner, her current road trip partner, Bo, and my favorite person, Andrew Barnes. Jes and Bo had been climbing in the Black for a few days and were leaving, while Andrew and I had just arrived. After a leisurely breakfast, Andrew and I moseyed into the gneiss abyss and crawled our way out via the Checkerboard Wall. What a lovely route. A little heads up but overall a grand time….I even found a guidebook at the base!!
Our plan was to climb Southern Arete the following day–evening putting some names down on the white board—not our real names of course— but snow began to flurry about us at camp. Colorado National Monument and Medicine Man were on my list, so we departed the Black earlier than desired. Our mission was to chase an eternal fall…snow was not appropriate!
|Otto’s Route, Colorado National Monument|
Opening the car doors at Sentinal Spire, in Grand Junction, 30 degree temps and a brain freeze wind greeted us. Wine bars, distillery’s and visiting with Heather, my best girlfriend Prairie’s sister, sounded much more enticing. Medicine Man was rescheduled for the following day and what a gorgeous day it turned out to be.
Fifty degree temps, light breeze, southern exposure, splitter hand crack, and a surprise photographer at a view point who emailed photos of us rappelling. Unfortunately the route we climbed is on the opposite side of the tower, but Otto’s Route is in the background!!
We departed the next day for Indian Creek, popping off for a quick visit to friends in Paradox Valley, Colorado.
The car now brimming with potatoes, dill, and laughter we rolled into Indian Creek. After a quick deciphering of Maren and Adam’s message, we headed up for a half day of cragging at Scarface Wall with the family.
Day 2 the gang piled up at Way Rambo area. I tried Way Rambo as my first climb of the day, but was unsuccessful. I am terrible at green Camelot sizes. Knowing this, I decided to hop on Slice and Dice. Yet another failed attempt—well I broke it into 5 pitches! I did finally started feeling a little more confident though. Green Camelots I will learn to love!! Andrew crushed Layaway Plan.
Day 3 in Indian Creek was Halloween. Andrew, Brennan, and I danced to a little “Thriller” from the car as breakfast potatoes simmered. We racked up for a Vision Quest. Climbing in costumes that were reminiscent to Saved by the Bell’s, Zach, Kelly, and Slater…..that swimsuit top thing Kelly was
sporting is not ideal for off-widths!!!
Atop the Bridger Jacks, we could see the cottonwoods twinkling yellow, red sandstone spires and walls reaching up towards a piercing blue sky. The Vision Quest was being fulfilled. The golden light of fall had found a way to hang on!!
|Oh an Eternal Fall|