The New Year

Gripped - - EDITORIAL - Gripped, Bran­don Pul­lan

The past year started with the Dawn Wall send that was heard around the world, which was fol­lowed by the Ni­a­gara Falls climb and con­tin­ued with ma­jor climb­ing achieve­ments through­out 2015. This year’s great climbs in­cluded Marc-An­dre Leclerc’s im­pres­sive so­los in Patag­o­nia, Sachi Amma and Alex Me­gos’s his­toric 5.15 sends, Daniel Woods and Ashima Shi­raishi’s ground­break­ing boul­der­ing sends to new 5.14s in four Cana­dian prov­inces, the first free as­cents of old aid routes in B.C. and climbers set­ting Cana­dian records on the in­ter­na­tional com­pet­i­tive scene. Look­ing for­ward to the next year, what will hap­pen in Cana­dian and in­ter­na­tional climb­ing? There are more ex­treme ice and alpine climbers and 5.15 and V15 senders than ever be­fore. Will we see the first 5.15d or 5.16a?

Here at we are ex­cited about the up­com­ing year. With ev­ery pass­ing sea­son, there seems to be more to cover in the world of Cana­dian climb­ing. In the print is­sue, we are in­tro­duc­ing a col­umn with more train­ing tips, while still re­port­ing on grass­roots is­sues and big­ger sends. On­line, we will con­tinue daily cov­er­age of ma­jor events and full re­ports from Cana­dian com­pe­ti­tions.

Mov­ing into 2016, there are big chal­lenges that await Cana­di­ans. Who will be the first to climb 5.15a? There are a hand­ful of Cana­di­ans who could, but Sean McColl has been named by many top climbers as the most likely. Will strong free climbers at­tempt un­re­peated hard routes on Baf­fin Is­land or es­tab­lish new ones in Canada’s most re­mote ranges? The east face of Snow­dome in the Buga­boos has be­come one of the most climbed alpine “big walls” in North Amer­ica and there are plenty of un­climbed lines up the gran­ite wall. Not to men­tion the sec­ond free as­cent of the Tom Egan Me­mo­rial Route. A new crag in Squamish prom­ises nearly a dozen new 5.13 and 5.14 routes. Son­nie Trot­ter’s mon­ster hard sport routes on Cas­tle Moun­tain and Mount Louis in the Rock­ies are yet to be re­peated. There are still dozens of big alpine walls, some close to the road, which re­main un­climbed. One be­ing the east face of Mount White­horn and an­other be­ing the dan­ger­ous north­west face of the Devil’s Thumb.

The On­tario Ac­cess Coali­tion has made i mpor­tant progress in se­cur­ing ac­cess to some of On­tario’s climb­ing ar­eas and has a promis­ing year ahead. A big new wall was re­cently found in Que­bec above Lac du Cap that will see lots of ac­tion in 2016. The boom of climb­ing on the East Coast will surely con­tinue as new gyms open and more climbers head out­doors. And, of course, will this be the year some­one finds a multi-pitch in Man­i­toba or Saskatchewan? All jokes aside, we are lucky to live in such a great coun­try with so much rock to ex­plore. Have a great start to your 2016.

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