Cana­dian Alpine Jour­nal, 2019

Gripped - - REVIEWS -

To look up at the un­remit­ting ex­panse of black dior­ite that forms the North Amer­ica Wall and think that you might be the first to climb it en­tirely free speaks to a life com­mit­ted to climb­ing at its high­est lev­els. To see a line that ev­ery­one has seen but no one has sum­moned the en­ergy to at­tempt is to take the sport for­ward. To take steps out into con­di­tions un­known takes you to places oth­er­worldly. Th­ese sen­ti­ments run through ev­ery edi­tion of the Cana­dian Alpine Jour­nal (caj ), and 2019 is cer­tainly no ex­cep­tion.

That Canada can of­fer a sense of re­mote­ness and de­mand self-re­liance is a tes­ta­ment to the coun­try’s vast ge­o­graphic di­ver­sity and a rel­a­tive lack of devel­op­ment (com­pared to Europe) and lack of pop­u­la­tion (com­pared to Asia). The caj cov­ers a range of climb­ing ex­plo­ration and achieve­ment from ev­ery re­gion in the coun­try. Its writ­ers span the pro­fes­sional to the am­a­teur, all seek­ing to ex­press the mo­ti­va­tions that set us out on th­ese var­i­ous jour­neys of dis­cov­ery within the coun­try’s bound­aries and out­side it. Routes are gained through gru­elling scrub­bing ef­forts on the west coast, through win­ter sea wad­ding in the At­lantic, and the will­ing­ness to go solo in the North.

Aside from its vis­ual and in­spi­ra­tional value, the caj is valu­able re­source for con­sid­er­ing new routes that take you away from of­ten heav­ily traf­ficked ones. For ex­am­ple: the newly climbed Batwing Crack pro­vides a more ex­ploratory al­ter­na­tive to the clas­sic (read: crowded) South Ridge of Mt. Gimli. Like­wise, the re­cent La Sport 400 in the Palis­sades de Charlevoix of­fers seven pitches of mod­er­ate climb­ing that you’d strug­gle to find to your­self in the Adiron­dacks.

Of course, the caj tells you what has been done, all the bet­ter to help you plan what hasn’t.

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