Canadian Alpine Journal, 2019
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.