10 Ques­tions

Miles Adam­son

Gripped - - CONTENTS -

Al­berta-based Miles Adam­son is one of Canada’s top tech­ni­cal climbers. He made an early re­peat of The Path 5.14R trad, has es­tab­lished many dif­fi­cult high­ball test-pieces in western Canada and re­cently made the first as­cent of a new V10 high­ball in Bishop called Too Tall to Fall. His new route was the first boul­der as­cent of the slab face on the 20-me­tre-tall Grandma Pe­abody boul­der. The bal­ancy new route starts up Dan Beall’s Tiers of Uncer­tainty, a 5.14 only climbed on toprope, and then branches left onto new ter­rain be­fore con­nect­ing into the 5.9 South­west Arete. Adam­son said the crux of Too Tall to Fall comes nearly 15 me­tres off the deck. We touched base with him af­ter his first as­cent.


How did you de­cide that high­balling was for you?

There wasn’t a spe­cific de­ci­sion, I just liked the en­try-level ones I did years ago and did more and more. I climb sport more than high­ball re­ally, since I climb in Can­more in the sum­mers with just short trips in the win­ter to boul­der.


What was your first mem­o­rable high­ball?

Def­i­nitely En­chanted V4 in Squamish. It’s a Jack Field­house climb and that’s where I met him. He was very ex­cited to see some­one want to try it, and he went up the back to clean off the top jug for me. It’s a nice in­tro to high­balling – the land­ing is su­per flat and the top out has a jug that col­lects pine nee­dles.


Is high­balling boul­der­ing or free-solo­ing?

It’s some­where in be­tween. Cer­tainly, there is a huge risk for your an­kles, legs and back. How­ever, there’s a dif­fer­ence be­tween land­ing on pads and the ground. If you fall 10 me­tres onto a pad stack, you nor­mally won’t be shook up enough to stop climb­ing for the day. A 10-me­tre free-solo fall onto the ground could be life-chang­ing or end­ing.


What are some of the best high­balls in Canada?

Al­most all of them are in Squamish and al­ready on the top 25 high­balls list in the guide­book. My favourite first as­cent in Canada was Pur­ga­tory, aV 9 in Kelowna.


You re­peated the Path and Hon­our and Glory.

Any hard rope projects this year?

Last sum­mer I was try­ing the ex­ten­sion to At­lantis at The Look­out. I think it has been up for close to 10 years with no first as­cent. I have al­ready tried it about twice as much as Hon­our and Glory, it will be the next step up for me this sum­mer.


Do you have a train­ing pro­gram or is climb­ing train­ing enough?

I do train, but not with a su­per reg­i­mented pro­gram – lots of cam­pus board and hang­board ses­sions, then en­durance when it’s get­ting close to route sea­son. Mostly, I just climb.


What is Too Tall to Fall like?

The route starts as for Tiers of Uncer­tainty, but then goes left when the wall kicks back and gets a bit steeper. There is a tense crux at around 35 feet with a ver­ti­cal edge and a small foot. In or­der to weight the edge, you have to press into the foot re­ally hard. The foot is tiny and at an odd an­gle, which makes it re­ally hard to make solid. I think be­ing able to high­ball the prob­lem will re­volve around this se­quence. I’ve done many trips to Bishop and con­tribut­ing to some­where I like is very sat­is­fy­ing.


Was it like any other prob­lem that you’ve climbed?

I’ve climbed a lot of near-vert slabs, which are still steep enough to re­quire a lot of weight on your hands. There are quite a few high­balls in Squamish like that – like The Broom V10 comes to mind. Climbs at this an­gle often feel like puzzles, where many fea­tures are us­able or even good, but it’s com­pli­cated to link them to­gether.


Ad­vice for climbers hop­ing to project high­balls this year? Just make sure to work up to what­ever the real project is. It’s very dan­ger­ous to up the game in all re­gards all at once. You need to build up ex­pe­ri­ence, push­ing dif­fer­ent as­pects of your climb­ing in smaller steps.


What is Choss Me­dia?

I built the web­site (choss­me­dia.ca) and Youtube chan­nel just to show what my friends and I are climb­ing for fun. Since we’ve be­gun tak­ing film­ing and edit­ing a lit­tle more se­ri­ously, peo­ple have seemed to like it a lot and it’s grow­ing fast.—gripped

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