Up the Hill

But not quite over it

Monday morning was positively glorious in this part of the world. My comrade in stone, Akira, was dead-set on trying out the crash mat that he had hauled through the wind and rain from Toronto. We had some vague directions to an area in Gatineau Park, near Luskville, where good bouldering was to be had, so we set out early down the 148. John was kind enough to drive us on this outing, and to snap (and edit) some pictures of me climbing.

First challenge: find the boulders. Apparently the powers that be aren't so keen on people actually using and enjoying Gatineau Park, so there is little to no signage indicating where one might climb. Being a complete novice in these matters, I'm not sure if perhaps where we were trying to climb was one of the now closed sites, or if they just like to make things hard to find. It took us a good twenty minutes to find a trail that actually led into the woods and not just back into the farmer's field. Once we had started down the trail we did encounter a sign. I wish I had taken a picture of it. This flag was suspended from a rather elaborate tree mount, like some sort of medieval banner. It depicted a woman hiking, clearly having the time of her life, and informed us that we should turn around and get the hell back to where we came from in order to preserve the nature. Instead, we continued up the trail in search of something to lay our hands on. A bit of panting later, we found what seemed to be the only boulder we were likely to be lucky enough to stumble upon. It wasn't very big. Probably for the best. I hadn't climbed on natural rock since I was ten, and on that occasion I was more or less hoisted up a cliff face by someone three times my size.

Second challenge: climb the boulder. The first thing you notice is the absence of nicely shaped holds to reach for. Also new experiences were the possibility of chunks of rock shearing off the boulder when you grab onto them and the tragic mix of cheese grater granite with soft flesh. I suppose it gets easier over time, and I think we did pretty well for a Monday morning. Round two has been scheduled for the next weekend, so I suppose I had better stock up on gauze and start doing some chin-ups.