In a Denver Post Article, MacKenzie Ryan labelled Loveland Pass as “one of the best worst-kept secrets in backcountry skiing.” Skiers and snowboarders have cemented Loveland Pass’s reputation as a backcountry destination by driving up and skiing down for nearly one hundred years. Explorers went deeper into the basins surrounding the Pass, leading to mechanical rope tows in the 1930s. Loveland Ski Area opened on the north side of the pass in 1936, and Arapahoe Basin began operations on the south side in 1946. In the 1980s and 1990s, snowboarders pioneered jumps on descents like Main Line and Ironing Board long before terrain parks existed at ski resorts. Fast forward to today, and you can find a full terrain park here, including kickers and rails. Many Front Range and Summit County sliders had their first backcountry experience at Loveland Pass.
Most folks view the Loveland Pass backcountry as simply the drop-in terrain at the top of the Pass. This backcountry ski guidebook presents the opportunity to go beyond the hustle and bustle of Loveland Pass. From Watrous Gulch to Porcupine Gulch, we follow US Highway 6 as it climbs dramatically to 11,990 feet; providing trailhead access to glacial valleys holding a lifetime of winter backcountry exploration. The guidebook terrain ranges from all day ski adventures in Dry Gulch and Herman Gulch, to a new perspective on how to use the Pass’s hitchhiking resources to access valleys not visible from the Highway. Our focus is winter skiing, and we also include a sample of ski mountaineering on thirteen thousand foot peaks directly accessible from Highway 6. The onset of spring and a stabilizing snow pack lures skiers into the high alpine to seek famous descents such as Dave’s Wave and the notorious Shit for Brains couloir.
MacKenzie Ryan was right, Loveland Pass is one of the best worst-kept secrets in backcountry skiing. Embrace the craziness of the Pass, and become part of the history of Colorado backcountry skiing. Have fun, but keep it real in avalanche terrain. This zone is the target of online forum rants about reckless backcountry skiing, and even the subject of a study quantifying the lack of safety gear present in the Pass’s backcountry user population. You and your friends need to bring avalanche equipment, training, and the mentality for safety to ensure a great experience at Loveland Pass.
Backcountry Skiing Loveland Pass Colorado by Rob Writz was last modified: December 2nd, 2019 by FRSKIMO
Once a great mountain range that would rival the Himalayas of today, the Appalachian Mountains that stretch from Canada to Alabama have fought an all out brawl with time and erosion for the last million or so years. The street fight was hard fought, but eventually the forces of nature won out, sculpting the hills, valleys, and the East Coast’s versions of “mountains” that we know today. As the Appalachians fade in Chattanooga, TN, the Lookout and its sister mountains unveil the treasures of the battle with erosion with multiple world class bouldering destinations. Areas such as Little Rock City (aka Stone Fort) and Rocktown draw climbers from the world over to sample some of the best/most accessible sandstone in North America. Luckily for Alabama, it saves the best for last.
Sculpted by the ravages of time, Horse Pens 40 is home to acres of bulbous faces, blunt prows, delicate slabs, crimpy overhangs, and water grooves. The owners, Mike and Gina Schultz, are models for southern hospitality. Mike is one of the best storytellers you will ever meet, while Gina slings some of the meanest country cooking you will ever encounter. HP provides the maximum amount of problems for the least amount of effort. If you are in search of the double digit line, you might want to “go west young man,” because the area lacks the soft sends needed to pad the spraycard. With over 100+ lines from V3-V5 and the same amount from V6-V8, this is the moderate climbers dream come true. Horse Pens is the Fontainebleau of the South, without the arrogance and the stench. Either for a day, a week, or a season, your trip to HP will have you wanting of more. If the weather permits, this is as good as it gets.
Horse Pens 40 Bouldering by Adam Henry was last modified: November 8th, 2019 by ahenry
Climbing on Koh Tao is generally considered to have started in the early 2000’s with the first climbing shop on the island being Zen Gecko, which closed in 2005. Primarily a bouldering paradise there have been multiple printable guidebooks written since James March’s first guidebook in 2002. Other guidebooks have existed in some form or another from several of the shops on the island with this guidebook being the most comprehensive and a combination of information from many of these sources. In addition, the route developers, new climbers, and experienced Koh Tao veterans have all contributed to making this new guidebook the most complete and accurate of any guide to date.
Scattered amongst the palms and sandy beaches is textured granite and featured walls waiting for climbers. The first edition of this guidebook brings together 114 established climbs, most within minutes of the road. There are seaside crags with amazing views, mountain top cliffs with climbs on all sides, and an island crag that requires a kayak. All within snorkeling distance of the beaches and some of the better burgers in Thailand.
As Thailand becomes inundated with travelers from all over the world, climbing areas such as Tonsai and Railey are becoming increasingly crowded. This guide opens the possibilities of a new area and a completely different style of climbing than most would experience in Thailand. With excellent weather much of the year it is an ideal destination with the months of October and November having much of the rain, leaving the rest of the year to be sunny and beautiful.
Koh Tao Thailand Rock Climbing by Kelsey Gray was last modified: November 6th, 2019 by Prezwoodz
Staunton State Park is Colorado’s newest state park, and is the legacy of the Staunton family. The original Staunton Ranch was homestead around the turn of the 20th century by Drs. Rachel and Archibald Staunton. Over the years, the 160-acre property grew into 1,720 acres containing much of the pristine wilderness and meadows we enjoy today. Francis H. Staunton, daughter of Archibald and Rachel, preserved and protected the Staunton Ranch throughout her life and gifted the land to the State of Colorado in 1986 with the requirement that the land be, “preserved in perpetuity, for public benefit, as a natural wilderness-type park… typifying Colorado’s most beautiful mountain forest and meadow region.” With subsequent acquisitions of parcels, the park grew to 3,828 acres and opened to the public in May of 2013.
In 2012, the year before the park opened, the Park Manager reached out to a small group of local climbers to help with climbing management and the development of climbing at Staunton. Over the course of 10 months, this group of climbers formulated the park’s Fixed Hardware Review Group (FHRG), climbed and documented over 60 new routes, designed the network of trails around Staunton Rocks, and with the help of volunteers built the climbing access trails. While the members of the FHRG have changed over the years, their relationship with the park has remained solid and their continued work has lead to the development of 190 routes at Staunton.
As the number of routes has grown at Staunton, so has the diversity of the climbing. Throughout the park, you will find everything from long single/multi-pitch slabs to patina covered vertical faces to steep, power-endurance test pieces. There is something for everyone to enjoy at Staunton, and even more to explore!
Staunton State Park Rock Climbing by Dave and Lisa Montgomery was last modified: August 20th, 2019 by dmontgomery
The Alsek Pass Boulders lie along the shore of an ancient lake located on the border of Kluane National Park in the Yukon Territory of northern Canada. The scene is stunning with a backdrop of vast sweeping vistas in wild grizzly bear country. Well-sized outcroppings of beautiful green and red, climber-friendly stone are set as the main stage. The area is located about 15km west of the small Yukon town of Haines Junction that has a population of around 600 people.
We can all enjoy bouldering in the majestic Alsek Pass thanks to a legend in Yukon climbing, Paul Henstridge. I had the pleasure of experiencing the grandeur of Alsek Pass for the first time in 2008. I was spellbound by the beauty of the place and the quality of the stone. When I heard that Paul had developed the area, I got in touch. Paul has been climbing in the Yukon for decades and has developed uncountable routes, ice climbs and boulders around the territory, concentrating around his hometown of Haines Junction.
When we met, he had recently had a severe motor-vehicle accident from which he has been valiantly recovering despite the doctors’ negative prognoses. I’ve been documenting Alsek Pass with Paul very sporadically over the years on one-day missions. He’s got a perma-psych that is contagious and a playful determination that will put a smile on your face. Every year his body is more able to move around on the rocks but it’s not just the progression that’s inspiring, it’s his authentic and overflowing appreciation for the beauty of life.
Alsek Pass, Yukon|Bouldering in the Wild North by Sierra Allen was last modified: August 18th, 2019 by sya
Il a débuté vers le milieu des années 50 au Cap Trinité, la paroi la plus impressionnante le long du fjord. Jean Sylvain, accompagné de grimpeurs de Québec et de Montréal, fut l’instigateur principal des premières tentatives. Une première ascension a été réalisée par une équipe allemande grâce à de l’équipement laissé en paroi par les tentatives de Jean Sylvain et ses compagnons de cordée lors d’une tentative en 1964. Plus tard, Jean Syl- vain, Pierre Vézina et André Robert ont réussi en 1967 une première dans la partie la plus haute de ce mur de 300 mètres, la Directissime. Cette as- cension représentait un exploit formidable et elle a attiré l’intérêt des autres grimpeurs du Québec et d’ailleurs.
Parallèlement à cet exploration dans le Bas
Saguenay, Jean Allard, un grimpeur de la région
de Sherbrooke, réalise en 1962 une première
voie, Les Pionniers, sur le Cran Carré à Sainte-
Rose-du-Nord. D’autres voies ont été ouvertes
plus tard sur une paroi en bordure du village par,
entre autres, Dominic Villeneuve et Florian Girard.
Le Dièdre constitue la voie la plus difficile.
En 1970, François-Xavier Garneau, arrivé de l’Ouest canadien, constate l’énorme potentiel de Chicoutimi et des villes environnantes. Il s’est joint à Gilbert Touzot et André Vallée pour intensifier le développement de l’escalade par l’aménagement de nouvelles parois et l’ouverture de nouvelles voies. Quelques années plus tard, Régis Richard s’est installé à Chicoutimi et ce grimpeur talen- tueux a beaucoup contribué au développement du Club de montagne et de l’escalade au Sague- nay.
Une explosion de nouvelles voies en 1987, sous l’impulsion de Joël Tremblay, Steve Jomphe, Hu- bert Morin, Mario Bilodeau et Sylvain Malche- losse, a conduit à la publication d’un premier livre-guide en 1988 par François-Xavier Garneau.
Une douzaine d’années plus tard, un phénomène remarquable, l’escalade sportive sur plaquettes, s’installe au Saguenay, rendant abordables des parois, considérées jadis, comme inaccessibles. Ce nouveau type d’escalade, issu des murs inté- rieurs, a suscité un réel engouement se traduisant par l’ouverture de nouvelles voies par un nombre croissant de jeunes grimpeurs dont Jacques Filion, Pierre-Y. Plourde, Cornelia Krause, Éric Tremblay et Gilles Simard entre autres. On assiste en même temps à l’ouverture de voies d’escalade artifi- cielles par un groupe restreint de grimpeurs dont Yves Larouche, Yanick Duguay, Denis Boudreau, Jean-Philippe Villemaire, Pierre Raymond et Pa- trice Morin. Une deuxième édition du livre-guide est publiée en 1998 par François-Xavier Garneau et Pierre-Y. Plourde.
À la fin des années quatre-vingt dix, une partie du potentiel de l’arrondissement La Baie apparaît sous l’impulsion d’Éric Lalancette, d’Alain Martin et de Patrice Morin.
L’escalade est demeurée toujours populaire et la nouvelle vague de grimpeurs, les Simon La- brecque, feu Raphaël Gagné, Marc Durepos, Charles Munger, Alain Couture, Simon Létour- neau, Olivier Tremblay, Éric Lemieux, Benoit Chayer et Jean-Philippe Fafard contribuent à leur façon au rayonnement de la région.
La mise à jour actuelle des « Parois du Saguenay », dont la dernière édition remonte à 2007, permet de souligner le dévouement remarquable d’une nouvelle génération de grimpeurs. Les efforts de feu Dominic Morin et de Nicolas Gaudreault ont sérieusement rehaussé le niveau de difficulté des voies dans les arrondissements de Chicoutimi et de Jonquière. La paroi du Parapluie est mainte- nant un incontournable pour les voies de haut ni- veau.
Stéphane Perron a laissé sa carte de visite en
étant l’instigateur de superbes nouvelles voies
multi-longueurs dans la section moins haute du
Cap Trinité vers les années 2010. À cela s’ajoute
les efforts formidables déployés depuis 2013 par
le Club de Montagne du Saguenay (CMS) et la
Fédération Québécoise de la Montagne et de
l’escalade pour développer le Cap à l’Aigle sur
la rive sud du Lac Kénogami. Parmi les multiples
protagonistes, pensons à Jean-Luc Vanacker,
Nicolas Rodrigue, Éric Laflamme, Patrice Morin,
Jean-Philippe Fafard et Dominic Gagnon. Enfin,
et non pas les moindres, Marc Durepos, Cathe-
rine Picard et plein d’autres pour leur incroyable
détermination à développer le potentiel inouï du
Trou du Chaos à l’Anse-Saint-Jean.
ENGLISH BEGINS HERE
It began in the mid fifties in Cap Trinité, the most impressive wall along the fjord. Jean Sylvain, accompanied by climbers from Quebec and Montreal, was the main instigator of the first attempts. A first climb was made by a German team thanks to the equipment left in the wall by the prior attempts of Sylvain and his companions in 1964. Later, Jean Sylvain, Pierre Vézina and André Robert made in 1967 the first of the «Directissime» in the highest part of this 300 meters wall. This climb was a tremendous feat and attracted the interest of other climbers from Quebec and elsewhere.
Alongside this exploration in the Lower Saguenay, Jean Allard, a climber from the Sherbrooke region, made the first ascent of Les Pionniers, in 1962 on the Cran Carré in Sainte-Rose-du-Nord. Other routes were later opened on a wall on the edge of the village by, among others, Dominic Villeneuve and Florian Girard. The dihedral is the most difficult route.
In 1970, François-Xavier Garneau, who arrived from Western Canada, saw the enormous potential of Chicoutimi and the surrounding towns. He joined Gilbert Touzot and André Vallée to intensify the development of climbing by finding new walls and opening new lines. A few years later, Régis Richard moved to Chicoutimi and this talented climber contributed a lot to the development of the Club de Montagne du Saguenay and climbing in Saguenay region.
An explosion of new climbs in 1987, led by Joel Tremblay, Steve Jomphe, Hubert Morin, Mario Bilodeau and Sylvain Malchelosse, led to the publication of a first guide book in 1988 by François-Xavier Garneau.
A dozen years later, the remarkable wave of sport climbing hit the Saguenay region, making blank walls, previously considered unclimbable, a reality. This new type of climbing, originating from indoor walls, has generated a real craze resulting in the opening of new routes by a growing number of young climbers including Jacques Filion, Pierre-Y. Plourde, Cornelia Krause, Eric Tremblay and Gilles Simard among others. At the same time, aid lines were still developed by a small group of talented climbers, including Yves Larouche, Yanick Duguay, Denis Boudreau, Jean-Philippe Villemaire, Pierre Raymond and Patrice Morin. A second edition of the guide-book is published in 1998 by François-Xavier Garneau and Pierre-Y. Plourde.
At the end of the nineties, part of the potential of the La Baie borough arose under the leadership of Éric Lalancette, Alain Martin and Patrice Morin.
Rock climbing has continued to be popular and the new wave of climbers, Simon Labrecque, the late Raphaël Gagné, Marc Durepos, Charles Munger, Alain Couture, Simon Letourneau, Olivier Tremblay, Eric Lemieux, Benoit Chayer and Jean-Philippe Fafard contribute to popularize climbing in the region.
The current update of the «Parois du Saguenay», the last edition of which dates back to 2007, highlights the remarkable dedication of a new generation of climbers. Works by the late Dominic Morin and Nicolas Gaudreault have significantly increased the climbing level of difficulty in the boroughs of Chicoutimi and Jonquière. The «Parapluie» is now considered a must for high level climbing.
Stéphane Perron has left his mark by being the instigator of superb new multi-pitchs in the lower section of Cap Trinité towards the year 2010.
Let’s mention also the tremendous work made since 2013 by le Club de Montagne du Saguenay (CMS) and la Fédération Québecoise de la Montagne et de l’Escalade to develop le Cap à l’Aigle on the south shore of Lake Kénogami. Among the many protagonists, Jean-Luc Vanacker, Nicolas Rodrigue, Eric Laflamme, Patrice Morin, Jean-Philippe Fafard and Dominic Gagnon. Finally, and not least, Marc Durepos, Catherine Picard and many others for their steady determination to develop the incredible potential of le Trou du Chaos in l’Anse-Saint-Jean.
Saguenay Québec Rock Climbing by Pierre-Y Plourde (English follows French) was last modified: July 17th, 2019 by Holzwurm
Nestled in the corner of China’s most southwest province, Yunnan,
is an area of geological and cultural contrasts. The jungles of southeast Asia
meet the Tibetan plateau and the far reaches of Himalayan mountains loom. The
distinct ethnic groups from these varied lands co-habitat in rural villages of
a province where the Southern Silk road and less famous Tea Horse Trail once
passed. The gypsy market that pops up in Liming throughout the month is
reminiscent of the region’s early days of trading… but now the ladies in their
colorful traditional clothes use their smartphones to buy goods in a way more
futuristic than most cities of the west.
For the last decade, climbers have made pilgrimages to the valley
to ascend the towering red sandstone walls protruding from steep, vegetated
hills above a small village. There over 280 routes in 31 different sectors, and
while the area gained its fame for the trad climbing, recent focus has been on
the sport walls. To access most of the climbing, you’ll need to hike 45 minutes
from town up steep terrain, but there are a handful of roadside trad and sport
walls to give your legs some reprieve. The town offers several guest houses and
restaurants serving up delicious stir-fries with local ingredients and cheap
prices, making it a traveling climber’s or dirtbag’s paradise. While winter
temperatures hover around freezing at night, the guest houses provide heated
blankets. Alternatively, spring (March, April May) and fall (late September,
October, November) offer more comfortable temperatures, though occasional rain.
A handful of areas that will also stay dry. Summer (June-early September) is
the monsoon season and it is not recommend to visit.
Routes range from 5.7-5.13+ and while it is helpful to know how to
jam before arriving in Liming, The Great Owl and Charlie the Unicorn are
classic 5.9s that’ll help you learn the essential skills. Scar Face and Wind of
the Valley are favorite 5.10s, and from there, the route quality only
goes up. People have said Back to the Primitive (5.11, A0 8 pitches) is reason
to cross an ocean. While Akum Ra (5.11) is a favorite single pitch. Japanese
Cowboy and Another World are fantastically steep 5.12s and if you’re still
looking for a bigger challenge, Logan Barber’s test pieces Firewall (5.13d) and
Honeycomb Dome (5.13d+) should keep you busy for a while. And that’s just the
If you’re interested in clipping bolts, the Faraway guesthouse
owner provides rides through a valley above the softer sandstone to a
completely different environment of dolomitic sandstone. The rock resembles La
Mojarra in Columbia and 12mm bolts are used in super hard sandstone with horizontal
breaks, corners, pockets, and crimps. The sport areas (El Dorado and Goat
Rodeo) are still cleaning up, but with more traffic, these are bound to be
classic destinations. The walls are just overhung enough to stay dry in the
rain, helping round out the shoulder season options. Golden Eyebrow is a newly
bolted 5.10 classic following a corner, Gold Rush (5.11) has sporty moves
straight outta the gym, Gold, Gold, Everythang Gold (5.12) delivers big
holds at an angle sure to pump you out, and Tibetan Cowboys in a Disco (5.13a)
combines endurance and technique with an angle steep enough to keep you barley
on your toes.
Mike Dobie first visited the area in 2010 and has spent the majority of
the last decade focused on developing new routes in Liming. His original
partner was a Chinese climber named Zhoulei, but countless others have
contributed to the area’s development scrubbing routes, bolting and re-bolting
anchors, building trails, and more recently bolting sport lines. Dobie views
his work as a service project to the climbing community globally. It is an area
of fantastic potential, amazing scenery, and memorable climbing. It is a
journey to get there, but well worth the effort.
As climbers we are now privileged time players who can enjoy these natural jewels. The climbing pioneers who explore the mountains around here shared their mettled spirit, with which they climbed the summits of the region, to the generations who followed them. Now, the new generation is exploring the territory with new eyes, discovering and rediscovering its places and trying to transmit their knowledge to share their spirit of adventure, so that future generations can enjoy the jewels this valley has to offer.
Throughout the years the Columbia Valley was the scene of many clashes, starting with the formation of the valley itself. A titanic battle of the elements created over many years the Columbia River fault that now separates the intriguing Purcells range from the indomitable Rockies mountains. This trench is the scene of spectacular rock formations. On one side the granite; pure, solid and straight pierces the earth’s crust and vibrates in us the names of the “Bubagoos”, “Leaning towers”, “Sally Serana”. While in the East the more friable limestone creates unique silhouettes such as “Goodsir Mountains”, “Rockwall”, “Flow Peak”, “White Tail” ….
La vallée de la Columbia fût le lieux de bien des affrontements, à
commencer par la formation de la vallée elle-même. Un combat titanesque des
éléments à créer au cours de longues années la faille de la rivière Columbia
qui sépare maintenant l’intrigante chaîne de montagnes des Purcells de
l’indomptables chaînes des Rocheuses. Cette tranchée est le théâtre de
formations rocheuses spectaculaires. D’un côté le granite; pure, solide et
droit perce l’écorce terrestre et fait vibrer en nous les noms de «Bubagoos»,
«Leaning towers», «Sally Serana». Tandis qu’à l’Est le calcaire plus friable
crée des silhouettes uniques telle que les «monts Goodsir», le «Rockwall»,
«Flow peak», «White Tail», etc.
En tant que grimpeurs nous sommes maintenant de
privilégiés acteurs du temps qui pouvons
jouir de ces bijoux naturels. Les pionniers de l’escalade qui sont passés par ici
ont su partager leur esprit fougueux avec lequel ils ont gravit les sommets de
la région aux générations qui les suivirent. Maintenant, la nouvelle génération
explore avec un nouvel œil le territoire, elle découvre et redécouvre ses
endroits et tente de transmettre leur savoir pour partager leur esprit
d’aventure, afin que les générations futures puissent profiter des joyaux que
cette vallée a à offrir.
Columbia Valley Rock Climbing by Bruno-Pierre Couture was last modified: April 9th, 2019 by BPC
Every fall, skiers and snowboarders anxiously await the ritual of opening day at Bridger Bowl. The intricate lines incised into the mountain are a playground. As the season progresses and the snowfall begins to stack up, possibilities appear where previously only rock walls and scree fields existed. A blank canvas materializes and beckons riders to paint their own artistic vision upon it with the unique tracks they leave behind. Bridger is a special place that many people hold close to their hearts. It’s an area known for steep terrain, massive storm totals, dedicated locals and a distinct lack of commercial development in the base area. Over the generations, the lift infrastructure has changed and the ski area boundary has expanded, but the majesty and allure of The Ridge has remained the same. Although avalanche control is conducted by a professional patrol staff, a 457 khz avalanche transceiver is required to access the upper mountain. This area is the true gem of Bridger Bowl and completely devoid of grooming or trail markings. Founded in 1955, Bridger Bowl is a community institution that is managed by an association and run by a board of directors. The area itself is situated on the east side of the Bridger Mountains and benefits from orographic lift to create a micro-climate that produces legendary powder days. Buy the Bridger Ridge rakkup guidebook here: https://rakkup.com/guidebooks/backcountry-skiing-bridger-bowl/
Backcountry Skiing Bridger Ridge by Sam Cox & Tavis Campbell was last modified: March 27th, 2019 by stepping_up
Matt Schonwald out for a blue sky harvest in FF Forest. Photo by Trúc Nguyen Allen
Every December my excitement rises in anticipation of that chest deep blower run off Exterminator followed by a run out Northback then Southback then a few laps in FF Forest and Bullion before I hit the Elk with a perma grin. My first run in the NW over 30 years ago was the deepest day I had ever seen and I forgave the long lines and slow chairs as each run seared my brain like a brand that Crystal now owned my powder consciousness. Crystal sit in the sweet spot of the PNW, on the NE side of Mt Rainier giving it fantastic views and on the Pacific Crest straddling the East/West Divide. The altitude gives Crystal over 1,300’ above the rest of WA ski areas with its long ridge lines running from 6-7,000’, which is its best kept secret. Cold, stable, and even blower powder make touring worthy.
Matt Schonwald crashing the party at Party Knoll. Photo by Trúc Nguyen Allen
Skiers designed Crystal, they explored the area, took a few rides in avalanches before settling on the current spot. The founders brought over some Austrian to help develop the terrain and they even hosted a World Cup and National Championships in the 60’s. Like the story of Tatooine in Star Wars, Crystal faded from the public eye and as the lifts grew slow and unreliable, locals looked around the boundary and saw a gold mine. I spent 6 years living there as a ski patroller, waking up before sunrise to do control work excited to look out a see where I would tour next Year after year exploring a new bowl, a steep chute, and the Apres kept getting better as my friends would gather around the pitcher hatching the next adventure.
Crystal Mountain Backcountry Skiing. Photo by Trúc Nguyen Allen
Backcountry Skiing Crystal Mountain Washington by Matt Schonwald was last modified: November 28th, 2019 by mattschonwald