Monday, October 21, 2013

Crack Climbing in New Brunswick?? Yup it's true!!

Greg Hughes on the FA of Harvest 5.10- at McQuirks in St. George NB

Climbing in NB, for years has been centered around Welsford NB. Which is totally fair due to the amazing amount of stone found in the area. Cochrane Lane (the epi-center on climbing in NB with 350 routes), Sunny Side (predominately a sport crag), Mt Douglas, Bear Mountain, Eagle Rock and Bald Peak. There are a few other areas located around the St. John and Hampton area. Kingston Cliffs, Cedar Point, Hampton Marsh and Gondola Point to name a few (all within roughly an hour from Welsford).

Dom Caron climbing Human Eraser Direct 5.11a at Minkey Wall, Welsford NB Photo by Franca Zambito
Franca Zambito on-sighting Hitchhiker 5.11a at Upper Tier in Welsford NB
Franca on Hitchhiker!

More recently there has been some hard work put into developing new crags in the St. George area. The past 2 weekends I have ventured down to one of these crags (McQuirks) that, in my opinion, is the best traditional climbing in NB!

The other area, Utopia, that is being developed is a steep overhanging wall of granite that will most likely boost NB's hardest rock routes in the years to come. Thanks to Adam Morgan, Terry Melanson and Dom Caron (among others) for working hard at bolting and sending at this impressive crag.

I accompanied Greg Hughes, the main developer of Mcquirks, both this weekend and the last to climb at this 60-70m wall.

My first visit was fantastic and I got to climb pretty much all the established routes, which is around 20 pitches of climbing from 5.7-5.10-.

Beautiful granite climbing high on McQuirks Photo by Greg Huges

Each pitch I climbed I could stop smiling! The rock was excellent, gear was solid and most importantly the climbing was just so good!
Octopus Ink 5.8 Photo by Greg Hughes
Greg mentioned to me that there has been some talk that the grades in the area are a bit stiff. So as I climbed each route I took that into account. My feeling was that the grades are pretty accurate for the style of climbing which is predominately crack climbing and in NB there aren't a lot of routes you need to purely jam your way through a crux.

Second pitch of yet another awesome crack! Photo by Greg Hughes

Climbing there again this weekend I was in awe of how good the climbing is! I again climbed Neutral Tribe 5.8 (one of the best crack climb in NB... in my opinion), The Nose 5.8+, and I combined the crux (fingers) of Black Fly 5.9+ into the top crux (fingers & hands) of Crack Machine 5.9+ for a new line called Black Crack 5.9+.

Neutral Tribe! One of my new favourite routes in NB! Photo by Greg Huges

Neutral Tribe 5.8.... if you know how to jam ;) Photo by Greg Hughes

Greg climbing The Nose 5.8

After climbing Black Crack I started to rope up at the base of 50 Mission Cap. Presently that hardest route established at the crag at 5.10+(c/d). I added a few extra finger sized pieces of gear and started up. The climbing felt hard yet smooth and I soon found myself at the top pumped and psyched! This route is full value with great gear and exposure, a must really!
Onsighting 50 Mission Cap 5.10c. An excellent 35m climb with a beautiful corner/finger crack, delicate traverse and a steep finger/hand crack.  Photo by Greg Hughes

Pulled the first crux and starting into the traverse. Photo by Greg Hughes

We called it a day after that and went back to camp, a 2 minute walk from the crag and a 5-7 minute walk from the car. We ate dinner and chatted around the fire with the wonderful company of Mike, Melissa, and Lizzy Parker!

The next morning it started to rain a bit.... regardless Greg and I hiked up to the top of the crag and rapped down to the Party Ledge where we climbed a nice wet 5.5 or 5.6 before heading out.

Thanks to Greg Hughes and Mike Parker for all there hard work developing this crag! I highly recommend this area to everyone who enjoys climbing! It has excellent gear, solid stone and high quality climbing! There are rap/belay stations midway on the wall so you don't have to climb with a tag line or half ropes. This area deserves more traffic!

No comments:

Post a Comment