This Easter weekend, like most long weekends, I went out climbing. Me and Ryan Olson road tripped down to the states for some granite bouldering at Leavenworth. On our way, we stopped by Larrabee State Park and sent a sweet sandstone roof problem. This climb is right on the beach and it was great to have the afternoon sun energizing us after a long winter of wet and cold. We rolled into Leavy and setup camp at the Forestland Parking lot since the 8 mile campground is currently inaccessible due to a crazy landslide that ravaged the road earlier this month.

In the morning Ryan and I met up with Alex Savage, a guy I met while in Joe’s Valley in March. This guy is living the dream and roadtripping all around the western states. We warmed up at the Rubble then were joined by Kyle O’Meara, who’s put up many of the FAs at Leavenworth. He took us to the Whip Boulder to show us some new goodness he put up. Ryan, Alex and I all sent a pretty classic V7 called Miracle Whip. Next we sessioned on Cool Whip, which, in my opinion, is an amazingly fun V10. Our party moved over to the Mad Max boulder where we spent the best two hours of the weekend.

I’m motivated to climb pretty much anything that is better than average in terms of quality. The Mad Max boulder has two classics and an even more classicer low start to an already classic classic. These problems are Mad Max, V7; Thunderdome, V10; and Thunderdome Low, V11. I got to send them all!! Psyched!

We killed the day on Cotton Pony, The Icehouse, mexican food, beers and a camp fire. On Sunday morning we were trashed! We climbed a little at the The Beach in the Tumwater area, then continued our way back home. An amazing weekend with a good friend!

Cool Whip, V10

Alex Savage on Thunderdome, V10

Ryan Olson on Thunderdome, V10

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For the last few months I’ve been working hard to develop a new kickass climbing site. Although it’s been available to the public for the last week, today I’m excited to announce Sendage Climbing.

The most significant use for sendage.com is to create a ticklist of climbs. Lists are great for everything. When you tick something off a list, there’s a sense of accomplishment. It’s satisfying. So why not make a list just so you can tick it off and be rewarded with good feelings. Think about how often you do this when you climb. A list is pretty much mandatory on a road trip. Whenever you travel to a climbing destination it’s likely you’re prepared with at least a handful of climbs that you want to try. The excitement and anticipation of a long awaited climbing vacation can easily be built up through a simple list of 5-star climbs that everybody says you should do.

When there’s sendage, there’s everything that happens afterward. There are friends who want to congratulate you; there are others who want to know your beta; there are people back home who want to know if you just sent your dream project; some want to know how good the climb is; and some just want to talk to you about the experience. Friends get friends psyched on climbing and most definitely after a send there’s a lot of psych going around. Spirits are high and everyone wants to share the good vibes. Let’s face it, even though climbing is a very individual and self centered sport, there is no doubt that climbing is also very much social. People thrive on others’ success. So when you send, you’ve not only accomplished something great, but you’ve provided motivation for someone else to do the same.

These ideas fit nicely with my new site. I’ve built sendage around Facebook, the most popular social network on the planet. Because of this, it’s easy for you to share the excitement of your climbing achievements within your circle of friends that already exist on Facebook. However, don’t worry, it’s possible to disable the Facebook sharing feature if you don’t want your friends to know about all the 5.14s you’ve been sending.

There’s so much more to say about Sendage Climbing, but I’ll save it for later. It would really mean a lot to me if you go sign up and discover what value sendage has for you. I suggest you:

  1. Create a few ticklists and make it a goal to complete them 100%.
  2. Comment on your friends’ sends to show them that you care. (or maybe call them out because they dabbed!)
  3. Attach some photos or videos to your favorite climbs.
  4. Go and “Like” climbs and climbing areas to show your Facebook friends what climbs you prefer.
  5. Did I mention you can import your past sends from 8a.nu?
  6. Spread the word because there is never enough sendage!

If you have any questions, concerns, thoughts, ideas or suggestions about sendage.com please post them here.

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The Youth World Championships begins in about 11 hours. I’ll be regularly updating this page over the weekend to keep you informed with the status of Canada’s climbers. Check it often over the weekend to see how we’re doing!

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I’ve spent the last few days in the sin-city of Amsterdam where open minds are abundant. People are at whole different level here. Coffee shops don’t sell just coffee and window-shopping has a different meaning. Tolerance is this city’s motto. I love it.

My hostel has a smoking room where tobacco isn’t allowed. People spend their entire day in there. Last night I almost tripped over a guy in the hallway who was on a different kind of trip. His friend told me he was having fungal-dreams. There’s a church in the middle of the red light district. I wonder what kind of sins are confessed there.

I’ve wondered through the alleys of the RLD. It’s kind of like going to the mall, but without the brand names. The girls make eye contact with you and smile. As you walk by they tap on the window enticing you to approach their door. I’ve overhead that “it’s fifty euro for suck and fuck.” It’s a nice little jingle actually – it rhymes. This place is a tourist attraction so there are all sorts of people taking a look. There are couples walking hand-in-hand who are equally interested/amazed, old ladies reminded of their prime, and obviously the asian tourists who are disappointed that they can’t take peek-a-chures. Of course, the majority of people are guys wandering around after spending time drinking in the pubs or smoking in the coffee shops. It’s not unusual to see guys step out of the doors with awkward smiles on their faces. They quickly depart and get lost in the crowds, becoming anonymous. Moments later the girl opens her curtain ready for another. Time is money.

On my second day here, I rented a bike – it costs only €6 a day. Amsterdam is nice and flat so it’s easy to get around on two wheels. The roadways are all bike friendly and everyone rides bikes. On the busier streets it’s organized chaos; somehow it all just works. I’ve only seen one accident where a scooter clipped a cyclist, but no one was hurt and neither party was really that angry. Tolerance.

I’d say there are a lot of people who come to Amsterdam for either the green or the red. However, there are other things to do in this city. So far, I’ve been to the Van Gough museum, the Artis Zoo, the Vondelpark, and of course Klimmuur Centraal.

Van Gough was a bit disappointing for me. I don’t know much about this guy, but I had heard he was eccentric and a little out there. I had anticipated artwork with the same characteristics. Sure some of it was a little strange in a cool way and his painting style was something different and identifiable. I think I was most impressed by his passion for art: He’s also known for many letters he wrote to his brother Theo. In them he discusses everything about his paintings. He talks about how he’s learning new painting techniques, inspirations, self-criticisms of his work, and how he’s excited that maybe, just maybe he’ll sell a painting or two. Although during his time he had gained respect and status, it’s too bad he didn’t become so famous until many years after he died/committed suicide.

The Artis Zoo was my first visit to any zoo. I had never seen zebras or giraffes before. This zoo had all the goods. Monkeys, apes, lions, pelicans, an aquarium, an insectarium, a butterflyarium, and more!

Vondelpark is the Central Park of Amsterdam. I rode a loop around the entire park. There were joggers, people doing Tai Chi, tennis players, picnickers and other cyclists enjoying the park. I think later today I’ll go back there and read my book.

The climbing gym in Amsterdam is pretty good. I only bouldered because I didn’t have a partner, but the climbing walls look amazing with routes that required full rope lengths. We just don’t get to climb long indoor routes in Canada. I was also surprised how easy it was for me to have gym access. I literally walked, said that I wanted to boulder, paid €8, then went climbing! No waiver or anything like that. They didn’t even ask my name.

So now I’m at the Coffee Company drinking a chai latte and using free wifi. I’m outside of the tourist zone hanging with local students and business people. It almost feels like I’m at home.

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The release of Marc Bourdon’s new guidebook has invigorated climbers everywhere, myself included. This is partly due to his list of Top 100 Boulder Problems. I’ve made it a goal to tick as many of those problems off as I can. I’m getting close! I’m 77% of the way through and there are still plenty left that I’m sure I’m capable of doing. I’ve sure picked the list over though. I’m left with problems in areas that I’ve never been to like the Powerline Boulders, problems that are are too hard for me, and a problem that I don’t think should be problem, but still a project (I won’t get into that here, however). This list has been the topic of discussion many times when I’m out in the forest. I often hear people complain about how some of the problems just aren’t that good, or about how some problems that are total gems aren’t on the list. I usually defend Marc by saying that the list is meant to highlight some of the best problems in each of the bouldering areas. And I think it’s great because it’s motivated me to get out to different areas like Paradise Valley, Furry Creek, and the Smoke Bluffs so that I can boulder something new and hopefully good.

The guidebook also has a list of the best highballs that I want to do as well, but aren’t included in the Top 100. On Sunday I tried Black Slabbath, first ascended by Jeremy Blummel, that I couldn’t do. I got about 3/4 of the way up, but then it got really hard! Let me know if you any of you want to try this with me again. Especially if you have foot beta!

I snapped some pics over the weekend. These are all problems from the Top 100 list. Here they are:

Ryan Olson on Ramen Raw, V7


Vikki Weldon on Sunshine and Lollipops, V5


Mike Weldon on Sunshine and Lollipops, V5


Mike Weldon on Enchanted, V4


Vikki Weldon on The Fridge, V7


Mike Weldon on The Fridge, V7

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