Yo diggedy!

You never know if the first day was a success until you return on the second day and find that your ropes are still there. Last year, that was not exactly the case, some of the local riff decided to climb up and pull our ropes down and then drag them through the mud. Nice. It took a while for us to clean them up and dry them out, but at least they didn’t steal them – not a nice experience either way. However, it’s no fault of Dumbarton that the youth are bored, it’s an industrial small town, and inconsiderate locals are found all over the globe, even Squamish has some trash, lock your doors and watch your car closely.

It’s good to be back. I’ve been getting some great feedback this year and lot’s of encouragement from all over the globe. Thanks for that everyone. Before I start I would like to congradulate three climbers;

FIRST: Will Stanhope of Vancouver, who recently pulled the fixed gear on the ‘Magical Dog’ and climbed the full line from bottom to top placing gear on lead at SOLID 5.13 on the backside of the Stawamus Chief, just down the street from Cobra Crack about 150 steps. Nice work, hope it gets some more action this summer from fellow Squishy hardmen.

SECONDLY: Congrats to Liv Sansoz of France. Liv was in Smith Rock during the same period that we were there and she made (among others) a brialliant ascent of White Wedding 5.13d/14a – or – 8b/8b+. It was the third time a woman has climbed non stop to the anchor and since this was one of Liv’s “get into shape” trips, I’d say she managed just fine and dandy. Nice work Liv, keep up the great attitude, it’s refreshing.

THIRDLY: Congratulations to Nicola Favresse, he had a successful trip to Arco (Orco) and ticked the second ascent of Greenspit, 5.14a or 8b+ trad. The line looks quite well protected but steep, powerful and pumpy. Nico is a fine all around climber and good guy, this is what he said about the line, “I can’t believe I’m the first person to repeat this. it’s so classic.” A fine job ace.

Cory racking up in Seattle garage. Don’t forget those pegs mate!

My latest fashion statement, Doir sunglasses for women, now for men too. Hmmmm sponsorship proposal? HA! Cory listening to sex sounds on his headphones while trying to drift onto cloud 9, at least he has a comfortable pillow.

It’s obvious how much I love travel. Waiting in line ups, talking to sweaty strangers and eating airline food is for lack of two better words, BLISS FULL.

Finally in Edinburgh, the getting lost Capitol of the world. We arrive shortly before midnight and commence drinking and smoking ourselves to sleep. Paul Diffley of Hot Aches productions has graciously allowed us to sleep at his appartment. No more Dumbarton Park stealth missions. Last year we waited until dark, set up our tents, in the rain, ALWAYS in the rain and crawled into wet sleeping bags. On a scale of 1-10 the SUCK factor was 12. Dave rescued us and let us crash on his floor for the last week of the trip, that changed everything and now we have Paul to thank. Nice flat and a futon has never felt so comfortable.

Early morning breakfast for Cory after icking up his messages. Still Day 1. Bacon and eggs, so lux.

Leaving for the crag @ 1:30pm. Cory trying to get used to driving on the left side and in the city where there seems to be “a street every block”, sheeet, our car is pimping though, too bad it costs us two months wages for a tank of petro.

The Castle. Today is a rest day, we should go and check it out, but I’m still too tired from Jet Lag and would rather watch foreign films, cultural stuff like Snatch and Lock Stock. But I won’t, Edinbugh is a beautiful city and needs to be experienced. Listen, for serious, I know I bitch about the weather and stuff, and most of that comes from the fact that it’s fun and sort of true, but the UK is truly beautiful, I can see why people don’t want to leave here – because when it’s good, it’s REALLY good. I much prefer the landscape and the blend of old and new archicture to the new school cities, the young ones that barely have a grain of history to cling to like Vancouver. The UK is chalk full of rich, powerful character, respect and honor.

God Bless British Tabloids however. Everything you read in the Sport Paper is entirely accurate, a truly good investment.

Racking up at the base of the wall. So excite. My fingers are already hurting, I can’t wait to stuff em into the crack and twist.

Cory making overhanging 5.13 crack climbing look like, well… overhanging 5.13 crack climbing. It’s not an easy thing to do, no matter how you slice it up. I already have a few scars from the painful locks, it’s insecure and wet, as always. The headwall is where the action is at and this foreshortened view does nothing to show it’s actual length, it’s a lot of climbing yes, but DAMN if it isn’t one of the most spectacular looking rock climbs on earth. Both Requiem and Rhapsody deserve all the attention that receive, they are world class climbs.

In fact it’s so pretty James Pearson the man of legendary finger strength and the author of two E10 (of about three confirmed) routes is about to head up this way and give the route a try as well this week. I’m looking forward to it. Personally I think he is going to do very well, he has really strong fingers and a good head, that’s all that is really necessary for this climb. Some endurance yes, because it’s pumpy, but the crux boils down to contact strength. I say guys like Steve McClure and James Pearson are perfect candidates, they are light and strong. I’m about 165 which is nearly 12 Stone and I’m a tad bit worried about the additional distance I will travel on the fall, not to mention the extra force I am putting on those small wires. I brought four Screamers with me, to help reduce the violence on the gear. Skin is also an issue, the holds are small and a tad sharp, I need to use my feet well to avoid splitting my tips open. Once the skin breaks it’s hard to regain full power again in such a short time. That’s why trying to climb a route of this difficulty for me during a two or three week trip is so daunting, if anything goes wrong it sets me back days or weeks and before I can say “falling” I’m back on the plane for Canada, but who cares the climbing is fun and there is always next year.

No matter how many repeats E11 gets, If any, I think it was a fantastic job for Dave to scout the line and spend all those hours solving it’s improbable sequence, the second, third or fourth ascent is irrelevent, the real work has already been done, the grade too is irrelevant, it doesn’t mean that much to me, in five years with all the new talent coming along, these routes just won’t be that hard anymore, Cobra Crack, The Path or whatever. What remains important is the power and aesthetic of the line and the focus and dedication required to break new ground, so to all of you out there scrubbing new routes (regardless of it’s rating) and losing skin on yet unclimbed terrain, I want to say with my most American accent “this Bud light is for you”.

Things are looking good. Yesterday to test my endurance I linked the whole Requiem on my second try without getting pumped, it felt wonderful to climb such a quality route, but the conditions were far from perfect. High humidity and no wind. I’m looking forward to those cool, windy evenings Dumbarton is famous for. It will make all the difference. My progress on Rhaps was better as well. Although I have only been on the climb twice since arriving, I felt much better on the crux than last year and linked through it three or four times, but not without some serious effort.

The weather calls for a good week. Looking forward to tomorrow. Cheers.


  • Richard Lowe

    Good luck Sonnie. Its fair to say that the Scottish climbing community is wishing you well and hoping you repeat the route. Generally speaking though, only we Scots are allowed to take the p*ss out of our weather, but in this case we’ll make an exception! At least you’re not shovelling tons of snow off the thing, like poor Dave Mac on his new Ben Nevis project…

  • It’s great to see this amazing route is seeing some more attention, good luck with it sonnie. hope the weather holds out for you.

  • John Hutchinson

    I concur, best of luck! I hope to catch you sending it. Dumby is such an incredible venue and it is nice to see such great non-local climbers getting involved. Peace

  • Sonnie

    Sup ya’ll?

    Thanks a million for the encouragement. Really great to know there is some good vibes behind all this. I appreciate that. But if I can’t make it this time, it’s no biggie, the fun is in the process, hell even falling off (again and again and again) is fun. Hope to see ya’ll out on the rocks and here’s to some good weather, aye.