phase two!

Sorry for the delay in posts, and thanks for the emails ya’ll, I’ve been neglecting lately, ooops.  I’m not one for a daily routine.  I’d much rather be outside running around like a dirty fool than running errands in town or washing my car.  I despise standing in lines, I hate going to the bank or entering the post office.  Once you’ve taken a 70 foot lead fall on a yellow TCU and your hearts pumped that glorious vitamin A (drenalin) into your blood stream, or felt the solid tug of a pinky lock at 1200 feet, it seems like a trip to City’s Municipal office lacks all things exciting and real.  A torturous event.  But that’s exactly what I’ve been doing.  Lydia and I recently bought a small townhouse in Squamish, we are both excited and terrified at the same time.  It was the cheapest place on the market, but all things considered it felt good, it felt right.  So we took the plunge and I’ve been buried in lawyer fees and property tax bills ever since.  Who knew owning a house was going to be so much responsibility?   But you know what they say, ‘If you want to keep your feet on the ground, put some responsibility on your shoulders’.   I don’t know much in this world, in fact, the older I get the less I know about anything, but here’s what I do know, I LOVE climbing, I LOVE my little lady, and I LOVE Squamish. So what better place to call home and invest what little money you make?  I believe there comes a time in everyones existence when we discover that we are the true directors of our lives, the master gardener of our souls. It was time for us to make a commitment to the place and the things we love.   On top of that, I’ve been working, guiding a whole bunch and trying to keep Uncle Sam at bay.  It’s a struggle, no doubt, an swim upstream, but doing it now while I have the energy seems like a good strategy.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, this weekend I am going to Levenworth to put on a free slide show at the climbers Fest, then on Sunday busting out a few pitches at Index.  After that I have three weeks until another stint of work, so I’ll be attempting a few of my projects on lead.  

Here’s one I have in mind, a 5.13d vs (very serious).  It’s a brilliant line, powerful, bullet hard and direct as all hell.  It finishes on a stunning Peter Croft route, Big Daddy Overhang, 5.12b.  The issue with this climb again, is whether or not to add a bolt or three.  If I add a bolt, I’ll send it next try, and the adventure again would be over, a boring clip up.  If I don’t, I can extend the experience, I can build up to it, I can steady my mind and prepare my body for the ascent.  I see these climbs as an opportunity to explore myself, ourselves, to observe how I might behave on the sharp end, runout with a possible disaster lurking a few meters below my feet.  I wonder how much control I have over my body’s nerves.  I wonder.  I wonder.  So many questions.  This and a couple of others may be the more dangerous climbs I’ve considered in the higher grade range.  All the other 5.13+ or 5.14 routes I’ve done have next to zero chance of death or injury.  These ones do.  I’ll keep you posted.  Much love to everyone, and now that summer is upon us, the season that makes us suffer and like it, the season that produces fresh produce, the long days and short nights, I say go jump in a lake and run far away from your computers.  I gotta go, Will Stanhope (my ride to Levenworth) is here and he ain’t waiting for nobody.


  • Scottish Eddie

    Excellent effort so far but if you think it’s climbable with traditional gear then I would say that you continue the adventure and leave it clean. You might not be able to climb it but at least you’ve had the vision to see it was possible.

    Keep on being excellent.


  • kristy

    I like that you responded to my question about your misus.
    Great to gain a little insight into your normal life. Myself, I’m yet to work out where I’m going let alone committing to someone and setting a path together.

    Have fun.


  • kristy

    Oh and I really enjoy reading your blog. It’s super entertaining, random and contains so much of your personality in the writing. Keep blogging! The only down side is that it keeps me from doing my own study. Doh!

    I wouldn’t mind hearing about more training stuff when you’ve got time. Oh, and more footage of climbing, please??

    Thanks Sonnie.

  • Olivier

    That route looks sick!

  • Steve Traversari

    Hey Sonnie,
    I’ve been checking in for days now awaiting the next update and this last post doesn’t disappoint. I’d say you have quite a bit of wisdom for such a young guy. I know all about having too many things on the go, but in my case it’s a bunch of stuff completely unrelated to climbing. In my expereince it’s no good to spread yourself too thin, but I’m not sure that’s not likely your case.
    I hope you don’t put a bolt on that new project. It would be a shame if in fact it does take safe pro and it got bolted just so that you can send it. I’m sure you’ll send it at some point, if you don’t spread yourself too thin. Not to say that my opinion carries any weight. If I had any chance of making it up that, it would have to involve some mechanical hauling rig from the top. But if I could ever have such a project, I wouldn’t bolt it.
    PS. How about some stuff on training or gear placement for your next post?

  • kim

    The person above brings up a good point: if you are not able to climb it without bolts, are mechanical hauling rigs ok to use? or would this make it not a “real” climb?

    i think you should not add bolts, but i don’t think you should use mechanical wall hauler rigs either, although i could see wanting to, just to get up something that looks like this, meaning this cool.

    and be careful with this 70 foot fall on aliens, because this sounds very dangerous. are you always living in this type of danger? i hope not.

  • Sonnie,
    you’re already so busy right now it seems like bolting that thing would just add to the list. Keep it clean is my vote. Besides, it’s ‘only’ .13d right?(hehehehe)

  • Ian Manners

    The arete at nightmare rock looks awesome, I cant even imagine how you get onto it lower down, at mid-height. However, doesnt Big Daddy overhang already have a bolt where this route would merge? If it’s already got a bolt on it, surely the decision to bolt or not has already been made?

  • Vlad

    Sonnie, whatever you decide to do (place a bolt or not), please, stay safe! It really hurts to see strong climbers, who inspire you a lot, or good friends get hurt or die because of one stupid bolt that wasn’t there, one hold that broke, or some random avalanche, etc. Besides, if YOU think that it’s dangerous without the bolt, then VERY few others will even try this route. Stay safe and thanks for the sweet pictures! You’ll always be a huge inspiration to me!

  • Charlie

    Sonnie, I think deep down you already know the answer to your question, but you are just prolonging the experience of working the route. Go send it and see how long it takes for some one to be as bold.

    On a more casual note, congrats on getting a permanent home – must be such a change from your days of living in a van. As a home owner in Squamish I already know how you feel. Isn’t it great?!!? Of course, having the bank hanging over you every month isn’t so fun…

    Thanks for the inspiration – time to go send hard stuff!

  • phillip

    Ultimately it comes down to what you want out of the experience- I’m sure you’re quite capable mentally AND physically of sending this thing sans new bolt. (However, a fall from there looks nasty!) If you put a bolt in it will still be a proud, direct line up Big Daddy AND people will even want to repeat it. If you don’t… well, you’ll pull off a badass headpoint that was another exercise in mental/physical composure. I’m not arguing that FA’s should do routes for reasons other than their own, but taking into consideration where that particular route is and the style of the surrounding routes has me leaning towards thinking that another bolt is not the end of the world! Grand Daddy Overhang, Big Daddy, Claim Jumper all have a mix of gear and bolts (not to mention the 4 bolt 11a directly underneath you in the photo).

    I’m sure you have some other projects hundreds of feet off the deck around Squamish where you’ll be running it out over some tiny gear, but the fall won’t bust you up too much 🙂 Just my two cents. You’re a badass either way. Thanks for the blog- it’s a good one!

  • blake

    Can you say bullet, if i am seeing everything there is no gear from base of arete too top of arete maybe 30′ or so with a roof to slab fall.Is the ground an issue? I am no purist but I would add one bolt.Whatever you do it looks classic.

  • sonnie

    Perhaps a little late for a reply, but seriously I gotta say this is some terrific feedback, thank you, all of you. I’m glad you enjoy the line, as do I and I’m glad I can inspire some of you, as I am inspired by others. So far, here’s where it’s at, the gear is located behind a five inch flake 16 inches to the left of my right foot in the first picture. It’s scary (because the pieces are tiny) and because the other day the flake made a hollow noise when I snapped on the small cams, it was a sound I didn’t enjoy, and created a feeling of unease. My heart sank a little. But since that day I’ve sent the climb on TR again in very hot temps and with some creative placing, I can get the gear to stay in place and “hopefully” not put too much force on the flake that it rips off the wall. I am not going to bolt it. The last time I raised this issue on my site, I added bolts to the line in reference and it’s been climbed three or four times since, it’s been enjoyed and I feel I made a good decision, but this isn’t the same climb or the same situation, this climb doesn’t need an extra bolt I’ve decided, it doesn’t warrant one (not from my point of view anyway, another climber may argue and place a bolt, I can’t stop them , nobody can, but it’s been pretty well agreed here that it’s not mandatory, so that’s nice) Besides, nobody would repeat it anyway, it would make for a half ass sport climb. So, I am leaving it, until I or someone rad enough comes along and ticks it clean. I hope the temps and conditions allow me to have a good stab at it soon. Namaste!