plam gallery

adventures with plam

Nope, I don't ice climb. Sorry. I'd heard of the Grands Jardins before but hadn't ever been there. It was also quite difficult to get good beta, since the (Quebec-wide) guidebook was from 2000 and impossible to buy; at least I managed to take a few pictures of it in the Grande Bibliotheque du Quebec. There are three areas just outside the Grands Jardins are the Dôme, Mont du Gros Bras ("big arms"), and de l'Ours. As the name suggests, the Dôme is slabby climbing, on granite. A break in the rain on Sunday meant that carrying climbing gear to Chicoutimi and Baie St-Paul wasn't in vain after all. Yay! The PDF about Gros Bras suggested that it dried slowly, so we decided to climb La Granuleuse on the Dôme. Four pitches, mostly slabby. First ascent May 15, 1977: 37 years and 3 days before my climb. Also, the climb shares my birthyear. Obviously I had to climb it. Looks dry to me! In patches, anyway. But the clouds are less than encouraging. This view is towards the Fleuve St.-Laurent. Navigating through wet patches and some shrubbery got me to the top of pitch 1. Pitch 2, straightforward, also continued to be dry. I'd read that the route was full of the holes characteristic to the area and was a bit confused about that. Turns out that they are mini-huecos. They totally make for excellent holds. There are also lots of horizontal cracks and I found myself placing lots of tricams. More than I'd placed at the Gunks; on some of the pitches I placed all 4 of my tricams (black, red, pink, brown). I tried to avoid the wet patches on pitch 3 as well, but after extended close-up examination of unprotectable slab harder than 5.7 right off the belay, I realized that the route couldn't possibly go that way. Instead, the right thing to do was to climb through the stream. Fortunately, granite, and 5.6. Still, it was pretty runout, and a long pitch. Felt adventurous. (Don't go straight up; go climber's left.) There was just one vertical section on this climb. It came with a bolt. (There are also bolted anchors on the route). A reach to a jug gets you over that section, though, and three steps to the right then get you over to the belay anchor. The fourth pitch has a variant with allegedly amazing climbing, but that followed some bad pro. A couple of raindrops convinced me to not take the variant and instead to climb straight through the corner. It's still pretty difficult to protect, but straightforward to climb. As I started climbing pitch 4, the rain switched to hail and I felt like I was in a big pachinko machine. This effect is particularly pronounced on slab, since the hailstones bounce down on the slab and towards the leader who has no gear above the anchor yet. If you look closely you can see the hailstones in this video. The hail switched back to rain and it definitely started to get wet. Yet I could see the sunshine over there. How unfair! You may have noticed MP trailing a rope in some of those pictures. I was climbing on my 60m rope. All the documentation mentioned that I better have two 60m ropes to rap. So I brought along my 70m rope. A tag line would've been nice to own. Pitches 4 and 3 were somewhat long, so I rapped them separately; definitely more than 30m each. Pitches 2 and 1, though, were much shorter. So I thought I'd link those rappels. I saw that the rope reached the last bushy ledge just above the ground as I was at the p1 anchor, about 2m above the ground. The snow on the ground was useful here---probably better than a bouldering pad! As I've mentioned elsewhere, there are emus nearby. The self-proclaimed largest emu farm in eastern Canada in fact. (The crux to emu farming is in selling emu products, they say.) Even though they claim to be open until 4:30, we'd shown up at 4 the day before, and the barn was closed. No emu visiting. But our 6am start on climbing day definitely got us to the emu farm in time. As you enter the barn, you see dozens of emus, all looking at you (unless they're too short; full-grown emus are 6 feet tall, though). (Note on red tape: The Dome appears to be on land owned by the ZEC des Martes. You are supposed to sign in with them and pay $5/day or something. The chalets, however, are owned by La Traversée de Charlevoix. You can pay $35/person/night to stay there. They do get good views though!)