Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Megawatts - 5.8 Sport Multipitch in Castlegar, BC

Megawatts
5.8 sport route
8 pitches
280m
Megawatts Topo

Megawatts is a 280m sport climb located on Brilliant Buttress in Castlegar, BC. It was a fun, leisurely morning with awesome views of the confluence of the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers.
Great views from the top of Megawatts
The route is accessed from the Brilliant Terminal Station a few kilometers from Castlegar. The approach to the base of the route was delightfully short (8 minutes of uphill walking) and we easily found the bolted line on the right side of the rocky outcrop. The first 4 pitches climb up and left along a ridge. The bolts are widely spaced but the climbing between them is easy enough that you don't feel too run out. After the 4th pitch, the route crosses a gully on the right and starts up the steeper rock face. Here the climbing gets a bit more challenging but the rock is solid. The cruxes of the route are found at the bottom and top of pitch 5. The first is a short traverse though a steep section that requires you to trust your feet and the second moves through thin holds to the anchor.
Kyle scrambling up the ridge on pitch 4
Crossing the gully and straight up pitch 5
Pitch 6 is a zig-zag right, then left and finally right again which caused a lot of rope drag. The final move through the traverse is exposed and is another crux of the route. Above that, slabby climbing takes you to the top! We unroped for the final scramble to Brilliant Outlook and then followed the hiking trail back down to the valley. The descent took us about 45 minutes.
Kyle traversing to the belay on pitch 6

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Baseline Mountain Bike Club Poker Rally

A few weeks ago, Kyle, Bryce, Steve, Kyle Duran and I made our way out to Baseline Mountain for the 3rd annual poker rally. Baseline is south-west of Rocky Mountain House and pretty much in the middle of nowhere but there is a very dedicated crew of mountain bikers that have done an amazing job of trail building. We rolled in on Friday night after work, a few hours after a massive hailstorm had dropped about 10 cm of hail and dropped the temperature by about 15 degrees. The creeks were swollen and roads were wet but it didn't dampen anyone's spirits. People were camped all along the road so it was an easy drive over to the sign in on Saturday morning. We got ourselves registered, and armed with beef jerky and iced coffee, hit the shuttle road for our first lap.
Shuttle procession up the road
 After a quick group photo of most of the 200+ riders that came out, it was a free for all to drop into the trails. After that the crowds thinned out and we lapped the mountain from 9-4 with very little down time between runs.
Views from the top of Baseline Mountain
 The Subaru was very out of place among the huge trucks on the shuttle road. With the wet conditions and heavy load, we almost had to jump out and push the car up the steepest part of the road. We also managed to get a flat tire after the first lap. Luckily, we ran into some friends from Calgary who had a truck and bike rack that we were able to jump in with for the rest of the day.
Psyched to drop in and get the rally started
Minor hiccup with a flat tire on the first lap
 We did our best to ride all the trails on the mountain. There are some very steep and technical trails that really tested my skills and my brakes! We had a great time riding all day, and the awards and after party were a great time! None of us came close to winning any prizes but nobody cared. It was just an awesome day to be out riding with our friends. Thanks to the boys at Baseline for a great event! We will be back for sure. 
Pit stop at the top before our final lap of the day