Building a Quinzhee

We were at Brad’s parents house this weekend, a little north of Kingston. There’s always lots of outdoor fun to be had up there, from snowshoeing to zip-lining to shooting. Since we’ve had a decent amount of snow in Southern Ontario over the last couple of weeks I figured I’d have a go at building a type of snow shelter called a quinzhee. They’re not as robust as an igloo, but you can build them with pretty much any type of snow, and they don’t require as much skill (or any special equipment) to build. Essentially you make a big pile of snow, leave it for a while, then hollow it out (There are some decent instructions here). Hence they’re ideal as emergency shelters if you get caught out in the backcountry without a tent or bivy bag. Hopefully I’ll never need to build one in a genuine emergency, but it’s useful to know how just in case. My first attempt wasn’t *perfect* but I think I could have survived the night in it if I’d had to. Next time I’ll leave it a little longer before hollowing it out to make it a little stronger, and I’ll try to make it a little taller so I can sit up in it (and so it’s not so claustrophobic). Overall, a satisfactory first attempt and definitely worth the effort. I wonder how long it will survive?

My first 5.10c

This month has been an awesome month for climbing. Krista’s got back up to climbing 5.8, and I’ve moved into new territory, conquering my first 5.10b earlier this month, and then my first 5.10c last week. Here’s a couple of pics to celebrate…

[Pics courtesy of James Shin]

Climbing Review

It’s been 6 months since I started climbing again after dislocating my shoulder in December ’09. My first time back in the climbing gym was 20th July, and at that point I was back to 5.7 level. My Dailymile entry for that climb read…

Climbed a variety of walls. Completed a 5.8, failed horribly on another. Tried a 5.9 but wasn’t really up to it. The shoulder and hand injuries weren’t a problem which is great. Looking forward to going again on Thursday.

Progress has been slow but steady since then. I’ve logged about 40 climbing sessions which is an average of 1.5 climbs per week. Not exactly hardcore, but in the context of all the other things we’ve been up to it’s decent. In terms of technical progression, I climbed my first 5.10a in September, and my first 5.10b earlier this month. As of this weekend, I’ve finished several more 5.10b’s, and I’m even managing to flash some 5.10s at the first attempt.

Looking back through my logs, I’ve progressed well but have definitely lacked structure in my climbing. I definitely haven’t spent enough time working on my weak points, or even analyzing what my weak points are. I’ve spent too much time “just climbing” and climbing socially, and haven’t done enough skills training. That will change now, as I have a well-planned weekly schedule which mixes up bouldering, climbing hard, and practicing skills. I’ve also entered the bouldering league at the Climbing Academy which I hope will give me a good chance to pick up some new ninja-skills.