Sport 400 Charlevoix

The towering new bolted climb first came to my attention when I noticed the announcement of it last summer on EscaladeQuebec. The topic was popping with comments on their social media.

Sport 400 Charlevoix

The cliffs — in remote parts of Quebec — have an esoteric appeal and the website, in French, contributes to that. There is little subtlety in statements like “Biggest Sport Climb East of the Flatirons, Colorado” and the Flatirons are a great point of reference for the 5.6ish Sport 400.

The Sport 400 lived in the periphery of my imagination until a friend set a date to actually climb it. Just like that, we were off, leaving work at 3pm hoping to make the 6-hour drive to Saint Simeon in time to erect our tent before sunset.

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A Love Letter to Val-David

Some towns have all the luck. They’re the kind of places that beg you to ask yourself if it’s possible spend all of your time there. These places come right off the tip of my tongue: Keene, New Paltz, Stowe, North Conway, and for that last couple of years, Val David.

Val David cliff

Three years ago, I don’t think I knew of Val David, I learned of it shortly after relocating to Montreal. It’s an hour north of the city but a world away.

If rock climbing legend Fritz Weissner spent his time here, you can rest assured that it is absolutely spoiled with classic rock. For skiing, it is a mini-paradise too: Mont Alta is one of three downhill ski hills in town, and now serves as the only uphill area I know of in these parts.

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Thacher State Park Climbing

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once famously said “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” This rings true at Thacher State Park, where the tireless efforts to keep the park safe from budget cuts and then open the area to climbing have created the newest sport climbing area in the Northeast.

Before New York added climbing at the park — named for a former Albany mayor John Boyd Thacher — I had entirely overlooked this green oasis. Located 20 miles west of Albany, it’s an easy drive from the Capital District, but for climbers coming from the north or south it meant driving by the Adirondacks or the Gunks.

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