On Friday, November 1st, 2012, Vince Hempsall (Kootenay representative of CASBC) and David Lussier (founding member of The Association of West Kootenay Rock Climbers) began the process of upgrading the anchors of 15 routes at Kinnaird Bluffs in Castlegar.
The project was the brain-child of TAWKROC’s board of directors and was made possible thanks to the generosity of the Climbers Access Society of BC and Mountain Equipment Co-op.
Kinnaird, arguably the oldest climbing area in the Kootenays, has climbs that were put up over 40 years ago and the anchors on a number of them are made from rusted chains, tattered webbing and 2 1/4″ non-stainless steel bolts. TAWKROC submitted a proposal to CASBC to get funding to replace the anchors and, through a mutual program with Mountain Equipment Co-op, was given the hardware to do so.
On that Friday, Vince and Dave put new anchors on five climbs including Merlin, Mossy Corner, LOU, Sunshine Crack, and Betal. The latter climb had rusted anchors that were 32 metres off the deck and was the sight of numerous injuries and one unfortunate fatality in the early 1990s. The new anchors are now at the 30-metre mark.
“We’re making each of these climbs safer,” says Vince, “but we’re also making sure we maintain the aesthetics and flow of all the climbs that we worked on. For example, we lowered the anchors on Sunshine and Betal but the last few metres of both those climbs was just low-grade scramble through poor rock. I think climbers will notice the quality and safety has improved significantly.”
Dave and Vince will continue updating the anchors on various routes around Kinnaird over the course of the next month. Here are more photos from the day: