The Peach, mixed trad in Canada by Slawinski and Meekins
"It is not a typical route. Most mixed routes of that grade tend to be bolted. That was what drew me to it, that it offered the possibility of harder mixed climbing on all natural gear. Even the belays are bolt-free." This is how Raphael Slawinski described to us The Peach, his latest new route established in mid-March together with Grant Meekins at Storm Creek in the Canadian Rockies. A route which had remained a dream for three years, seeing that in 2008 he had retreated from the third pitch. And a route he now enjoyed so much that he decided to return to catch on film.
The Peach takes a nice 110m line between two existing routes, Crash and Sinister Street, and was established ground-up with four short pitches: the initial 30m graded WI5, 20m of M4 up chossy rock, another 20m of difficult M8 which lead to the final pitch, and then 40m of WI5 M7 which Slawinski freed second go, after having tested the pins with a small fall.
To play it safe Slawinski climbed with a bolt kit but as he made progress the following went through his mind "I feel the gentle but insistent pull of the bolt kit on the back of my harness. No, dammit! I am not going to profane this route by placing a bolt I do not absolutely need! I am glad I brought a proper rock hammer, as I blast through layers of choss to drive knifeblades into better rock underneath. I add a rock thread and at last I have something resembling a solid anchor. Yipee!
With regards to the kit, the physics professor told us: "As for carrying a bolt kit and not using it, it is not something new for me. For some time now I have striven to climb at a reasonably high technical level on natural gear." On Climbing he expanded on his theory: "Do not misunderstand me: I love sport climbing in both its summer and winter incarnations. Bolts can open up fantastic terrain, allowing us to play with gravity on big overhangs and big daggers. However, bolts should add to the adventure, not diminish it. If a line looks even remotely feasible without bolts, then before reaching for the gun we owe it to ourselves to simply walk up to it and start climbing. "
Raphael Slawinski on The Peach (WI 5 M8), Canadian Rockies
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