Thursday Night Bouldering 2016

April 4th, 2016

Every Thursday, climbers will meet at the Armdale Rotary in the parking lot in front of St. James Church at 6pm sharp!  From there climbers will carpool to the climbing area scheduled for that evening.

Climbers of all skill levels are welcome! This is a great way to discover new bouldering spots and get to know other climbers.

Make sure you wear appropriate footwear as you will likely get your feet swamped at least once.  A flashlight or headlamp is always handy as we usually always hike out after dark.  Dress in comfortable, weather appropriate clothing and bring climbing shoes, chalk and a crash pad if you have them.  Be prepared to chip in for gas if you’re catching a ride with someone – it’s always appreciated.

Date Area Location
May 5 LOC The Strip or Laundromat
May 12 West Pennant Thoughtful Spot
May 19 LOC Gros Poisson and Jungle
May 26 LOC Memorial Boulder and Wall
June 2 LOC Nouveau Riche
June 9 Polly’s Cove Joey Ramone Area
June 16 Chebucto Head Twin Sisters
June 23 Polly’s Cove Warm-up
June 30 Polly’s Cove Holiday Wall
July 7 Crystal Crescent Beach Main Boulder
July 14 Polly’s Cove Proper
July 21 Chebucto Head Tsunami Area
July 28 Chebucto Head Chebucto Foot
August 4 LOC Moon and Soeil
August 11 LOC Scrappy Boulders
August 18 LOC Mega Boulder and Grand Finale
August 25 LOC Eggs
September 1 Musquodoboit Jessie’s Diner
September 8 Musquodoboit Gibralter
September 15 Musquodoboit Myra Road
September 22 Musquodoboit Roadside Boulders
September 29 LOC Corn and Bung
October 6 LOC Scoop
October 13 LOC Dog House

*** NOTE: We understand these areas may not cater to everyone. Therefore, if it is necessary, we may change the destination without notice. Please try to be at the rotary before departure at 6:00pm so you are in the loop! ***

Erosion prevention in the LOC

April 1st, 2016

Climb Nova Scotia volunteers recently installed erosion prevention measures to protect ecologically sensitive marshland in the popular Land of Confusion bouldering area. Two hundred feet of raised boardwalk now span the sphagnum bog on the approach to Memorial boulder.

New boardwalk to Memorial et al.

New boardwalk to Memorial et al.

This infrastructure prevents erosion and protects flora such as the beautiful pitcher plant from damage caused by foot traffic.

Sarracenia purpurea, the "Soldier's Drinking Cup", is a delicate carnivorous plant found throughout the LOC

Sarracenia purpurea, the “Soldier’s Drinking Cup”, is a delicate carnivorous plant found throughout the LOC

As an added bonus, the new boardwalk will keep your feet dry. Note that this trail is used to access not only the Memorial boulder, but also Skillz Inventory, Eggs, River Styx, Trailside, and Godzilla boulders, as well as the Bug City sport climbing crag!

If you have never tried the five star classic lines of Godzilla (V0), 111 (V3), Persephone (v4), Loose Shoes (v5), and Check Out My Blog (5.11c), there’s never been a better time to go check em out!

CNS 2016 Annual General Meeting April 7 6:30pm Call for Nominations

March 18th, 2016

This is your invitation to come and see what we’ve been up to over the last year and what we have planned for the upcoming year at our AGM.

This year we’re holding the AGM at CNS executive member James Kesten’s workplace at Suite 107, 1601 Lower Water St, Halifax. We will give you tasty snacks.

The location of the AGM has been changed to Saint Mary’s University in room 175 of the Loyola Academic Complex (LA) building. Parking is free after 5:30pm as long as you avoid the ‘Faculty Only’ parking spots. To view a map of the SMU campus to help you find the building, click here.

CNS is currently accepting nominations for all executive positions for elections at the annual general meeting. If you are considering a place on the ballot, you must be nominated (or nominate yourself) by emailing Nominations will be accepted until April 1 2016 at 11:59pm.

A typical CNS executive meeting

A typical CNS executive meeting

Please include your name, the position you are interested in, and a short summary (300 word maximum) of your qualifications and why you want to sit on the board. Nominations will not be accepted after April 1, 2016 at 11:59pm.

Positions and descriptions are as follows:

  • President – Ensure alignment of CNS activities with organizational goals and funding qualification criterion, draft meeting agendas, chair monthly meetings, delegate tasks, oversee financials, attend events, deal with government stakeholders, website posts, answer emails, other duties as assigned.
  • Treasurer – Manage financials, prepare budget, retain records, steer spending toward targets, attend monthly executive meetings, website posts, answer emails, other duties as assigned.
  • Membership Coordinator – Retain up-to-date membership list, mail correspondence and membership cards, attend monthly executive meetings, website posts, answer emails, other duties as assigned.
  • Communications Representative – Handle external matters, book event venues, postering, advertisement campaigns, approach sponsors, primary email responder, attend monthly executive meetings, website posts, other duties as assigned.
  • Access Chair – Monitor all climbing area access issues, uphold excellent relationships with landowners, organize clean and climbs, organize and execute trail maintenance, attend monthly executive meetings, website posts, answer emails, other duties as assigned.
  • Diversity Liaison – Social outreach, engagement of new climbers and underrepresented groups, organize and attend events, attend monthly executive meetings, website posts, answer emails, other duties as assigned.
  • Youth Representative – Interface with public school system, support youth climbing competitions and workshops, organize and attend events, attend monthly executive meetings, website posts, answer emails, other duties as assigned.
  • Secretary – Attend monthly executive meetings, record and distribute meeting minutes, website posts, answer emails, other duties as assigned.

Executive members (with the exception of President) all have a vote in major Climb Nova Scotia undertakings and are expected to exercise their right to vote when called upon. All executive positions are a 1 year term, except for President, which is 2 years in duration.

Executive members are not paid and typically spend up to 5 hours a week on CNS activities when there’s nothing happening, and more when we are busy. President tends to be busier.

If you want to help with CNS but aren’t interested in sitting on the board please let us know. There’s plenty to do and we can always use volunteers for specific projects!

Please note, you must be a member in good standing of Climb Nova Scotia to run for a position on the board, and to attend the annual general meeting. You can purchase a membership by clicking here or with cash at the meeting.

Hope to see you there! RSVP at

Formation Halifax Outback Climbing Club

March 17th, 2016

Or ‘FHOCC’ for short, those military guys do love an acronym! Regardless of the name, the “Dockyard” Climbing Gym in our very own Halifax is AWESOME, and much more so are the folks that make it happen. As with any volunteer run organisation, a tireless and dedicated crew of local climbers are what’s needed to keep things running, and that they do with a great attitude.

Bright and early, on what turned out to be a very wintery Saturday morning, Phill & Bekah drove down from the valley; tools, coffee, climbing gear and bread trays (I’ll explain why later) in hand. They arrived to the warmest of welcomes from the regulars at the FHOCC for its annual Re-set. Most were quite bemused as to why two people they had never met, or ever been to the base, wanted to waste their weekend helping them…..but in the nicest, and most humble of ways. A few of their volunteers had spent the prior evening stripping the wall and preparing to clean the few hundred holds that lay on the floor. This is where the ‘bread trays’ and a pressure washer come in handy….

IMG_0354    IMG_0349

Their newly elected president, a rather upbeat fellow by the name of Matt Corbett was in full go-mode and psyched to unveil the five new volumes purchased from Montreal based company, Dimension. They truly are a work of art, and we helped get them set into their pre-designated areas before the major setting was to take place.

IMG_0361 (1)

Yes, thats Phill……on a rope! Who would have thought it.


Then there was pizza…..Then there was more setting, and  then there was a massive snow storm!

The next day was full focus on getting the wall ready for its regular winter climbing hours and ensuring there was a wide variety of problems for all comers. Cleaning up, taping and naming all the problems is always a task at the end of a long weekend. Matt and his fellow base-dwellers also recently took their instructor certification with Heather Reynolds, so no matter what your ability level, these guys can show you the ropes!


C’est Fini!

A huge shout-out to everyone that came out to help, whether it be for a few hours, or the whole weekend. It was tiring work, but we felt most welcome from the minute we walked through the door, to when we were escorted off the base. Don’t worry, that is apparently normal practice?! (or so Matt told me?)

For more information, visit the Formation Halifax Outback Climbing Club facebook page. (You have to get your name added to the list)

Bouldering Youth Nationals 2016

March 10th, 2016

This year Climb Nova Scotia sent local young-gun Avery Schrader and his coach Adam Conner all the way to Ontario to show those Middle-Canada folk that on the East Coast, we not only have a “real life” aquarium, but that we can rock it with the best of them when it comes to climbing. In what was to be the perfect proving ground for all his hard work and dedication to the local climbing scene, Avery was to find out what it takes to make national finals, and what he needs to focus on in his attempts to put himself and his province on the map in the coming years. We were very proud to play our part in helping the both of them on their way. Here are some words from the horses’ mouths, and what they both gained from the experience…..


The Road to Youth Nationals by Adam Conner

I’d like to preface this story by thanking Climb Nova Scotia for all of the support, both financial, and more importantly the resources and people it has provided to help establish the Annapolis Valley youth climbing scene. I wouldn’t even be able to call myself a climbing coach if it wasn’t for the amazing support I’ve received from some of the amazing people associated with this awesome organization. Also, It’s a bit longer than some other posts and I won’t be offended if you don’t read it all 🙂

The journey from a small town in the Annapolis Valley region of Nova Scotia all the way to the Youth Bouldering Nationals in Toronto has been an experience like no other. To start, it has been a two and a half year journey for me, Adam Conner (AVCC climbing coach), and one of my climbers, Avery Schrader, who I’m sure some of you already know. I first met Avery in my Science 10 class at NKEC where I am a high school math and technology teacher. He had never heard of rock climbing, but I convinced him it was a lot of fun and that he was going to have to listen to me talk about it every day anyway so he might as well find out what it’s all about.

Fast forward to Spring of 2015: Avery has been climbing hard now for a little over 18 months, he is climbing outdoor grades of V6+ and indoor grades even higher. He has long since blown me away with his dedication to the sport and he tells me he wants to set the goal of qualifying for the Youth Bouldering Nationals event in 2016. We sit down and work on some strategies to help him achieve his goal and before long he’s training like a machine.


Because there isn’t a qualifying event for nationals in Atlantic Canada (*cough* yet), Avery set his sights on qualifying in Ontario at their provincial championships. This was a lofty goal since Ontario was churning out a very high concentration of young and strong climbers. Avery went up and placed 9th in his category (Junior Boys – ages 18/19). Unfortunately he needed to place 8th or higher to qualify.

This is where a lot of people would have thrown in the towel and resigned that their goal would have to wait for another year. But, that just isn’t how Avery operates. He contacted the OCF and the FQME and worked out an arrangement that allowed him to attend a sanctioned competition in Quebec to provide him another opportunity to qualify for nationals. This event was actually the finals of the Quebec Bloc Cup series and every other climber there had already qualified through previous events. He worked very hard that weekend and with the support of his mother who went with him and sent me lots of pictures and videos, he placed 8th place in his category securing his ticket to nationals.

When Avery returned from Quebec he only had about 3 weeks before the nationals competition was going to start and so there wasn’t much to do in the way of training. It was a lot of preparing warm-up routines and mental strategies as opposed to trying to pull a Rocky IV training montage to get super strong super fast.

Myself, Avery and Frenzi (Avery’s lovely girlfriend) all set off to Toronto for a Valentine’s day weekend full of climbing and unfortunately a little bit of heartbreak. Avery went into the competition with a perfect mindset, a very relaxed attitude and a lot of determination. He pulled hard on all five of the qualifying problems and came one top away from securing a place in semi-finals. I got complimented from other coaches on his amazing attitude with which he always presents himself.

We then got to watch the competitors climb in the semi finals and in the finals rounds, and learned a lot about what was standing in his way of being one of those finalists. Avery had a great attitude after he finished his climbing and has told me time and again what a great learning experience it was. We’re both really excited about this year of training Avery has ahead of him and about his Nationals competition that he fully intends to attend next year as well!


The Most Vertical Of Roads by Avery Schrader

After two years of a positively life altering obsession, I managed to fight my way far enough through the toughest climbs I have faced to land myself a spot in the 2016 Youth Bouldering National competition in Toronto. Accompanying me along the way, my longtime climbing coach and personal hero Adam Conner as well as my girlfriend and newly recruited training partner Frenzi Ritter.

The process of getting there was simple really, perform a gazillion foot-switches and hope for the best. Technical training was my personal cup of tea, and I spent a lot of time dancing on slabs and and trying to beta-break burly problems. That did carry me through local youth competitions, but I am certainly not a contender for the next Beastmaker International Footless Festival. In Ontario,  and then Quebec and finally Toronto, I noticed that the key difference between myself and higher placing contenders was brute strength.

I want to be sure to thank Adam and Frenzi, as well as my sponsors Earth Bones Climbing and Bandha Bar, two fantastic local businesses who I am very proud to have supporting me. A special thank you to Climb Nova Scotia who made it possible for Adam and I to fly to nationals and back. If you are interested in following my climbing journey you can follow me on instagram @Mraverydylan or add me on Facebook, both of which I post primarily climbing updates and competition results!

Finally, I want to thank the Nova Scotia climbing community, who have done nothing but supportive in my climbing experience.

So it begins.. The road to Canadian Youth Bouldering Nationals 2017


Youth Competition Season

March 3rd, 2016

This is, admittedly, a bit of an amalgam of blog posts in what has been an unexpectedly hectic youth competition season here in Nova Scotia.

Way back in November 2015 we saw the first event put on by the provincial standard bearer for youth climbing, the Annapolis Valley Climbing Club. Way down in the valley, AWEC hosted 25 competitors from across the province. In perhaps our best-set-yet, the kids came out in force, crushed, and left with an enormity of prizing from regular sponsors, The Trail Shop, Bandha Bar and of course Climb Nova Scotia. As well as our logistical contributions for these events, which includes routesetting, CNS helped out with a whole bucket load of new Evolv Climbing Shoes. The current ageing stock were more of a hindrance than help, and its great to see the kid’s confidence grow in their shiny new shoes.


Next up was NKEC’s turn to host, and with the upcoming Tour De Bloc in mind, the guys at AVCC created over a dozen new volumes to use in the set. This meant that the kids could really get to grips (sorry….couldn’t resist) with a more modern setting style and we also helped to transition to a TDB style competition format, which worked out great. More climbing, less chaos and much more time for newer climbers to get on the wall and not feel the pressure.


There has since been the second round of TDB, and between them the youth from the AVCC and Geckos’ climbing clubs took top spots in all the youth & rec categories. Youth climbing in Nova Scotia shows no signs of being a flash in the pan either; with 18 year old  Avery Schrader first qualifying for, then competing in youth nationals (more about that in our next blog!)

These ongoing youth competition circuits, as well as some stellar support from local sponsors and volunteers such as Seven Bays Bouldering, the AVCC, and of course Climb Nova Scotia, are ensuring that we may yet see some great leaps in the future of climbing in the Province.


Ice Fest 2016 – CANCELLED

February 26th, 2016



CNS Ice Fest 2015 will be held Sunday February 28th from 10:30am-4:30pm at Colby-Irving Falls and Black Hole Falls, in Canning, NS! Come on down and try out ice climbing for the first time or sharpen your tools and show the newbies how it’s done – everyone is welcome.

Thank you for your interest in Ice Fest 2016. Unfortunately CNS must cancel this year’s event due to warm weather and lack of ice.

The event is now at capacity and registration is closed. For safety reasons we cannot accept any more participants. However, if you are an experienced ice climber interested in volunteering at the event, please contact CNS to find out how you can help.

You must register by emailing by Sunday February 14th. Space is limited so please RSVP early! In your email please let us know the following:

  • Your name and the names of anyone coming with you.
  • Your climbing experience level (never, indoors only, rock only, some ice, experienced alpinist, etc).
  • Equipment you are NOT bringing and will need from the below “Things you should bring” list.
  • If you need boots, tell us what size.

Here is a map to the parking area from Halifax:

After you email us you will receive a confirmation email within 24 hours indicating that you are on the list. If you don’t hear from us, check this page to see if the event is full. If so, we apologize for the disappointment and wish you better luck next year.

Let us know if you need a helmet/harness/ice tools/crampons/boots, or if you can share your own equipment. We will try to have spare stuff available, but you should try to bring your own crampon compatible boots if possible (ski boots will work, snowboarding boots won’t unless they have toe-bales).

If you need a drive or can offer one, a popular place to post is on the Nova Scotia Climbing Facebook group.

Registration is free for CNS members, but you must be a member to attend. Memberships are just $20 for a two year Climb Nova Scotia membership. Click here to buy yours! Everyone must sign a waiver, and if you print one in advance and bring it with you that’s even better.

Please email today if you are a grizzled veteran interesting in helping out – we can always use more volunteers.

Ice Fest frequently asked questions:

Q: What do I have to bring with me?

A: Things you must bring with you are:

  • A signed, completed CNS waiver. Click here to download the waiver.
  • $20 cash if you are not already a CNS member. This buys you a two-year membership to Climb Nova Scotia.
  • Warm clothing in layers (wool or synthetic is best; avoid cotton)
  • Waterproof breathable outer layer (jacket and pants, gaiters suggested)
  • Hat (must fit under a helmet i.e. no pompoms)
  • Gloves (at least two pairs)
  • Sturdy footwear
  • Water
  • Food

Q: What else should I bring?

A: Things you should bring with you are:

  • Helmet with a chin strap (Climbing specific, ski helmet, or bicycle helmet with minimal ventilation holes)
  • Climbing boots with toe and heel bale for step-in crampons
  • Rock climbing harness
  • Camera
  • Extra gloves
  • Extra socks
  • Belay device
  • Ice tools
  • Crampons
  • Thermos of something warm to drink (Soup, hot chocolate, coffee, tea)
  • Personal first aid kit

Q: Are minors under the age of 19 allowed at Ice Fest?

A: Minors must be accompanied by a legal guardian to attend Ice Fest. Both the youth and adult must be Climb Nova Scotia members. Family memberships are $50 for two years and cover up to five immediate family members. There is no set age cut-off for participation in Ice Fest, but it is not appropriate for all ages as it involves swinging ice axes around above one’s head. A certain amount of physical strength and decision-making ability is required that may not be possessed by younger children. Ice climbing may or may not be appropriate for your particular child, although s/he is certainly welcome to come out and watch. Minors in attendance are the responsibility of their guardians and we would ask that you be attentive to keep them safe during the event. Ice and loose rock will be dislodged by climbers and can pose a real hazard to anyone who wanders underneath.

Q: What are the risks of attending Ice Fest?

A: CLIMBING IS DANGEROUS. Some things that pose a risk to you at Ice Fest are:

  • Falling ice
  • Falling rocks
  • Dropped equipment
  • Equipment failure
  • Belayer error
  • Cold weather
  • Cold water
  • Other things not listed

Climb Nova Scotia is NOT a guiding service, this is NOT a guided event, and you are responsible for your own safety and any minors under your care. CNS and its volunteers are not holding themselves out as experts and will not be held liable for any loss or injury howsoever caused at Ice Fest 2016. We will do all we can to ensure the safety of everyone at the event, but CLIMBING IS DANGEROUS and you could be injured or killed at Ice Fest 2016. Read the CNS waiver before you sign it. If you do not understand any portion of the waiver, consult a lawyer before signing it because CLIMBING IS DANGEROUS. NO WAIVER NO ICE CLIMBING.

Q: Why has IceFest been moved from Hall’s Harbour like previous years?

A: Halls Harbour is a beautiful and exciting location on the Bay of Fundy, with tall and impressive ice climbs. However, it is also exposed to the highest tides in the world and unpredictable weather. In 2015 CNS arrived at Halls Harbour for ice fest, but conditions were too windy for climbing so we relocated everyone to Colby Irving in an attempt to save the event.

It turned out to be a great venue, and its shorter ice meant that more people were able to climb. New climbers enjoyed Colby Irving Falls for its easy approach and sheltered setting. As well, Black Hole Falls is just a 10 minute walk away and serves as a great overflow area. Note that Black Hole requires a rappel approach and then vertical ice climbing to get back out, making it substantially more committing for the first-timer (but plenty of fun for those with a little experience).

Q: You have announced that the event is full but I really want to come so is it okay if I just show up anyway?

A: We are happy that you are excited about trying ice climbing. However, there is only so much shared equipment to go around, only so many ice climbs, and only so much daylight at Ice Fest 2016. Please understand that we would have everyone to the event if we could, but in the interest of safety we have a cap on participant numbers.

Library Spotlight: Climbing Anchors by John Long and Bob Gains

February 16th, 2016

Last year, Climb Nova Scotia made a significant donation of climbing-related content to the Halifax Regional Library system. This donation includes books, magazines and movies across a variety of climbing interest areas. We want to make sure that our members and the community at large are making the best use of this content as possible so we’ve decided to start doing a weekly profile of one title in the collection. To access these titles simply go into your nearest branch location with your card and ask!

This week’s spotlight title is ‘Climbing Anchors’ by John Long and Bob Gains

climbing anchors

An American Death Triangle is:

  1. a John Cena finishing move
  2. the parking lot of a 7/11 in Chicago after 1am on a Saturday
  3. a dangerous climbing anchor

If you answered anything but 3 then you need to check out this book. Climbing in Nova Scotia means you need to be creative when building and cleaning anchors. If you get to the top of a climb here chances are good that you’ll have to build an anchor using a tree, trad gear and maybe a rap ring if you’re lucky. You should also be competent at analyzing anchors built by other climbers. Your new climbing partner might indeed be super chill, but if their anchors look like this then you might want to go bouldering next time instead.

Read this book and ask a real person you trust to check your anchor before you tie in.

Library Spotlight: Alone on the Wall by Alex Honnold

February 9th, 2016

Last year, Climb Nova Scotia made a significant donation of climbing-related content to the Halifax Regional Library system. This donation includes books, magazines and movies across a variety of climbing interest areas. We want to make sure that our members and the community at large are making the best use of this content as possible so we’ve decided to start doing a weekly profile of one title in the collection. To access these titles simply go into your nearest branch location with your card and ask!

This week’s spotlight title is ‘Alone on the Wall’ by Alex Honnold and David Roberts


Everyone knows those terrifyingly-empty big brown eyes. Whether he’s selling you a tasty food product, being dryly witty in an interview or pushing climbing limits into the stratosphere, Alex Honnold is in your face. Now he’s in your hands too, with his new book ‘Alone on the Wall.’ A CNS exec member read it and declared ‘it’s the book version of all of his movie solos with some interesting background information and his thoughts on the climbs.’ If you just can’t get enough of Honnold, then stop into the library and pick this one up.

For a real review from a left-leaning non-climbing media outlet, click here.

Library Collection Spotlight: Make or Break

February 2nd, 2016

Last year, Climb Nova Scotia made a significant donation of climbing-related content to the Halifax Regional Library system. This donation includes books, magazines and movies across a variety of climbing interest areas. We want to make sure that our members and the community at large are making the best use of this content as possible so we’ve decided to start doing a weekly profile of one title in the collection. To access these titles simply go into your nearest branch location with your card and ask!

This weeks’ spotlight title is ‘Make or Break: Don’t Let Climbing Injuries Dictate Your Success’ by Dave MacLeod


If you have complained about any of the following while climbing/driving/eating/showering/tying your shoes/typing/going on dates/dressing yourself/making excuses for not sending your project/opening a beer:

  • tweaked finger
  • sore shoulder (s)
  • achy tendon
  • bad knees
  • weak pulley
  • crappy wrist
  • being old

then this book is for you. MacLeod uses a research-based approach to help you diagnose and treat a variety of all of the typical climbing injuries that you’ve suffered from, are likely to suffer from or heard your climbing partners complain about. If you’re even half serious about climbing consistently you owe it to yourself to read this book.

Take it from me, I went from ‘everything kind of hurts all the time and I don’t know why’ to ‘everything kind of hurts all the time and I think I know why’ to ‘everything is kind of ok unless I need an excuse for a bad performance.’

Read this book. There are three copies in circulation so there’s no excuse. Read here for a real review.