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.

Ice Fest 2016

January 25th, 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.

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.

REEL ROCK 10 – Tues Nov 3 @ Halifax Central Library!

October 8th, 2015

Climb Nova Scotia is proud to bring the Reel Rock film festival to Halifax for its tenth anniversary!

Tuesday, November 3rd at 7:00pm (doors open at 6:30pm)

Halifax Central Library, Paul O’Regan Hall

Tickets: $10 in advance at the Trail Shop, $15 at the door


Climbing movies!

Charity in support of a great cause!


All profits from this event are going to Movember in support of men’s health issues

Beer (if you are old enough)!

The good folks at Good Robot will be on site pulling tasty local draft for you

The good folks at Good Robot will be on site pulling tasty local draft for you


There will be popcorn!

There will be popcorn!

Okay seriously if you don’t wanna come after all that I don’t know what to tell you.


*Reel Rock 10 contains some saucy language. Parental discretion is advised.

Fire ban at Main Face

September 28th, 2015

Please do not make fires when visiting or camping out at Main Face, remember to pack out everything you brought in with you, and pick up any trash you find.

No fires allowed at Main Face!

No fires allowed at Main Face!

Climb Nova Scotia was approached by one of the property owners who is concerned with the risk of forest fire on his land due to our dry weather this season. While he is generously allowing climbing to continue and is happy with the respectful way climbers use his property, he has requested that a total fire ban is implemented effective immediately.

CNS will be installing NO FIRE signs this season, so please pass the word around that fires are not permitted at Main Face. Help us maintain positive relationships with landowners and preserve climbing access at this amazing Nova Scotia destination!

The Portal Youth Centre @ Kohler Klimb

September 7th, 2015

Earlier this month Climb Nova Scotia had the opportunity to make something awesome happen for an inspirational group of youngsters from the Annapolis Valley.

Over the summer holidays, local climber, volunteer and all round good guy Avery Schrader, has been using his spare time to coach and mentor a group of teens from The Portal Youth Centre. This group based in Kentville “…Serve as a “door” which young people can ask questions and begin changes towards greater resiliency. At the centre, youth will be affirmed towards new goals that will move them away from the risk of homelessness.”

Still hanging on after a tough workout

Avery, who also manages Adventure Climbing Gym in Greenwich, has been providing them with weekly bouldering sessions as a way to develop physical and mental strength as well as teamwork skills, to these active young adults.

As a way to finish off their summer of bouldering programme, Climb Nova Scotia offered them the opportunity to to check out the excellent roped climbing facilities at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre, Truro. Here they spent the day trying a new form of climbing, showing off their new found skills and scaling new heights. As you can see by the photos, they had a ton of fun!!

Scaling new heights thanks to their climbing programme

Overcoming new challenges thanks to their climbing programme

Big thanks to all involved and please check out “The Portal” on Facebook for more pictures and information on their mission and goals in helping young adults in Nova Scotia.





Boulderfest 2015

August 28th, 2015
Now approaching its 15th Anniversary, Boulderfest is a mainstay among East Coast climbers and has been steadily increasing its reach further afield. Bouldefest sold out in a record breaking 22hrs, the 85 lucky climbers from as close as Prospect to afar as Calgary enjoyed this year’s almost too perfect weather on Dover Island. The sun came out, stayed out, and aside from a blusterySaturday evening the sendage was as high as the thermometer. As always the blood-orange full harvest moon made for an eerie setting on our night sessions.


The introduction of a new mini V-grade competition encouraged people to really check out those obscure climbs and avoid traffic at the high-value areas like The Bear and The Wave. The winner of this year’s competition ended up leaving with a brand new crash pad from a local company called Earth Bones Climbing! The Trail Shop, Evolv, Seven Bays Bouldering, Ground Zero & Bandha Bar were also on hand to ensure that everyone left with at least something. We don’t remember prizing quite like it, and after a stomach filling supper, the kegs were cracked and a great night session ensued.

Another notable difference was the amount of activity in and around the camp site area. New lines were being sighted, sent and flailed on! Perhaps the heat encouraged those guys to stay closer to the shade of the tents? Either way, new lines on Dover Island are always welcome.

Earth Bones CEO David MacMillan hands off the Boulderfest 2015 grand prize to lucky winner Jack Bennet

Earth Bones CEO David MacMillan hands off the Boulderfest 2015 grand prize to lucky winner Jack Bennet

Next year Boulderfest will be 15 years old! It may seem hard to believe but the youngest climber on the island this year was not even born when the original event was held out at Prospect the first year. That makes for some exciting and enlightening statistics when you consider how a growing youth and new-climber population is helping to continue to grow the sport in the province.
We would love to hear from our members as to what they think Climb Nova Scotia could do to make 15 years stand out? We already have more fireworks on the list, so that suggestion doesn’t count!

Conflicts of interest and what we do about it

August 26th, 2015

Climb Nova Scotia relies on volunteer efforts of individuals within our tight-knit community of climbers. It is not uncommon that one or more members of the CNS Board may have a personal interest, or know someone who has a personal interest, in the outcome of decisions made on behalf of the organization. Since board members have a duty to always act in the best interests of Climb Nova Scotia and not for personal benefit, it is important to CNS that any actual or perceived conflict between a board member’s personal goals and those of Climb Nova Scotia be addressed fully and transparently.

CNS has been aware of the potential for conflicts of interest for some time and we have informally addressed them on a case-by-case basis. The Board is committed to serving members and the climbing community as a whole fairly and impartially. In the interest of improving governance and accountability, the Board has recently voted to implement the following written Conflict of Interest Policy:

Download the PDF file .

As always, Climb Nova Scotia invites comments from members relating to this and any other policies.



Earth Bones Climbing Kickstarter

August 19th, 2015

Nova Scotia climber and entrepreneur David MacMillan has recently launched a crowdfunding campaign via Kickstarter to generate revenue and hype for his business, Earth Bones Climbing. Earth Bones makes custom bouldering pads right here in Nova Scotia.

Climb Nova Scotia is very appreciative of Earth Bones’ support at Boulderfest 2015 where they made demo pads available all weekend and donated products including the grand prize: a one-of-a-kind CNS bouldering pad!

Earth Bones CEO David MacMillan hands off the Boulderfest 2015 grand prize to lucky winner Jack Bennet

Earth Bones CEO David MacMillan hands off the Boulderfest 2015 grand prize to lucky winner Jack Bennet

If you are in the market for a new bouldering pad, chalk bag, interested in getting your existing pad restuffed, or just want to support an enthusiastic and innovative local business, please head over to the Earth Bones Climbing Kickstarter page and make a pledge. The campaign wraps up on September 3rd so you would get your new pad right in time for fall sending temps!

Come on out to the CNS Thursday Night Bouldering Series any time this season if you want a hands-on demo of Earth Bones top quality products!

Boulderfest 2015 Tickets

June 25th, 2015

Boulderfest 2015 tickets are sold out!

Early bird tickets sold out in half an hour! If you weren’t one of the lucky few, you’re now in luck as the tickets for general public are now available.

Boulderfest 2015
Fill out the information below and pay with PayPal while there are some still available.

How old are you?
What size shirt do you wear?

 Please read the FAQ below before you email us.

CNS will not respond to questions that are answered below.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Can you hold a ticket for me?
A: No, sorry.

Q: When is Boulderfest?
A: August 1st & 2nd 2014. If it rains, the event might be pushed back a day to Aug 2nd & Aug 3th (which is a holiday Monday)

Q: Where is Boulderfest?
A: Boulderfest is held on Dover Island, 1km offshore from West Dover, Nova Scotia, Canada, which is in North America, which is on Earth. Driving directions from Halifax, Nova Scotia are here.

Q: What do I get for my weekend pass ticket fee?
A: Transportation to and from Dover Island, parking on the mainland, dinner on Saturday night, coffee and breakfast on Sunday morning, an event t-shirt and goodie bag, the chance to win lots of awesome prizes, and the sickest bouldering you’ve ever seen

Q: Will you mail me a physical ticket before the event?
A: No. We will have a list of Boulderfest ticket holders on the day of the event and we will give you an event wristband before you get on the boat. The Trail Shop and Paypal will each issue you with a receipt at the point of purchase – keep this and consider bringing a copy with you to the event.

Q: Why do I need an event wristband?
A: All non-competitive prize draws will be based on your wristband number. Don’t lose your wristband – it gets you food and the number on it will be used to draw for fantastic door prizes!

Q: What is not included?
A: You must bring your own water, climbing equipment, camping gear, snacks, camera, and appropriate clothing. A full list of suggested supplies will be emailed to you before the event if you buy a ticket.

Q: How many tickets are available for the weekend?
A: Less than 100. Dover Island is a fragile ecosystem and too many people out there at one time can cause irreparable damage to the flora and fauna.

Q: Can I bring my dog and some glass bottles to Boulderfest?
A: No. Dogs are not permitted at Boulderfest. Please do not bring glass bottles to Boulderfest, you will be asked to leave them on the mainland.

Q: I am under the age of 18, can I still come to Boulderfest?
A: Minors must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Each attending parent must also purchase a ticket in order to accompany their child. This requirement is for the safety and enjoyment of all participants and is not negotiable.

Q: What if I buy a ticket and then don’t want it anymore?
A: There will be NO REFUNDS on Boulderfest tickets UNLESS THE EVENT IS CANCELED. You may sell your ticket to someone else as long as you notify Climb Nova Scotia who you have sold it to so we can email them event details. The person you sell it to will get the t-shirt size you ordered.

Q: Where can I sell or buy an unwanted ticket?
A: CNS suggests using the forums to sell or buy unwanted tickets, or try posting on the Climb Nova Scotia Facebook wall. Please remember to let CNS know when tickets are bought or sold so that the ticket-holder’s name and email makes it onto our list.

Q: I don’t have a credit card, how can I buy a ticket?
A: Paypal can bill your bank account directly; a credit card is not required. If you don’t trust the banks and keep all of your money under your mattress, you will need to put on your tinfoil anti-mindcontrol hat and go to the Trail Shop in Halifax to pay with cash.

Q: Isn’t this climbing stuff dangerous?
A: Yes, it certainly can be. You are responsible for your own safety while on Dover. All participants will be required to sign a waiver on the day of the event before being allowed on the island. You can read the waiver ahead of time here.