Friday, October 31, 2014

Lebanon: Week ONE.

After a few days or searching, and two tanks of gas, we finally found a perfect area to apply our project ideals. With a view of the Mediterranean sea.

The area is located down in the valley below the town of Jezzine, Lebanon. The setting is quit picturesque. Tall magical like trees hover of over small orchards of olives, lemons and grapes. Its quiet. Peaceful. Bolting here reminds me, suddenly, of what we are really doing. Opening a new door for the future generations of climbers who can tread on these walls safely and enjoy nature and the surrounding culture with aplomb.

Years ago, a La Sportiva add, featuring Kurt Smith, gave me a kick in the ass to do what I now do. It simply stated that he did not own a house, or a Porsche or any truly material goods, and that he would continue to climb and develop, even if he had to spend his last dollar on a bag of potatoes.

This is a fond memory for me. It creeps up in my consciousness sometimes, while driving mostly. I think of all the areas I have been too, everyone I have met, all the lives that have shaped mine, and all the people who have helped me become who I am. I have had some run in's for sure. Most of the time though, its a just in passing, and nothing negative really ever truly lasts... Its made to resolve into a learned moment and then fades back into its hidden cave to be swallowed.

Jezzine's new area we are bolting is just that for me today, it shows me the positive and the light, and blocks out all the black. Across the small slope in the valley, just a few 100 meters from this still unnamed crag ( Asterix & Obelix is the working title for now ), there are small isolated limestone monoliths. Imagine Easter Island or Stonehenge if you will, but set amongst a think pine forest. When  I strolled around I felt like a Druid or a wizard, harvesting herbs and spices for my potions. Some of the these little blocs can hold two to 5 routes, making them uber special for a days out with a close friend or lover, giving you privacy to climb amongst the trees all alone, together, to enjoy this magical area.

Before come to this area, which will mostly hold routes between 4a and 6b, there is a nice, hard wall, of about 40 meters, which resembles rifle or jail house. With a road going directly up the crag, where you can belay off the hood.

I cannot believe, yet again, that I am in this country. Everyone and everything about Lebanon makes me want to move here. I especially enjoy the driving. No rules applied.

Ok, Thats it for now. I am off to Jezzine, where the mayor has organized a hotel room for me during my stay, for as long as I keep bolting. Eva is joining me  not he 9th, and bring even more iron with her. In total, I think we will be able to put up about 50 new routes before we head to Spain. In total, I expect this whole area in Babu ( Jezzine ) can contain about 150+ routes. Half of which can be under 6a, which will make it a great starter area, and a great place for experienced climbers to bring newcomers or family.

In closing, I need to thank everyone who made this possible. Marc, Chole, Ellie and Lena @ LCA
, Chris, Karl, Patrick and the boys at Climbtech. Everet and Jim @ La Sportiva, Jano @ TNF, Kati and Rob @ Big Agnes, Evan @ Ibex Clothing, Dan @ So iLL, Rob and Randy@ Maxim Ropes, John Evans@ Petzl USA and especially Turkish Airlines who, at the last moment, picked up the tab on 220 kilos of gear I was travelling with. I could not do it without you guys, thank you. I am sure I am missing people, but you know who you are, and I say thank you. :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Heading here to scope out and prospect tomorrow. SICK. Hope the rock is solid. If it is, new route going up tomorrow. I want to bolt that pitch beside the waterfall...Would that make the cover of rock and ice?

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Em Pellerin

Little vid of  a friend of mine...

Turkish Airlines

Last friday I drove to Dorval airport. After 2 months of calling and emailing every contact on web for Turkish airlines at no avail I figured why not try the actual airport peeps. So I met with the manager of Turkish airlines who gave me a direct email contact to send my request too. Cross fingers is works.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ulric Rousseau 
Date: Sun, Oct 5, 2014 at 8:50 AM
Subject: Humanitarian Mission - Climb Higher Foundation - Baggage Allowance Request
To: Confidential


My name is Ulric Rousseau, and I would like to request FREE baggage allowance for my Turkish Airlines Flight ( Ticket # UC3FN4Z4 ) on Oct 19th 2014 from Montreal, Canada (YUL) to Beirut, Lebanon (BEY) via Istanbul, Turkey (SAW).

I have been invited by the Canadian Embassy in Beirut as well as the Lebanese Climbing Association to help children and develop the sport for Lebanon in a safe manner for everyone to use, for future generations. 

For the past 3 years, I have been trying to help kids, in less industrialized and poor countries, stay away from drugs, prostitution and crime by giving them the opportunity to discover rock climbing. 

With my sponsors ( Petzl, Climbtech, Maxim Ropes, La Sportiva, So iLL, Prana, Big Agnes, The North Face and Ibex Clothing ), I am planning to help develop the climbing areas in Northern Lebanon with the Lebanese Climbing Association, as well as working with them to get kids out climbing.

All the sponsors have given thousands of dollars generously in gear. Although this is generous, it still leaves me with a huge monetary burden which I alone bare to get this gear to kids this year.

I would like to ask for free baggage allowance. I have 8 bags of 22 kilos that need to be transported with me to Beirut ( one way ) on Oct 19th 2014. I have attached the e ticket for your ease of work. If you could help me that would be most gracious and I would be willing to use your logo on my blog and Facebook pages and mention you in the movie. My sponsors pay over 3000$ each for such visibility every year. I would offer it for free. All I ask is for my Baggage Allowance to be FREE of charge.

Attached you will find information so you can make an informed decision, including reference letters from all the sponsors, my flight E-Ticket, a copy of my passport and a PDF of our mission. 

Please take the time to look over the various links and video below and I hope you find it in your heart to help me today, so I can help struggling kids tomorrow. I hope we can work together now and in the future to come.

I cannot complete this mission without your help. I hope you can find it in your hearts to help me, help children who would otherwise have nothing to look forward too.

Yours. Sincerely,

Ulric Rousseau

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Thanks to John Bulmer for this link.

Noam Chomsky...

Read it. NOW!

The End of History?

The short, strange era of human civilization would appear to be drawing to a close.
The likely end of the era of civilization is foreshadowed in a new draft report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the generally conservative monitor of what is happening to the physical world.
It is not pleasant to contemplate the thoughts that must be passing through the mind of the Owl of Minerva as the dusk falls and she undertakes the task of interpreting the era of human civilization, which may now be approaching its inglorious end.
The era opened almost 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent, stretching from the lands of the Tigris and Euphrates, through Phoenicia on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean to the Nile Valley, and from there to Greece and beyond. What is happening in this region provides painful lessons on the depths to which the species can descend.
The land of the Tigris and Euphrates has been the scene of unspeakable horrors in recent years. The George W. Bush-Tony Blair aggression in 2003, which many Iraqis compared to the Mongol invasions of the 13th century, was yet another lethal blow. It destroyed much of what survived the Bill Clinton-driven U.N. sanctions on Iraq, condemned as “genocidal” by the distinguished diplomats Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, who administered them before resigning in protest. Halliday and von Sponeck's devastating reports received the usual treatment accorded to unwanted facts.
One dreadful consequence of the U.S.-U.K. invasion is depicted in a New York Times “visual guide to the crisis in Iraq and Syria”: the radical change of Baghdad from mixed neighborhoods in 2003 to today's sectarian enclaves trapped in bitter hatred. The conflicts ignited by the invasion have spread beyond and are now tearing the entire region to shreds.
Much of the Tigris-Euphrates area is in the hands of ISIS and its self-proclaimed Islamic State, a grim caricature of the extremist form of radical Islam that has its home in Saudi Arabia. Patrick Cockburn, a Middle East correspondent for The Independent and one of the best-informed analysts of ISIS, describes it as “a very horrible, in many ways fascist organization, very sectarian, kills anybody who doesn't believe in their particular rigorous brand of Islam.”
Cockburn also points out the contradiction in the Western reaction to the emergence of ISIS: efforts to stem its advance in Iraq along with others to undermine the group's major opponent in Syria, the brutal Bashar Assad regime. Meanwhile a major barrier to the spread of the ISIS plague to Lebanon is Hezbollah, a hated enemy of the U.S. and its Israeli ally. And to complicate the situation further, the U.S. and Iran now share a justified concern about the rise of the Islamic State, as do others in this highly conflicted region.
Egypt has plunged into some of its darkest days under a military dictatorship that continues to receive U.S. support. Egypt's fate was not written in the stars. For centuries, alternative paths have been quite feasible, and not infrequently, a heavy imperial hand has barred the way.
After the renewed horrors of the past few weeks it should be unnecessary to comment on what emanates from Jerusalem, in remote history considered a moral center.
Eighty years ago, Martin Heidegger extolled Nazi Germany as providing the best hope for rescuing the glorious civilization of the Greeks from the barbarians of the East and West. Today, German bankers are crushing Greece under an economic regime designed to maintain their wealth and power.
The likely end of the era of civilization is foreshadowed in a new draft report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the generally conservative monitor of what is happening to the physical world.
The report concludes that increasing greenhouse gas emissions risk “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems” over the coming decades. The world is nearing the temperature when loss of the vast ice sheet over Greenland will be unstoppable. Along with melting Antarctic ice, that could raise sea levels to inundate major cities as well as coastal plains.
The era of civilization coincides closely with the geological epoch of the Holocene, beginning over 11,000 years ago. The previous Pleistocene epoch lasted 2.5 million years. Scientists now suggest that a new epoch began about 250 years ago, the Anthropocene, the period when human activity has had a dramatic impact on the physical world. The rate of change of geological epochs is hard to ignore.
One index of human impact is the extinction of species, now estimated to be at about the same rate as it was 65 million years ago when an asteroid hit the Earth. That is the presumed cause for the ending of the age of the dinosaurs, which opened the way for small mammals to proliferate, and ultimately modern humans. Today, it is humans who are the asteroid, condemning much of life to extinction.
The IPCC report reaffirms that the “vast majority” of known fuel reserves must be left in the ground to avert intolerable risks to future generations. Meanwhile the major energy corporations make no secret of their goal of exploiting these reserves and discovering new ones.
A day before its summary of the IPCC conclusions, The New York Times reported that huge Midwestern grain stocks are rotting so that the products of the North Dakota oil boom can be shipped by rail to Asia and Europe.
One of the most feared consequences of anthropogenic global warming is the thawing of permafrost regions. A study inScience magazine warns that “even slightly warmer temperatures [less than anticipated in coming years] could start melting permafrost, which in turn threatens to trigger the release of huge amounts of greenhouse gases trapped in ice,” with possible “fatal consequences” for the global climate.
Arundhati Roy suggests that the “most appropriate metaphor for the insanity of our times” is the Siachen Glacier, where Indian and Pakistani soldiers have killed each other on the highest battlefield in the world. The glacier is now melting and revealing “thousands of empty artillery shells, empty fuel drums, ice axes, old boots, tents and every other kind of waste that thousands of warring human beings generate” in meaningless conflict. And as the glaciers melt, India and Pakistan face indescribable disaster.
Sad species. Poor Owl.
Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor & Professor of Linguistics (Emeritus) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the author of dozens of books on U.S. foreign policy. He writes a monthly column for The New York Times News Service/Syndicate.