The Bow Valley Mountain Club hosted the first of five Tech Tip Tuesday rope systems workshops with climbing guide Sean Isaac in Canmore. It took place at the Canmore Brewing Company, which has long supported the local club that has over 1,000 members.

Sean Isaac talking anchors on Oct. 26 in Canmore

A few dozen local climbers watched Isaac demonstrate a number of different anchors and knots. It was the first evening of its kind in the Bow Valley, though the club has hosted a number of avalanche workshops in the past, with upwards of 300 in attendance.

Isaac covered figure-eight anchors, hitch anchors, anchors in series, multiple anchors within an anchor and more. He put a lot of emphasis on understanding force loads and why some anchors are stronger than others: “Do we need a sling that can handle 44 kN, probably not in climbing, but maybe in slacklining. “He also demonstrated the best ways to clean a sport anchor.

After an hour of talking, those in attendance harnessed-up and got to practice anchor techniques on one of five home-made anchor boards that Isaac made that day. It was a one-of-a-kind night where everyone walked away having learned something.

Isaac has been one of Canada’s leading ice and mixed climbers for over 30 years. He established some of Canada’s most classic mixed lines, like Cave Man M10 and the seven-pitch Cryophobia M8 WI5+. In 2001, he wrote a story for Gripped magazine about the rise of mixed climbing, which you can read here.

Be sure to follow him on Instagram below, and swing by the Canmore Brewing Company on the below dates to catch the next four rope systems talks with Isaac.

Tech Tip Tuesday

Nov. 2: Fixed-point lead belay (munter, belay device, trad)
Nov. 9: Raising systems (3:1, 5:1, 6:1, block and tackle)
Nov. 16: Lowering systems (LSD, Munter, Monster Munter, Munter Mule, knot pass)
Nov. 23: Rappel systems (tandem, counter balance, reepschnur)

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