See what happened when Will Gadd, the Canadian free climber, travelled to Newfoundland to take on some of the 'scariest' rock he's ever climbed...
Protruding from the water, off the coast of Newfoundland close to East Trinity, are a series of rocks known as sea stacks that represented unchartered territory for climbers. That was until last month. With 30 years of experience, and wanting to try something new, Gadd gave the Sea Stacks Project a go.
“These are terra incognita – nobody has climbed these things,” said Gadd. "We don’t know how to get on them, we don’t know how to get off them… we don’t even know if they’ll stay standing!"
Gadd arrived with the tools of his trade but soon found the mission to be harder than he had anticipated. After going for a hike on the surrounding trail and sizing up the sea stacks, Will found that much of the rock was loose and crumbling.
Detemined to press on, Gadd continued to plot the best route to the top. “Nothing’s ever easy... if it was then somebody would have done it already!”
Gadd was joined by climbing partner Sarah Hueniken and after two days of searching they found a good spire but the rock quality remained sketchy. “It was some of the least predictable, scariest rock that I’ve ever climbed!”
"In normal rock climbing you walk to the base and start climbing, it’s not that complicated. Here there’s water around the base so you have to figure that out." Coming from the land-locked Canadian province of Alberta, Gadd admits climbing out of water took some getting used to!
Gadd is experienced at sizing up an obstacle ahead of a climb but he admits that he could tell little just by looking at it, as much of the rock crumbled, with large sections breaking off entirely.
At times the sea stacks presented an even harder challenge than the unpredictable Canadian Rockies for the veteran climber.
"One of the best things about trips like these is you go out there and you try and make a mental possibility a reality."
"It was harder than I thought it was going to be. 'Sea stack… climb it! How hard can it be?!' That's what I thought. But there was a lot going on and we had to consider a path through. It's all about figuring out how to work with the hazards and the environment and get where you want to go."