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Nathan Kutcher Climbs Living In Reality M12

  •  Nathan Kutcher Climbing Living In Reality M12

  •  Nathan Kutcher Climbing Living In Reality M12-

Earlier this year, two-time Ouray Ice Fest winner and Canadian National Ice Climbing Team member Nathan Kutcher climbed Living In Reality M12. The route is located in the Grotto Cave area in the Elora Gorge in southern Ontario. Kutcher bolted the route on January 12, 2019, and climbed it the next day. Living In Reality starts with eight bolts of new climbing before joining Centipede M11 in its crux for another nine bolts (17 bolts plus anchors).

At this grade, Living In Reality qualifies as the most difficult mixed route in Ontario. Anyone skeptical about this claim should remember that Kutcher has climbed (
and downgraded) many hard mixed and drytooling routes across North America and Europe and is known for taking a very conservative approach to grading.
  •  Nathan Kutcher Climbing Living In Reality M12

  •  Nathan Kutcher Climbing Living In Reality M12

  •  Nathan Kutcher Climbing Living In Reality M12

  •  Nathan Kutcher Climbing Living In Reality M12

Commenting on the difficulty and climbing style on Living In Reality, Kutcher says that “it ended up not being as difficult as I was hoping. It’s tough to have technical holds on soft rock, especially when you need to beat the holds in to prevent careless individuals from breaking them. As much as I would like to give the route a bigger grade, I don't think it warrants it. I've definitely climbed easier routes with bigger numbers."
  •  Nathan Kutcher Climbing Living In Reality M12

  •  Nathan Kutcher Climbing Living In Reality M12

  •  Nathan Kutcher Climbing Living In Reality M12

Kutcher also jokingly suggests that the route “will probably be easier in the summer when ice doesn't close up the holds, your belayer has more patience because they aren't freezing and you are carrying less weight because you’re climbing in a muscle shirt. Maybe when it warms up I'll start working on the sit start!”

On a more serious note, Kutcher notes that, “This cliff used to be a great place to practice delicate technical climbing. Now the routes are just generic thug fests, because of all the broken and hogged out holds. This is not a great cliff for drytooling in the summer as the holds are not frozen and more likely to break. And using super-aggressive armour steel picks at this soft-rock cliff just accelerates the hold-enlargement and route damage.”
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Gus Alexandropoulos is a freelance writer who has been involved in the outdoor industry for over 25 years. During his career he has been the editor at Canada’s national climbing magazine, as well as the gear editor for a national cycling magazine, triathlon magazine and running magazine. His work has been published in Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, and he has been a guest on television and radio broadcasts. His passion for climbing began in Ontario in the mid 80s and he continues to travel extensively in search of crisp conditions and steep rock.