Sunday, August 28, 2011

Black Mt: Return of the Axelrads, Lightning and Hail

Saturday, Eden and Itai Axelrad, Marina Campana, and I headed up to Black Mt for what was forecast to be a day of record heat. Because it was the twins' last opportunity to climb at Black before heading back to their respective universities, we decided to brave the heat and see if we could at least squeeze an evening session in.

As it turned out, the 20% chance of showers turned into a serious thunderstorm that sent us running from the Future Wall, home of Hop Scotch, to a big roof up the hill that protected us from the hail and battering rain. At one point a lightning strike was so close that enormously loud thunder shook the mountain at the same moment that we saw the bolt, and we all felt the electricity in the air. Luckily the worst of it passed somewhat quickly and after an hour there was a cool breeze drying off the boulders and pushing the storm across the valley to Big Bear.

The view from the Future Wall as the storm passes overhead. Itai Axelrad photo
The storm heading to Big Bear. Itai Axelrad photo


After the breeze dried Hop Scotch off enough, we continued to session it. Eden sent after a few tries to learn the crux deadpoint, and I repeatedly failed to keep my right foot on for the big deadpoint. Videos below of Eden's send, and one of my attempts.

We then went up to the Tour de France wall for Marina to try her proj, the stand to Tour de France. Eden gave the sit start to Tour a few tries, then he, Itai and I worked the amazing arete to the left. Not sure if that one has been topped out direct or not, but it is possible and inspiring. 

Marina making good progress on Tour de France stand

Moments before falling. She'll get it next time for sure.
Attempts on the arete left of Tour de France

Itai snagging the edge way up the arete

Eden exploring options to get over the bulge

Still a project ...
From TdF, we headed over to Itai's recent addition, Captain America (v9), which I naively thought I had in the bag, when I found myself eyeing up the jug on my first try. Unfortunately, I couldn't replicate the same sensation of weightlessness off of the heelhook on my subsequent attempts, but at least Eden was able to send after a few goes. Those twins are just so damn strong! 

All in all it was a perfect day. The thunderstorm provided a sense of adventure, and the beauty of the setting and the movement speak for themselves. I'm sure Eden and Itai would agree that it was a great way to spend their last weekend before heading back to college, and with Marina and I both gunning for projects on this corner of the mountain,  we'll be back soon I'm sure.


  1. Dedication! Also, mega spotter points on Hop Scotch. Once we get some new tires we're headed you're way!

  2. your...what am I in middle school?

  3. Vegas for the upcoming three-day weekend!