Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Back to Boney Bluff!

Sunday, a crew of us assembled and made the long hike back to Boney Bluff. Maya, Steve Gaspar, Monica Arone and I met up with Christina Pilo and Brett Gottdener to round out the group. After the 3+ mile approach and a quick rest, we got to enjoying the pocketed intricacies of Santa Monica Mountains breccia.

Steve Gaspar on one of the 5.10 warm-ups
Brett Gottdener on the cliff's other 5.10.
We then popped around the corner for some of the crags steeper goods.

Christina Pilo warming up on "Joyride" (5.11b)

A thick marine layer, which we had to drive through on the way up and down from the mountains, kept rolling in and out of the hills all day.
Christina went for a run up the highly recommended Piledriver (12b) and Brett managed to flash the line!
Christina Pilo gunning for it on "Piledriver" (5.12b) instargram photo: Maya Bartur
 After a sufficient warm-up, I decided to move one line of bolts to the left of the climb I sent last week, Skinny White Boy, to try the bouldery and beta-intensive Filth Pig (13b).

Clipping the first bolt of "Filth Pig" photo: Monica Arone

Although I wasn't able to send, or even really give it a good redpoint burn because it took me a while and a couple goes to figure out the sequences, I'm psyched on the line and look forward to getting back to it in the near future.
Clipping the second bolt of "Filth Pig." photo: Maya Bartur

Working out the beta on "Filth Pig." photo: Monica Arone

I was eventually able to convince Brett and Christina to try Skinny White Boy. When Christina ran into a crux, she decided to swing instead.

Hangdogging/swinging party photo: Maya Bartur
Pulling on small pockets on "Filth Pig." photo: Monica Arone
Another shot of me not sending, but working beta on "Filth Pig." instagram photo: Maya Bartur
As the sun sunk low in the sky, we gathered our belongings and hurried to get back to the cars before dark, but not before the obligatory group photo.

Brett, Christina, Steve, Monica, Maya, and me. What a crew!

Check out how that marine layer has filled that high valley.
We weren't quite able to make it all the way to the trailhead before dark, but headlamps sufficed to navigate our way along the last quarter of the hike out.

I can't wait to get back to Boney, not to mention Black Mountain, now that the snow is melting; however, I won't be able to visit either for at least two weeks, because I leave Thursday night for Japan to visit my brother! If I'm lucky, maybe I can fit some climbing in while I'm there. Stay psyched folks, and see you out there!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Boney Bluff and Some New Sport Psych!

Pardon the lack of posts lately, but I've been mostly climbing plastic the last few weeks. We got a new set up on the less steep side of the bouldering area at Rockreation LA, and I've been setting some fun harder sport climbs in there as well. Check them out if that's your gym!

Saturday was another USA Climbing SCS (sport climbing series) comp, held this time at Hangar 18 in Riverside. The setting was great, the comp was run smoothly, and all the kids had a good time. Natalie climbed better than I had seen her yet, and onsighted 3 of her 4 routes! Watching all the kids clip bolts got me kind of psyched for my own sport climbing adventure, which I had planned for Sunday.

Mike Hass and I decided that taking a trip to J-Tree, Black Mt, or the Tramway this weekend (or next) seemed like a bad idea due to the traffic ramifications of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. We hesitantly decided that Echo Cliffs could be a decent alternative for a day's climbing, as Malibu Creek was out because Mike had his dog, Clyde, to watch for the day. Not super psyched for anything in particular at Echo, and hungry for new stone, I tossed out the idea of Boney Bluff as we readied for the approach hike, and to my surprise, Mike agreed. 

A view during our hike in.
I had never been to Boney, but I had heard mixed reviews.  Some have described it as a steep and fingery training ground for hard, powerful sport climbing, with the best view of any crag in SoCal. In fact, Louie Anderson goes so far in his Sport Climbing in the Santa Monicas guide as to call it "one of the most impressive pieces of rock in Southern California (from a sport climbing perspective)."
Others have described it as a grid-bolted, overgrown chosspile, not worth its approach.
We figured we'd never know if we didn't check it out ourselves, and luckily for us, we found it to be the former.
Mike psyched as we spy the formation in the distance.

Two lines are bolted on the sunny vertical face, but the meat of the routes lie on the steepening overhang.

More rock outcroppings in the distance as seen from Boney Bluff

Look at that ocean view!

The main wall of Boney Bluff, steepening on its left like a crashing wave, hosts a plethora of routes and linkups in the 5.12 to 5.13+ range, with a few projects and potential for further development if a strong climber were motivated enough. (the rock surely requires extensive cleaning.)
Mike and I warmed up by onsighting the "standard warm-up," according to Louie's book, "Joyride," (5.11b) and then jumped on its 12a linkup, "Joy Rush." We then figured we'd had enough playing around and moved over to the steep section of the wall to try the classic "Skinny White Boy," (12d) first climbed by Tom Wight in 1996.

Mike, looking up at the steep section of rock that is home to "Bionic" (13b), "Biosphere" (13c/d), "Atmosphere" (13d), "Lithium" (13c), "Sureshot" (13a), "Filth Pig" (13b), "Skinny White Boy," and several others
Mike Nash sticking the dyno on "Skinny White Boy." Photo by Perri Nguyen
I was psyched to send the line on my third try, having fallen after clipping the last bolt on my second. Mike made great progress and will certainly send the line if we continue to visit Boney as we now intend to.
Chains clipped, on "Skinny White Boy." Great climbing on positive pockets to a big move!
Mike, hanging out.
We scoped the harder lines, and have definitely decided to return to the bluff! I've been kind of psyched on seeing what I can do on a rope again, having not really pushed it since my accident in 2007, so I'm excited to see what lines I can send at this local power crag!

What does Clyde think of the bluff?
I think he at least enjoys the view!
Check out those huge dishes in the distance.
Looks like we'll be headed back to Boney Bluff next weekend, so tune in again for some actual sports action photos next week.
Stay psyched folks, and see you out there!