Thursday, June 21, 2012

Mt. Charleston Homecoming / Tour Guiding Weekend

Last weekend was great. On Friday, I departed LA with Charlie Andrews, his sister Emily, and Itai Axelrad for a weekend of sport clippin' up at Mt. Charleston, just northwest of Las Vegas. Itai's done a nice write-up here. I'll keep this post brief, but suffice it to say that we did a lot of climbing, and I'm very psyched to be climbing on a rope again (as well as frequently bouldering)! 

We started at the pre-eminent Charleston crag, The Hood, to give everyone a proper introduction to the flawless and foot-hold-less limestone, with the intention of heading to The Robbers' Roost on Sunday.

The Imagination Wall, as seen from the trailhead for The Hood.
Untouched rock. That massive cave on the right side sports a continuous 45 degree overhang on its left side for well over  100 feet before easing back to that rad looking headwall.
Emily on "Heatin' up the Hood" (5.11c).

Charlie Andrews pulling just one of the killer moves on "Infectious Groove" (5.13b). Photo: Itai Axelrad
Charlie pulling the second crux of "Infectious Groove."
Redpoint crux.
After the redpoint crux.
From Infectious, we zipped over to the Compton Cave, where Charlie and I would jump on Closing Down. I hadn't been on the route (famous for seeing ascents by kids like Chris Sharma, Eric Scully, and Shawn Diamond in the late 90's) since before my accident 5 years ago, so I was pretty psyched that my beta burn didn't feel too bad! I know I'll have to work hard to get into good enough shape to climb such a difficult pitch, but the fact that I was able to execute every move fairly quickly got me psyched to keep trying it. 

Myslf on "Closing Down" (5.14a) Photo: Itai Axelrad
Aaaand, after Closing Down, Charlie had enough psych to jump on Wailing Souls, a bouldery route that comes right out the middle of the Souls Cave. 

Charlie, clipping on "Wailing Souls" (5.13d) before casting off into the crux.

The last move of the crux of "Wailing Souls." It's "only" 5.12+ from there to the top. 
 On Sunday, we went right back to the Infectious Cave so that Charlie could send Infectious Groove (which he did, first try of the day), and I took a burn on Infectious as well, falling off of the upper redpoint crux to pull off the dreaded un-send. Watching Audrey work Ghetto Boyz, got me really psyched to try that one this season as well.

Audrey Sniezek on "Ghetto Boyz" (5.13c) 
Audrey Sniezek on "Ghetto Boyz" (5.13c) 
Audrey Sniezek on "Ghetto Boyz" (5.13c)
Itai working out "Infectious Groove." Photo: Charlie Andrews
Last, but certainly not least, Charlie and I gave burns on Corrosion, although it was dripping wet. Charlie had to be at LAX at 6 am on Monday morning to catch his flight to pre-Nationals training camp in Atlanta, so time was a little bit more limited than it had been the previous day, but we were all too tired to keep climbing anyway!

Charlie bustin through the crux on "Corrosion" (5.13a).
Needless to say, the weekend got me super duper psyched to climb more on a rope and to take more trips back to Vegas. This weekend, however, I'll be headed to Black Mt. for the 7th annual Black Mt. Boulder Bash. It's this Saturday, the 23rd, at Black Mt. Group Camp sites 4/5 (yellow post sites, bring an Adventure Pass.) I hope to see some of you there!

Stay psyched and climb safe.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Black Mt Fridays!

For starters, I apologize for the lack of updates lately. Between starting my new job as head routesetter at Boulderdash, up in Thousand Oaks, setting another two or so days a week at Rockreation LA, coaching, preparing for my first semi-private clinic at Rockreation coming up tomorrow, and catching up with Game of Thrones, I can't say I've had enough time to make updating this here blog a priority. l. o. l.

Today I returned from two days in San Diego, where I was coaching at USA Climbing sport climbing Divisional Championships. I'm very proud to report that Natalie took fourth in girls B and Charlie took first in male Jr. in difficulty and speed. Looks like a few of us from LA will be heading to Atlanta for Nationals next month. (Which really isn't anything new for either of those two.)

As for my personal climbing, I've been getting out to Black Mt. for the past few Fridays. Sean, Jenny, Marina, and Anthony have rounded out the crew on various weeks. Lots of fun has been had, boulders have been discovered, and I've even continued to make progress on what we've now jokingly dubbed the "Pissed Pollo Project" (affectionately named after Itai Axelrad's try hard sound, but not necessarily the name that will stick if and when I ever actually send the thing).

obligatory Pink Crack warm up photo. Jenny Balmagia crushing.

Forgive me for the repetitive nature of the pics of this project, but I think it's a beautiful line and it's certainly my current obsession.

A few Fridays ago, we basically ended up climbing in a cloud in freezing conditions ... but I tried the pissed pollo proj anyway. Here I am doing the first move ...
... aand the second ...
... and holy crap look at that, I actually stuck the third move once! (Marina Campaña photos)
The cloud we were freezing / attempting to climb in
Sean sending "Born Under Punches" (v7)

A beautiful arete we found just under "Born Under Punches." Apparently it was not an FA.

Myself sending the same. (Jenny Balmagia photo)
This was the following week. Clearly some days are nicer than others! Sean Denny warms up in the sun.

Jenny Balmagia warming up on an unnamed v2.

Here is a view of the proj in all its glory. Can you tell why I'm obsessed?
Same move, different day. (Jenny Balmagia photos)
Trying to make the super technical heel-hook stay on the second move.

Figuring out magic "heel-hook on a spike above my head and hands" beta
Sometimes I've just gotta look around up there to remind myself how beautiful it is.
Jenny on "Born Under Punches" (v7)

Super close, though no send just yet.

Sean on an unnamed v5ish sloper problem below the lookout tower.

Myself sending the unnamed crimp line adjacent to the sloper problem.
And some pics from this most recent Friday. Left the camera in the bag for the attempts on the project this time.
 aaalmost executing the first move of "Bang On"
playing on the third move (of four)
Anthony sending NRA

Great view from the "Round Boulders" sector

Next weekend I'll be climbing on Vegas limestone and giving Charlie, Nat, and others a tour of Mt. Charleston, but the following I'll be back up at Black for the annual "Black Mt. Bash" (June 23rd).  Be there or be square.