Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hot Weekend at Black Mt.

Well you guessed it, I spent a hot couple of days this weekend (actually Fri-Sat) up at Black Mt with Maya and a great crew including Brett, Marina, The Axelrads, and Jake. We spent Friday evening at the amazing Captain's Junk boulder and sampled most of what it had to offer.

Brett attempting some mantle hardness.
Eden trying hard
Itai Axelrad on the Captain's classic v4 face/arete.
Marina on the same
About the time the sun went down the temps finally got good(ish), so the twins and I decided to throw down on the Captain's Junk project ... to no send.  We all worked out beta and made good links, but we'll see if one of us sends the Gloworm Project first.

Itai Axelrad on the Captain's Junk proj. Still a project ...
A long night session on the beautiful project gave way to a fun little non-camp-fire (there is currently a fire ban in the mountains) back at camp.

When we woke around 8 am, it was already starting to warm up nicely. By the time I got the crew over to Born Under Punches, following some action on Big Greenie, which I personally chose to skip, the slopers already felt like butter. Nevertheless, the twins were both eventually able to pull out sends.

Itai on "Born Under Punches" (v7)
The punch
The elusive Will Chow makes an appearance!
From here we marched up a little closer to the summit area, where there lies one of the best v4s at Black, a flowing lip traverse with nicely sculpted holds on bullet rock.

Jake Hines on the classic v4 ... so classic I don't know its name or if it has one.
Further down the hill is a corridor of boulders where I've spent a few afternoons. While the rest of the group worked the slopey face problem, I cleaned and worked a possible new project just above. A few savage compression moves on horrible sidepull crimps lead you to a chuck for a nice sloper on the lip. The bottom eluded me, but I can tell that it goes. From this boulder you get a great view of the flying saucer-like  Once Upon a Time boulder, an amazing landmark.

Maya instragram photo of her perch while I worked the crimpy compression project.
"Once Upon a Time" (V3 R/X) and the rolling San Jacinto Mountains.

In the end, it got too hot and we all heard Chipotle calling our names, so we hit the road and headed home (but not until after fat burritos).  Hopefully we'll be heading up again soon, so stay tuned, and stay psyched!

Quick Update: BMBash, Nationals, Charleston, and the 'Bu.

I'm surprised by how neglectful I've been of this blog over the last several weeks (month). I'll try to stay more on top of it, as there is a lot to mention but I don't want to write a novel of an update.
For starters, one weekend back in June I hit up Black Mt for two days with Itai Axelrad during the annual Black Mountain Bash. Below is a pic of Itai attempting Bang On. I'll spare the details of that trip, during which I took my camera out very little, but you can read Itai's report here:

Itai Axelrad attemping "Bang On"(v12)
 The week following the Bash, I headed to Atlanta to coach at USA Climbing SCS (Sport Climbing Series) Youth National Championships. The event ran totally smoothly, with few interruptions or setbacks, and the route setting was great overall. Natalie and Charlie both made it to finals, taking 7th and 10th respectively, with Charlie also taking 5th in speed (meaning he'll be representing the U.S. at Youth World Championships in Singapore) and Culin took 28th in his category.  Also, in an awesome (and rightfully deserved!) turn of events, Charlie was awarded the North Face Young Gun Award, which is awarded each season to one exemplary young competition climber.

Richard Boyle on the Male A/JR final route.
Charlie Andrews, flanked by the other Young Gun finalists, Dylan Barks and Alex Fritz.
After a few days of setting like mad up in Thousand Oaks, following Nationals, I headed to Vegas for a few days of limestone sport climbing. I got back on Closing Down and although I'm not quite making redpoint attempts yet, I did reach a new personal high point and feel much more confident on the bottom part of the route. Hooray for progress.

The Compton Cave is Hardland, home to such testpieces as "The Equalizer" (13a), "Closing Down"/"Facile" (14a/b), "Legend"/"Legend of the Overfiend" (14a/b), "Hasta La Vista" (14c), "Free at Last" (13d), and "Straight Outta Compton" (12d), "Animal Attack" (12b/13b), and "The Energizer" (13a), as well as a couple of unclimbed projects.
Mike Bond on "Animal Attack" (12b)
A sick looking old Jason Campbell project climbs out of that lower sub-cave, up the gently overhanging wall and out the black-streaked roof before pulling the headwall. It's one for the future for sure.
Bill Kryst sending "Animal Attack."

Just more undeveloped limestone. NBD.

The multi-pitch routes of the Imagination Wall sure do get the imagination going.
Back in LA, I've been trying to maintain and capitalize on this sport climbing psych by projecting some lines out at Malibu Creek with Charlie. I've now come close on Brenna (13d) again, and done most of the moves of the full line, Lateralus. Charlie sent Ghetto Crossing (13a), which links into the top of Lateralus, so when he sticks that crux move from the bottom he should be clipping chains. Psyched for both of us to send these lines!

Charlie Andrews working Shawn Diamond's Malibu Creek testpiece, "Lateralus" (14a).

I got back up to Black Mt with the crew this past weekend, but I'm going to post those photos in a seperate update. Other than that, I've just been setting 4 days a week lately. It's a rough job, I know, but somebody's gotta do it.