Thursday, December 20, 2012

Another Day in JTree and Four in Bishop

Last Sunday, I went out to JTree with Patrick Luther for a short bouldering day trip. It was a beautiful day with perfect temps, aside from the intermittent freezing wind. I managed to punt off of the very end of Cave Man Sit Start twice, but at least Patrick managed to send. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to going back to that one.

Hidden Valley Campground
Patrick starting "Cave Man Sit" (v10)

Patrick climbing through the tunnel on "Cave Man Sit."

Vid of myself punting off the end of Cave Man Sit.

A coyote came out to hang for a while at the end of the day.
After a few days of route setting back in town, I picked up Culin on Friday and headed straight for the Buttermilks to give him his first introduction to outdoor bouldering. On Friday, we stayed close to the road and played around on Grandma Peabody and the Drifter Boulder. On Grandma, Culin was able to flash Go Granny Go Right Exit, and I managed to fall off the last move of Center Direct twice.  Over on the Drifter, Culin very narrowly missed sending High Plains Drifter, one of the most classic lines in the 'Milks. We had the good fortune of running into my pal Anthony Tarascio, with whom we climbed each of the next three days.

Culin Li coming very close on "High Plains Drifter."

Saturday, we headed back out to the 'Milks to give Culin a better tour. We warmed up at the Birthday Boulders, where Culin sent Birthday Direct (v3) and onsighted The Rising (v4).
Then we hiked up the hill to the Fly Boy Boulder, where Anthony, Chris Chen, Christine Ubaldi and I joined the growing session on Haroun and the Sea of Stories (v11 low start) and Fall Guy (v9) neither of which I could send. Culin tried Fly Boy (v6 stand / 8 sit) a few times and made quick work of the Fly Boy Arete before we ended the session and grabbed some burritos at Las Palmas back in town.
Culin sending "Fly Boy Arete."

Sunday,  we were all looking to get away from the crowds of the central Buttermilks, but wanting to continue climbing on granite, we opted to make the seemingly never-ending uphill hike to the Druid Stones. 

After a few super moderates, we ran laps on the mega classic, Arch Drude. I hadn't been up there before, but according to Anthony, something might have broken down low on the climb, increasing its difficulty slightly.
Anthony sending "Arch Drude" (v5) with the White Mountains across the valley.
Culin sending "Arch  Drude."

Culin pulling into the topout of "Arch Drude."
Myself sending "Arch Drude."
Chris led the charge to the immaculate Thunder Wall, where after quick sends of Kredulf (one of the best, sandbagged, v4s I've ever touched) and Denton's Diversion, I followed Chris and Anthony's lead and began working the sit start, Denton's Remorse. I'm very psyched to say that, after working out the beta and a couple of false starts, I pulled on at the super low starting undercling and went to the top of the boulder. Unfortunately, neither Chris nor Anthony sent this one, but at least they have something to send next time we make the long hike up to the Druids!

Chris Chen starting "Denton's Remorse" (v10).

The Sierras from the Druids.
The edge of Bishop and the White Mountains from the Druids.
Bishop and the Whites.
Myself, sending "Denton's Remorse" (v10).
Pulling perfect patina edges on Denton's Remorse.

The difficult lockoff on "Denton's Remorse."

Bishop, and the Volcanic Tableland north of town, from the hike out from the Druid Stones.
Chris and Christine had to head home on Sunday evening, but on Monday, Anthony and I gave Culin a tour of the Happy Boulders. Culin was able to send the classic The Hulk, Anthony sent some link up that didn't quite appear to be Disco Hulk, but might as well have been, and I pulled off Disco Diva. Of course, in typical Anthony Tarascio style, he brought a Nightmare Before Christmas Santa Hat for us both to send in, photo evidence below.

Anthony, sending in his sending hat.
Me doing the same on "Disco Diva" (v8)

We made the quick four-hour drive back to LA, and I've spent the last couple of days setting up at Boulderdash. This weekend, I hope to get back out to Malibu Creek a couple of times, so let's see if next week we can have an update about what chains I've clipped out there.

Stay psyched, climb safe, and see you out there!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Post Turkey Day / Early December Update

Well it may have only been three weekends since my last update, but boy has a lot happened since then!

The weekend before Thanksgiving was Erin's birthday (the head setter at Rockreation) and she rented a house in Vegas to share with all of her climbing peeps that wanted to join her in Red Rocks for the weekend. I drove out to join the crew and visit home with my non-climbing friends Daniel and Anna to give them their first intro to the sport and its vibrant community in the same setting where I did my first outdoor climbs 15 years ago.

On Saturday, we started at The Gallery wall, where the gym-like setting made the Rockreation crew feel right at home. It was a great day of relaxed cragging with friends, until an accident at the cliff happened right next to me, involving a couple that I had JUST been speaking to, and brought a premature halt to the day's fun. Though nobody likes to see anyone hurt when engaging in our inherently dangerous sport, the quick response from a group of climber EMTs at the cliff and other climbers lending a hand was a nice example of how our community pulls together when faced with adversity.

Christina Pilo working "The Gift" (5.12c/d)
Red Rocks looking like Mordor at sunset.

Thanks to teamwork and a speedy helicopter rescue, we were able to shift gears back to celebrating Erin's birthday fairly quickly, including homemade tacos and birthday cake at the casa.

Sunday started at The Pier wall, but a general lack of motivation to sport climb led a large group of us to drive out of the loop and backtrack to the Kraft Boulders for a low key afternoon of bouldering.

Tia Stark onsighting "Under the Boardwalk" (5.11a).
Though I started the day without any goals, I got really psyched to try hard when I happened to witness an ascent of Scare Tactics (v10), a beautiful overhanging wall of patina crimps, and luckily pulled out my own send of the line right at sunset.

A four hour drive led us back to LA, and the next day I was off to Joshua Tree to coach a couple of strong young competitors on the finer points of quartz monzonite slab scrambling. Natalie was able to finish the day on a high note with an ascent of Peabrain (v5), and I chose the infamous Pigpen (v4) as my one climb of the day.

A couple days of setting later, and I found myself on the road to Bishop on Thanksgiving morning. I met my old friend Patrick Luther at the Buttermilks, and a day of moderate sending ensued. For sure the highlight of day one was flashing the classics Saigon and High Plains Drifter back-to-back.

The Peabodies
Another climber on the classic "Saigon" (sandbag v6).
Mt. Tom and Basin Mt. viewed from the Pit on Friday Morning.
 Friday we hit up the Get Carter Boulder, and I was able to pull off sends of Twin Cracks (v9), Seven Spanish Angels (v6), and a flash of Get Carter (v7) and Patrick repeated Twin Cracks and almost sent Michael Caine Sit (v12) while I worked A Scanner Darkly (also 12).

Charlie Andrews rolled in on Friday night and we all decided to hit the Happy Boulders on Saturday. The day was a resounding success, with Patrick sending Standing Kill Order (v11), Charlie sending Kill on Sight (the v12 sit to the previous), and myself taking a consolation send of Acid Wash (v10a).

Charlie sending "Kill on Sight."

Myself working "Standing Kill Order."
The Happy Boulders
To top off the day, Charlie sent Atari (v6) and I narrowly missed the same.

Charlie sending "Atari."
Flaming campfire sculpture on Saturday night.

Sunday was a more relaxed day at the Buttermilks, but I still aaaalmost sent Center Direct (v10) at dusk. I'll have to go back for it soon!
Unfortunately, rain kept me off the rocks last week, but now that everything seems to have dried out down here in SoCal, I should be visiting Malibu Creek and Joshua Tree regularly, with maybe the occasional Bishop and Black Mt trip thrown in if we can get a motivated enough crew together.

Have a safe and happy December everyone and check back soon for more sending-filled updates.