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.

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