We're Really Up Here

In the spring of 2007, I quit my desk job and set out on a climbing road trip. This is everything that happened after that.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer Road Trip - Part I

So we're off! After a late start, and mandatory photo sesh on the salt flats, we were screaming across NV at at least 150 MPH. I know you want to call BS cause my car can't go that fast, but we were in Caroline's car, so there.

Next thing we know, we're somewhere on the East side, meeting up with dear friend Craig for beers at some kind of concert at the East Side Moblie. Those guys know how to throw a party. We camped out on the East Side that night, and it was really really cold! Like in the 30's. LOW 30's, probably. This should have tipped us off, cause our first stop was Tuolumne meadows. That was about to change.

Turns out the Tuolumne campground was still buried in snow. So we made a quick decision, and headed down to Yosemite Valley. Not ones to waste any time, we hopped right on the ultra classic Nutcracker. We styled up in a party of 3 (Craig was still in tow) despite the looming clouds, and serious wind. "The climbers appeared to be aware of the dangerous weather conditions, but chose to continue climbing higher." Good thing it only drizzled.

The next day, we got some honest rain. There was a break in the afternoon, so we went out again, and got skunked again. 0 for 2. Nice move, Yosemite.

Team Caroline & Kevin came back with a vengence the next day, when we smoked up the Royal Arches. 15 pitches of crack & slab fun. Luckily the weather held, and we survived the North Dome Gulley walkoff.

Day 4 - Munginella. Surprisingly good line, despite the name.

Oh man. Day 5. I guess that's today. We climbed the Central Pillar of Frenzy on Middle Cathedral. Why hadn't I done this route before? It was fantastic - 5 pitches of 5 star crack 5.9 climbing, and an easy rap off. Fingers, hands, offwidth, chimneys, slick stemming, you name it. Brilliant.

Pics: Carabiner sign post in Yosemite, Caroline on pitch 12ish of Royal Arches, Caroline on pitch 2 of CPoF.

Next? You'll just have to wait and see.

The second link should have captions. Let me know if it doesn't work.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Summer vacation is finally here.

I started teaching elementary school this year. I've loved spending time with the kids, but as they say, there are 3 main reasons to be a teacher: June, July, and August. (All joking aside, teaching is sweet, the kids are amazing, and I can't wait to see them all again in August. But we all love vacation!) Here's the rough plan:

  1. Go to Tuolumne. Climb domes. I hear it's sick.
  2. Visit the SF Bay area (fly back to SLC for a few hours for an interview)
  3. Go to Yosemite. Climb free routes. Long ones.
  4. Partner swap Zac for Caroline. She's cuter, but he makes good breakfast.
  5. Climb big wallz? Hope Zac doesn't get scared.
  6. Go to Canada. Climb free routes in Squamish. Sick? So I hear.
  7. Come home to SLC, then fly to VA to see family.
  8. Climb at the NRG in sweltering heat.
  9. Return home, and resume climbing on weekends in some of the greatest locations on the planet, but restricted to ones within 5 hours of SLC.

Partners in crime. See the connundrum?

So there you go, that's about 10 weeks worth of fun in the sun. Makes me wonder how I ever survived on just 2 weeks per year. Oh yeah, and I still get paid all summer.

Life. Is. Sweet.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sports Style Rock Climbing in American Fork

Tons of fun sport climbing in American Fork today.  Now sport climbing is not exactly my forte, especially on polished limestone, but I always try to get out to AF at least once a season.  I figure it's good for my head.  Or at least, it helps me appreciate all the other places I climb that much more.

We went up to the Billboard today, which was a bit of a hike, especially in flip flops.  And ESPECIALLY if you have huge blisters on the bottoms of your feet, because you read a book about barefoot running the day before and decided to give it a shot.  (Sidenote - barefoot running might be a cool idea, but 3 miles on hot concrete and asphalt is probably not the best way to break into the sport.)

Anyway, it was nothing a little (or a lot) of climbing tape couldn't fix, and I proceed to fall off a bunch of the coolest routes in AF.  The Billboard really is a sweet crag, if you don't mind a bit of a walk.

I recommend going on a day when you find yourself without blisters.

Here's Phunk working on one of the 12's up there.  Don't remember the name.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

City of Rocks with Team Under Cover Brother

We ventured up to the City Of Rocks in Idaho this weekend to escape the heat in the valley.  Everything in Idaho seems a bit more chill, including the weather, so it was a good call.  And being only 2.5 hours from SLC, even the drive to the city seems chill.  It's a fun place.

Upon arrival, we hooked up with a crew that I'm dubbing Team Under Cover Brother.  They're strong, but you'd never know it by the way they act.  It was wild to hang out with these guys for the weekend, as they casually onsighted 5.12 (bolted and gear lines, it didn't seem to matter.) 

I think the coolest part of the weekend was the attitude.  Everyone was just having fun, heckling (my favorite line of the weekend: pull like you want to get to the top!)  being equal parts jerk and cheerleader.  Half of em were running on 2 hours sleep, the other half on beer, and the other half on super strict performance diets.  So it was a diverse crowd, but they were psyched.  

I didn't hear a single complaint, even as people were pulling holds off climbs and chucking them into the bushes, or being cooerced into doing another lap for the camera.

At one point, we found a roof crack that had possibly seen an ascent, though we weren't sure.  It looked impossible - a good hand jam half way up, but then the crack slammed shut for like 4 feet, only to open up to tips.  And it was at least 50 degrees overhanging.  Impossible.  But I watched Pete rack up, get psyched, and all of a sudden he had figured out the move.  It didn't go, yet, but it will.  Crazy how "possible" can be so subjective.  

The pic is Mr. Strappe onsighting just another 5.12 roof crack.  

Thursday, May 14, 2009

New Indian Creek Guidebook

I figured this was worth coming out of retirement for - I got this book in the mail a few weeks back - it's the long awaited second edition of the Indian Creek guidebook.  Figured I shouldn't post a picture of it till it hit book stores, so it should probably be out by now.  Anyhow, when you get your copy, be sure to check the photo credit for the cover.  Cause it says my name.  That's right baby.  

I was going to send an autographed copy to Andy Burr, but they're only giving me a few copies.  Sorry Andy.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving in Bishop

Even though I can get spanked on world class granite boulders about 15 minutes from home, it's way more fun to get spanked on world class granite boulders in California. So that's where we decided to go for Thanksgiving.

I'd never been to Bishop, so I was pretty psyched to see what all the hype is about. The first thing I knew about Bishop is when you go there, you're supposed to take pictures of boulders with mountains in the background, and use depth of field in some clever way to make the picture more interesting. So, here's my take on that whole thing.

The second thing I knew about Bishop is that the bouldering is phenomenal, which turned out to be true. We only had 2 days, but that was more than enough time to get thrashed and see some of the classics. Shanghai has to go down next visit, and I want to get stronger so I can take a better shot at High Plains Drifter. What an amazing problem.

Caroline mostly played Mandolin all weekend, giving us a nice soundtrack to enjoy our surroundings even more. As a side note, Officer Troy of the Nevada Highway Patrol is very polite and professional. Thanks for bringing it down to 75 in a 70 Officer Troy, you saved me $150!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Sweet T Shirt of the Month on Backcountry.com

Backcountry.com has a new t-shirt design every month, and they usually revolve around skiing. I generally think the designs are pretty sweet, but not being a true hardcore skier, I'm hesitant to rock one of em.

Someone might call me out - "Hey nice t-shirt, jerk. How many days did you get in this year?" This season, I think I could show them how many on one hand.

This time, when someone says "Hey nice t-shirt, jerk, how's the crack climbing coming?" I can just give them my best 1000 yard stare, and let my gobies do the talking.

You wouldn't believe how talkative they can be.

It's weird.