Wednesday, May 28, 2008

More Rain

I feel like I've been in a train wreck, but more on that later...

Had a good day bouldering yesterday with plans for another today. A slew of folks were in the Valley today and chomping at the bit to climb on dry rock. Scott had cleaned a couple of really nice lines on a large boulder behind Curry Village last week and we were all keen to check them out. He was able to do the hard bit of both problems last weekend but was denied the summit by the tears of a wrathful god. The petty god was a little more generous today, but only by a narrow margin. 

The rain held off just long enough for Scott to make it through the crux but then the skies opened up. Fortunately, he was able to keep it together and top out amidst a downpour. The decent became adventurous as well because of the deluge. It involved a butt slide down some moss to a ramp that launched him onto the awaiting pads 8 feet below.

After a bit of hiding under the shelter of an overhang the rain briefly stopped and I decided to have another go. I made it to my high point first try and proceeded on into unknown territory. I was forced to utilize a thumb-undercling-gaston (or thumbdercling) and a wild cross over but it worked and I made it to the jug at about 3/4 height. All of this sports action was made possible by a cleverly designed "waterfall eliminator device" created by Monica. Basically, she hung a plastic bag on a bubba brush and positioned it below a major watercourse on the boulder and above my face while I climbed. Of course, when I made the first of two crossovers I managed to spill the accumulated contents of the bag all over my lap...ah, but I digress. 

All that was left was the V0/1 top out. Unfortunately, it (and I) was drenched and Scott's method would have been impossible. So again I ventured into unknown territory. At this point I'm up quite a ways, I think my head was about 2o feet above a less than ideal landing. As I pressed over to the left off of a slimy wet right hand sloper I really focused on trying to keep my weight on my feet while navigating my torso around the bulge at chest height. Just as I grasped what felt like a jug, approximately one foot from the top, my right hand blew off and I knew airtime was imminent. 

The fall was BIG, but more frightening than the height was the single small pad beneath my feet and all of the rocks just beyond the reach of pad. I was able to collapse myself in the direction of the other pads and I somehow suffered no injuries but I feel like a very old man right now. The salt in the wound is that I didn't send despite having climbed "the problem" and now I'm unsure if I'll have a chance to climb it with a spotter and multiple pads before next fall. You see, despite the wacky temps of late I'm sure scorching days are just around the corner and I will soon see less and less of the bouldering addicts that frequent these parts.

Anyhoo, here's a picture of Scott shortly after sending.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008


They did a fucking rain dance somewhere in the woods I know it! A week ago everyone wrote off bouldering here till the fall because it was too damn hot, nearing triple digits. Today marks the fourth consecutive day of rain and the low temperature is supposed to be about 7 Celsius. Truth is, the plants and animals are really stoked about this moisture. They all would have been hurting pretty bad if we didn't get any rain until October or some craziness. Regardless, the trend is supposed to change tomorrow so more boulder climbing will ensue. 

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Coattails...or....How Princess Got His Mojo Back

Shortly after I blogged the other day I got a phone call from Tim Medina. He told me that he and his girlfriend Patti were psyched and coming to climb for the day on Thursday. That lifted my spirits a bit because Tim's psyche is infectious. Sure enough, not long after I got off the phone with Tim I found myself at the Le Conte boulders with the subtle signs of motivation peaking out from beneath the gloom of my eyes. By the end of the evening I was feeling almost chipper. I had done a few new (to me) problems and had a breakthrough on a project I had all but dismissed as too hard. I was excited for tomorrow.

The next day Tim and Patti arrived around 11:30 and we all
warmed up at the Curry boulders. Tim had me begin the day with a terrific new jump-start no-hands problem that I nearly managed but couldn't avoid dabbing with my wrist on two occasions. After this warm-up I knew we were going to have a good day.

After our warm-up we headed over to Tim's new project behind the new DNC housing. If you don't already know, Tim is one the most prolific cleaners of new boulder problems here in Yosemite. This despite living in the East Bay and running his own business, Wrench Science.

His newest vision is stellar. I actually first ran into this line last fall while chasing a bear at 1am. I stopped for a few minutes to gape at this beauty before I realized I had totally lost the bear. Anyway, Tim cleaned this up a couple weeks ago and had tried it a bit from the ground as well as on top rope, it was going down today! On his first attempt he cruised up to the committing finish totally composed. After a setting up for the move to the upper slopers his demenor suddenly changed and "Panicked Tim" appeared. I'd never met this Tim before, but he had me worried. Fortunately, he made it down with everything intact but his confidence.

After a long break (mostly spent debating if he knew what he was doing), Tim got back on that horse and sent in fine style. I of course hopped on the gravy train and road his coattails all the way to top shortly after. This, as of yet unnamed problem, is a top-notch, bold, full value problem and people should be grateful to Tim for putting in the time on it.

Below his new creation

After sending his project we all headed over to the Sentinel boulders so that Patti could revisit an old project of hers. While walking over I pointed out another undone line to Tim that I thought would be worth trying. This line is not obscure at all. It is the top-out finish to the "Sentinel Traverse," an old problem that simply ends at a jug in the middle of a wall. A lot of people have wondered over the years if it could be done but it wasn't until my friends Kevin and Adam mentioned it to me that I ever gave it much thought.

Doing the work for me :)

Well, Tim set to scrubbing and after not too long it looked ripe for the send and after just a few attempts it was done! Again, coattail riding ensued shortly thereafter. We were unable to do the full traverse into the top-out but I'm sure it will be finished off in short order. All in all it was the best day of bouldering I've had since returning to the Valley and there is no doubt that it is due in large part to the good company Tim and Patti provided.

On the newest addition to the B-1 boulder, "Da Bomb"

Oh yeah, Patti sent her old project too! Especially proud considering the burly workout Lynn put her through the day before.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Brain Cloud

The weather is perfect outside, the power is out at my house, I have no excuse for not being outside doing something awesome, but I have ZERO motivation to do anything right now. I feel like Tom Hank's character in the movie "Joe Versus the Volcano".

Monday, May 19, 2008

Man Love Party

This weekend I took a few days off from work and climbing to celebrate the special bonds shared between heterosexual men that have known each other for far too long and have no remaining notion of personal boundaries. The occasion was Ryan's bachelor party. We rented a cabin in the hills south of Santa Cruz, bought a lot of alcohol and invited a bunch of old friends. It was quite the reunion and I have to admit I'm pretty wiped at the moment (despite my training for the event during the week prior). 

Here are some shots of a few of the degenerates that are some of my best friends.

Andy and Shmo

Gordon and Jake

The Ogre and Chen

Mike and Josh

Here Ryan and Pat share a special moment

Ryan had a good time.

I have to admit it was kinda of nice to not talk about climbing for a whole weekend. I think the subject came up twice in passing and and only lasted for a total of two and half minutes. Break time is over however, and now it is time to get back to rock climbing adventures. 

More hot granite soon to come!

Friday, May 16, 2008

This is my BOOM stick!

It seems all the rage these days to post pictures of oneself holding guns so I thought I'd join the fray. Unlike some poseurs I actually shoot mine, and not just at silly targets...but at bears. I had my qualification training and test (shooting targets) on Monday and I have been blasting shit ever since. Look at me! Who wouldn't want me using a gun?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Went to Bridalveil today with Tommy, Beth, Randy, and Colton (who has been staying with me for a bit). We had an awesome session on a bunch of really cool problems, only two of which I had tried before. These pictures are of a bran-spanking-new problem called "The French Quarter." It is a line I had spied several seasons ago but never got back to. Anyway, a couple guys had the wisdom to go clean it up and were well rewarded for their efforts. While I did not send I'm psyched to go back if we can get enough pads up there.

Later in the evening we moved on to the Cathedrals where we worked on a couple of really cool, really perplexing projects. If only it would get colder instead of hotter. Damn. 

I may have to put on a harness this summer for something other than cleaning boulders. Not just yet though, the crew is coming back this weekend and we're going to climb new boulders!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Bat Carcass

I found this bat skeleton behind a loose flake while hunting for new boulders. Below is the wall that I found it on. I'm thinking names like "The Batmobile" and "Bruce Wayne" are appropriate.