Thursday, June 26, 2008

The World is on Fire

Can you see Half Dome?

There are no fires in Yosemite at the moment, but the rest of California is ablaze and the smoke is blowing east and ruining the view. I'd be pretty pissed if I flew here from Japan or some other country where they don't speak 'Merican and I couldn't see El Cap or John Muir because 30 million Californians collectively decided to each light up a cigarette.

In more important news...I went to a wedding this weekend. It was awesome. Lots of dancing, drinking, and merriment had by all. Next morning woke up early (thanks to Peter's coaxing) and headed to Ft. Ross for some sleepy beach bouldering.

Arrived back in the Valley Tuesday night and went straight to the my project, the roof at Le Conte. I really want to do "Goldmund" and "Narcissus" in the summer. I could hardly touch the crux move this past fall and now I've climbed through the crux into where the problems split into their respective finishes. Just need to get someone out there to spot me on the top out....anyone takers? Night sessions till 3am rule, trust me.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Way Lake

Yesterday I tried something different. I left the Valley at the ungodly hour of 9am and headed to Mammoth on the east side of the Sierra Nevada. I had heard good things about the bouldering at Way Lake (or Lake Mary depending on who you ask) as far back as 4 or 5 years ago. Fortunately for me, Jeff Sillcox the local guru was kind enough to give me the grand tour.

The rock is really strange, some kind of cross between schist or gneiss. Jeff says that his geologist friend can't really make heads or tails of it, so who knows? Regardless, the climbing is quite good, reminiscent of Rocky Mountain National Park. While the area will never be the destination that RMNP is, I think it will be a very nice summertime escape. 

Monday, June 9, 2008

Something a Bit More Lighthearted

After the high stress climbing of the previous session something a little more relaxing was in order.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Looking down into the pit of doom

That's what I yelled when I topped out a stunning first ascent today. The yell was as much an exclamation of how good the problem is as it was a declaration of my relief to have survived the whole ordeal. Actually, to say I would have died if I'd fallen would be a gross exaggeration, but I was scared...really scared. 

Yet again, Tim had the vision. He found the cave and cleaned it. He called me from work yesterday to tell me how excited he was to climb on it and how I'd "freak" when I saw it. He was right, but it turned out I'd actually seen it before. Three summers ago I'd been hiking around and found this very cave. At the time, it was the home of some wall rat and was complete with a mattress and a boom box. I saw the line but dismissed it as too dangerous because, at the time, I couldn't imagine managing a landing of that caliber. Three years later, I'm a different animal.

Tim and I both tried it from the ground initially but I immediately became convinced that the top was too hard and too dangerous to try without some knowledge of what was to come. So out came the rope and harness. I've never before top-roped moves on a problem, but I can confidently say that I have no regrets for doing so on this occasion. 

Looking out of the pit of doom, Tim on top-rope

Armed with a little confidence gained from top-roping I was able to send on my next attempt. Don't be fooled though, it was not a sure thing by any stretch of the imagination. I nearly lost it on the last move as the video Patti captured will attest to. Tim was able to send on his second attempt after top-roping, he fell early on in the safe zone on his first attempt.

I am so psyched about this new problem, it is incredible. I'm also really grateful to Tim for having the vision to make it a reality, for the work of cleaning it, and for including me in his first day of attempts.

I also am grateful to Patti for her endless encouragement (every time we climb) and for her patience. She also put on quite the show nearly completing a devious highball called "Zero" at the end of the day. I'm sure she'll get it next time.

Patti bearing gifts!