Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New Project?

So how long can the ever restless mind of an obsessed climber go without a focus for that obsession? Not long in my case apparently. Monday was supposed to be a chill day of trying stuff I'd never been on before and for the most part it was. At the end of the day, however, I decided to give Dogwood a few tries because I was there to spot Kevin anyway and because it is a remarkably enticing line. I had tried it once before, last winter to be exact, when it was still a project. I remember thinking that it was one of the coolest lines I had ever tried but that there could be a stopper move (at least for me) on it. Well, I gave it three attempts on Monday and on all three I reached the same high point. The best attempt (most controlled) can be seen below.

I think I'll be spending some time here in the near future.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I'm a Ninja!

When I woke up this morning I was my average self, 5'8" (maybe), 148lbs., near-black mop of hair, needing a shave, and hungry for granite. Before I lay down for sleep tonight I'll tower at 6'6", I'll shake the earth with my brutish mass, women will flock to my side, and best of all I will know that I am a NINJA for I have completed my greatest climbing project to date, the 'Yabo Roof'.

There is so much I want to say about this climb and this experience, but I don't know where to begin. I guess the logical place would be the beginning...

On my first climbing trip my friend Eric Schmidt took me to Bishop in the Fall of '02. We climbed sport routes in the Owens River Gorge and bouldered at the Buttermilks, the Happies, and the Sads. On my first day at the Buttermilks I climbed the 'Cave Problem' on the 'Cave Boulder,' it was rated v6. I was mighty pleased with myself but also quite humbled. Imediately to the right of this problem was Chris Sharma's 'The Buttermilker' v12 (since uprated to v13). I couldn't fathom it. I believe I told Eric at the end of that day, that I could see myself climbing a v10 some day but that I'd never be able to do a v12. He confidently shot me down and stated that he knew, judging by my performance that day I could climb v12. I appreciated the sentiment but quietly dismissed this as pure fantasy.

I don't normally talk about grades on this page because I feel like they receive too much attention in the lion's share of climbing media. I'm not some pretentious prick that insists that grades are worthless or some such nonsense. On the contrary, I think grades are valuable tools for measuring one's development as a climber, goal setting, and for the practical reason of informing the climber of an expected level of difficulty. Certainly they are not the end all be all of climbing, but there is value.

This all leads back to the 'Yabo Roof'. Last year I set the goal for myself to climb a v12. Not just any v12 mind you but something worth the effort. I wanted a 'Mandala', a 'No More Greener Grass', or a 'Yabo Roof'. Classics, that would be classics anywhere. This summer I found myself poised to start working on later of these problems. I had oodles of time, relatively cool night time temperatures and boat loads of enthusiasm. The process was a rewarding roller coaster affair as projecting tends to be and I'm glad it ended the way it did. On my two previous projects this past year, Pine Box and Narcissus, I sent them alone with the squirrels and the trees as my only companions. It was appropriate for those times and possibly necessary for my success. This time however I was surrounded by friends. Some of you, whom have supported me so much over the years, could not be there, but I assure you that you were there in spirit lighting my way through the dark, from hold to hold, onto the summit.

Tonight I walk on water, the star burn brighter, and the air is that much cleaner. Tomorrow it will be someone else's turn and I wouldn't have it any other way. I hope all of you can feel as good as I do right now, even if its just for a few hours.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hi Alan!

I was going to title this post 'Yummy' or 'Look What I Found' but my good pal Alan cried because I neglected to mention his visit in my last post. Hopefully this cheers you up buddy.

I found 'Two Face' the other night while working. Apparently the day prior he was caught in the excess webbing of a slackline near the Boystown housing area near Curry Village. Details are a little unclear but either while he was tangled or shortly after being released Bambi was killed by a pack of coyotes. When I found him he was being feasted upon by a very large bear, one whom happens to have an official name, Barcelona. We don't name bears anymore but they used to and this guy got his name during the Olympics in Spain. Anyway, the carcass was too close to places that people like to hang out so I had to move it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I Got Served

Shawn on 'Flatline'

On Sunday I received a thorough beat down at able hands (so to speak) of the Yosemite boulders.

The weather was not supposed to provide ideal sending conditions so I decided to forgo a session on 'Yabo' in favor of spending more time actually climbing with my friends. First on the list was Paul's new problem 'Plurality'. I haven't been spanked like this since I paid for it in Denmark (don't worry I've only been to Italy). Time after time I would try beta preferred by the less flexible fools in our posse and the first ascentionist. Finally, I listened to the suggestion of Mr. Newman and tried some previously untested beta. It worked first go. Humble pie tastes soooo good.

Next, several of the more foolish of our group decided to tape up and try the roof crack 'Ceder Crack'. Three attempts and a lot of skin loss later I was out of breath, had road rash on my back and forearms, and lay crumpled in the dirt not on top of the boulder. Tail firmly tucked between my legs at this point.

Finally, we headed up to Candyland so people could have a crack at the perfect corner problem 'Once Upon A Time'. I've done this many times before so my confidence wasn't boosted much when I did the problem without much effort. After everyone had had their turn I decided to try 'Happily Ever After', a tall arete just to the right of the corner. I've tried this problem on a number of occations but never had any success doing the jump move to the pocket. Apparently the boulders decided to take pity on me and I stuck the move second try, and without my feet cutting!

So, any lessons learned? Maybe, hopefully, probably not. I'm a stubborn bastard afterall.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Food Obsessed

Somehow my dog, Turtle, managed to open a previously unopened jar of pasta sauce and eat it clean without leaving any kind of mess. The only evidence (aside from the fact that she was the only one home at the time) is a small dent in the lid and some dog hair stuck to the jar. Normally I would have been pretty upset about this, but I have to admit I'm impressed and more than a little proud of my girl. I've seen video of an octopus doing something like this before but I wouldn't imagine a dog being able to pull it off without breaking the glass or something. Proud.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Here hem...Peter, pulls it out of the bag and finally sends the Chocolate Bunny. Congrats. He also sent his project over at Bridalveil too, which I believe may have been his hardest to day (if you go by the numbers at least).

I had a good/bad day on my project. I got a new highpoint, which is totally awesome because that means I stuck the crux from the ground for the first time. What was totally not awesome was having my foot pop off for no apparent reason shortly thereafter. I'm also concerned because my right bicep is starting to scream at me following each burn so I think I need some rest and to renew my opposition training.

Lastly, I'm concerned about my little superstition about wearing pink on sending days. It began innocently enough but now I'm receiving gifts from friends. My concern is that if I send wearing this stuff I may start to really believe that there is something to the superstition and who knows where that could lead? Pink nail polish? Women's undergarments? Yikes, I would not be very attractive in drag.

Lastly part 2: Here is a video of Kevin who is visiting right now.

Friday, October 10, 2008

It Snowed!

Today it snowed. It was wonderful. I think today's high temperature was 47 degrees. Also, friends glorious friends are arriving in mass this weekend. Shawn, Dave, and Beth all hung out today. John, Shannon, Raza, Lynn, Tim, Patti, Randy, Mandi, Peter, and Gus should all be arriving some time tonight with Kevin due tomorrow morning.

I had a good day on "Yabo" despite a right bicep that is starting to feel the effects of a lot of right arm intensive climbing. I have now done all of the moves and I think its just a matter of time. So psyched!!

On a totally unrelated note, I got my official ballot in the mail today and I'm very excited to mail in my Obama vote. I was just reading some quotes from McCain/Palin town hall meetings and rallies in Wisconsin and Minnesota. I'm can't express enough how afraid I am of voters the likes of which, were in attendance. For example, "I don't trust Obama. I have read about him and he's an Arab." Um, seriously? This it the train of thought that determines our future? Oh lord, we're in trouble.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I was going to go bouldering today but we ended up trapping a bear last night so I worked till 5am and did not have the energy for it when I woke up. Its probably 80 degrees right now anyway so maybe its a good thing. I'm planning on going out after work (it should be in the 40's by then) so hopefully that goes well.

I'm extremely antsy to be climbing. I miss it right now even though I went out on Monday. I think it has just been too long since I've been able to throw myself at it and not feel the constraints of work, family, friends, relationships, and weather. This coming weekend will be the first that I've spent here in the valley in over a month and a half! It couldn't happen at a better time.