Monday, March 31, 2008

The Fire Burns Bright

It has been twelve days since I last touched rock and I'm getting very antsy. I was going to go meet up with Kevin and Adam in Yosemite today but my dog decided it was a good time to get sick and so I'm stuck here playing nurse.  

We (meaning the Pomona household) do have a reason to celebrate however. After nearly a year without a working garbage disposal, Peter "Handyman" Newman has installed a brand new 'Badger 5'. No more stinky sink, no more questionable dark matter spewing out of the disposal at totally inappropriate times, and no more disapproving looks from our house guests. Yahoo!

The old nasty

Saturday, March 29, 2008


I think it would be nice to get rich without having to work for it. Peter seems to think that that is a good idea too. Together we decided to pursue this dream by going to a casting call for the television game show, 'Deal or no Deal' in Folsom. Here's our story.

This is only a fraction of the line

These are some of the awesome people waiting in line.

Peter even saw one of his students there, Paul wants to be rich just like everyone else.

Alas, the wait in line was expected to be between 15 and 18 hours long, all for a 15 second chance to make an impression. We decided that sushi was a better option.

Our chef at 'Samurai Sushi'

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Horizon

Nancy making me proud

I got a call this morning from my friend and Betabase creator, Paul Barraza. He and several members of the notorious Berkeley Crew have been in Joe's for a few days and were wondering if I was still there. Alas, the answer that I croaked out while choking back tears was not the reply I would have liked to give him, but it was the truth.

I wallowed for a short while after our conversation ended, a million questions running through my mind. When would I get to go back to Joe's? When would I have the opportunity to climb with so many of my friends again? When will I get to climb at full strength? I won't go through the other 999,997 questions I had, but I assure you I had them.

Just as my wallowing was reaching it's crescendo I was torn out of my misery by another phone call. This time it was my boss from Yosemite, Tori. How good it was to hear her voice. She officially offered me my job back, awesome, AND she said I could take a couple weeks off this summer if I want to go to Africa, BONUS! 

So now I find myself in the position of having to find a 'cheap' flight. I found one out of DC for around $1300 that travels through Las Vegas. I found a fair for just the flight from Las Vegas to Capetown (the exact same flight as the one that begins in DC) and it cost an extra $600 dollars. Maybe I could buy the DC ticket but not board until Las Vegas?

Anyway, the sun still rises in the East and sets in the West so I guess all is not lost.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Shoveling Snow

The man, the myth, the legend, Kevin Cuckavich

Kevin Cuckavich is a good samaritan. He spends his rest days shoveling the snow off of the tops of boulders so that he and others can climb on them. Recently, however, this got the young man into trouble.
While the rest of us slobs were chilling in the Food Ranch Kevin was out shoveling. It started to get kinda late and we began to wonder, "When is Kevin going to show up?" I had images flashing through my mind of him slipping on some ice atop one of these boulders only to topple over the edge and suffer a compound fracture or worse. Of course I brushed those worries aside and continued eating my salad.

Finally, after I'd finished checking my e-mail, we collectively decided to check up on him.  Peter and Ryan were the first to leave. As I took my place behind the steering wheel of my Subaru, Peter and Ryan pulled back into the parking lot. Who should be riding along in the back seat? None other than our fearless shoveler, "Cuck" (sounds like fluke). Aparently, he'd driven off the side of the road and gotten his rig stuck in the snow. Our abitious boy had driven too far up an unplowed road and had been stuck for some time now. Fortunately for him, a sherif eventually came to his rescue and brought him back to town and helped him find a means to get his 4Runner out of the snow.

This all sounded like great fun to me so I quickly drove up to the scene so that I could take some pictures of the whole mess. Enjoy.

The aftermath

Thursday, March 20, 2008


The "Super Sloper"

I just got home a few hours ago. I was able to climb yesterday, albeit not as hard as I would have liked to. Anyway, I was able to climb some of the classics on my list so all was not lost. Nonetheless, I was sad and somewhat reluctant to leave but aside from my physical woes I have some business that requires my attention here at home.

The drive home was more or less uneventful with two small exceptions. The first was the sighting of a condor flying over my car in the middle of the Utah desert. The second was a quick stop at the "Shoe Tree" for lunch and brief break for some entertainment. For those of you unfamiliar with the Shoe Tree, it is a large cottonwood that grows out of a drainage alongside highway 50. It grows in the middle of nowhere, about 30 miles in every direction from any town whatsoever. This tree, for no obvious reason, has been decorated like a demented shoe salesman's Christmas tree. From nearly every branch hangs at least one pair of shoes. From loafers, to ballet slippers, to roller skates, and Chuck Taylors, just about anything with laces hangs from the Shoe Tree.

I stopped at the Tree to make a sandwich and a deposit. Yesterday I wore a hole into the sole of my Muiras so I thought I'd contribute to this surreal communal art piece. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Arg! Not Again.

Just before the pop.

It was sunny when we woke up today. Everyones' spirits were high. We lounged around in the sun, eating breakfast, building up our energy for the day's sending.  The warm-up went well, the temps were good, the skin was hard, and the muscles strong.  Kevin sent his project, "Trent's Mom" and can now die a happy man. I had the chance to climb a relatively new problem called the "Gurkha Knife," which was on my tick list.  I had first seen this problem on YouTube and was not disappointed when I saw it in person. Later in the day we all congregated at the "Big Joe" wall.  Kevin, Ryan, and Wick came close on "Nerve Extension," which is the the extension to "Big Joe," one of Peter's projects. I busied myself with "Smoking Joe," which went pretty quickly. Time for lunch.

After a siesta, we all headed back down the left fork so that the guys could try "Worse Case Scenario." After a brief session there we all walked over to "The Wind Below." This problem sits high atop tick list because of its grandeur and beauty. It doesn't hurt either that the moves on this problem are really cool too! Kevin, being the only one to have done (or even tried) the problem before went first and quickly repeated it. Afterward, I quickly booted up and hopped on.  The first couple moves went well, I then set a right heel hook and began to rock over to a crimp that is utilized by the left hand. I came up a bit short but tried to reel it back in for a second attempt at the reach. That's when I felt (and heard) a distinct popping in my knee. I immediately dropped off cursing.

Fortunately the popping was not the tendons in my knee, but rather my hamstring (Kevin said he thought he heard a hold break). I think I have a severely pulled hamstring and I'm not sure if I'll be climbing anymore this trip. I'm resting tomorrow and maybe the next day and then I'll re-evaluate. I'm extremely frustrated right now but I'm thankful that it is not another finger injury. I guess I'll just have to wait and see. Fuck.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Wounded by "Pocket Rocket"

Wick, Peter and Ryan have all arrived.  Yesterday we got a couple of hours of climbing in with really nice conditions until it started snowing around 3:00pm. It didn't bother me much because I had already taken care of my agenda for the day, Resident Evil.  I came painfully close to flashing the problem, which would easily have been my hardest flash to date. I fell on last move. Its not the crux by any means, but it isn't a very intuitive move. Oh well. I actually ended up doing the problem twice, which was nice. Today is supposed to be the last day of marginal weather, then the rest of the week it will clear up. Still very psyched.

Kevin set to launch on "Pocket Rocket"

Friday, March 14, 2008


I've had it with people that don't know or are to careless to poo properly in the great outdoors. I've been seeing more and more toilet paper strewn about in the brush and more and more loosely stacked rocks barely concealing piles of shit. It also seems to be happening closer and closer to the boulders, not to mention rivers and streams. To top it off, I had a most revolting experience at Ibex. 

After breakfast and tea, I hiked away from the boulders to take care of my morning movement. I found a spot that I thought was suitable because I was out of view of Kevin's prying eyes. I went to pick up a smallish rock, shaped like a spade, and perfect for digging a little hole. As soon as my fingers wrapped around the stone I knew the worst had happened. Moist TP and feces on my finger tips...a perfect antidote for tender skin. I wanted to vomit, but even more I wanted to kick the fucker's ass who so thoughtfully left their shit for me to discover.

So for those of you who don't already know how, this is how you make brownies in the woods:

1. Find a spot at least 100 feet from any body of water (yes dry stream beds count) and away from places people and their pets congregate.
2. Dig a hole, six inches is good although sometimes rocky soils make this difficult. Try your best.
3. Poo.
4. Either burn your toilet tissue or pack it out in a zip-lock bag. 
5. Bury your poo. If you want extra credit, stir some soil in with your poo with a stick to help it decompose faster before burying it.

That's it, not so bad eh? Happy pooing everyone.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


The hardpan

To break the drive up a bit Kevin and I decided to meet up at Ibex, just inside the Utah border, to spend the night and get a day of quartzite bouldering in. I had never been to Ibex before, but had long desired to visit. It was beautiful and the bouldering was excellent.  The routes look good too! I actually met the author of the guidebook, James Garrett, out there and he was nice enough to give me a free copy so long as I put it to good use.  Now I'm obligated to return. There was a third party out there climbing (he's old) that he's seen some climbing routes at Ibex that he didn't know. Awesome.

The view from above Austin, NV along "the loneliest highway in America" 

The main buttress at Ibex

Kevin on "Ju"

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Stay Tuned For Joe's

Leaving for Joe's Valley tomorrow. Actually, going to Ibex first then Joe's after a day or two.  If all goes as planned I'll be meeting up with many friends over the course of my stay and we'll all be sending hard. Hopefully I'll be able to post while on the road so stay tuned. For now, I leave you with a blossom and an ant from our backyard.  

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Snow Shoeing

On Monday I took a rest day from bouldering in Bishop and strapped on my snowshoes. When Turtle and I set out I didn’t really have a destination in mind. I thought it might be nice to skirt the base of Mt. Tom a bit, but I just figured I’d see where my whims would take me. Upon reaching the moraine between the base of Mt. Tom and the base of Basin Mountain I noticed a black block protruding from the snow near the base Basin Mountain. I recognized this block from several (~5) years ago when I spied it through my friend, Eric Schmidt’s, binoculars. At the time I thought it looked like the size of a box car. I don’t think Eric agreed, nor did anyone else I ever point it out to. Well, I now had an objective.

After much trudging, and pondering the scale of my ‘new’ block, Turtle and I finally huffed our way to the “Ice Cube,” as I’ll refer to it from here on out. Well it wasn’t as big as a box car but it was damn close. Two sides overhang just slightly, one is vertical, and one is slabby. The entire boulder is made up of super clean, super fine grained and polished white granite. If I’d had rock boots I would’ve stayed longer.

Ice Cube

In hopes of someday convincing friends to go up there to boulder I’ll refrain from disclosing how long it took me to get to the Ice Cube or how tired me and Turtle were after our day of snowshoeing. Just know that I will go back at some point, but probably when there’s a little less snow.

Leaving the Ice Cube