Friday, June 26, 2009


My upcoming trip to South Africa is easily the most eagerly anticipated trip of my life, climbing or otherwise. Its been over a year since I first started planning it, and more than three years since I first started day dreaming about making the journey.

Over the years I've often thought about following a regular training regimen for climbing, but a lack of discipline and my desire to spend my time on real stone has kept me from spending more than a week or two on any given program. Only with the Rocklands trip in mind, was I able to buckle down and spend six weeks on a Paul Barraza's training program. As a result, I feel like I'm in the best bouldering shape of my life and, right or wrong, I expect a payoff in the form of many coveted boulders.

My goals for this trip are pretty general at this point, but they are important. Most importantly I want to have a 'full' travel experience. I want new experiences, new faces, and unexpected things to cross my path. I want to see penguins, I want to learn something about South African history, and I want to eat white rhino like a great white hunter!

As far as climbing goals go...I want to climb a bunch of classics and I want to climb some harder stuff too. I'd really like to find a testpiece that will challenge me more than any boulder problem has before AND I'd like to climb it. A tall order, I know, but this may be a once in a lifetime experience so I want it all and more.

I'll do my best to update this blog when I can. There have been times in my life when I couldn't travel or climb as much as I'd have liked, during those times it was the climbing blogs of people like Sock Hands, Jamie Emerson, and others that kept me motivated for the times when I could. I'll do my best to pay it forward, as saying goes, for those of you who are stuck in a cube, broke, or injured and unable to travel this summer.

For those of you that have or will be making the pilgrimage this summer, I'll see you in Africa!


Monday, June 22, 2009

Howl at the Moon

I went back to Burnside Lake this weekend to climb with the one and only Noah Kaufman. I was really psyched to do the project we'd tried at the end of my last day there. Here's the video of our little session.

The Wolf Pack from Princess on Vimeo.

Afterward we went back to Noah and Siemay's pad and watched an amazing movie, 'King of Kong'. I can't recommend this documentary enough. The film follows an esoteric group of characters obsessed with old school video games like Donkey Kong and Mrs. Pacman. Watch this movie.

On Day two of the weekend, I found myself at the Saddle with a posse from the Bay. It was absurd how many people were there. Both parking areas were beyond capacity and there were people parked on the road. I goofed off there a bit, not too motivated. We finally made it over to the Future boulder, which I hadn't seen before, and it looked really nice. I didn't have much time so I chucked myself at a few problems but to no avail. I'll have to go back sometime for a more concerted effort.

A final note. I leave for South Africa in one week, YESSSS!!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


We reset the training wall and now I want to climb on it but it's 1:40 in the AM and the gym wont be open for some time, so I'm not really sure what to do with Google Earth for boulders?

stealing holds from the course setters

Pretty sweet if you ask me. Must climb!

Monday, June 15, 2009

An Amazing Shirt

Noah's amazing shirt climbing 'Fat Man in a Little Coat'

Yesterday Becky, Peter, and I were shown around a newish bouldering area by Noah and Siemay. I say newish only because some of the boulders there have no-doubt been climbed on over the years, but recently Noah hiked around a little and found a couple of blocs that far surpass the quality of the others. I used to hike here when I'd go camping with my family as a child at Grover Hot Springs, and I'd remembered there was a lot of rock around (though I wasn't a climber then). When I saw Noah in the spring I asked him if he'd ever checked it out for climbing and he said there wasn't really much there. Then sure enough, after some Google Earth exploration he found an "AMAZING" boulder!

There is more than one boulder at Burnside Lake, but from what I saw there is ONE main attraction. Actually, there is one other problem called "Goliath" that is totally worthy too. The rock here is essentially the same rock one would find all over Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite. The typical fare is near-vertical, knobby, and technical. The steepness of Noah's find, as well as the incut nature of the holds, make it really special.

Below is a video with three random problems from three different areas. The last problem is from the cool boulder at Burnside.

3Random Problems from Princess on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Most people that read my blog probably know by now about the losses of Micah Dash, Jonny Copp, and Wade Johnson. Some of you knew one or more of these guys. I had never personally met any of them and yet for some reason I've been affected more by their deaths than the deaths of the many other climbers that have passed since I took up the sport/religion 10 years ago. Alpinists are sometimes prone to romanticizing death in pursuit of their passion. I won't go so far as to say its a good way to die. It would be far better to live to a ripe old age after living one's passion to the fullest. Still, to die in pursuit of passion, refusing to play by the rules, is something I would choose over a long life lived in restraint. I just hope the friends and families of these three men can be consoled by the knowledge that their boys lived a blessed life.

Micah Dash and Johnny Copp segment of "The Sharp End" from Cedar Wright on Vimeo.

My personal life has been far less dangerous than climbing new routes in the remote reaches of western China. I've moved out of Peter's place and into a storage unit, I've been training at the Great Western Power Company, and I've made it outside a few random times to climb on some new stone. Last weekend Becky and I visited the Sierra Buttes for the first time. I'd been curious about this place for nearly 5 years, ever since I spotted it on Terraserver (a precursor to Google Earth). I left with a very good impression. The rock is high quality, steep, featured, and the setting is gorgeous! The only drawbacks are the steep hike in (not that bad really cause it'll keep the riff-raff out) and the inconvenient location if you're traveling from the Bay Area. From Truckee, where we stayed, it was a mild 50 minute drive. From Oakland it's nearly four hours. Thanks to Brian Sweeny, his friend Ty, and anyone else that put in all the hard work creating the trail to the boulders.

Becky's photo of a warm-up.

Last but certainly not least, Becky had her graduation ceremony for finishing her studies to become an RN! While she'll modestly tell you that it's not that big of a deal because she still has two more years to finish her master's degree, I can honestly say that its a huge accomplishment and I'm very proud of her.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Dogs and cats living together in peace?

Having some progress with the Turtle/Bishop relations, Tuscan however, is still to fearful to join the negotiations table. Time will tell (and it will take a lot) but I see good things on the horizon. Whether or not there will ever be peace between dogs and squirrels is another matter entirely...

I also believe I'm seeing some progress with my bicep. I experienced no flare-ups yesterday while climbing and training at GWPC. If you didn't know it already, GWPC is THE place to get strong for all of your future climbing trips, smile Lyn! Becky and I arrived at the gym at 5 and we didn't leave until 10, that's pretty much ideal for me. I'd perhaps like one more hour but five ain't bad. The first three hours were spent bouldering. I'm still being very cautious with the problems I choose to climb on, but I'm feeling less and less limited. The last two hours were spent up in the gym working on the training program. Finally we headed home and I cooked a pretty damn tasty meal I dreamt up that afternoon, check it out!

It feels like its been forever since I've climbed outside. We didn't get to climb outside last weekend because of a fun hippy wedding we attended. I could go during the week but I'm trying to be really disciplined with my training program. I'm really hoping the weather holds up so we can climb this weekend. The forecast is for thunderstorms all weekend though, ugh! It'll all be worth it though because there's only 26 days till takeoff!!!