Monday, June 23, 2008

Girls from Barcelona, Teriyaki, Grasshopper, & a 4runner.

Pilar's cousin Lucia came to Las Vegas friday night with two of her friends from Barcelona. We took them to "Noodles" in the Bellagio and then to the patisserie. They were bemused by the Conservatory, which housed a super-cheesy "America" themed exhibit replete with huge robotic eagle chicks. If fascism and cheese had a one-night stand, that exhibit would have been the lovechild. Back to Noodles, I would not recommend it since their pad thai sucked (it was just tasteless lo mein), their service was abrupt and not responsive, and the decor was crud. Dim sum was ok, but sucked by NYC Chinatown standards. That's understandable and forgiveable because I don't think tourists at the Bellagio would know good dim sum if it jumped into their rectum and started moshing with razorblades. I shouldn't complain as Lucia very generously picked up the tab. I didn't have it in me to fight over the check. I've done it too many times, so if somebody puts up a fight, I don't second-guess. You wanna pay you pay. Lucia if you're reading this, thank you for lunch!!
Saturday Pilar and I visited Robber's Roost at Mt. Charleston for some limestone sport.
My first climb was The Rooster, 5.10c or 5.11b with 5 bolt extension. I onsighted the 5.11b, although it sort of took all my available calories. My stemming abilities were not up to the task so I wasted energy in poor stances with my feet cramping up. Afterwards, I took some disappointing falls on a couple of 11s, purposely climbing when I was drained and partially pumped. It's part of my "sub-optimal" climbing regime where I'm trying to teach my body and mind to perform in less than prime conditions, which is often. I used to be one of those that wouldn't try something unless I was feeling strong or alert or just good in general. This even extended to the gym. I wouldn't hop on a problem if I just didn't feel energetic. Now I get on it precisely because I feel like doggy doo. Not sure if this is a good approach, but I think it's working. Of course, the obvious solution would be to get a good night's sleep and get in better shape for the approaches, but that's apparently too darn reasonable.
At the crag I had a Larry David moment: There was a japanese couple probably in their 50s and climbing strong as hell. They were resting in the shade when Pilar and I were leaving. But I forgot my climbing guidebook, which was on the ground beside the couple. It happened to be on top of an empty bag of Whole Foods brand teriyaki-flavored beef jerky we had eaten. Since Pilar was closer to the book, I pointed in the direction of the book (and incidentally the japanese couple) and exclaimed to Pilar, "Oh, I see the book. It's by the TERIYAKI!" The japanese man then covered his face with his hand in either an act of disbelief or disgust or both. I thought "Oh my god, he must think I called them "teriyaki" because they were japanese! Shit! Wait, I'm not some racist asshole! I meant the bag of beef jerky..." Well, there's no recovering from that, so I quickly exited stage left feeling like moron. Since the guy had the route wired, I bet they're locals and I'll probably run into them again. Joy.

This is a grasshopper that Pilar somehow managed to capture today.
My new 2001 4runner 4x4. Yay!

Monday, June 16, 2008


Went to the dentist today. For some reason there's like one on every block here in Summerlin. Here's my mouth. They used some new technology where the x-ray image is sent directly to a computer. New to me because the last dozen times I went to a dentist in NJ, it was the old fashioned print on the backlight.


I'm sleep deprived so no commentary today. Suffice to say, all was delicious.
The Yakitori Master fans the flames of flavor.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Lost City.

Yesterday my friend Mike and I visited the Lost City at the Gunks in Peterskill to do some toproping. We had the place to ourselves because it was 90F and 89% humidity. We warmed up on a 5.8 crack that was wetter than wet. Then we moved over to some 5.11ish face, which was kind of short. Then we each took a few burns on Caffeine and Nicotine 5.12b. Mike deciphered the crux moves. Very very fun route requiring all kinds of climbing: traverse, slab, face, roof, deadpoint, gastons, side-pulls, bumps. The pure variety of the route is astounding. Now I just have to sneak back and redpoint it before Mike does.

Mike leads the way to the Lost City. He's like Indiana Jones, but without a hat, a whip, khakis, a man purse, and he's not in his mid-60s.

Looks sort of jungle like, but it's just New York. Speaking of New York, that overrated city, while we were at the Amphitheater, who should show up but 7 year old Ashima with who I presume is her father who looks like Sho Aikawa from a Miike movie. I thought man this girl is everywhere! I was hoping she would wander over to our 5.12 to show us what's up but no luck. Below, the bomber toprope Mike set up with a perfect amount of cordelletes and slings on a pine tree up top.

Caffeine & Nicotine 5.12b. Neither of us did it, but it shall fall. The heat drained our energy and Mike needed a lot of energy and encouragement for his proj. I'm not the kind to yell out stuff at the crag tho. I'll need to practice doing that. So far I've heard people say stuff like "look at it look at it look at it GO!" or "Try harder!!" or "Grow taller!" or "Breath" or "Relax" or the good old "YEAHHHH!!!" Perhaps some combinations like "Grow harder" or "Try YEAH" would be appropriate at times. Why is this so complicated?

Anyway, two hoegaardens with lemon tasted good afterwards. Mike went to his local video store and rented Cloverfield amidst my sarcastic criticism of a movie I've never seen. I dissed his flick because he dismissed my suggestion of some other flick with a scantily clad french maid wielding a cleaver with buzz words like
"sex" and "mayhem" on it.

Today I had a date with my Mom to see the latest Indiana Jones and the Skull made of Plastic that's supposed to be Crystal Meth or something like that. Shia Le Buffoon's role as his son amused my Mom. She said, "What's Fonzie doing in this movie?"

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Back to Central Park.

Yesterday I was climbing limestone sport at 7500 feet. 24 hours later I'm at sea level in Central Park. At least I got to witness the fitness of 7 year old phenom Ashima who effortlessly campuses everything. The grey haired master Yuki looks on.
She looks like some sort of urban warrior. I don't recall the last time I saw a 7 yr old with biceps. Yikes.
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Mt. Charleston. The Hood. Compton Cave.

Visited "The Hood" at Mt. Charleston with Pilar, John, and Shawn (hereafter referred to as "Top Gun")

Day's successes:
5.8 - Glen & Pilar.

Day's non-redpoints, hangdogs, and failed attempts:
5.11c face climb. I took a 15 foot fall on that.
5.11c "Across the Universe" at the Corrosion Cave. Top Gun led it, and I followed and cleaned without any falls. Very demanding and pumpy. Botched sequences and poor flow did not help. I forgot that you had to fall into some holds, which is actually quite fun.
5.13d "Wailing Soul" Top Gun did a very impressive onsight attempt, taking the longest 5 minutes to clip the 4th draw. Even Bill Ramsey (I think it was him) had to stop and observe. Although I don't think the business begins until the lip, which Bill Ramsey said required a lot of thrutching. I posted a couple photos of us on Wailing Soul in the previous post. John threw himself with gusto at the first move about 30 times. If I ever get to it, I'll have to make a video compilation of his attempts from the photos.
5.12d "Straight outta Compton" Completely shut down on this one. Last climb of the day. Couldn't make the third clip.
Love is all you need.
Top Gun coolly observes Chris Lindner on his attempted link up of two 5.14bs.

So Chris Lindner showed up with his possie. He was attempting a linkup of two 5.14b's I think, FA Sharma 1997. Amazing to watch him climb. We all just sat at the back of the cave and enjoyed the show. Lindner's conditioning is phenomenal. After 40 or 50 feet of nothing but one-pad holds, he rests for like 10 minutes on a nothing undercling and then moves up to take another "rest" on a mono.

The proj.

Top Gun flexes his musculature with Lats and Delts to spare on his "proj", "Wailing Soul" 5.13d.

Me on the same.

On the way back.

A rectangular pool of Turquoise water surrounded by mounds of sodium that looked like snow mirrors the sky above. I think this was in the Mojave preserve, or somewhere near it.
Along the original route 66 grows the Lingerie Tree.

On the way home from Joshua Tree, Jesus blesses our trip.
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Joshua Tree II.

All over JT on the ground were zillions of large red ants. Perhaps they hold the secret to JT's surprising cleanliness by devouring anything inconsiderate tourists might leave behind. I wonder if they're all part of one gigantic hive (is that the word?) connected via thousands of miles of underground tunnels.
Pilar circumnavigates Cap Rock as the sun sets. The Gram Parsons memorial is located at this gigantic boulder? Monolith?
Pilar is happy to find the Gram Parsons Memorial. The graffiti was relatively tasteful, so it didn't seem that out of place. Below is the side of a van we saw passing through the town of Joshua Tree. I especially like the "DRUGGIES" category.
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