Monday, September 8, 2008

Back at Santa Barbara, at The Brickyard.

A forest fire tore through this place last year I think.  So all the shrubs were burnt to a cinder.  The entire area was covered in a fine powdery sand mixed with black ash.   Pilar feared the ash powder we stirred up would be carcinogenic.  I'm not sure about that, but it did feel like we were walking around inside a used fireplace.  Incidentally, Skip discovered a melted beer bottle, no doubt the glass buckled under the heat of the blaze.
Above is The Extremist V1 - onsight/warmup.  I tweaked my left tricep on this silliness.  So much for the warmup.  It's tall with slopers at the top.   That's nice - you can't take anything for granted until you top out.  

"See you at the Schoolyard, Meat" V5 - failure.  I couldn't do the first move, which is to slap a font-like sloper from a couple of crimps.  At least that's what seemed like the first move.  I could very well have been using bad beta.  It's been known to happen.  God friggin dammit!  What is it about V5?  I can't send them.  I can do 4, 6, and even a 7 if I get a good night's sleep, 4 shots of espresso, and there's a dozen shucked oysters at the top of the problem.  But V5?  nope.  And the rock looked so beautiful too.  

Yeti V4 - redpoint.  This took 4 tries and 2 falls from the crux mantel on slopers.   Despite my cat-like landings, both my knees and ankles are still in a mild pain.  The top of the problem is sort of scary because there are no gimmes up there.  I think it was around 15 ft tall.  The best thing to do is pull up and turn your right hand into a palm and push for dear life.  No more working an unknown boulder problem without a crashpad.  In sum, this area is quite amazing.  It's like a little piece of Fontainebleau just outside of a posh beach town.  I am grateful to Pilar, Marlene, and Skip for their patience.  While I was busy feeding my climbing addiction, they suffered heat, dust, and swarms of black flies that created a veritable buzzing helmet around one's noggin while trying to enter any available orifice.  Also Thanks to Pilar for the photos above; they are much better than what I take with my point and shoot.  

Hollywood or bust.

Saturday morning we left Santa Barbara to pick up my sister's boyfriend Skip from LAX. On Highway 101 somewhere past Ventura, our left tire exploded.  Awesome.
Afterwards, the spare tire we used went flat immediately. Fortunately we were close to the next exit where we found a Tireman tire shop and were merrily on our way within an hour. Soon thereafter we found ourselves on Hollywood Blvd with Spiderman ready to pounce from his perch atop a garbage can.  Pilar looks to be protecting her camera from the webslinger. Awesomer.
Below we get a shot with Superman and Wonderwoman. Superman was looking a little frail; I think Wonderwoman took all his muscles and stuffed them into her bra.  Awesomerer.
And finally, the best outfit of all.  The guy on the right had a white hat tipped at an improbable angle, a cup of coffee, a 3 foot long purple balloon coming out of his pants, and even a cigarette behind his ear... Awesomest!   I hope he went over and cock whipped that Superman impostor.  

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Santa Barbara, CA.

Arriving at Painted Cave roadside boulders in my sister's '91 Chrysler Le Baron convertible replete with Mitsubishi V6.  Tight.  Below is Heavy Traffic V3 on sandstone.   Nice slopey top out.  Not bad for roadside bouldering.  

Sunset from the top of the boulders.  

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Mt. Charleston, The Equalizer.

So Shawn and I went on a climbing tear this Labor Day weekend.

Charleston on Saturday: 5.9 warmup before trying The Equalizer 5.13a. It's a mildly overhung route at the left entrance to the Compton Cave. The guidebook notes it as a "great tendon-wrecker of a route." Shawn immediately developed a liking for the route. This liking then mated with his laser-like goal oriented focus (how else could he be one of the chosen few to Teach For America?) to become his obsession, pushing Wailing Soul into the background. So Saturday Shawn worked out most of the moves to the 5th bolt. All of the moves are consistently demanding on small divets for feet with big moves and burly crosses through bi- or mono-pockets. Fortunately, some of those pockets are 2 knuckles deep. I then took a stab at Straight Outta Compton 5.12d but with little gas left after wrecking my tendons on The Equalizer. So SOC smacked me down at the third bolt.

Sunday morning we headed to Cannibal Crag at Red Springs, which I wrote about in my last post.

Yesterday, Monday, we returned to Charleston, Shawn with only one thing on his mind, and it wasn't girls. We warmed up on a 5.11ish slab thing that had zero good hand holds. Then The Equalizer beckoned. It's called The Equalizer because it puts the musclebound boys in their place while girls are able to capitalize on smaller fingers and better technique to send. This time Shawn deciphered the crux move twice, making it look easier than a V0. I could not for the life of me fathom the move. However, after hang-dogging to the 5 bolt, I was able to use Joe Brooks' advice about a blind foot switch while hanging on to a left pinch and right gaston, followed by a big right cross to a sloper. Unfortunately neither of us had the power endurance to link more than a few moves. So it's training time. Also, mental note: if it's less than mid 90s F in Las Vegas, it's pretty cool up at Compton, so bring something warm. A lot of climbers there actually wear down jackets while belaying. Shawn and I just had microfleece things and we were shivering.

Shawn working The Equalizer.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Maneater 5.12a.

The morning started auspiciously when the Starbuck's on Buffalo gave me a complimentary espresso shot to power up my triple to a quadruple. Plus I got a coupon for a "free iced latte after 2pm good at any Starbucks." I wanted to ask, "What the hell is an iced latte?" and add, "Who would want one after 2pm?!" but there was no time for Starbuck Shenanigans. We had to race against time, heat, and golden Apollo himself.

It's only 4 bolts but I'll take it. Shawn magnanimously hung the draws but I'll take it. It's therefore a pinkpoint, but I'll take it... at last, the mystical 5.12 (7a+)! I've been climbing for 7 years, so this is sort of breakthrough. Granted, it could have been a freak occurence... I haven't done any 5.11ds, and Red Rocks is known for its "hero" ratings.

Maneater gently overhangs the entire time and is peppered by incut crimps with exceptional feet, minus the crux move, where for a moment the left hand crimper is not so good (no incut) and the right foot is not as solid as one would like, so it elicited a vocal commitment. Thanks also to Shawn's encouragement, which helped a bunch because I was sort of out of it, especially after the crux move where you can easily take the final moves for granted and blow it if you're overzealous. I used my old Tenaya laceups from Spain (masai I think), which are uncannily precise if you pay attention to their placement.

In any event, I think this is the last sport climbing video I post because they are amazingly boring using a digital camera placed on a rock 50-100 ft away. It was an experiment in anti-climbing porn. No hip hop soundtrack, no closeups, no zooming or panning or crabbing or adobe after-effects on a mac. No nothin'. I was thinking Godard or Warhol, or a chinese painting where the human subject is subsumed by surrounding nature; but instead it's merely dull. Porn wins.