Monday, January 26, 2009

Hueco day 2.

East Mountain...

Warmup Roof V4 flash.

Below is me trying Warmup Roof V5 variation. No dice as my mind-body was unable to corkscrew properly while coordinating with the core.
Problem of the day for me was Try Harder because it contained all the necessary ingredients for my type of climbing: Big moves between big holds, no crimps, and demanding some power. Sort of like the Pearl at Red Rocks. I think Try Harder is old school also, as our guide Chris said it was put up back in the day by some hard man like John Sherman or something like that. Try Harder and Hobbit in a Blender were the only problems on the whole trip to make me scream my ass off. The primal yell is very satisfying to release. However, not any scream will do... it must be pulled out of you by a very demanding move (mentally or physically, preferably both simultaneously.) In other words you can't intend or plan such a spontaneous act. The problem has to pull it out of you. All you can do is get on the boulder and if it happens it happens. Below is me on Try Harder.
I'd like to extend many thanks to Masa for filming my attempts with his tripod; I wasn't in a filming mood at the time but now I'm very thankful he did it. Also many thanks to Takako, a budding climbing photographer, who took the sequence shots above with Yusuke's DLSR.

Warmup Roof V1 - flash
Warmup Roof V2 - flash
Warmup Roof V4 - flash
Dragonfly V5 - flash
left of hobbit "Ostracizer?" V2 - onsight
Hobbit in a Blender V5 - 2nd or third try
Try Harder V4 - redpoint

23 point day - whoa! I think this is a record for me, and my body definitely let me know it was gonna cost me dearly.

Cattleman's Steakhouse was the reward. I think this may have been the best steak I ever had. I am not a steak connosiuer like Masa though (Masa enjoys steaks in the $100+ range).

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Hueco Tanks day 1.

We visited West Mountain with our guide Cooper. Our group: Yusuke "Snake", his girlfriend Takako, Masa (Totem animal = Killer Whale), Six ft. Satoshi, St. Mark, and me (Totem animal = Flounder.)
Takako doing some yoga on West Mountain.
Me about to flash Body Snatcher V4. More my style; no static moves necessary and very gymnastic.
Killer Whale o.d.'s on peanuts and Amber Bock at the Texas Roadhouse.

Between the Cheeks V4 - redpoint. This was a hard old school problem with a little bit of everything... slopers, pinches, heel hooks, toe hooks, crimps... took a bunch of attempts even with beta from the guide Cooper.
Masa obtained a good deal at a Days Inn in El Paso. I'm rooming with St. Mark, whose good nature is almost contagious. Unbeknownst to him, I was born with a natural resistance to good nature and to cleanliness.

8 point day.

Juarez, Mexico.

Last Saturday we crossed the Rio Grande by bridge. It was $0.35 to enter Mexico. You drop the exact change into a toll machine and go through a turnstile. It felt like we were about to get on a carnival ride, which wasn't too far from reality. The odd part was that on a Saturday night, we were literally the only non-mexicans on the street and stood out like four sore thumbs. Ipso facto, we were immediately accosted by a squat fellow named "George" who offered up all sorts of illicit products and activities. Ignoring his pablum and not feeling like getting into a bad B-movie, we chose our own place to eat after checking out the local church.

On the way out, we bought some tacos from a street stand. It was far superior to the restaurant. Her stuff was so good locals were buying her sauces in baggies to go.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Just so the 4 people who read this blog (one of which is me) is clear... Sharkwalk 5.13a (7c+) really is quite overhanging. My previous post made it look like a slab. It's slopey and powerful with a crux at the top. A beautiful route. Below is Mr. Awesome setting for the dyno at the top.
Interestingly enough, Mr. Awesome attacked it the way he trains on the 45 degree wall at the gym- square and powerful with toes pointed at the wall in an almost accusatory fashion. Unlike Mr. Awesome's Ben Moon-informed training style, I resorted to the sneaky sideways approach...
This inspiring route will require some power endurance training on slopey holds, especially since the hardest thing either of us has sent clean is a 5.12. But since Americans are lazy and prefer to get by on talent or any other avenue that avoids discipline, we may instead resort to the tried and true method of ales and onanism or "IRHM" prior to the climb. See the Cody Roth video at momentum climbing (issue#24) for a demonstration of IRHM technique. With any luck a future post will feature Mr. Awesome defeating Sharkwalk with a piledriver, as our climbing escapades evolve into professional wrestling, at least in writing.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Trophy III

This is a shot that Pilar got of a very cute collie mutt at the Trophy. But moving onwards to climb-based narcissism...
At last! I sent my second 5.12a, which hopefully proves to my buddy Masa that the first one wasn't a total fluke. Keep Your Powder Dry goes at 5.12a (7b) if you stop at the ledge, which I did. My second 5.12a ever. First was Maneater, and for both routes I required 4 shots of espresso in the car ride to the crag. Another thing they both have in common is that they are short, which favors my bouldery side because I have no power endurance. However, since I was pretending to be sport climber, I tried to pace myself by resting whenever possible to avoid a flash pump. At the crux, I dynoed with my right hand instead of the left. Most people go left. To me, the right hand is more like a body twist versus the left hand dyno being practically a campus move off of a poor crimp. There's a pic of me sticking the dyno in a previous post . After the crux, you can gain a kneebar rest that if done properly allows you to fully depump before completing a three moves on flat crimps, which aren't that easy after you're tired.
Above, Shawn lowers off The Trophy 5.12b after working out the moves. He had already sent Keep your Powder Dry so he focused on the Trophy. Shawn cleared all the hurdles today, styling the traverse, modifying the rest, sticking the dyno, and deciphering the topout on the ledge. All that remains is the linkage. He probably just needs a good night's sleep, some good ol' beer and masturbation and it'll be done. His all out dyno attempts cost him some skin though. And now for the overdone pic of wounded climber hands:
For an idea of what Shawn was trying to do and eventually did, see this link. Love the fact that the title of pic in the link is "Brilliant Footwork". I found a different way while shamefully hangdogging on second, which was to match on a bad crimp and go right with different foot positioning. I guess "different" is not the right word here as Shawn's feet were not on the rock whereas mine were... it maybe should read "go right WITH foot positioning." Not as dramatic and glorious as a three points off dyno, but my skin is intact. Part of my shameful hangdogging allowed me to put on a silly show of trying to get back on an overhanging route.
Afterwards, Captain Shawn of the Climbship Burlyprise decided to try Sharkwalk, 5.13a. Despite the horrific pun nauseating the Captain... he nonetheless put forth a valiant effort. Pilar's photo below is of Shawn after the crux dyno (what is it with these dynos?) off of an abominably tiny crimp on an overhang. Somehow the photo makes the route appear like a slab, but it was in actuality quite overhung. I dunno. Maybe 30 or 40 degrees?
But that's when things took a turn for the deadly, almost. Above us, some hooligans started mocking Shawn's screams. This was followed by a shotgun blast. OK, it wasn't a gunshot, but somebody above threw down a stone the size of a large brick and it almost hit my wife, shattering on the ledge next to her and sounding like a gunshot. We yelled up to whoever it was that they should NOT throw rocks but I was furious that somebody nearly hit my wife. After Shawn lowered, I fashioned a weapon made of a gri-gri attached to 2 quick draws and ran around the cliff intending to bludgeon whoever threw the rock. When I got around to the top of the Trophy, whoever it was had left... dismayed by the disappearance of the perpetrators, I was left with a sinking feeling surrounding the thought that people tend to hurt others not out of malicious intent but rather out of commonplace thoughtless ignorance.
Below, Shawn grows impatient while waiting for me to mete out vengeance on the absent stone-thrower on the other side of the cliff.
"... Where is that muther ucker?"

Keep Your Powder Dry 5.12a - redpoint
The Trophy - 5.12b - incomplete/hangdog
Sharkwalk - 5.13a - hangdog/left behind a bail biner (more shame!)

The Trophy - 3 tries incomplete (next time Gadget!)
Sharkwalk - incomplete

A##hole rock thrower
My wife - missed

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Caliman - V7

At last, I sent Caliman at the Kraft boulders. Prior to heading out to the boulders, I powered up with a bowl of linguini and buffalo meat (medium rare). Sadly, as I was alone, there's no video or photographic evidence, although there was one witness, a beginning climber named Va [sic?] who was working on the Pearl. He provided a crashpad and much welcomed encouragement. I found some different beta which was to cruise right on a thumb catch instead of bumping left to a razor sharp crimper, which has cut me in the past. I also skip the intermediates at the start and just do a ginormous deadpoint. There's only one person I know who knows what I'm talking about but there you have it: go ginormous and then cruise right. Dinner afterwards was baked trout.
Since I have no photos of the Caliman, I'll provide some recent unrelated photos...
Feather-like or UFO-like clouds.
Pilar on a 5.8 at the Conundrum Crags at Kraft.
Circumcised rock?