Sunday, November 29, 2009

Slopey traverse again.

I sent this for the first time last year but have not been able to repeat it since then. So I decided to film myself, thinking I'd learn about my climbing mistakes. Instead I learned about the unconscious gestures that overwhelm me and I grew instantly embarrassed. Talk about narcissistic!

Slopey Traverse V6. from Hotel Sierra on Vimeo.

Yellow card:
  • Stripping
  • Talking to self
  • No onsight
  • Lens flare
  • Crashpad visible

Red Card:
  • Dressing (sort of)
  • Ass-dragger problem
  • only V6
  • silly hat + bareback
  • Filming self

  • Punk rock music soundtrack
  • Screaming
Additional punishment for Red Card offenders may include, but is not limited to, rear naked chokes, donkey punches, and other forms of humiliation not to be tried at home.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mr. Choad.

On the way to the Sunny & Steep crag, we encountered my first Red Rock tarantula. I placed my sunglasses by it for scale. Below is me redpointing Mr. Choad's Wild Ride, a 10 bolt 5.11b that had stymied me on numerous occasions. A small improvement in foot work and taking interminably long rests (there are a couple no hands stances) enabled me to push to the top, albeit still pretty pumped.
Below, Mark seconds the route and cleans it. A lot easier to have the second clean it than to do it while lowering because the route seems to wander left to right.

Mark's reaction to the pumpitude afterwards.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Back to Black Velvet.

Dream of Wild Turkeys 5.10a.

Here I lead my first 5.9 trad pitch. Good stances, but I started to get tired placing gear. Adding to the stress was that this was 150' long and I was running out of draws and pro. Good fun.

Andrei follows the 5.10a traverse on pitch 3.

Andrei following another 5.10a on pitch 4. It was at this point that I whipped out my daisy chain and inadvertently knocked the left lens out of my glasses. Andrei noticed a transparent piece of plastic plunge past him into the abyss 400 ft down. I ended up with no depth perception. And it was getting dark. Damn. Because of this we had to bail. Of course, the rope got stuck behind a huge flake and Ben had to lead back up to it to free it. Andrei noted that the more difficult the climb the more things started to go wrong.

Icebox Canyon.

Frigid Air Buttress 940' 5.9+.
Here I am on pitch 5, a large awkward chimney. I was able to get a head jam with my helmet.
Past the chimney and the swing onto the left face, I proceed to higher ground. There was a pretty good 4" cam placement at the top of the chimney.

Andrei leading. Actually not sure if this is a pic from this route. For some reason I can remember bouldering and sport routes down to the foot jibs, but on these traditional multipitch climbs, I seem to be unable to recall all the pitches in detail. I also have a poor memory for my placements. Perhaps this just comes with time. Andrei would tell me that a cam placement was not ideal and point out better positions, but I had a hard time visualizing what he was referring to even though I had just led it!

Ben leads the final 5.9+ pitch, which consists of a beautiful finger crack... I think this photo is of him on the diciest moment, checking a partial swing.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Andrei leading a chimney. (Oops... this is actually a pitch on Frigid Air Buttress (see more recent post for details on that. I also forgot to mention at the top of Frogland, we ran into Bill Ramsey and a professor friend of his that was 77 yrs old (!) and climbing 5.8. Truly inspiring. I would also add that Frogland is uber popular, and there were at least 3 parties behind us. So if you go on a weekend either get there super early or avoid it.)
I don't know how the helmet got there.
I think this was 5.7 or 5.8 ... 6 or 7 pitches. My trad mentors Ben and Andrei showed up from NJ and took me on some delightful classics. Pictures above are from Frogland in Black Velvet Canyon.