Sunday, June 14, 2015

The B Roll

I don't have very much time to talk about all the great shit going down here as usual. All I can say is that I love this stuff. Here is the Tahoe B Roll. A video comprised of mostly forgotten leftover footage from the past two years, along with some stuff that is new and even brand-spanking new. It's summer, time to get excited. I hope this helps cure 9 min of boredom for anyone who needs this. I may be leaving Tahoe for a few weeks to go visit Rocky Mountain, Colorado for the first time in a long time. With the help of some friends maybe I can get a nice sample of the goods over there in the Front Range. In the meantime, everyone enjoy this video I made for your viewing pleasure.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Time for Gratitude

Feels like it's been a while since I wrote some stuff on this blog. Not that there hasn't been stuff to write about. As usual, bouldering wise, the good news never stops here in Lake Tahoe.  March and April had me pretty busy with work but then came the inevitable pause. As far as climbing goes, my focus has been the same as ever. One great line at a time. I don't even know where to start.
    I'll mention that perhaps Brad Perry and I either rediscovered or built upon existing boulder development at Round Hill. Very near Nevada Beach we found a few things that had been scrubbed that were pretty cool. We decided to continue what this mystery person started and added about a dozen lines in this main cluster near the church. This Round Hill zone had a few good ones worth mentioning. These include Jihadi With A Banging Body v5, One Man's Trash v8, The Sonic Never v7 and Scoop of Lichen v2/3. It's not very much but anybody living close to the Stateline area might appreciate a quick visit to this easy access area. If anyone wants to have a look, park by the bike path intersection near Nevada Beach on Elks Point Road. From the car use dirt road/bike paths to walk through the opening in the fence. From the car you hike north /east about 100 yards to a cluster. I've drawn up a topo to submit to Tahoe Bouldering Guides.
  Speaking of Tahoe Bouldering Guides, the new Outlying Guide is about to be released. Get psyched for another huge volume of never-ending bouldering info. This new guide will have areas such as Erratica, The Freaks, Sierra Buttes, Doyle, Prison Hill, Legoland and more. With the summer season coming up, I'm sure all the visitors will have there hands full. The only problem with bouldering here in Tahoe is trying to decide where to go each day.
   With the help of the guide I've been going around my own backyard sampling goods that I never knew were there. I've been hitting mostly stuff that is close to town. Tahoe Mountain has been my focus the past month.  A few Lucido lines worth mentioning are Show of Force, Armed Response, Rolling Thunder, Golden Fleece, Divided Skyway, Vagabond. All of these lines had a great deal of allure and I can vouch for the quality of experience I received from climbing on them. Also, anyone who can climb v8 has to take the jaunt to the summit to do Jarrad Wyckoff's The Arena. Such a great one in a cool spot. Fair warning, Tahoe Mountain has it's own type of granite, what I mean is it is sharp, jagged. Wait for good temps and bring thick skin. Anyone looking for the extra challenge should give the Lucido masterpiece lowball Dead Ant a try. Apparently once a v5/6, this thing at time of guidebook was guesstimated to be upgraded to about v9. Personally after spending 7 days at this point working on the 3 moves, I've only hit one move, one time. My guess is that this little bastard is more like a v11. Just a guess as I tend to grade very liberal.

   Next place I'd like to mention is the new stuff that's gone down at the Beavers. Ian Cotter-Brown got the Beaver Ball rolling this season. Check out his blog here. Ian added Belly of the Beaver v9, Tickle Me Beaver v10, Moss Man Prophecies v8 and Don't Feed the Beavers v5. I got inspired. I cleaned a new rock 20 feet from the popular One Eye Willie. This boulder now has a v5 the Bored Arete and Short Fuse v9, a one move dyno to an incut rail on a short wall. Could be height dependent, favoring the shorter person for a change. I also added an extension to Tick Me Beaver that takes the line further left into Beaver Fever instead of Cleaver. I dubbed this line The Tickle Monster v11. Mike Njoten also added Busy Beaver v5, 6, 7, 8, or 9. This is a stand start on the trailside arete you come to right when you get to the Slug Boulder. I haven't tried this one yet but am very intrigued.
     But it never stops. Benwood Meadows has seen an influx of new lines, particularly highballs by the next generation of Tahoe youngsters. These whippersnappers are leading a full charge deep in the woods. They are doing some cool shit that is very tall. It's inspiring to watch though I'm not much of a highballer myself. In addition to Benwood , I recently took a trip to Sugar Pine where I saw the future of West Shore bouldering. Going beyond the furthest reaches of Sugar 6 I got to see the clean slate of Sugar 7. Wow, lucky number 7. I'd tell ya how many great, big, untouched boulders I saw, but I lost count after 50 or so. We did a huge trek out there only to get dumped on with snow and rain all day. For walking 2 hours out and getting completely shut down I had so much fun exploring and cutting up with a great crew of psyched locals who are in it for the long haul.
                                    What a crew, what a day! Photo by Jon Thompson

      This place is truly amazing. Tahoe is still very much still in it's golden age. Th
e amount of great boulders here will keep coming as the decades pass by. When I first moved here in 2002, I used to think that this place was a quick stop til I could get on my way, an accident. Now I know that it was no accident that a person like me ended up here. This month I have felt so grateful that I have been a part of this place. Now, over 13 years later, it's still going harder than ever. It's very cool to see the next wave of young climbers joining in the frenzy. Their fresh psyche, high energy, and obsessive dedication are going to push this place into becoming the infinite playground that it is.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Where the Hell is Elbert Lake ?

Well, you start by hiking to Cabin Fever, go up a trail, follow down trees, cryptic river crossings, marshes, beaver dams, trolls, bushwhacks, and anywhere from an hour and a half to three hours later, you're there.
    Two years ago, Jarrad Wyckoff found this neat little zone that is very reminiscent of the Mountain Beavers. While the zone was indeed rad, it was guarded by a hike that is not very far but a bit involved when it comes to navigation. That same year, Jarrad, Kenyon Smith and I visited this area non stop for about 4 months until we were chased away by killer mosquitos. But in that four months about 50 problems or so were established. The area seemed to yield very good and unique boulders that are typically above v5. After the first year, no one cared. It was decided that perhaps because of the difficulty in describing the approach, this area was maybe not guidebook material. Plus, anyone who has the Tahoe Bouldering Guidebooks know that it has plenty of info as it.
   Last year, Elbert saw a big group of visitors for a short sample day. Ever since it lay dormant for a while now. But a couple of weeks ago, Ian Cotter Brown and Erin Ayla said that they wanted to go off the beaten path. They wanted adventure, allure, and a place with an exclusive feel. Elbert stood out in my mind as one of my favorite areas. With the help of Charlie Barrett and Joe Debaun, we quickly packed our shit and trudged up the canyon to this magical spot. Every trip has a theme, crushing, developing, injuries, but this one was just pure fun. All smiles, beers, serenity and enjoyment. Quite an experience for all involved. And, of course, we just could not help but try to share this experience with the community. I hope everyone enjoys this video.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Season of the Nemesis

Tis the season. I returned home from my travels a bit burned out, indecisive and, overall, confused for a plan. I had no job and more funds for further trips. I just could not decide what I should do. Where should I go? I went with my instincts. My instincts were to stay put and wait. Wait for what? I didn't know. I began to observe my surrounding a bit closer and realized that here I was home, in Lake Tahoe, in February, and there was NO SNOW. It's not everyday here that you get these kind of perfect conditions, unless you were talking about now. Upon seeing this ( please click it), I became inspired to do what I always used to do when I didn't know what to do.....project march! I thought about all the bullys ( bullshit nemesis boulder projects). I thought of all the ones I left behind, wrote off, said "f***-It". The list instantly entered my head. I had to tackle them my way, one at a time. No expectations. Just back to be honed in on a desire.
Number one on the list  -  Many names for this one but the most accepted is Eminently Climbable.
                                                   photo by Von Perry Photography

               In 2003 Scott Mitchell and Mike Reeves took me to this amazing crimper project with an incredible position on Echo Summit. The project was bullet proof rock, hard tick tacks, with a bastard top out. In 2003, we could not get off the ground on any of the positions in the lower moves. At the time we were all climbing about v8/9/10, so we tried the top out. After 4 days of efforts we all wrote the problem off as impossible. Thus this project was dubbed The Impossible Dream. Scott and Mike eventually moved away and left me with a slew of projects like this one. I kept trying, and trying , and trying and trying and eventually gave up. After all it was.....f*******g impossible. I let it be and was easily distracted by Tahoe's other untapped (more possible) potential. Fast forward, last year (maybe one before). My buddy tells me he sent Impossible Dream , from the sit and that it was v4???WTF. He named it Eminently Climbable ( a slight to the projects name). Another season went with no send. Then pics and word came of the legendary Fred Nicole entering our Tahoe atmosphere to sample some local goods. While here, Fred and his brother did a number of great climbs. One of them being, Eminently Climbable. Eventually we believed in the Impossible Dream and another send was done by local Dustin Sabo. I honed in this winter and eventually did a night send ( in February) SEND ( FINALLY!) of ...the Impossible Dream aka Eminently Climbably aka The Frank Nicole. The grade, whatever you want apparently....v4, v8, v8/9 , v11, v11/12. For me, never gonna forget it. Statement of the Obvious.....I was happy to do this one.

There I was on a frickin' roll. By roll I mean one, but it was a big un'. I could not believe that I finally sent it. That was cool enough for me. Typical boulderer who just sent a major proj....what do I try next. I dug deep to my darkest fears and this looming nemesis came to mind.
                      Hyperion ( the actual stick crux in the send shot from Von Perry Photography

In the ye ol' days of Erratica blahs blahs blah. Most locals know of Party Animal. That one is my baby. My hard problem which might not be too hard :). Not sure on that one, but I can promise that this one is one of my personal hardest. In the background there was always this leftward version of Party Animal that was originally projected and envisioned by Brian Arnold, that's right Ninja Warrior Brian Arnold. He named the project Hyperion. I remember it being a Sci Fi thing. I was outta the loop. Brian did not send in time despite being very close. Instead the gold later went to Scott Chandler. I believe that he sent Hyperion the day after I did the FA of Party Animal. Scott graded it v7/8. Holy S***! I suck! The reachy beta that short cutted the Party Animal move was about as inconsistent for me ( 5 ft tall) as dunking a basketball. I was stumped for years. Over time Hyperion was repeated by several such as MZ, MH, and GW ( fun game, guess who, hint:all Americans) and possibly more. GW, spoiler alert, Griffin Whiteside gave me some beta that was so simple yet so genius. Go right hand first! How did I never come up with that? Made so much sense. Why was not important. Now, I knew I could finally put this one down. I ironed out the details and refreshed my muscle memory on all the moves and went for another night sesh in February. With Brad Perry trying to hold his camera steady despite shaking from the cold air, I gave it hell. Somehow, he caught the actual stick of the crux in this great picture. After sticking that move, I had to keep my shit together through the v7ish exit moves. Even though my greasy tips were clinging by a thread, I guess the bouldering gods decided that I'd tried this for long enough, it was time to stand on top of this bastard. I remember feeling this rush. When you boulder like I do on projects like this, you know you can do it but you can't time it. When it finally happens it feels like you just knocked out Tyson when everyone told you it was impossible. I usually scream obscenities and sound borderline angry on the tops of these things. But, despite the intensity, it is all joy. I went home that night and drank a lot of frickin' beer. A celebration was in order.

      After those two, I felt like I was psyched for the whole month. I relaxed. I took a job that would last about a week. I focused on working and training a little. When the work slowed, I got anxious. I thought, what else has been hanging over my head. The next one stuck out like a sore thumb.
     Years ago, babablallallahahhahahaa. LOST IN SPACE. Space Race v7 (sandbagged ) sits right next to the area favorite Space Cowboy. The sit project was always looming over everyone as something that was begging to be done. It would be one of the toughest in the area. I began attacking this thing. All of my efforts were thwarted by the greasy, sharp pinches on this rig. Having the sweatiest hands I've seen doesn't help on this one. Dry skin and vice-grip forearm power is a must. It alluded me. Eventually I lost interest. Later I would hear that the first ascent was done by three different people at three different times. First, I heard, a kid no one heard of came up from the Bay and did the FA in 80 degree heat and called it v10! Sounds like bullshit but whatever. 6 months later I heard of the 2nd "FA" done by Joel at v11. Years later I hear that Randy did it first. It's cool it got done. Who did it first? I don't know and it doesn't matter. I wanted my turn and that's all I knew.
      I decided it was time to return to this one. It felt exactly how I remembered it. F***** up! Spiky pinches coated in bacon grease. If you can do 4 heinous moves then you only have to do a sandbag v7. So simple yet so messed up. Day one back on it this year went like crap (normal actually). Something told me to hit it the 2nd day in better conditions so I waited until dusk. Every 10 minutes I rested landed me to another high point. I had never got past the 2nd move. Then, I did 3 moves, then greased off. AHHH. 10 minutes later, it was a little colder. I got to the 4th move and greased off the last v7 move. Did I miss my chance? Sometimes, you get really close and then don't get there again for a while. 10 minutes later, it was colder. This time it was finally cold enough to not grease anymore. After 3 years of being worked over by this thing, I finally did it.
                   The day before the send. Space Race Sit photo by  Von Perry Photography

        Inspiration can spark fires that begin as a small flame, but they can burn very hot when fueled properly. This is my life I suppose. One problem at a time. I love how these things motivate me and get me all jazzed up. It's so overwhelming that I don't know how to handle it other than to make sure that through all of it the most important thing is to keep moving forward. Then the question, what is next? Plenty.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Lower Right Corner

       It's been a very cool couple of months traveling non-stop. Starting in September I did 6 weeks in Switzerland, home for 6 days, 8 weeks in the Southeast, home for 36 hours, and then just returned from an 11 day loop tour through Utah and Nevada. As usual there's always too much to write about in these blogs.
     The Southeast part of my trip was maybe my favorite ever. Kenyon Smith and I got some of the best conditions this season. We decided to take advantage of the situation and did our best to send as many great things as possible. We mainly spent time at three zones this season: Rocktown, Chattanooga, and Gadsden.  Even though I've spent a lot of time climbing here I still got to see so many climbs that were new to me.  Complete with jigsaw puzzles, a trip to the Aquarium, Big River Brewery, Moonlight Bistro, ICB, lefts to right, and rights to left. What a great time. It's been a little while since I posted a little bouldering edit so here's another one of my time down south. For the title of the video, there was much debate on how to title a southeast video without using the word "south" or "east". Hence, The Lower Right Corner.

Hopefully everyone enjoys this little piece. After the south, I came home for a day before hitting the road again with Brad Perry. I've never done so much in this short amount of time. The first stop was the town of Goldfield, NV. Here we visited the creepy roadside attraction Goldfield Cemetery. We chilled here for the sunset and absorbed the spooky atmosphere of this historic place. At the 5 hour mark this was a great way to break up the drive.

Next was Vegas Baby! We checked into the Red Rocks campground and went to a few zones over the next 4 days. At the Kraft boulders, I got to do the famous historic problems The Pearl and Monkey Bar. These have been on my list for a while and I was psyched to do them. Other problems I liked were Timmy's, Monkey Bar Direct ( could not do it), Alexisizer, Put Your Shoes On Arete, and Progressive Guy ( also could not do it). What an awesome place to finally see. A little crowded but that's expected of a cool place like this one.

The other 2 areas we went to were Willow Springs and Oak Creek Canyon. Willow was an easy to find and secluded area. Here I got to do the awesome v10 Ride the White Horse. This crazy slopey lip traverse sits in a wash and is a sloper and tension masterpiece. Absolutely love it. Doesn't hurt to be short on this one and that's rare. At Oak Creek, times were tougher. We completely underestimated the hike and got a little confused/turned around/took-3hours-to-find-the-boulders. It was epic. With all our gear we scrambled up a steep wash looking for anything with chalk on it. At the 3 hour mark, we were on our way down, giving up when we stumbled on the problem Get Burnt. We used what little time we had left to take this one down. Wow, what a move. Hard to find this area but if you like seclusion and a good walk, then this is a cool spot.

Next was Saint George. It was all about meeting up with friends and locals and just taking it easy. We cruised the area for a day and did some repeats of the easier and moderate problems. Although I did have a quick repeat of Bazooka Tooth using the crazy beta of climbing it belly down. This method really works out your opposing muscles for climbing as you end up pushing your way up the climb.

After Moe's, we headed to Salt Lake City to go to the OR Trade Show. I had never been to one but it was an interesting experience for sure. The trade show was a bit overwhelming. There are company booths everywhere. Free stickers, free cuzies, free food samples, sometimes even free beer. That part is very fun. Not to mention that you can check out all the latest gear from the best companies. While there I got to meet up in person with the two companies that sponsor me. Metolius Climbing and Evolv have been my gear sponsors for many years. I've been very happy to represent the companies that have my favorite tools for bouldering. The Metolius Recon pad is my all time favorite and Evolv is making better and better shoes every year. Anyone who hasn't checked out the Nexxo's
Check em! This is one of the great ones. Downturned, love bump, lots of rubber on the toe, a heel hook that doesn't slip. A one of kind weapon for destroying your project!

After Salt Lake City, Joe's Valley was next on the list. We had plans of staying a few days, but issues back home had us leaving early to do some TCB. Our time in Joe's didn't consist of too much bouldering but we definitely took advantage of the world's most delicious donuts from the Orangeville Food Ranch. After gaining a few pounds of sheer pastry power, we headed back to South Lake Tahoe to regroup.  Over 5 months of straight travel have passed me by once again. Now I'm home again to decompress and plan the next great adventure. So much opportunity in front of me creates stress for a heavy decision. More travel, job, a change. This is how life goes.  I have the highest hopes for what lies ahead.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Southeast Shape Up

         I'm still kicking it here in the Southeast.  Most of my time has been spent training and keeping a better diet. I've been dropping some fat and climbing up some cool rocks. The Southeast sandstone was the first rock I ever touched when I was 18. To this day it is still one of my favorite places to visit for bouldering. While here, I've been checking out some of my old favorites like Rocktown, and checking out some areas I've not been to before. These are mainly the Hospital Boulders of Gadsden, Alabama and some of the satellite areas around Chattanooga, Tennessee. Extra psyche always comes from experiencing a new zone, making new goals, and achieving them....or getting close. The Hospital Boulders are awesome. Even though it is not the biggest area it certainly has its share of gems. We've been putting in the time to work through some excellent problems.
        In addition to training and climbing, I've been working on another little video edit cause that's what I do. I'm usually hit or miss on whether or not I make a video of a certain trip or experience. Sometimes it's nice to leave the camera in the bag and just have fun, i.e. my Swiss trip.  Here in the South, however, I've decided not to be so lazy this time and make use of the camera and laptop since I lugged it all the way here. With the help of Kenyon Smith, I've been getting some good footage of some great southern boulder problems. Working on the edit has been a productive way to pass the time on the rainy days. It should be a fun video to watch for anyone trying to get amped on a southeast trip. It should be uploaded around mid January. Until then, hopefully everyone is having a good winter and staying injury free.

                                         screen grab from southeast video edit

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Recovering in Alabama

      After a big climbing trip, my body can feel pretty wrecked. Upon returning from Switzerland I can home with a few souvenirs. I gained about 10 lbs of weight in Europe, much thanks to the affordability of the world's best chocolate and maybe the cheapest 6 pack of beer I've ever seen. Also, came home with a little elbow tendonitis. It is pretty standard to come back with a few bumps and bruises, and the body must heal before the next adventure. That's what I've been up to.
    Now I'm in the southeast USA again. I've been doing a little work for my parents, healing my tendonitis through rehab, catching up on resistance training, and getting ready for the next journey. It's a bonus that I get to do it here in the south which has some of the best sandstone around. The main areas that I've been cycling through are Rocktown, Citadel, Hospital Boulders, etc. The list of projects for me is growing everyday. I'm mainly focusing on mileage at the moment but have ticked a few good moderates while here, including the Iron Claw sit start. I had never done this line before but it was truly stellar. It has perfect compression with big moves. It also has one of the coolest pinches I've seen.  It's been great getting my bearings in this great sandstone dreamworld.
    The rock out here is getting me ready for the next adventure, which will be a two week trip through the west with my buddy Brad Perry. We'll be going through Vegas, Moe's, Joe's, Salt Lake City, and then Ibex. Utah is in the cards for January. I hope for good weather and good sending mojo.
I can't wait.
                                          Iron Claw Sit; Rocktown, Georgia.   Photo by Kenyon Smith