Friday, May 13, 2016

Sweden Baby and more

Wow, is it already almost June of 2016?! I must be having fun because it is flying by; it always does. Since my last post I disappeared from the blog for a bit. There’s always too much to write whenever I let things go this long. A quick recap is that I went to Las Vegas for a month to boulder. I had only been there for a very short period before that. I was blown away by how good the sandstone was. In the canyons it might have been the best I’ve ever seen. Definitely at least as good as Rocklands or the Southeast’s best boulders. My only complaint would be the crowds. Kraft seems pretty popular and some of the boulders off the main trails in the park can get a bit hectic on the weekends. Putting that aside, I had a great time. Climbed many classics. My highlight was doing a very good boulder called We Need Ice in the Ice Box canyon. This one had amazing movement with sustained difficulty, perfect rock, and seemed to always be cold and in the shade. It was everything I look for. It did not come too easy for me either, taking me 4 sessions to complete. This one was worth the effort though. It was nice to meet a new project, shake hands, and then beat the crap out of each other so to speak. Besides the bouldering, Vegas can be a pretty fun place to hang out. I definitely went to some great restaurants, Bachi Burger was my favorite, and did some things on the strip too. Being the lazy hermit that I am though, I stuck mostly to the desert life. I had missed those days. Waking up early, being dirty, harassed by police, struggling to find ways to use the bathroom; these things are just the funnest kind of annoying. Here is a video of the send of We Need Ice. A hat tip to Ian Cotter_Brown of Rockwarrior Films for the sweet footage. 



Now after all that, I came back home to a snowy Tahoe. This was cool since I hadn’t seen town like this in a while. I was starting to wonder if it ever snowed here anymore. It still does sometimes which is nice. Upon returning, life kicked back in and I got a few jobs. I had to get to work immediately to recoup finances and all that pleasant stuff that is included in “life”. This month didn’t leave too much room for climbing or training. I don’t work too much but when I do, I frickin’ work! Sometimes things get hectic but that’s how it goes. Somewhere in the middle of all this I started to contemplate meeting some of my Swedish friends in Font, even though I probably “should have” been being a responsible adult and getting my shit together. ;i…..hmmm screw that right! As it turns out, the tickets to Paris on short notice were too rich for me. Oh well, all this was wishful thinking anyways. It usually feels like I'm just seeing if I can go ( but inside my lazy mind I tell myself nahhh, you’re not REALLY gonna go). The psychology of how my brain works is very funny to me. Randomly, my friend suggested I go to check out the boulders in his town in Sweden. Not very globally known at all, off the tourist track, and international radar. I was very interested in doing something different. I checked plane tickets and they were affordable. With the help of my friend, I decided in just a half day that …well fuck it ! I’m going to Sweden. Only after purchasing the tickets, did I suddenly get some work that was timed perfectly for my departure. This work was going to take care of the finances for the trip. What can I say, sometimes things just work out. 

I arrived in Stockholm, jet lagged like a mofo. I missed the train, had to sleep on a wooden bench for 12 hours, got more jet lagged. I’ve noticed that long distance travel on a budget feels a lot like self-inflicted psychological torture. After two full days of planes and trains I showed up in Sundsvall, Sweden with minimal baggage and lots of support from my friends there. The first night it was raining, but from the next day on the area had basically two weeks straight of perfect spring weather; no rain, sun mixed with clouds, light winds, and that perfect temperature that holds the balance between cool and comfortable. I felt lucky to have all these things line up. We took full advantage of this and climbed maybe 9 days out of the 11 I was there. We visited a different area everyday. It was nice to receive the tour from one of the areas main developers Robert Osterholm. He made sure that he took me to the best things they had to offer, even though I can tell you that in that short of time I couldn’t scratch the surface on all the bouldering they had there. The quality was amazing all around. Every area had a different the feel from the previous one. The boulders were everywhere in Sweden. From the main road north of Stockholm all the way to 60 km ( oh yeah! I just went metric on ya) I saw boulders in the woods everywhere. Sweden definitely had quantity and I can tell you that it also had the quality. 

I did a lot of bouldering. So many great things to talk about. Two things stick out in my mind. One of Sundsvall’s hardest ticks is Saga 8A ( damn he just went in the Font scale!) Not reachy, not scary and perfect rock. I loved it. Problem was that the 2 sessions I had were either bad conditions or short of time so I was not able to complete it. But damn, I came agonizingly close. Too close to forget about if you know what I mean. If you don’t, what I mean is that it will HAUNT me! I hate letting a great thing slip through my fingers. AHHhHHH, wew…. all right! Ultimately, this is how the game works. Sometimes these things get away from me. I either will go back and take care of it or suck it up and try to learn somethings from it. Saga was a killer climb, but I’ll have to have that glory next time.  The other climb I have to mention was the last one I did before I had to say goodbye to this wonderful area. Robert Osterholm’s tour truly did save the best for last. Even though it was a bit out of the way for one problem, this was a small price to pay for this gem. Hogmassan is an amazing giant chunk off of a random road north of Sundsvall. The compression line is high quality, beautiful, and tall. I don’t usually like tall but I decided to sack up for this one. Upon really inspecting it,  I decided that though high it was gonna be quite safe. After a few hours of needing to find my own method through the big reaches, I made it pass the crux moves, got halfway up the big boulder to a jug and just breathed and shook my way through the easy finish. It was exhilarating. Definitely one of the best rock climbs I’ve done ever. This one gave me a rush I haven’t felt in a while. 

The conclusion is that this trip was all about living outside the box for a bit. I did that by going to this place, which although off the popular grid, was so rewarding. It is a big world out there and there are so many great boulders to climb on. It is important to keep an open mind when traveling and climbing. You can end up like I did going to some place that was never on your bucket list, and then be totally blown away. My impression of Sundvall is obviously expressed in these aforementioned words. In climber terms ( forgive me) it was fucking awesome! Dem Swedes got some great rocks to climb :) This trip left me motivated to be a better climber, train more, and travel more. I’m definitely into going to Europe especially more and more. So much to see and do there. Now since I am wearing my damn fingers out typing this much I’ll put some other fun facts below in list form for more quick recapping of my experience in Sweden. Below that I’ve included some pictures of Hogmassan. And videos of Sundvall bouldering, which includes Saga and some other good climbs and the FA of Hogmassan. My next adventure starts in 3 days when I hike into Desolation for a 7 day backpack/boulder adventure into the snowy Velma lakes. My roommate and I are going for a full on adventure this time. Still encased in heavy snow, this will be another case of my going outside the box. Hopefully it will be great epic and not miserable epic. We are planning to film and make a video but we will be limited on battery power for the camera so we shall see how it goes. Either way, my next post will be about this trip. Thanks for reading this peeps, I leave you with the remainder….

MY SWEDISH TRIP FUN FACTS
hardest send : Breakdance 7C+ 
best send:    Hogmassan 7C, this means something like "Sunday Church" in Swedish
Swedish women:  most beautiful I’ve ever seen, kinda unbelievable, go see for yourself
tacos:         yes, Swedes really do love tacos
candy:        Bilar, Swedens most sold car, somewhere between gummy bears and marshmallows
other good problems:         Partner in Climb 7A, Stone Hetch 7A, Primal Scream 7B, Express Delivery 7A+
best Swedish beer:          Oppigards ( any of em) just my opinion
most interesting food I had:       Moose tacos ( yes, they were great!)
worst food I had:                   Max burger, supposedly Sweden’s answer to Carl Jr., lets just say things went bad for me :(
funniest moment:                  realizing that Justin Biebier’s “Love Yourself” lyrics really sound better if you replace
                                             “love yourself” with “fuck yourself”., seriously, give it a try
best movie I saw on the trip:     Dead Pool, hold crap that is funny

my special thank you to:           Robert Osterholm, Peter Schibbye, Anna Thorsaeus, Victoria Hesselius, Alex Fallden


                                             Me sending Hogmassan, pics by Robert Osterholm



Thursday, November 26, 2015

I Still Rock Climb

Oh it has been so long since I updated this blog. Not that too many people read it, but for those few that do they probably think I went to the dark side. But nope, I'm still the same ol' same ol'. A quick recap. ( Real quick) I worked through the summer til October, spent a bit of time on West shore developing the next major area with Dave Hatchett. I put up another 20 plus problems in the Tahoe area. Visited the Doyle boulders north of Reno. Returned to Bishop after a two year hiatus. Sent the problem Mad Hatter, maybe best compression problem in Bishop IMO. Dodged cheaters, liars, manipulators, shit talking downgraders, lunatics, and dogs. Kept mostly to myself. Fired up old passions. Did an ascent of Redbull Challenge. Rode a bike more than ever before. And found out just how much beer a short person can really drink. All these things occupied me enough to neglect typing out a blog post. A quick recap indeed.
         I'm a to the point kinda fellow this year. As of now, I'm in the southeast once again. Visiting family, friends and of course doing some saaaaanding. I love the sandstone out here. It is some of the best around. I plan on doing my usual routine of projecting one desirable project at a time. Most of which will be in the roof at Dayton Pocket. I hope that one day I tick every single line in this thing. So far, I've got 4 out of maybe 20. It seems like there's more than enough to keep me busy for a while. Even the link ups interest me. I love that feeling of getting past a section that is so hard that the juggy finish feels like a melt fest. Safe, challenging , and full on 3D. All of this will help prepare me for my next adventure; Winter in Vegas. There are so many lines that I want to try. I plan on spending a few months there with good friends as we work our way through all of our lines of choice. After seeing all the videos and reading the amazing guidebook, I have an enormous list of climbs to try there. No matter how old I get, the psyche continues to just grow and grow. For me climbing and time go hand and hand. They just keep on going with no end in sight. I don't plan on slowing down anytime soon. At 35 years old, I'm still riding that same high that drives me from one great experience to the next. Pointless, yes but ordinary, never. True passion is eternal. I will likely follow this one all the way to the grave.

                                           Solo day at Sugar Pine 1. Sending Extra Jolt v9

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

One Step Further

          Every damn month out here it seems that enough great new climbing development goes down to fill another 40 pages of the Tahoe Boulder Guides update. This is Tahoe. It will never stop. June and July was a great month despite the heat and the massive amounts of crowds. First of all, a big shout out to the crew of Jay Sell, Brock Berry, Brandon Ransom, Joe Bob, Becca, and all those folks who put in the time on Lower Big Meadow. This new zone is basically like another Beavers. Great boulders in a spectacular, easy to access setting on Luther Pass. Mini talus surrounded by aspens, creek side goodness, and open pine forrest nestled in friendly user terrain. It has been awesome repeating the classics here. If you haven't gone, go pay a visit to this place. Lines not to be missed are Ripple v2, The JZ v5, Rained Out v5, Cloudburst v7, the Missouri Arete v3, and Bacchanalia v8.All good ones. What an area. It was a pleasure to follow in the footsteps of this crew and reap the bennies of their hard work. Another great zone on the map. I added a couple of lines that are unrepeated at the time of this blog. The Bacchanalia sit v10 is a hard one that takes high tension and bullet skin. Much respect to Becca from Missouri for envisioning this hard line and putting up the stand which is a mega line in itself. I also added The Grifter v8/9 which was a standing project that climbs an overhanging wall with thrutchy compression to a ball busting top out. With many smaller boulders scattered through the forest this area may yield more in the future.
        In addition to Lower Big Meadow, another area got put big on the map recently. Snow Lake was developed by myself, Jonah Fahrion, Brad Perry, Roman Yalowitz, Jon Thompson and Lamberto Franco. When we first began climbing here we thought it would just be a small area with not too much. This place really came to life with the efforts of the group and produced about 50 boulder problems. Most of these are instant classics with cool features on perfect stone. This place kind of has it all. Swimming, fishing, camping, bouldering, lots of wildlife, it has ...in fact....what you want. Don't miss out on the visit and be ready for an adventurous trek into heavenly terrain. Theres too many lines there to mention but some stand outs seem to be Powder Day v1, Fortunate Soul v7, White Out v10/11, Avalanche v10/11, Vanilla Wafer v10, Black Diamond v5, White Lies v2/7, and Euphoria v9. Quite a place, and for the full experience, strap a pad to your backpack and stay a few nights. You won't regret it. Remember that Snow Lake is part of Desolation Wilderness and you should technically get a permit if you stay overnight. You can visit this website to obtain information on visiting Desolation Wilderness.
       After we were done with Snow Lake, we knew the next move. This "campaign" that we've been leading into the wilderness is just going to be taking small steps deeper and further into the backcountry. I wonder how far back we will be by the end, I'm sure in 5 years we'll eventually hit the ocean, but then we'll just go north to south I guess. In the meantime, Jonah, Lamberto, David Outcalt and I pushed the development further this weekend into the next zone, Azure Lake. We started on the south side. Upon first glance we thought this area would have kept us busy for weeks to come. Perhaps by a miracle or a surge of motivation, we managed to climb the entire zone out ( more or less of course) in a single push through the weekend. Between the 4 of us, about 40 lines went up in 2 days. I've never seen production like this. If we were a company, we would have been millionaires over night. We came and we conquered. Most of the problems in this zone are in the v2-5 range which made this task more doable. There are some harder ones that were done that are in the v7/8 range and are really good. I'd say most of the problems were in the 2 star range. Between Snow and Azure, so far 90 awesome new boulders have gone up in just 4 weeks!!! Holy crap. I love this place. Anyone planning on visiting Azure should be warned that this area adds about 35 grueling minutes to the snow lake approach ( 1 hour 15 min on average), which makes this approach in the 2 hour range. Be ready for walking up a big ass slab right at the tail end which will be a spirit breaker. Be tough, power through and the rewards will be great. We are still hard at work pushing this one step at a time. We will be working on a video of Azure Lake that will be posted in the next few weeks. Topos will also be posted to go along with video.

     Speaking of topos. I'm posting below some pictures that I took of the Snow Lake topo that is in the works. Keep in mind, these are pictures of the rough copy of the topo. It is merely a reference to give anyone visiting the area some perspective of what's what. I hope this helps.











Hopefully, this information will get motivated mofos there a bit smoother. I've reposted this video again for perspective and psyche! We'll be moving deeper in the wilderness this next few weeks and filming for the next installment. Now get out there and go cranking!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Snow Lake Bouldering

After years of living out here in Lake Tahoe, there's no doubt when you venture around which season we are in now. It's hot, there's thunderstorms, night and day the streets are crowded, "for now, these hot days is the mad blood stirring". Oh yeah, and parking is a bitch.....especially at Emerald Bay rd.....? Well, speaking of Emerald Bay road, long story short, there's another new area in Tahoe yet again. I know I know, same ol' shit. Yet, if you're in my mind frame, it's another world. Another drop in the magic bucket. Another call from afar that we all hear whisper in our ears those two little words...."get some".  Lake Tahoe is full of a bunch of obsessed types that fiend for it daily. A month ago a few of us began to answer the call.
     It's no secret that Desolation is one of my favorite places. It's possible the main reason that I knew I did not want to leave Lake Tahoe. Having convenient access to such a gem of nature is privilege to me. I try to never take it for granted. Together with Jonah Fahrion and Brad Perry, we hiked deep, dialed the trail, and put in the man hours that made another Desolation fantasy spot a reality. This place is beautiful, full of plants and wildlife, and has the most unique concentration that I've seen all year. I'm very grateful to have got to help develop this great new zone. Here is a video of the early stages of FA's there.

A week or two later other players began to trickle in and leave their mark on this mega zone. Jon Thompson, Roman Yalowitz, David Outcalt, and Lamberto Franco recently came out and opened more new classics to the area. It was sick to see some of the bolder and stretchier lines go that I was not able to do. I'm really pleased to have put in another great sector with some of the most die hard boulderers around. Gratitude is high.
   If anyone was wondering, how do I get there? Google map snow lake desolation wilderness to get an overview. Bayview trailhead is your entry point. Follow the canyon past Cascade Falls about 1 -1.5 hrs drifting left in the canyon. The terrain is variable. Sometimes mellow and flat. Sometime steep and horrible. It's Desolation, strap on your boots and get out there. I hope everyone enjoys the short flick.

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.