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 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.

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.