Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ian Cotter Brown and I just arrived in Rocklands. We're now in a hotel in central Cape Town waiting for our third amigo, Kenyan Smith. We are staying at a hotel called the Savoy Lodge. Upon first glance this place kind of seems like a dive, with a locked gate, small rooms, and not too much going on around the vicinity. However, after about 15 minutes our attitude changed when we experienced a sense of customer service and hospitality that just does not happen in the U.S. The owner of the hotel realized that we arrived here tired and hungry with no food and actually drove us to go get food and beer in his own car. The three of us went to eat at a cheap burger place and got to know each other. South Africans are really kind, down-to-earth people. I've never seen that sort of generosity at any other hotel. It was really nice. The place is small, but safe and has a very cozy feel. Like your crashing at a buddy's house. I would have to for sure recommend this place if you need to get your bearings after the hellacious ride getting here.
The airplane travel getting here is brutal. Fifteen hour plane rides, sleeping on cold, airport floors surrounded by loud noise, over-priced food, and the service of Delta airlines are all things that make this approach totally suck. But, once you're here you are here, and you know that soon you'll be in the solitude of the Rocklands area with nothing to do but boulder hard all day and drink hard all night. It is for sure worth the hassel. We're going to chill for the night and then head out early in the morning for the last leg of the trip which is the 3 hour drive from Capetown to Rocklands. We are super psyched and ready for our first day of climbing tomorrow. The weather forcast looks pretty decent for the next week and we plan on taking full advantage of it.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


I am chilling at Noah Kaufman's enjoying great hospitality and the world's coolest woody. Ian and I have been hard at work training our skills for the Rocklands. Preparing to leave has proved to be a bit of work, but, having been there already, it is totally worth it. In the past couple of weeks, a lot of visitors have been coming up to the Tahoe area and climbing a bunch of the hard classics. Here's a list of impressive feats that have been going down:
- King Kong v8 FA Noah Kaufman ( White Kong area )
- Moses (from the Bay) flashed Pimpjuice v9 and PJ Tight v10 back to back, also did the second ascent of Downtown Brown v12
- Charlie Barrett did 2nd ascents of The Mofo v11 and Hellamental v12
- Ian Cotter Brown and Walker Emerson did 2nd and 3rd ascent of Higher Ground v10 and The Repossesion v11

The list goes on much longer but these are the most noteworthy happenings. I also did a link up at the Basement that does a v5/6 roof problem into Downtown Brown. I called this new link Brown Sugar v12. The pump factor made the finish harder but not enough to warrant a new grade. Thanks to Walker Emerson and Frank Lucido for doing a lot of work to make this new link possible.
So after training and working and being a weekend warrior for the past 8 months it feels really good to finally get back to my real life. Personally I only feel like my life is being lived properly when I am just climbing and not working at all. Rocklands is the best place I've found for me to set these wheels in motion. I am excited to do a lot of projects while there and mostly have a good time. In the meantime here's a little entertainment for while I'm away. Everyone have a great summer and enjoy the new video. P.S. White Kong....go there!

Winter Visitors from Jesse Bonin on Vimeo.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Balls To the Wall

For the past 8 weeks I've been back in Tahoe, trying to work through my hardest projects. One in particular has finally gone down. The first time I took Noah Kaufman to see the Shade Grove boulder in Erratica, one line caught his eye right away. I had looked in the section of the boulder he was checking out many times and never saw a line there. But when he showed me this line of holds it was crazy how awesome it was. This project fit my style but did not fit my body. It is full extention for me from the low footholds to stick a sharp crimp sidepull. This move, which is really hard for me but maybe easier if you're tall, is followed by some hellacious footwork to do the crux move. This involves a long deadpoint off the sharp crimp to stick an open handed ledge. After this the upper move is an odd core-dependent deadpoint to crimp. Unfortunately avoiding a dab on this move is a
big part of the crux. A definate heart-breaker in the full link up. This line has spit many good climbers over the years and was always thought of as Erratica's step up in difficulty.I managed to do this line on Saturday. I have been trying this line a long time, probably three or four seasons. Until this year I've never been able to stick the first two moves. It was really a good feeling to put this line to rest finally. This coveted project has been referred to as Balls of Steel. I've renamed the full sit start Balls to the Wall and I'm thinking that this climb is a v13. Only time will tell, but for me it is surely one of the hardest climbs I've ever done. In the meantime I am preparing to leave Tahoe for the summer to go back to South Africa. I'll be going to Rocklands for the season to climb some of the coolest sandstone I've ever seen. Besides training, and working, getting my affairssin order before I leave is taking up some mental energy. Between then and now I plan on climbing as much as I can in the area before I leave. There's a problem at Pie Shop to the left of Diamonds Are Forever that caught our eye the other day. Walker Emerson got the first ascent on Friday with me soon following. He named the line Live and Let Pie and suggested v8. It was really fun. A rad dyno move from two bad slopes, really classic. I'm really psyched to be leaving ultimately. Rocklands is truely an awesome experience for any person that is obsessed with bouldering. I have many climbs there that have been burned in my mind since my last visit there. I'm psyched to go there with some great friends and have a vacation from constantly working full time and climbing full time. I'm only 2 weeks away from departing for this adventure. It is going to be sick. My main focus before I leave will be visiting the Basement to get some power endurance. Walker and I opened up a possibility to extend all the lines to make for some more pumpy link ups. You should check it out. Very rad. In the meantime, check out Ian Cotter-Brown's video of the latest sending going down in Tahoe.