Monday, December 9, 2013

Roadtrip, project # 1 goes down

First of the three projects for this years road trip complete. Here is video of the Crazy Craver in Dayton Pocket, Tennessee. An epic climb for me personally. I put a lot of effort into this thing. Did not get a lot of footage but here is the send. Next stop....Hueco.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tahoe Summer Videos

Before I take off for the road here are a couple of videos I edited quick. They have some good sends from this summer and fall. Special thanks to Charlie Barrett, Flannery Shay Niemrow, Kiel Mahar, Eric Sanchez, and Brad Perry. Enjoy.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Motivation and Training

                                        My home training center.....all two rungs

   Getting ready for a road trip can be tough. I go on trips usually with a few goals in mind. In the months that precede I try to prepare as best I can for hard climbing. The problem with training is that it's hard to stay motivated. After I get out of an 8 hour day of work, I usually get home and want to just sit on the couch and relax. The temptation sounds pretty good even to an climbing junkee like me. But, I've been powering through the distractions all summer, and despite a few tweaks, it's kept me on a good track.
   The training circuit I've been on seems like it has worked pretty well for me. I've been doing basically 6 days of training per week. Each training session lasts from 45 minutes to 2 hours. Each session has no stopping points. Everyday I hit a different muscle groups. Most of the exercises are pretty basic. Push ups pull ups, hang boarding, L sits, and lots of rotator cuff routines. I believe that training for climbing comes down to just getting your overall fitness up, strengthening muscles to avoid injury, and keeping up your climbing technique by spending lots of time on the rock.
   One of the hardest parts of training is motivation. The biggest question I get is how do I stay psyched to train 6 days a week on top of working and doing all of life's errands. I'm usually training with a goal in mind. In this particular case right now, I'm going on a trip across the U.S. to do 3 boulder problems that have been challenging for me for multiple seasons. I put a lot of time into these lines yet sending has eluded me for quite a while now. When you fall on projects time and time and time again, you eventually get frustrated. In the midst of this frustration I have this feeling come over me that perhaps I didn't prepare enough to have the skills to complete the climb. It is a stale pain like regret. Knowing that you could have done more to get ready, but that now that you're here at the climb, it's too late. Climbing is climbing and nothing more. It's not that important or even exciting in the big picture. But in the life on an obsessed boulderer, that moment of sending is everything. When I realize that I spent money and time getting to the project and came ill prepared to send, sucks. THAT is the moment that gets me off the couch. That's what I think about every time I do a pull up and grit my teeth. That moment when you were there and not ready to send. I then realize that this is my chance to make up for it right now. In training, you get out of it what you put into it. Every push up I do, endurance lap, and campus move I think about that moment at my project when I wish I could have done more to get ready. That's how I keep my motivation. I think about the goals. No matter how tired I am, or sore or unmotivated, I just imagine what it might feel like to sit down under one of those projects, look up and know that your gonna get the bastard this time. These are the thoughts that get me through training.
I've been living in this mindset for a few months now. Keeping my eye on the ball at all times. And the training has paid off well. The other day after a few days of rest, I went to Truckee to check out the famous Charlie Barrett test piece Boyz in the Hood v12. This is the first hard climb I've tried in a while. The problem fit me very well. This combined with the training from the previous months made me feel ready. Somehow, and by the skin of my teeth, I managed to send this rig in a day. It was the classic case of last try best try. All I can say is what a great line.I felt like I was using this problem as a test for how ready I will be for my far away projects. I still have about 6 weeks of preparation left so there's room for improvement. At this point, I'm psyched that despite working and hot temps I pushed through into my training season. Feeling the progression is a great way to gain momentum. Ultimately, thinking about what I wish to accomplish this season is driving me towards better climbing. Even if I don't send any of them, it is good to be driven, and continue to push forward
into a better....whatever.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Where did Summer Go?

 Summer in Tahoe really went by in a flash this year. It seems like you blink and it's over. The bouldering developement on our end of South Lake Tahoe was active as always. Many groups went out and did new things everywhere. I spent most of my summer in the apartment, training my way through the heat wave. I did, however, manage to get out and do a few things this season worth mentioning. Anyone who's local knows the awesome roadside zone called Christmas Valley. Home to the Grinch Boulder, Tall Boy, Bad Larry and a host of great easy problems, this area had a 13 year standing project. Known as the Lean To Roof project, this tiny little problem packed a punch. Though not very tall, the climb had a rad rail feature arcing through this mini wave overhang. The crux came down to a blind throw off a heinous crimp to a sloper. The blind move took me a lot of tries. Felt like it was all about luck. But after some sessions on it the project finally went down on the Lean To. I named the new line Short Story v11. I believe this new problem, along with Lump of Coal v9 are the 2 hardest ticks in this zone. This line has a very crazy style to it, I was psyched to add this one.
   Now it seems as though the heat wave is done. It's Fall again, my absolute favorite of seasons. Changing colors, cooler weather, and blah blah blah it's frickin' sweet. I'm psyched to get out here and there on the good days and try the hard ones I've been saving myself all year for. In the meantime, I've been more busy then ever between bouldering, working, training and trying to get my shit together for a another roadtrip through the USA winter destinations. This season I'm trying to clean house and take down the three lines that have eluded me over the past few seasons. Still have lots to do before I leave so I don't want to get too excited yet. For now, the busy life continues. More work, more training, and very little play time for now.

                                           Kenyon Smith on Dangerously Cheesy v7, crater lake
                                        Me on Zun Zun v7, Woods Lake

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Desolation Video

aloha from Jesse Bonin on Vimeo.

Here is the short video I was able to make of my 3 days at Aloha.  Hope everyone enjoys this one.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


                                                 The crux throw move on Aloha v6

    After a bit of work in Los Angeles area for a while, the backpack bouldering was back on. I spent 3 days out in Desolation wilderness dipping into an old spot of mine from back in 2005. I went alone and packed in about 60 lbs of gear including stove, fuel, pots and pan, crash pad, climbing stuff, 3 days of food, tent, sleeping bag and camera. The hike was 6 miles with about 3000 ft elevation gain to get to this spot. The serenity out there was amazing. A place that's worth hiking that far has got to be good. I set up an amazing camp right near the lake. Waking up with the sun and hitting the hay as it went down. Everyday was great. Wake up, breakfast and coffee, and then after a little warm up, I was tapping into the potential of this mystical zone with spectacular scenery. The air temperature up there at 9000 + feet was nice and cool. The area had its own unique character of clean white granite with dark chocolate chip- like xenoliths for holds. It was like nature sculpted its own climbing gym and then gave it one hell of an approach. While there I sent about 10 new lines I had never climbed before. They were all very good and creative. I had to choose my problems carefully. When you're alone, 6 miles out with one crash pad and no one around for miles you have to pick your battles. So for the most part I stuck kinda low to the ground. With more pads this place had some amazing highball potential.
    Back in 2005, I took several day trips to this same area working this awesome roof project. After 5 days of assault, I did the first ascent and named it Cowabunga. Back then it was a problem at my absolute limit. I gave it the v10 grade. On this trip I revisited this climb and was able to repeat it again for the camera after about an hour. It was nostalgic to climb on this sick problem and remember the time when I first did the FA. What a rightous trip. And, with over 63,000 acres of wilderness, most of it holding rock, there's no telling what else lies in Desolation. It's an inspiring place. I feel gratefull for the priveledge to be able to explore this great area. What a gift.

                                                   classic v3 or 4 Maui Waui

                                         The Aloha Sloper Problem v5

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

   Since I last had anything to say on this blog, life has been pretty unpredictable to say the least. Jobs, money, bills and bullshit. I've never been much into these kind of things. As a member of society you have to take part in these things in order to exist in the "real world". Despite this fact, I still can't help but being pulled back every chance I get into what I consider the real world. Mine is wondering through mountains, trees, and single cut trails. Hopping over spring creeks, using dead trees to navigate mosquito infested marsh, feeling beads of sweat run down your face. All these obstacles and discomforts dwarfed in comparison to what lies ahead. Another season, another zone, and another chance to get back to who I really am. There is a strong feeling of clarity that comes with having a passion. No matter what others tell me I need to do, I know what I need to do. Climb boulders. And that's what I've been up shit!
      It's another beautiful season at my home base here in Lake Tahoe, CA. I've been really into the new stuff mostly. There's a new line I did a month ago at the Freaks that climbs the Pistachio Eater from the low start hold, same start as Brown Sugar and Endless Basement but exits PE out the other side of the cave. Another great new steep line on good volcanic. In addition, if anyone is familiar with the lone gem Foxy Lady at the top of Kingsbury Grade. I did a new line next to it. It sits starts the right arete of Foxy from a crossly left hand sidepull crimp and right hand in the slopey hueco next to it. From there it powers up the arete with resistant compression and finishes at the apex with a not so graceful mantle. Super fun addition. I named it Little Wing to stay in the Hendrix theme. It's about v10 or so. I made a bunch of efforts to try and repeat the South Bliss classic Vaporized but got shut down cold by one move on the rig that has a heel hook which is a bit far for my short legs. Then it got hot so I said F--It! Gonna need some cold weather for that one. Props to Joel and Kyle for putting up such a gem.
     Backpack bouldering is my main focus this season. After you find that the general motion of project hunting and trying to tick problems begins to feel a bit routine, they say you're supposed to mix it up. Usually boulderers go sport climb and vice versa. I've chosen this option. It's still bouldering. The backpacking adds an element of adventure and makes the lifestyle feel more raw. The experience of hiking out beyond the typical approach distance while carrying everything you need to survive for days takes you to places you thought you'd never go. You're just an insignificant speck of life in the backcountry and yet you're home. You get very in tune with your surroundings. The trees provide the shade that cools you, the water from the nearby creek is how you make coffee in the morning, the dead fall on the ground is going to fuel the grill for cooking your food. Bouldering and nature go together so well. This way of climbing provides the ultimate feeling of immersion. The existance out there is so natural but feels anything but ordinary. It's rad.
                                          Headlock v9 , way out there
                                          temporary housing

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Endless Basement

endless basement from Jesse Bonin on Vimeo.

The raw footage of Endless Basement. Since I''m one broke ass mofo who can't afford a premium machine, I'm only really able to add some music to the raw footage. Not artsy editing but some hard climbing action none the less. Enjoy.

Monday, March 18, 2013

New Hard FA in Tahoe

I've been back home for a couple of weeks now. The weather has been pretty good for bouldering, especially if you like hiking through a little snow. Yesterday I went to the Freaks where I had been working on the mega link training project through the Basement cave. After trying this link for about 3 or 4 seasons, the rig all came together first try yesterday. Funny side story, I had the camera set up to catch the link attempt. Once the camera was recording I crawled the 25 feet down to the start hold. Just as I was about to pull on I heard the camera shut off.Dead battery. I decided " ahhh F---It!" I usually need a few good warm up tries anyway. Well, I ended up sending it that go. It was quite a relief after trying that project for so long. Even though I didn't get it on tape I was very happy. But after thinking about how I came all the way out there again and did it first go, I figured I'd try to link it up again for the camera. I took an hour and a half rest and repeated the entire send for video. The feeling of progression on this line was great. I remember when I could do few if any of the 20 moves out this roof. Going from that feeling to doing a couple of laps on it was great. I love it when a plan comes together.
   In past experience I've noticed that the Basement Cave is sometimes the subject of much confusion because of how close together the lines can be. Given this fact I figured I'd do my best to explain what this line does in a nut shell. These directions may only be useful however if you know the classic existing lines well. If you don't, there is much video online. Ian Cotter-Brown's video Deep Blue has all the main lines coming out of the cave. The new link is called Endless Basement. It starts at the Brown Sugar start. This is in the back left of the cave towards' the other side's daylight. The start hold is sort of shaped like a big V. From here the line climbs through decent holds into the start holds of Freak Show. From there it climbs all the hardest moves of FS, but after grabbing the left hand "shark toothed undercling" instead of going out the jugs to the left you keep cranking hard until you are at the start hold of Subterranean. From here it finishes Subterranean. Very specific I know. The line is contrived a bit, but so is a lot of bouldering. It's all good. I'm sure everyone wants to know what I graded it so they know what number they want to downgrade it to. When in doubt, you take what I say and subtract one or two. But what is the base number? I've got a plan to find the perfect number.
   Ok, so the new line starts out with 4 moves that are about v5, ok so 4 x5 =20. Then the line goes into the hardest moves of Freak Show v12, ok so 12 x 20 =240. THEN, after that, BOOM!!! This fucker goes right into a hard v8 move BAMMM! Just one move of v8 so we'll say 240 + 8 = 248. THEN, if you can stomach the notion, you're homefree resting in the start holds of a v7. SO, 248 x 7= 1736 points total. Then the hike is 15 minutes so 1736 /15= 115. I owed my buddy $5 that morning so 115 -5 = 110. The night before I sent I had baked salmon and a salad, the total calories added up to 84 ( just guessing actually, I know nothing about nutrition). SOOO 110 - 84 = 26. I'm half the height of the average person ( NOTE: the average person might be 10 feet tall, or at least seems like it to me). So 26 /half === 13. Ok so I think it's a 13. Alright, we got that covered. I think this new grading formula I came up with is really going to start improving Tahoe's accuracy on pinpointing difficulty.
    So another big one is off the list. I guess from here I just have to do the usual and move on to the next one. I have another hard project or two that I've been working on. There are also a couple of great established problems that I'd like to repeat while the temps are still decent. Once that summer heat hits, sweaty tips and beating sunshine make hard climbing even more difficult. The time is now, GET SOME!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Another Moe's Trip

  I'm back home again after a short 12 day trip to Southern Utah. While there I hung out with great friends in one of my favorite places to visit for bouldering, Moe's Valley. It was a good trip. Unlike my Hueco Tanks trip I did not just project march to one thing everyday. This trip I decided to bounce around to many problems trying to get a little change up going.In the process I did a bunch of problems I hadn't done before, including some ones that I had previously tried a lot. One of my big sends was La Bocca Della Verita. This obscure little problem sits trailside in Moe's and typically does not receive a lot of attention. I almost did this line last season but left without success. This time I got it done in the dark by headlamp. I was psyched to finish this one off. Of all the problems I sent the hardest one wasn't really the biggest. I finally did the long awaited second ascent of Up. Up was put up by my friend Isaac Caldiero a few years back. It is a one move wonder on a short overhang at the back of the canyon. This seemingly easy looking move grabs two pinches, bunches up on bad feet sucked under the wall before expoding violently to vicious sloper at the lip. Over the past 3 seasons I have clocked close to 15 days trying this move, which Caldiero called one of the single hardest moves in Moe's. That sure was a lot of time to do one hard move one time, but the feeling of finally sticking it was priceless. I was happy to repeat this climb after so much effort. There were other cool climbs I did but this one had me yelling "woo hoo" the most.
   I got to have another good treat while there. It turns out we happened to be there during the annual Moe's Valley Clean Up day. It was a pleasure to help out the locals. I must say the scene in Moe's comes with a very good vibe. The locals that live in St. George are really proactive about keeping their boulders clean and the trails well maintained. It's nice to see a community that gets in there and shows the land owners how much they care about keeping their boulders nice. After visiting this place for 3 years in a row, I was psyched to do a little something to help preserve the area. We got to do trailwork, clean up hobo camps, pick up trash, and meet some really cool people that live there. My hat goes off to Tyler Webb, Scott, and Von for organizing a fun event. The place looks even better than it already did.
    Last but not least, props to my good buddy Jarrad Wyckoff for doing his 2nd v10 boulder. Jarrad sent the classic Bazooka Tooth after only a half hour of effort. After doing this climb a couple of years ago, I knew this line would fit him like a glove. It seems to be better if you're really tall. Yup, a great trip indeed. Now I'm back home again in Tahoe. As usual I'm probably going to take a few days to recover from shredded tips, sore muscles, and scrubbing all the Utah dust out of my hair. After that, who knows. I may be taking a few more trips close to home to see some new stuff, or maybe hiking through tons of snow to find the next backyard destination. What a life! The adventure never stops.
                               Tyler Webb hucks a lap on Israil v6
                         Jarrad Wyckoff sends Huntsman Graffiti v5 with ample padding
                                           Big move, little dude, YoYo Boy v9
                                   Locals getting it done on Trail Day

Friday, February 8, 2013

A Worthy Opponent

        In our lives we get to face a series of challenges that the world throws at us. How we work through them ends up defining who we are as individuals. As a boulderer, I often throw myself at challenges willfully. Sometimes I can bite off more than I can chew and find myself stopped at an obstacle that I can't get past.  Last year, I was in Hueco Tanks, Texas for 2 months. That particular trip I spent about 75% of my climbing days working on the famous problem Shaken Not Stirred. It is a 23 move power endurance roof out of the Martini Cave. This problem has a reputation for shutting down most climbers who attempt to send it quickly. Boulderers often take on creative tactics to dissect and mentally work their way through this pumpy monster. It sounds as though it takes most about 3 -11 seasons to do this one just right. I thought I was pretty close last year since I did the problem in 2 parts several times and had the pieces wired. I left without the send.
             I just got back from a 2 week trip to Hueco Tanks. I was on a personal mission to finally climb the roof. The plan was simple. I spent about 2 months training in the gym. My preparation consisted of making a simulator of the big crux move to the slopey hueco and get that dialed. Also, lots of power endurance laps to get stamina, resistance muscle training to avoid injury, and doing high volume climbing in Bishop on some of the tablelands finest and longest roof climbs. My first day at the problem I tried from the bottom and immediately got all the way to my high point from the previous season. I fell at the typical spot bumping to the slopey hueco off the pinch. This particular move is really big for a climber of my size. The reach is far and the footholds are a little far away for me to get any leverage. I tried the beta that Ashima did but could not move off the heinous left hand pinch/foothold on Esperanza. I spent a day or 2 dialing out the sections of this long climb. Then I relentlessly began to march there almost every single climbing day. Most tries were from the bottom. Lots of send goes. After getting so close to the slopey hueco first try I felt like I was ready for the send. I spent nine days this trip trying mostly link attempts. The tally was about 28 tries that I fell at the same stopper move. Two weeks there and dedicated like a mofo and I had to leave without the prize. I tried that thing up until the moment we had to run to catch a ride to airport and fly back to Lake Tahoe. Part of me was a bit down and regretful that I had failed to accomplish my goal.However, it was soon followed by this surge of gratitude. These projects sometimes feel like a living breathing thing. A friend, an enemy, a nemesis, a theory on how to make the impossible possible. . The project simply becomes a worthy opponent. . I did fail in sending but it was quite a pleasure to test myself on one of the best and hardest roofs in the world.   The summary is basically a 2 week trip to Hueco Tanks, no sends, and driving out with a big smile and my heart feeling full.  I can't wait to go back and try this again next season.  But for now, I'm home for a few and then headed to Utah. It will be cool to climb on some old projects but also bounce around to areas and problems I've never seen before and get on some new climbs. Psyched as usual.