Sunday, December 13, 2009
Andy Mann Photo: www.andymann.com
Monday, October 5, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Here's a pic of a climb Carlo and I did a joint (first ?) ascent of up at Lincoln Lake in Mount Evans. It's a fantastic jug haul to a technical finish over a bad, but not too bad, landing. Never did name the rig, but it's super fun. I know that people have been climbing up at this area for a while, so I wouldn't be surprised if this has been done before, despite it's initial dirty condition. No matter what, this line smacks you in the face and says "CLIMB ME" when you are at this area. Good times.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
In November of last year, Matt Segal, Alex Honnold and I all went to England to try our hand on the Grit. Cooper and Bret came out to meet up with us for a week and see what the hype was all about. In this short period of time, they got footage of Alex soloing Gaia and Meshuga, Matt hanging tough through THREE ground falls to finish off Kaluza Klein, and me climbing The Groove.
I was especially happy with how the Bishop section turned out. We spent a week shooting and climbing here in January and all the hard work and great days climbing show in the quality of the footage.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
In the thick of it, squeezing between a small crimp sidepull and the arete.
This is the last move. My right foot is on the worst foothold on the climb, a bad smear. To make the foothold work, you really have to keep your heel low, despite your desire to stand up tall to reach the next hold. The solution was a semi-dynamic throw to an accuracy dependet slot. The key is to get your fingers in the hold before your left foot begins to peeeeel away from the rock, bringing you with it. At this point, you are 25' up the climb, but with a good 40' of air under your heels...definitely a no fall situation. With a few solid breaths and a yell, I committed to the move, felt the hold land perfectly under my fingers, and carefully executed the sequential, but easier top out.
It was this evening that I heard the news that John Bachar had fallen to his death. It hit me quite hard, as he always seemed immortal to me in a way, dodging the adage that there are no old, bold climbers. John was an inspirational climber who will never be forgotten. So, I decided to name this climb after John, as you really need to bring your soloing head to it. Thanks for the inspiration John.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Everyone seems to be hitting their stride and sending hard. Sarah, Flan and Steph all sent Last Day in Paradise, v9. Jamie has done Oral Office, v12/13 and a slew of other hard stuff. Chuck did Green Mamba, v13, totally static and in about 25 minutes and Nelson crushed Caroline, v9, in between days of hauling Chuck's Red One camera around (which by the way is taking amazing footage of all the action.)
I've been totally overwhelmed with the amount of rock here. It's mind blowing. As far as the eye can see is rock. We are at the northern tip of the Cederberg Wilderness, climbing on, and seeing, only a fraction of a percent of what is out here.
We have been visiting the classic, more established areas so far, and even these still hold first ascent potential. Nalle and I found a new sector the other day and he knows of another new area from last year. The amount of climbing to be done here is only limited by your willingness to hike. And hike we do.
I've been trying to balance my attention between repeating classic problems and seeking out new first ascents. I haven't been doing a very good job. Everywhere I look is another striking line. I just love standing at the base of a labyrinth of rock, picking out the most beautiful line I can see from a mile away, and going to climb it. Below are three projects that I have done so far.
The first is a nice tufa-like feature on a gently overhanging wall. What makes it interesting however is its position. The boulder is perched on top of a 20 foot cliff and overhangs over the edge. To get to the start holds, you walk along the base of the perched boulder until you are where the edge of the cliff and the base of the boulder meet. With 30 feet of air under your heels, you pull on and make a long, committing, crux move before continuing up easier yet engaging terrain. I called this one "Welcome to Rocklands" for its position as part of the landscape.
Next up was a nice orange wall at the Roadcrew Area. What drew me to climb it was the awesome natural thread half way up and the fact that in the glowing evening light, the wall appears to be on fire. I think the reason I am drawn to climbing, especially highballs, is because for an instant, a brief, fleeting moment in time, you can be a part of the amazing landscape in which we recreate. Afterward, all that is left is footprints and chalk, which too will fade with time, leaving the boulders to remain as they were and will continue to be for millions of years.
At the top of my project list was a beautiful, 30 foot ships prow at the top of the Roadside Area. It too is sitting perched between other boulders, suspended. Instantly committing, technical, balance intensive, and with a last move smearing crux, this line is one of the boldest I've taken on in a while. Because of the tree and bush filled gully of a landing, it is impossible to protect with crashpads and certainly a solo. After spending two sessions on a rope learning the blind hand movements on the arete, body tension intense foot movements, and sickeningly scary barndoor-smear last move, I was as ready as I was ever going to be. There is a point where if you rehearse for too long, it gets inside your head to the point where you never commit. I find its best to learn the moves, but to leave your instinct in tact.
Listening to John Coltrane's Love Supreme album at the base, I sat, letting the percussion, piano, and bass wash my anxiety away. When I took my headphones off, the air was somehow more silent than before. As always, when I started climbing my mind grew quiet and my senses hummed with acute awareness. There are times to be relaxed and there are times to be aggressive with certain climbs. This line has both. After the technical arete moves is the final crux. Standing on a bad smear that does not stabilize you from the right hand sidepull, you must land your left hand into a slot before your body peals away from the wall. It was here I remember taking two long breaths before letting out a yell and getting it done. I've decided to call it Put Some Bachar Into It in memory of the legend himself, John Bachar. He was a true legend and inspiration.
The list of projects and areas to explore remains long, but at the top of the list now is The Airstar Project. Easily the most athletic, unique, and gymnastic climbs ever, this will be a true gem when completed. It features a gigantic pogo move to cover a huge distance between holds on a beautiful overhanging wall at the Roadside Area. I've put four days into it already and its hard to tell if success is close or not with such a unique move. I am certain it will get done this season, but by who? We will see!
On the next rest day I will try to get some climbing photos up from the projects.
Until next time,
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Next Thursday, June 4th, Scott Neel (the director) and I will be hosting the CA Premiere of Rocky Mountain Highball at the Rialto Theatre in Berkeley. This event is presented by Vertex Climbing Center, Marmot, and the Berkeley Marmot Mountain Works retailer. Tickets are $10 and available at the door.