Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Progression Sneak Peak!

Cooper at Big UP Productions was kind enough to lend me a sneak peek of their upcoming release, Progression, and let me just say, WOW. I got to see a section of Tommy working on Mescalito as well as my section featuring Ambrosia. I took a few screen shots (with Big UP's permission) to show everyone, so check it out....

The mighty El Cap. Mescalito roughly follows the shadow for the first half of the wall before continuing straight up when the shadow cuts right. Can you say, BLANK?

The still undone dyno....

Sick dihedral climbing!

Just a little 5.13 slab....

Tommy and I will be teaming up on Mescalito this fall, so training is in full swing right now. Long days with routes, bouldering, cardio and cross-training leave me wrecked when it's all said and done. My mantra through it all though is, "It's easier than El Cap! Come on!"
It's a bit intimidating thinking about trying to keep up with Tommy on a big wall. No doubt about it. I'm looking forward to getting in the best shape of my life and then spending three months learning from the most experienced big wall free climber around. Psyched!

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.
Matt sticking the last move crux of Kaluza Klein

Me placing the only gear between you and ground for the crux of The Groove

Sticking the one handed slap

Alex doing his thing on Gaia

Alex on Meshuga

There were many funny moments on the Grit that Big UP was there for. I won't give anything more away, but it should be both comedic and scary at the same time.

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.

2nd ascent of Luminance, v11

A first ascent of mine from 2007, Flight of the Bumblebee, v9

I was very stoked when Josh took me up on the offer to come out and shoot in Bishop around the time that I thought Ambrosia would go down. For two years I had been dreaming about this line, working up to it both physically and mentally. I knew it would be a step in a new direction for myself and highball bouldering. Seeing that the film was going to be called Progression, it seemed like a good fit. Turns out he thought so too. I grew up watching Josh's films, and one thing I admire in a good film maker, is their ability to do climbs JUSTICE. It's easy to shoot crappy footage of an amazing climb, but it's hard work to shoot AMAZING footage of even and amazing line. With a project that I had spent so much time preparing for, that I knew I would only put myself out there on once, I really wanted to work with someone who could capture that experience. The guys at Big UP did a great job.

The reflection of Ambrosia, the morning of the send

Entering the "No Fall Zone"

Fully committed.

Yikes! I did that?

The last few, thin, terrifying moves

If you haven't checked out www.reelrocktour.com yet, be sure to go visit now. Voting on the Film Competition is going on until August 31st and the trailers will be up very soon. You can also find a list of events, so find the one nearest you and mark your calendars! I'll be hosting one here in Santa Rosa, CA on September 23rd, so if you're in the area, come check it out!


PS. What's it feel like to do this?

Like this...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Put Some Bachar Into It

This 30' arete towers over the Roadside Area in Rocklands. It struck me as beautiful from the moment I arrived at Roadside. I ran to check it out before even climbing many of the classic boulder problems the area has to offer. What revealed itself was highly technical arete climbing, some blind hand moves, a 20' valley of trees to land in, and a last move, barndoor crux. Sweet! It had my full attention.

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

From Rocklands With Love

The coolest flapper I've ever had...

Photos courtesy B3bouldering.com