Saturday, October 22, 2011
The injury occurred while attempting the 8 foot sideways dyno on pitch 15. On my first attempt of the season, I threw with everything I had, hoping to stick the move with the muscle memory from last year. I made good contact with the hold and began to hold the swing. Usually, the left foot slides down the wall, stopping when it hits the corner and halting the swing. Instead of sliding, my foot stuck upon first contact, and rolled. It then continued to slide down the wall until it hit the corner and rolled again. I instantly knew something was wrong, but a combination of shock and denial clouded the pain enough for me to try a few more times, until I stuck the dyno.
Upon lowering to the belay, I knew something was terribly wrong. I called my amazing physio Vicki Chung from the wall and made an appointment for the next day. Less than 24 hours later, I was in her office getting checked out. An X-Ray revealed that it wasn't broken. Three appointments later, the swelling had gone down and we were able to get a good assessment of the damage: bruised bones and a combination of stretched and compressed ligaments. I should recover fully with time, but for now, any kind of inversion or eversion of the ankle is still painful with the joint itself feeling quite unstable thanks to the stretched ligaments. 4 weeks of no climbing.
Seeing Tommy's updates from the wall is surreal. I feel out of place without the exposure under my toes, chalk on my hands, the sounds of gear being clipped, the pain of those sharp holds under my fingers, and the monumental task at hand that we've been working for so long. Tommy of course is charging ahead, now with the support of his amazing wife Becca. Since October 2009, this has been a team effort. To be a member of a team is to act with selflessness in the name of success. If Tommy sends without me, I will be happy to have helped push this project to completion. If not, we will be back.
Go get it Tommy. Eye of the Tiger!
- KJ aka Hector
Monday, September 5, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
On May 18, I was invited as a guest of Team Radioshack to watch the exciting finish to Stage 4 of the Tour of California in San Jose, CA. Having missed the Tour of California coming through my home town of Santa Rosa for the past few years, I was stoked to go check it out, especially from a booth right next to the finish line!
Sunday, April 24, 2011
The May issue of National Geographic is on news stands and it features a great article on Yosemite climbing by Mark Jenkins with photography by Jimmy Chin. This past fall, Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk of Camp4Collective joined Tommy and I up on the wall for a week. The product of their talent and hard work is featured on the pages of Nat Geo and in several amazing videos available on the Nat Geo website.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
"The Grandpa Peabody is a massive boulder by any standards and its east face is its most unrelenting. Sure, there are bigger free standing boulders in the world...but not many. The well-featured, steadily overhanging east face of this monster was once a top-rope project that Tom (formerly Tommy) Herbert had been working back in the early 1990's. Recognizing its beauty, he even named the line Ambrosia, food of the immortals, fitting with the Buttermilk theme. Herbert wrestled with the idea of bolting the face, knowing it would make a fine sport route. However, he had already set a precedent for the area: he had removed bolts once placed on the neighboring Transporter Room (5.12), as a point of protest against the sport-bolting of Buttermilk climbs. Bolting was not an option. Moreover, the Buttermilks was a lonely, surreal backwater at the time. No place to be seen. Or unseen. Consequently, Herbert moved on to cliffs elsewhere. He left the spectacular wall chalked but unclimbed. In a sense then, we have Herbert to thank for steering the Buttermilks to its current path, one that left the great unclimbed lines for future generations, sparing these climbs the humiliation of a one-way trip to rap-bolted obscurity. "
Dale Bard first explored Transporter Room as a boulder problem by bouldering up to an obvious flake at the 20 foot height before down climbing. In 19878/88, having never fully climbed Transporter Room, Dale bolted the climb for his girlfriend at the time, Bobbi Bensman (PS thanks for this background info/history Bobbi!). While Dale was sinking 5, 3/8" bolts in, there were two kids in the parking lot watching. When Dale got down, they started to give Dale a hard time, saying they were "going to tell Tommy (Tommy Herbert)," who was a staunch opponent to rap bolting. After listening to all this, Dale walked back up the hill, booted up, and soloed the first ascent of Transporter Room. Back at the parking lot, Dale apparently tells the kids, "There! Now it's a boulder problem!" and walked away. A few days later, Tommy chopped it and Transporter Room sunk into Buttermilks history as the first mega-highball of the area.
In 2007, I first rappelled off the top of Grandpa Peabody looking for Transporter Room. I was keen to see this piece of Buttermilk history and try my hand at it. Unknowingly, I rapped off the wrong anchors and down the face of what would become, a few years later, Ambrosia:
Fast forward to last week, I'm at the Buttermilks and wondering what to try. I remember Transporter Room and, knowing the correct line this time, rappel off to check it out. After a good scrub on rappel to wipe off almost 25 years of neglect, I was psyched to follow in Dale's footsteps.
The climbing is straightforward, yet interesting. After 20 feet of fun 5.12, you get to two BIG sloping hueco's in the middle of the wall. These features mark the edge of the steep climbing and the friction slab. After a balancy and finger intensive sequence, you are standing in the two hueco's and are able to look up at 30 feet of 5.10 granite friction! In the photo below, I am finishing the mantle off of the flake that Dale (presumably) down climbed from before deciding to bolt the climb.
Honestly, I'm a little ashamed it's taken me this long to repeat Transporter Room! I don't mean that in a pretentious way either. I'm honestly disappointed in myself! It is a right of passage to complete the testpieces of the past...a nod of the hat if you will to the visionaries before us. Every time we (climbers under 30) start to think we are the shit, let us not forget: we stand (humbly and gratefully) on the shoulders of the climbers before us. Without their vision and balls, we would be nowhere near where we are today.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Several seasons ago, Matt Birch made the first ascent of Social Distortion, a wicked hard 4 move v13 on the right side of the wall that drops off at an obvious flake. Anthony Chertudi repeated the feat, perhaps unknowing of Matt's ascent, naming it Blood Meridian and confirming the grade. Above the "heart" flake lies three moves that are just as hard, if not harder, to gain the lip. From here, a crazy sequence involving a heel hook above your head at the 20 foot level gets you to the last crux: 2 full length lock-offs with your feet above the lip. The first is a long left arm pull off of a half pad knob to a credit card razor. The next is taking the razor and pulling it down to your arm pit to gain a good edge, which you mantle to safety.