City of Rocks’20

Bored out of my skull, I snuck off to Idaho and met Lane at city of rocks towards the end of the lockdown. We took every precaution we could, and felt safe that we were outside the whole time. It was a strange time to be out climbing with so much turmoil. We ended up having a great trip despite inclement weather and even a close brush with a near tornado! The place was not deserted, and the crowd tended to be younger, but isn’t climbing getting younger?

“The City” was not closed, except for the park campgrounds. Naturally the BLM land was overrun a bit and they had to provide a portapoty to accommodate. The locals were not stoked.

Thanks so much to Sterling Ropes for access to the finest ropes in climbing!

4-29 Private Id, rollercoaster, Collossus, att.@ loc ness 6p to 10c wLane

4-30 Lego, Acid Rain 4 laps to 10a

5-1 Box Top, Heartbreaker, Double Cracks 5p to 10d

5-2 Good Stuff, Eviction 4l to 10c

5-3 Conceptual Reality, Just say no 3p to 5.9 22p total

Amazing, of-the-beaten-path routes that were rarely “crowded”.

 

To-Do Lists, and their importance.

Those who climb with me know about the “Master List”, The list drives my free time when climbing is in its different seasons. Of course, right now(Mid-covid era) almost no climbing can be accessed. Nevertheless, I expect that there will be a semblance of normalcy again, and I will again be driven by my personal climbing goals. This list is always being edited. Instead of checking them off, they are deleted, and hopefully , a new route or 2 is added.

Though I have a good time getting out and NOT doing something on the list…. there is a sense of satisfaction to have started a great adventure by committing to it as a goal first.

Now I have a list of things I can do around home, and OMG how important that is for my sanity.

I don’t always have a strict discipline to the list, but sometimes we even need a break from our “achievement addiction” ?

Master lists

 

-Moab area

Dark Angel 

Right chimney, 3 penguins

The fun ramp

Owl Rock

Echo Tower window rt

Grand plan 10+

Seventh serpent 

Program director

Indian Creek 

Drainpipe 5.10

Sunflower Tower 3p 10+

Alley cat 511+

Anasazi 11-

Crack Attack

Pente 11

Kolob Canyon

-Zion

Shunes Buttress

Many aid walls

-Red Rocks, 

Cloud Tower 11d 6p

Rainbow Wall, .12- 14p hot weather

Black Orpheus 11p 10a

Delicate sound of thunder 2p11b

Cole Essence 11b

Yellow rose of Texas

Yin and Yang

Luna 

Moondog

The Schwa 2p 10d

The Warrior 7p 11a

Minnows on Mescaline 5p 8

Left Out  10d

Sweet thin 7p 9

Armatron 5p 9

The Black Pearl 9

Texas Holdem 11c 

Ixtlan 11c 3p

Aquarium 10p 8

Clod Tower 10c, 8p

Risky Business 10c, 4p

Red Zinger 10d 2p

Mai Thai 10d

Red Heat 10d

Adventure Punks 10d 5p

Drifting 11c

X-15 4p 11a

Challenger 6p 10d

Bighorn Buttress 11a 4p 5.11a

The Undertone 2p 10d

-Washington Alpine list:

Improbable Traverse

Mile High Club 8p 10d

Ellation 

WA Pass: 

First amendment

Clean Break

Flycatcher

El Capitan

Independence Route

Darrington

Stuart Range:

Let it Burn

Valkyrie

Repeats: 

Supercave

Gato Negro

-Index List

Hand of Doom 11

Leaves and Grass 10b***

Trap Balls 10d**

Tang11c

Agent Orange  11b

Marginal Karma 11b**

Sagittarius 11b***

Keiths Crack 11c

Tommys Sandbox 11b

Jap Gardens 11c****

Klaus VB 10c**

x-NAD p2,3 10d***

Shirley 11c***

Death to Zeke 11b***

Bob and Doris 10c***

Tr-Kite Flying Blind 11c***

x-Hairway to Stephen 11a**

t-Wham 11c **

Heart of the country Route 11b

Blues Cliff

Man in a box

Endless skies

x-Up’er Zipper 11b red point

Danas Arch 11a**

Apes and Ballerinas 10b**

Between the Cheeks

the Wizard 10c

Pork Chop Torpedo 10b

Bravo Jean Marc 11a***

Bowling to Biscuits 10d***

Exit 38 

The Plank 3p 10a

Shangri-La

WW

Social Distancing D7

Quauratnine D7

Highstepping D6+

Squamish List

Babes in Kialand 11b 4p burly

Supernatural 2p 11a 10a

Birds of Prey 10b 6p

Good times 11a  

Gone Surfing 2p 11a wide

Cruel Shoes10d

Freeway 11c, 11p

Grand Wall 11a-A0, 8p

New Life 11b, 5p link parallel passages?

Mercy street 10b, 2p

Bullethead Central 11a

Bullethead sport linkup 10b

Rippling waters

Frayed Edge of Sanity p1-5 5.11a

Mercurial Crossing 3p 10a

Hungry Wolf 11b 2p

Deadend Dihedral 11a

Godforsaken Land 10c 5p

Stairway to Heaven 10c 16p

Wall of Attrition 11b 7p

A little Testis 10b

Cruising to Infinity 10c

Hanging Gardens 10d 4p?

Parallel passages

Manana

Grand Wall (repeat)

Long house 

top shelf Eye catcher, meltdown, lavinico effect, headbangers in leather, made from fire. Kitten fists.

Ultimate everything

Other great areas:

Skaha

City of Rocks

J-Tree

Colorado: 

Cynical pinnacle Center, Wunchs

RCMP 

Lumpy Ridge turnkorner the nose Mainliner pressure drop 

Naked Edge 

Sierra/Yosemite

The thief 3p10d

E butt lower cathedral 11p 10d

Toe joe crag

E butt middle Cath 11p 10c

Braille book

Mental block 5p 10c burly

Arrowhead arete

The Voyager

Rostrum 8p 11c

Shultzs ridge crag

Hi way star 1p 10b

Super slacker hwy 8p 10c

Mathes Crest 

Sunspot dihedral

Dark Star

-Ice Lists:

Canada List:

Experts Choice

Asylum

Wolf Street

French Reality

Sufferfest

Spray River Falls

Bridge too Far

Chalice

Sacre Blue

Sea of Vapors

Masseys/Cool Springs

Good Luck and Bad Dreams

Silk Tassel

Pilsner Pillar

Guinness Stout

French Maid

The Asylum

Tabernac Bowl

Riptide

End of the Line 4

Unicorn

Shooting Star

Ice Nine

Slipstream

Bow Falls

Murchison vicinity

Dances with Chaos

 Ghost:

Big Drip

VOB 

Lacy Gibbet

The Sliver

Burning/Drowning

Going Sun Hwy

Kemosabe

Ice Funnel

Caroline Falls

Marion Falls

Repeats

Bison

Marble canyon

Louise Falls

Polar 

Weeping Pillar

Mixed Master

Superbok

Blobs/Nasty

WA Ice

Mazama 

Desperation Gully

Tears of a Clown

Bavarian Dark

Lworth

Drury Falls

Back to the Future Wall

Banks, Entiat, Moses

Cosley/Houston

Lilloet:

Shriek of the Sheep

Green River Thriller

Blue Moon on Rye

The Gift

The Thief

Hyalite:

Bingo

Come and Get it

Narcolepsy

Big Sleep

Misguided youth w4 4p

Ketosis

Incubus, Succubus

Winter Dance

Repeats,:

HFA, Alex in W, silken, 

Hydromonster, Hippos

Cody:

LeaningTree jenn

One Arm Bandit

Slow Turning

Bitches Brew

Legals

Ovisight

Icefest

Joy After Pain

 

Tucson 2020

I must admit, with all the news swirling about the virus and economy, it was nice to escape the end of a tough winter and enjoy near perfect conditions in the exciting granite mountains of SW Arizona!

However, the climbing there is very old school, by which I mean spicy, thin feet, tad run-out, earn your pro, etc. Fortunately I have tons of experience with such treachery, yet it is still very engaging for me though. Much is at stake with the lower angle potential falls, great care is taken. I was intimidated immediately with our ambitious introductory route, but hey, first climb of the “rock season”, why not go for Absinthe of Mallet!?? Well, it is quite an onsite, let me say. I had to grab on a bolt to relieve the strain on a “5.9+” pitch. I thought Index was sandbags, but this is next level, and lower angle to boot. You never know what culture you will step into! Most of the climbing was quite reasonable, but intimidating still at times. Very nice to camp out there too.

Day 2:  We backed off of the intensity and did a very fun 5.9 6p called Mystery of the Desert. 

Day 3, Pick up Jenn at the airport and fit in an afternoon blast up The Wasteland, an amazing 5.8 on the East side. All I can say is wow, and don’t try it with a party of 3 unless they are bad-asses like my partners are! Rope drag with 2 ropes is not fun. Traverses are exposed, and committing, yet this route is a gem for the grade.

Day 4: rain led us to the Arizona/Sonora Desert Museum! ( and a much needed rest day for me…)

Day 5 Mt Lemmon, Chimney Rock had the perfect testy trad routes and great access , and got Jenn back to her afternoon flight, no problem.

Day 6 Lane and I sample the insane sport routes of the Backhand crags. What an incredible week ! Now back to the strange life of social distancing? I will bolt to Utah soon, nothing better to do right now..

Good luck everyone and thanks for being a medium of communication, even if it is one way.

 

 

Weeping Pillar, and Cryophobia attempt

I swear, my life is like being in a wild movie at times. Strange ironies and plot twists are always around the corner when going for big objectives, or in this case sometimes not going for them…

 

I had given up for the year on the second of 2 projects for the season. My first project was Astroman last fall, and it went well. Next, I was going to throw everything I could at the next project, including hiring a guide for the Cryo! The route came in fat, but the stars never aligned , so until I was asked by a random stranger to climb Cryo, it was off. More on that later.

After being home for 1 day from Colorado, the Puget Sound floods barely let me pass to fly to Calgary for the week. Joining me for all but 2 days, Jenn and I wanted to make the most of it while our town became an island. Except for the deep snow, conditions were great. We dispatched some great climbs right away! :

2-7 Dream On 5p to wi4 w/Landon. Did all of the pitches around it, Saw Nachtmahr! See photo.

2-8 Louise Falls 2p to wi4w/Jenn. Had it to ourselves in afternoon. J’s first go at it.

2-9 Melt Out 3p wi3 Fun, wet route

2-10 Weeping Pillar 6p wi6 w/Jenn. Did the proper route this time. Jenns first wi6! chandelier second pitch for 15m. Long route!! Dripping mostly avoidable.

2-12 The Drive-In 3p D6 w/Jenn Leads D5!. Great, moderate dry tooling!!

2-13 Cryophobia attempt 6p wi5+ M8 (A0 for us) w/James W.

The night before Jenn and I were going for Weeping Pillar, there was another group of 3 that were staying at Rampart as well. They had tried a variety of routes(Curtain Call, Weeping Pillar, Musashi) with limited success for wild reasons as well! We got to talking mixed, and James from NZ, busts out with looking for partners to do Cryo. I looked over to Jenn and asked her if she knows anyone interested in doing it.

Ambitions should be kept realistic.

I knew that the climb was over my head, that’s why the guide idea sounded great. Now I would have to swap leads, find the new (much longer)approach, ascend, and descend without much beta. I was nervous as I kissed my gal goodby at the airport the night before. The next am, we were off-route soon enough with all the different roads and trails wandering around. We lost an hour, but got lucky the rest of the way in. The big issue was obviously going to be the winds. Once on route, we were hammered by high winds and spindrift soaked our gloves. Mid route, there was a lull in the storm, but as we pushed on to near the top, it burst, and the last belay I did was brutal. It was only 1 ice pitch to the top, but the margins of survival got too thin. If there had been a walk off, we may have gone on, but I was worried about the overhanging rappels in again high winds. Only by pushing a bit beyond what we should have, did we get up the business of the route, but like being a bad actor in a movie, we took “aid” on many a bolt. So it is with dreams-come-true, the truth sometimes hurts. The way out was brutal, but the wind was now at our backs after 12 hours on the move. We may have ended up in the ditch on the drive out too. The route is incredible and lives up to the hype. I am glad I picked so worthy of an objective. This will be hard to top, and I may retire from such bold objectives anyways.

This amazing 96p season could not have happened with the help of so many great people. I am sure to miss a few names, but thanks Jenn, Landon, James, Steve, Janet, and Dave. You all rock!

 

 

Colorado ’20

At the last minute, Lane and I decided to use his companion pass and go enjoy good ice climbing conditions in SW Colorado. With 4 days at our disposal, we made the most of it, dispatching 3 multi-pitch routes.

This season, I have been inspired to get after routes that don’t always come in. The word gets out on face bu k, and the want list grows for us all! Though easy to hate on the social networks dark side, for sure, it is so nice to have an information and social medium to pave an expressway to your dream climbs. Crowding can be an issue, we had to wait until noon for Ames. No big deal in 40 degree temps though.

Special thanks to Lane, Carley+ Jason, Harvest+ Kristen, Tyler+ Lucas, Mary+ Lance, Tasha+ Dylan, @sterlingropes, and the WAC( for the top rope and hot chocolate)!

…and ,Hey Reader! Thanks for supporting the community!

An amazing new guidebook is out too! Get a copy of Suffer Candy TODAY!!

2-1-20 Avocado Gulley 3p+1 w3 w/Lane + 4 others. Rarely formed moderate route, great warm-up. Hooked, but fun!

2-2 Ames Ice Hose 4p w4+ w/Lane. Amazing climb! My Colorado favorite so far..Hooked, but fun!

2-3 Whorehouse Hoses 2p w5. Fun climb, setting. We got hit by a crazy storm on second pitch! (video)

2-4 Ouray Ice Park 2p. Fun as usual, Shout out to the WAC!

Click on images to enlarge..

 

Hyalite Ice ’20

Heading back to Hyalite was like visiting an old friend. Upon seeing it, the memories flood into the mind, as does desire to create new ones. Though the conditions of the ice was great, the snow kept piling up giving me the willies about avalanche possibilities. In the end, it took reassurances from people that successfully tried riskier climbs for me to go for some of the more intriguing gullies. Wind was a big concern too for both drifting, and chill effect. It was one of my all-time trips there. 21 crazy pitches with 6 different people! SO Grateful to friends old and new for this amazing week of ice and mixed climbing. Shout out to #sterlingropes too!

1-5-20 Jeffs L, Black Magic- m6 wi5 Unnamed Wall w/Jeremy(prime condition)

1-6 Bobo Like wi5 3p w/ Jeremy (Prime condition, deep snow though)

1-8 Dielectric Breakdown wi5 2laps w/Erik (Prime condition, hooked)

1-9 Matrix, Feeding, Scepter wi5 w/Travis (prime- too fat!Sceptrr drips in places)

1-10 G2, HomeFA M7 w/Lane (PRIMO!, though our party took off much ice, sorry)

1-11 TIG, GLO, JL wi5-Unnamed w/Lane, Jenn, Marko (prime, hooked

1-12 Cleopatras Needle wi5 2p w/Jenn( Wet! first 40′ of crux)

1-13 MC 234 WI6 w/Jenn (Prime, with MC4 being athletic and pumpy!)

What a great venue Bozeman is! No wonder it is an exploding city. Low commitment, high quality, and access, it has it all. Thanks to Icefest for keeping the road plowed.

Seattle area dry tool crags

SR-900 (aka, Cougar mt.)Easy, not great

Black Ice Crag, Upper area(CYA) Exit 38. Easy, not great

Tool Shed, Baker area, never been there personally

Shuksan Crag, never been there personally

Rap Wall, Alpental (Fun when it has ice! Rock is not holding up well, not “easy”)

Then, at the suggestion of the local guru, we found this!!

Nestled not very deep in the Snoqualmie Alps are a set of undeveloped crags that offer a very fun, difficult dry tool (d/t) experience. A couple of friends and I had been poking around for months and eventually found the perfect venue. Thanks to the encouragement from the various guide book authors, and the original area route setters, we felt safe to develop these unnamed crags as a d/t area. It is remote and insulated enough from free climbing walls, as to not be prime free climbing rock nor suitable sport climbing projects. So far, we have 15+ amazing climbs up!! All completed routes are bolted. We are hoping to plan a low key, introductory festival soon!

I do not bear the responsibility lightly in producing high quality and safe routes. I want to keep the standards very high in our amazing home forests.  There is also plenty of room to develop routes and I encourage others to develop routes at this amazing location.  All that I ask, is that you please develop in a way that is sustainable to our rock, and safe for our community.

My philosophy on dry tooling impact is best summed up by this great essay from Furnace Industries!

It will be a work-in-progress out there, so heads up! To support our endeavor, please visit our go fund me page.

Suggested rules of conduct at this crag

-Please limit scratching the rock with your points, take care with crampons while lowering or rappelling.

-Please use mono-point crampons, or rock shoes only, stick with existing placements when possible

-Safety attire: Helmets, eye protection, sheltered belays, etc. There is loose rock here! Climb at own risk.

-Do NOT use any resident ropes left on crag. Please feel free to use the resident ropes to pull your rope through, if you want to tr a climb. There is also reasonable top rope access from the top, approached from the far left side of the crag. Most trs need directionals.

-Please respect “closed projects”, they should be tagged so. Don’t d/t at the free climbing crags.

-Respect the access road, and watch for vehicles! Use proper trails. Have necessary parking passes, etc

FA of Social Candy d6, Waynes World 12-19

Some history… After a 2016 visit to the Playground with the Polish guy, I became very interested in finding a local crag that was not easy, crappy, or both. Years passed, and we halfheartedly looked around.

10-’19. Enter the author of the recent guidebook! I emailed him and it took a while for me to get to see both of his suggestions. In mid December, I saw what is now called(not by me) : Waynes World(WW). I was floored with the potential of the area, yet scared of the single bolted line I saw out there. This obscure crag had a smattering of top anchors from a 2003-2006 development that pushed all through the surrounding of crags. Too dark, chossy and jumbled, the far left crags (WW), never took hold on Garth and the gang that were the driving explorers at the time. I found that though the single project may have been climbed long ago, the entire crag has since laid abandoned until the recent d/t development. So far, the redevelopment idea receives near total support from the community and institutions that have chosen to speak up.

IMG_2547

Rap Wall

Thanks for your support, if that is the case, and critique, if also warranted…. No doubt I have done “pick enhancements” on a couple of routes. My main motivation along with sustainable pick holes is: safety. I refuse to send my friends up steep leads with sketchy clips on the first 3 bolts.

 

Safety, and also sustainability.

The many popular existing d/t climbing areas around the U.S. and Canada all suffer from blown-out placement holes. Presumably, this is from hundreds of people falling off, degrading the placement to the point of rendering them useless. Recent remedies are to make more aggressive pick and crampon placement holes with a power drill, thereby making the route pick-hole placements sustainable over the life of the route. Dry tooling will mark and scar the rock. With that, for a crag to be sustainable with everyone using it, should the occasional non-positive hold be enhanced to a point that use does not destroy the feature? I know this also makes the climb easier, but this particular crag is so steep that most any climber will be fully engaged! All improvements are kept to a minimum as well. Good luck climbing here it’s stout, steep, and climbs fantastic!

Routes at Waynes World:

Swing left, right D4-6

The Aspirant D5

Quaratine D8

Imperial March D8 90% complete

Highstepping For Jesus D7 11 bolts. FA Tom Beirne

Painted Ruins D6 FA WW 8 bolts

Cold Therapy D7- 10 bolts

Social Distancing D7 11b

Social Candy D6+ 6 bolts FA WW

Agent Orange D7

Routes at the Dark Side:

Dingleberries Of Eden D6 100% Complete

Rhinestone Cowboy D6 75% Complete (fully bolted, needs work on start)

Pia Coladas with Palpatine D6

Vader Built My Hotrod

Alpine Corner D6 10% Complete (also TR access to the arete and left face likely D5, has bolted anchor)

Canada 11.2-’19

This wasn’t my coldest trip to the Canadian Rockies, but frigidity had a big impact on the outcome of the experience. Ambitions must be reigned in to the point of bailing on daily objectives at times. We did eek out a wonderful long Thanksgiving weekend up there though conditions were tough.

11-27 p1, Carls/ Silk Tassel wi4 w/Doug

11-28 Urs Hole direct 4p wi5 w/ Jenn

 

11-29 Shades of Beauty wi4 3p w/ Jenn, Doug, Eileen

11-30 Storm Creek approach

11-31 Johnson Canyon 4p

Temps weren’t the only concern. Brittle ice is the norm. Carlsburg is still wet. We got hit by an uncomfortably sized spindrift at the top of Urs Hole direct. Storm Creek Headwall approach had some pockets of snow that weren’t steep enough to slide, but would have been sketchy had they been. Johnson Canyon isn’t filled in yet either. Temps though…. Somedays the high never got over 0 degrees f.

Enough complaining though, what a great time to be out with 4 friends on a wonderful holiday of food, drink, shopping, and climbing!! Jenn did amazing leading many pitches. Doug can now focus on unpacking and packing for the ski season. Eileen is now a thin-ice specialist! Thanks to everybody (including my family) for the support in this nutty pursuit! You can still have fun while suffering.

 

Early Winter Couloir, NEWS

It’s still hard to believe that we went to the top of North Early Winter Spire in late November. The frozen scene was very surreal, and having that place to yourself just added to it.

Doug presented the idea to me just a few days prior. It was off my radar this time of year. I thought  it was more if a spring route, but many advantages lie in doing it in the fall. The lack of a cornice being one, steeper longer (though thin) cruxes at the chockstones, another. We elected to approach the longer way in from Blue Lake trail. Once around, we followed someone tracks up the route. I didn’t expect to summit NEWS, but the prior party elected to go to the top, so we did that too! There were some real tough moves at the top of the route though. (5.6??)

What an amazing experience the whole day was! Rapping down in the sunset, after a cold day in forbidding granite spires, left an air behind that we had done something quite special.

We belayed 6 pitches, took single+ rack , pins, 6 shorter screws, single 60m. The trail crews have done an outstanding job up there in the last  couple of years!!

Dougs instagram post

Mt Project page

Ziggy Stardust!- Canada ’19

Kai and I on p2, Ziggy. Photo, Rory

For the most part ice climbing is a sport filled with a degree of suffering. Every now and then though, the angels sing and the love of the universe is poured upon an occasional blessed day. Such was our incredible experience on an obscure, STEEP, and amazing route in the Icefields Parkway.

Ziggy Stardust; rumored to been first climbed by Serge Angelluchi in the 90’s, it saw a FRA for sure in a 2012 online article…

…as well as : this year Andrew and partner did it and posted an enticing and mysterious photo on the Rockies Group page.  As soon as I saw the route, I leaped into planning an immediate trip up there with Kai, to climb it!

The trouble was, it was our first outing for this early ice season. Needing familiarity, we did a warm up (R+D 4+) after finishing the long drive up. Day 2 weather forced us into a crag day as 4-6 inches fell that day. Tasting fear had some fun options though and kept us patient.

day 3, ZIGGY STARDUST!! Our morning came with optimal conditions had on a withering route that had lost much of its lower ice due to sun effect. I could barely contain my excitement at the base, longing to get started and finally relax in the climbing movement. From the start on, there was never an easy section, and the sections varied so much as to seem like a 10 pitch affair! The 4 distinct sections alone on the 1st pitch are so fun to figure out and daintily solve as if doing a puzzle. Chimney to mantle, to scary traverse, to m5+ overhang to ice sticks, and finish with deep drum/thin detached ice! Thin pins, small cams for belay.

The second pitch was a serious, scary, detached, and thin ice affair. (Look for some rock gear too). Great care was taken to spread out my weight and never be too involved with any 1 pick placement or foot. Belay on left at a fixed stopper belay/rap, back it up with med cams.

The reward for that sketch was a fat, yet techy and enduro 3rd pitch! Don’t clobber your belayer too bad. Easily one of the best climbs in the Rockies. What a ride, and what a day on this hidden away, early season gem.

We finished this assault trip with a warm down on the classic Guinness Gully and drove back the same day! Thanks so much to Kai, Jenn, Rory, Quinn, Andrew, and the entire support network we have in the amazing sport we are lucky to be able to do!

Canada 11-19 10p

11-9 R+D WI4+ w Kai, picked out

11-10 Tasting fear wi5 3laps+

11-11-19 Ziggy Stardust, Mt Murchison IV-WI5 (expect thin/R)-M5,  w/Kai

1-13 Guiness Gully WI4 3p w/Kai good shape, wet

Obviously the route varies in condition, and it is neat to see the different forms it has taken (see photos), We caught it a little thin for sure, so be. careful with it. We took 2 KBs, 1-Specter, 6 small cams, 1 each med cams to blue, 10 screws, 3 of them: stubbies.

Some photos courtesy of Rory, Andrew, Kai, and others, Thanks

click to enlarge