Friday, March 7, 2014

May, 2013

In May it was a little bit difficult to get out climbing due to the fact that we had a brand new born baby (born April 21st), but we did get out a few times.

The first Saturday in May I decided that we needed to go somewhere easy to help Amy out with her confidence since she hadn't climbed much in the recent month, so we headed to the Salt Lake Slips in Big Cottonwood Canyon.

We started the day climbing the easiest route at the slips, a 5.3 called Wop Dego.  This route follows a very easy broken corner system.  I think I placed like two pieces of gear on the 80 foot pitch and that was more to make Amy feel good about it then for me.  Amy then TR'd the route as well.

Danny Playing around on Wop Dego - 5.3

Next we climbed a 5.7 called Maudlin.  This was a pretty fun mellow route that was quite tall.  We only brought a 60m rope, but there was a mid-route rap station, so I lead up to that, then lowered and Amy TR'd the route, then I decided that I wanted to climb the top portion of the route too, so I TR'd up the the mid route rap station, then continued leading to the top of the route and rapped off in two raps.

For our final route of the day we did a 5.8 called High Fructose Corn Syrup.  Once again this route was quite long, (not quite as long as Maudlin, but more than 60 meters), and this time there wasn't a mid-route rap station.  I ended up climbing the route, then just lowering until Amy got to the end of the rope, I then untied and down climbed to the ground.  When Amy went to TR the route I just bouldered up the fifteen feet to the end of the rope where I untied, put her on belay there, and then climbed down to the ground as she climbed up until I was on the ground and could belay like normal.  Luckily, the route was easy enough that this wasn't a problem.

The next time we went climbing in May was for my birthday.  I had never been to the City of Rocks in Idaho, so I wanted to check it out for my birthday.  We actually headed there on May 20th, the day before my birthday and camped that night.

City of Rocks

The first day at the city we just did a couple of routes on Bath Rock since we got there a bit late in the afternoon.  The first route we did was a 5.5 called Cowboy.  This route was pretty cool because it was a full 200 ft long, and was pretty runout, but it was easy enough that you didn't really worry about the runout at all.  I climbed the route then belayed Amy from the top.  I then lowered Amy off and walked off the back side of the rock.

The second route we tried was a 5.11b called White Hueco's.  This route was really cool until you got to the third bolt.  The crux was between the third and fourth bolts, but the problem was the fact that the bolt was placed in a really bad location where it both opens the top biner of your draw if you weight it, and it also loads the biner over an edge.  Needless to say, I wasn't really comfortable climbing above the bolt through the crux so I ended up leaving a bail biner and lowering off.

White Hueco - 5.11b

The next day (my birthday) I wanted to go retrieve my bail biner off of White Hueco's so we started our climbing there.  I took a stick clip with me so that I could stick clip the fourth bolt and not worry about falling on the edge loaded biner.  Once I had the fourth bolt clipped the route went smoothly and I made it to the anchors without a problem.

Just around the corner from White Hueco's is this huge roof that looked awesome as we hiked past it.  On this roof was a 5.12a called Euro Beast that I decided I wanted to try.  I ended up making it to the second to last bolt before falling off, but the moves were really fun and cool, just big reaches between big jugs out a big horizontal roof.  After falling off, I worked out the crux moves and made it to the anchors pretty easily after that.  I really need to go back and redpoint the route.  Amy didn't want to try that one so we headed to another area.

Euro Beast - 5.12a

We drove around the park just to check everything out since we had never been there, and after driving through the park we ended up at kind of the edge of the park by the Twin Sisters.  It was getting kind of windy and some clouds were moving in, but I wanted to do some more climbing so we decided to just do a couple of quick routes at an area called Indian Chief Rock right across from the Twin Sisters.

I started out by climbing the creatively named 5.8 called Wide Crack.  This route was actually pretty fun, and not all that wide despite the name.  I cruised it, and then Amy TR'd it.  At this point Amy wanted to go home since it was getting quite cold and windy, but then we realized that she had left my gear up at the anchors, so I had to climb one more.  I just decided to run up another highly creatively named route that went to the same anchors, a 5.5 called the flake route.  I ran up and cleaned the anchors, then we headed home after our first trip to the City, it won't be our last.

Danny on Flake Route - 5.5

The next Saturday we headed to 9th street in Ogden to get a couple of quick climbs in before grocery shopping and putting the kids down for their naps.  We started on That's What She Said - 5.10a, and I ran up it getting the onsight, then Amy did it on TR.  After That's What She Said, I wanted to jump on Vile of Crack - 5.11c.  I had tried this route when we had come to UT the year before for my brothers wedding and a business trip that I had, but I hadn't gotten it cleanly, so I wanted to try and get the redpoint.  I climbed the route, but had to hang once when I couldn't remember the moves, so I lowered off, pulled the rope, and ran back up it getting the redpoint.  Amy wasn't feeling strong enough to give Vile of Crack a try, so we headed out to take care of the other things we had going on that day.

A few days later my friend Ben was in town and wanted to do some climbing, so I decided to take the day off so that we could get together.  Our plan was to climb Arm and Hammer in Bells Canyon, but unfortunately, the day turned out to be extremely rainy with wouldn't work out too well since Arm and Hammer is a granite slab with a long approach.  We really wanted to go climbing still, so we decided to go do something overhanging in AF canyon if we could find anything dry enough.  We decided to check out The Membrane since it is fairly overhung and has no hike to get to.  We were the only ones at the crag, but amazingly enough, the routs looked to be pretty dry.  Ben wanted to start on a really fun 5.10d called Steel Monkey, so he hopped on and did a great job.  He did have to hang a couple of times and kind of got off route heading towards Caress of Steel, but did amazingly well for how little he's been climbing lately.  After he lowered off I ran up and snagged the redpoint of the route (for some reason I had only climbed that route like once before, but it's a really cool route).

Next Ben wanted to do something a bit easier, so we jumped on Caress of Steel - 5.10a.  Again, Ben did a great job and made it to the anchors after a couple of hangs.  This route was interesting due to the fact that it isn't as overhung at the top, so the top 15 feet of the route were quite wet.  I ended up getting the route cleanly despite the wet rock, but it did make it feel a bit more spicy than usual.

For our final route of the day before Ben needed to get back to his family we decided to give License to Thrill a go.  Licence to Thrill is only 5.11c, but I've never been able to get past the crux (granted, I'd only tried the route two times previously).  This time, I did make it through the crux and to the top of the route, but I did have to hang a few times.  It was kind of interesting when I reached past the final roof and stuck my hand in a pocket only to completely submerge my hand in water, needless to say, clipping the anchors was interesting.  Ben then gave the route a go on TR, but he was tired at this point so he made it to the crux then lowered off.  I have to say, we had a great day of climbing considering how the weather looked when we woke up that morning.    

Monday, January 6, 2014

April 2013

This past April was a beautiful month as far as weather was concerned, but we didn't get out climbing all that much due to our new son Austin being born.  I was able to get out a couple of times with some people from work, then we made it out once after Austin was born.

During the end of March and the beginning of April there was a group of airman from the British Royal Air Force here at Hill for some training.  A couple of these airman were climbers and came to the wall to climb a few times.  One of these airman, Matt, really wanted to get outside and do some multipitch climbing here in Utah before he headed back to England so I offered to take him.  He didn't want to do anything too difficult so I decided to take him up Becky's Wall in Little Cottonwood Canyon.  Becky's Wall is a 3 pitch 5.7 that has one of my favorite 5.7 pitches ever on it, so I figured it would be a good route to do.  Matt lead the first 5.6 Pitch, I lead the second 5.7 pitch, then Matt lead the third 5.4 pitch.  All in all the route went really well and ended up taking just the right amount of time since Matt had somewhere he needed to be that afternoon.  Unfortunately, we didn't get any photos.

A couple of days later a guy named Charlie who works in the same building that I do invited me to come and climb Tree Crack with him at the Schoolroom area in Ogden.  Charlie is really into trad climbing and wants to start breaking into the 5.11 grade on gear, and Tree Crack is a 5.11a crack route with a short crux so he thought it'd be a good starting point.  We also invited Colin to come along as well.  

We did the long 45 minute hike up to the schoolroom area, and Charlie wanted to go for the onsight of Tree Crack right off the bat, so he racked up and went for it.  He made it through the crux without any problems, but ended up pumping out and popping off about 3/4's of the way up the route.  Next Colin went up the route on TR and eventually made it to the anchors.  After Colin's TR, we pulled the rope and I lead the route cleanly first try making this my hardest Trad flash to date.  

Charlie Starting up Tree Crack - 5.11a

Charlie finishing up the crux section

Colin on TR

Me pulling through the crux

After we had all climbed Tree Crack, we decided to TR a 5.10d sport route just to the left of Tree Crack since they share the same anchors.  We each took turns TRing the route before moving onto something else.

Me on Tastes Like Burning - 5.10d

Charlie's Turn

After we had all TR'd Tastes Like Burning, Charlie wanted to try a 5.10b called Jammin for Jesus, but he didn't really want to lead it, so I racked up and started up the route.  Unfortunately, the route had absolutely no decent pro anywhere and despite it's name, didn't have any jams anywhere.  It was a face route that followed a tiny seam for protection, but you just couldn't get anything to fit in the seam.  I fiddled with gear for a little while and made my way partially up the route, but eventually I decided to give up on that route and to move one climb to the right onto a 5.11c sport route called Phat Abbot.  Phat Abbot ended up being a really fun route with a slick, slopey crimp on the crux move.  I fell off a time or two, but I eventually figured it out and made it to the chains.

Starting up Jammin for Jesus - 5.10b

Clipping the crux bolt on Phat Abbot - 5.11c

After Phat Abbot I had to take off. Charlie and Colin stayed and did some more climbing, but Amy needed me home for something, so that was it for me.

The next week Amy had our new baby Austin, so no climbing that week, but the following week we were able to get out to check out the climbing up at Echo Canyon.  I had heard about how Echo is a conglomerate climbing area like Maple Canyon, and it's only a half hour from where we live, so I decided that we needed to check it out.  There are only a couple of developed areas at Echo, and a lot of it is hard, so we decided to check out the Bear Hollow Wall since it has a couple of easy lines on it, and Amy had just had a baby a week before.

Echo Canyon ended up being really fun, the climbing was almost identical to Maple Canyon, and we were able to do two routes, a 5.9 called Maple Jones, and a 5.10a called Corn on the Cobble.  I onsighted both routes, and Amy TR'd Maple Jones, but wasn't feeling up to Corn on the Cobble yet.  Danny also played around on a TR of Maple Jones.

Maple Jones - 5.9

Amy on the TR

Danny's Turn

Well, That's it for the climbing I did this April.

March 2013

Although Utah does have some amazing climbing, it is hard having to deal with several months of unclimbable weather in a row.  Luckily for me, there is a climbing wall on base where I work so I am able to train there when it's too cold to climb outside.  The cold weather coupled with the fact that Amy was pregnant kept us from doing any outdoor climbing during the month of February, but by mid March the weather was warming up, and so it was time to get outside again.  Since Amy was pregnant, she didn't really want to do any climbing, so luckily for me, I had met a few people at the climbing wall at work who were willing to get out with me.

The first trip outdoors was to the 29th street crag in Ogden.  One of the guys that I had climbed with at the wall wanted to get outside, so I happily accompanied him.  We decided to go to the 29th street crag purely based on it's proximity to work since we were going there right after work and wanted to get as much climbing in as possible before it got dark.  We ended up climbing all 4 of the routes on the main wall at the crag and I got the onsight on all of them.  The routes were Safety Goggles (5.9), Overlooked (5.10a), 8 Ball Corner Pocket (5.8), and Loose Shingles (5.10b).  Unfortunately, we didn't take a camera so no photos from this trip.

The next day I decided to head back to the 29th street crag because I had noticed a pretty big blank space between Safety Goggles and Overlooked that looked like it could use a new route there.  Amy didn't want to do any climbing, but she did offer to give me a belay on the first ascent of the route after I bolted it.  We hiked up there, I threw in a few new bolts, then I ran up and grabbed the first ascent of Little Pile of Choss (5.7).  I named it that not necessarily due to the rock being particularly chossey, but because of the general appearance of the whole crag.  We did get a few photos of Danny on a TR of the new route so I've put one below.

Danny TRing Little Pile of Choss - 5.7

A couple of weeks later I was able to get out climbing again, this time with another friend that I had met at the climbing wall at work named Colin.  We decided to head up Ogden Canyon since Colin lives right by the mouth of the canyon and knows it pretty well.  We met up at the Smiths at the mouth of the canyon and drove up to Utah Wall to do some climbing.  

On Utah Wall we started out with a really long climb called Right of the Roof (5.4), Then we climbed an unknown 5.8 that follows the rightmost crack in the roof, next we climbed a really fun 5.6 that has a pretty big roof on it for such an easy grade, after that we climbed a route called Apex Right (5.8), and finished up our climbing at Utah Wall with Lawyers, Guns, and Money, a 5.10b that happens to be the first sport route in the Ogden area.  I was able to nab the onsight of all five of those routes.

After that we decided to do a few more climbs at the Hole in the Rock area before heading home.  At hole in the rock we did the two crack lines, Hole in the Rock (5.5) and Layback Crack (5.6) along with two sport routes, Chicken Wire (5.8), and If the Fall Doesn't Kill you a Car Will (5.10a).  Once again I got the onsight on all of the four routes, then we headed home.

That does it for the climbing I was able to do during the month of March.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

January 2013

After moving back to Utah in December I got a bit depressed with the cold weather and the lack of climbing, so we decided to make a trip down to St. George for New Years.  We headed down to St. George on New Years Eve and arrived in time to get a couple of climbs in at Chuckawalla Wall before it got dark.  We did Dirtbag (5.10a), Solace (5.10a), and Popular Demand (5.10c).  I got both of the two 5.10a's clean, but had to hang on the last bolt of Popular Demand because I couldn't figure out the tricky moves to get to the chains.

The next day I wanted to check out some of the limestone areas around St. George since I've climbed in St. George about a million times, but have never sampled the limestone there.  Since it was a cold morning we just drove around to a bunch of the limestone areas, then once it warmed up a bit we decided to do a route on the Black and Tan wall.  It was kind of windy, and most of the wall was in the shade, so we decided to try one of the routes on the lower angled left side of the wall since it was in the sun.  The route we ended up doing was a very easy 5.5 or 5.6, but it was fun and gave me a taste of how good the limestone in the area is.  Because of the cold wind we decided to head back to St. George to see if we could find a more wind free area to climb.

Unknown 5.6 at Black and Tan

We decided to just head to Snow Canyon and climb on the Circus Wall since it is in full sun and generally isn't too windy.  On Circus Wall we climbed the first pitch of the Barbarian (5.6), then got on the first pitch of Roar of the Greasepaint (5.10a).  I think that Roar of the Greasepaint may be my new favorite 5.10a.  It was just awesome technical edges the whole way without any distinct crux.  I thought it was awesome.  After those two routes the sun was setting, so we packed up and headed home.

Roar of the Greasepaint - 5.10a

The Barbarian - 5.6

A few weeks later we decided to meet up with Bennett and Gwynne at Red Rock for a couple of days to do a bit more warm weather climbing.  We arrived at Red Rock on January 21st and decided to head to the Yin and Yang cliff.  Neither Bennett or Gwynne had ever climbed a pure crack climb before so I figured that Atman (5.10a) would be a good first crack (plus I'd wanted to try out Yin and Yang for a while).  Atman was quite fun as usual and I cruised it without any problem, Bennet and Gwynne both had a difficult time, but that's to be expected for a first crack climb.  As we were climbing Atman there was another party climbing Yin and Yang (5.11a).  They ended up getting a cam stuck on it, so I offered to clean it for them if they gave me a TR on the route.  I was a little bit intimidated about leading it, but I shouldn't have been.  I did it cleanly on TR without any problem, and was able to retrieve their stuck cam as well.

Atman - 5.10a

Bennett Starting out

Gwynne Topping Out

Yin and Yang - 5.11a

After Yin and Yang, we decided to check out Sunny and Steep crag since we were close by and I've never been there.  We hiked over to it, and ran up Sport Chimney (5.8) before it started getting dark and we had to hike back to the car.

The next day we decided to just stay close to the car since Sunny and Steep was quite a hike with the kids, so we just headed to the black corridor for some convenient sport climbing.  At the black corridor we climbed the Cell (5.9), L2 (5.9), Crude Boys (Supposedly 5.10d, more like 5.10a), and Nightmare on Crude Street (5.10d).  I was able to get all of them cleanly, with The Cell being the only route that I didn't onsight since I'd climbed it before.

The Cell - 5.9

After those four routes we had to head home for work, and that concludes our climbing for January, actually, we didn't do any outdoor climbing in February, so March will be my next post.  

Moving to Utah - December 2012

Well, It's been a really long time since I have written in this blog.  I'll blame that on a crazy year that I've had.  Just over a year ago I got a new job in Utah.  Now I'm originally from Utah, but we had moved to SoCal for work just after I graduated from the University of Utah.  We always knew that we would eventually wind up back in Utah, but weren't sure when it would happen.  Well, as luck would have it, I was offered a job at Hill Air Force Base as an Aerospace Engineer, and we moved to Utah on December 15, 2012.  After moving to Utah we lived in an apartment while we were building a house, and with all of the madness I pretty much neglected my blog entirely.  That doesn't mean that we weren't doing some amazing climbing though.  I think that in the interest of continuity of the blog, I'll try to do a post for each month that I've missed, with individual posts for some of the more interesting trips that we took.

Before we moved to UT I wanted to try and finish up my project at Frustration Creek, so we took 1 last trip there on December 8th.  We climbed The Natural (5.10a), The first pitch of The Dead Terrorist (5.7), and let Danny play around on his route (Preschooler's Playground).  After that, I tried a bunch of times to get the redpoint on Primal Quest, but unfortunately, I just didn't have it in me.  I did do one final run up The Expedition (5.11b) for old times sake, then we packed up and headed home.  I guess Primal Quest is now an open project.  Hopefully we can make a trip back to Frustration Creek sometime when I'm stronger so that I can finally redpoint that thing.

The Dead Terrorist - 5.7

Gwynne Trying to copy me.

Now it's Amy's Turn

Primal Quest - 5.12b

Clipping the crux 2nd bolt

Topping out on The Expedition - 5.11b

Gwynne working her way up The Expidition

After moving to Utah I quickly became depressed when I remembered how cold it is, and how little climbing is available in the winter months.  We decided that we needed some climbing, so we planned a trip down to St. George for New Years, but I'll write about the details of that trip in January's post.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Frustration Creek, 11/24/2012

On Saturday once again we headed up to Frustration Creek to do some climbing.  I figured that now I really need to start working on my other route so that I can get it redpointed before we move back to Utah in a couple of weeks.  When we arrived we found that the route was still in the sun, and Amy wasn't feeling very well, so we decided to climb one of the routes on the middle tier so that she could belay down by the waterfall where there was still some shade.

I roped up down by the base of the waterfall, climbed up to the second tier, then decided that the third route from the left looked fun, so I started up that route.  It turns out that the route is a 5.10c called Burning Bush. Burning Bush turned out to be a pretty fun route.  It was very technical and balancy with the crux at the second to last bolt as you pulled over a steeper section on holds that all slope the wrong way.  I got the onsight of the route then rapped back down to the second tier.

Because we had the kids with us and due to the rope length we decided that it would be best to have both Amy and Gwynne start from the lower tier while I belayed from the second tier.  First up was Gwynne, she climbed the route without any major problems (even though she did have to take a time or two), then Amy also climbed the route with a take or two, then we decided that Danny would like to try climbing the approach to the second tier next to the waterfall, so I set up the TR and rapped back down to the lower tier.

Danny did really well climbing the approach route.  He kept complaining about the rock being too slippery, but he ended up climbing the whole thing without any help.  I hoped that Danny would be able to lower off all on his own again, but he didn't want to so I had to climb back up to him and help him lower off.

Approach to the middle tier - 5.2



Danny waiving from the anchors.


Amy still wasn't feeling very well, so she didn't really want to climb anything else, but I figured that Gwynne needed to do another route, so we decided to run up The Natural (5.10a).  I ran up the route and got the redpoint, then Gwynne TR'd the route getting the TRedpoint, then Amy decided that she was feeling well enough, so she also got the TRedpoint of the route.

Finally I decided to give my new route (Primal Quest - 5.12b) a go.  Although I still am nowhere near redpointing it I am getting better with each attempt.  I've finally found a leg position that allows me to get a good knee smear to help keep my body into the wall during the crux which makes that move much easier, and I am linking more and more of the moves together and hanging on less bolts, so that's good.  On this attempt I think I only hung on the second, fourth, fifth, and last bolts (and really I shouldn't have hung on either the fourth or last bolts because it wasn't due to being too tired).  I still have a ways to go, but it is certainly coming along.  Next, Gwynne decided that she'd give the route a go on TR, so I power belayed her up the route.  Between the power belay, and pulling on a few choice draws, she was able to make it to the top of the route.

Below is a sequence of the crux section of my new route Primal Quest - 5.12b






It was now time for us to go, but Danny wanted to "swing" before we left, so we hooked him up to the rope, hauled him to the top of the route, let him swing around, lowered him back down, packed up, and headed home.

Frustration Creek, 11/23/2012

So, I had to get back up to Frustration creek today after my failed attempt at the First Ascent of my new route The Expedition yesterday.  All morning I was feeling anxious and nervous about attempting it again because I didn't want to blow it again today.  On top of that, my legs are really sore from the two games of football that I played yesterday morning, but I knew that if I could put myself in the right mindset it would go down.

We finally left the house at around 10:45 and headed up the canyon.  After we arrived I took my time getting the gear out and ready, getting the camera set up, and just looking up at the route contemplating the moves.  Eventually, I decided that standing around wasn't going to help anything, so I roped up and started up the route.  The first four bolts are easy climbing at around 5.8, but once you hit the fifth bolt there is no stopping until you get to the anchors.  Because of this, when I got to the fourth bolt, I clipped it, then just stood on the good juggy holds below the fourth bolt for a few minutes as I prepared myself mentally for the send.

After a couple of minutes of standing there preparing myself mentally, I felt ready, so I just went for it.  I ended up not having any problems at all.  The crux felt great and I didn't get pumped at all, at the last bolt one of my feet skated off of it's hold, but both my hands and my other foot were great, so that wasn't a problem, and I reached the anchors easily.  It felt great, especially after my failed attempts from yesterday.

Starting the easy juggy section.

Waiting, relaxing, and getting my head in the game.

Pulling through the crux.

Finishing the crux.

Clipping the chains.

Lowering after the FA of "The Expedition" - 5.11b.

After getting down and cutting the red tag off the route I decided to give my other new route (Primal Quest) a try.  Unfortunately that didn't go as well as I would have hoped.  I had my usual problems with the crux move (all though I do seem to be getting a lot closer), then there were a bunch of wasps all over between the fourth and fifth bolts, so I opted to just lower off so that I wouldn't get attacked.

Amy wasn't feeling very good at this point, so I decided to try soloing one of Brent's new routes, a 5.2 called  Just the Tip, while Amy rested in the shade.  That went well other than the fact that the entire route was completely covered in lots of nice loose dirt which made it quite exciting for a 5.2 especially since I was free soloing it;)

Since Amy wasn't feeling very good, but still wanted to climb something, we decided to do the first pitch of The Dead Terrorist next.  Amy didn't want to lead, so I roped up to run up and set up a TR for her, but when I arrived at the anchors to Rumble in the Rubble, Amy asked me to just clip them and come down because she really wasn't feeling well.  I came down, Amy rested in the shade, then she TR'd Rumble in the Rubble.

Rumble in the Rubble - 5.7



Now of course Danny had been begging to climb his route the whole time we were up there, so we finished off the day by letting him climb it twice.  One awesome thing was the fact that on his second time climbing his route we were able to lower him and he did great.  Normally I have to climb up to him, clip him to myself, then basically drag him down (which he loves by the way).  It's exciting to see him learn to lower himself though since that is much easier for me.

After Danny was finished climbing we packed up and headed home for a Thanksgiving Dinner leftovers lunch and naps for the kids.