Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Malibu Creek State Park - 11/26/201

One of the best things about living in SoCal is the weather. Two days after Thanksgiving the weather was so beautiful that we decided to head to the beach. Since we were heading that way I wanted to check out Malibu Creek State Park since the climbing there looks cool and we had never been. We headed to Point Dume beach and had a great time there playing in the water and sand (it seriously felt much nicer than many days in the middle of the summer). Point Dume has some climbing right on the beach but the rock was really wet so I just bouldered around a bit but we didn't break out the gear.

After a few hours at the beach we decided to check out Malibu Creek State Park. We drove the 20 minutes from the beach to the park and then started hiking in. We reached the first climbing area called Planet of the Apes wall after a couple miles of hiking, but I didn't really want to climb there since it is toprope only. We continued hiking down the trail, but quickly reached a dead end. In order to continue to the other climbing areas requires that you traverse across a fourth class slab above a big pool of water. The traverse was packed with people and no one was moving in either direction and it didn't look like it would clear up anytime soon. On top of that, I don't think Danny would have been able to manage the traverse on his own so we were stuck.

We decided to just do a quick route on Planet of the Apes wall just so that we could check out the rock and then come back at another time without the kids to do some of the better climbs. I hiked around the top and set up a TR on a 5.10a called "Christmas Pump", Amy and I each TR'd the route, then we hiked back to the car.

Even though we only got to do one TR it was nice to be able to check out a new area that we had never been to before.

Frustration Creek - 11/25/2011

The day after Thanksgiving we headed out to have some fun in the great outdoors. We started off by going up the canyon by our house to check out "Big Falls" in the town of Forest Falls. We did the five minute hike to the falls, got some photos, and then headed to Frustration Creek to do some climbing.

At Frustration Creek there is a slab that looks great for Danny to climb, but it doesn't really have any natural gear options to set up a TR from so I have wanted to put in a couple of bolts at the top. Unfortunately I only brought one extremely dull bit with me (I didn't check it before we left) so I was unable to get even one hole in the rock before the drills battery died. I guess Danny's TR will have to wait until next time.

After the failed attempt to set up a route for Danny we decided to just climb. We started with a 5.10b called "The Natural". I ran up it and got the red point, then Amy TR'd it.



After climbing The Natural Amy was done, but I wanted to climb at least one more route, so I jumped on "Eco Challenge" a 5.11a right next to The Natural. I cruised the route and got the red point. The route is kind of funny because it feels like the bolter just wanted a really long route regardless of quality. The route starts out on good quality rock with fun moves and continues that way through the crux, but right after the crux (where it feels like a good natural ending to the route) the rock turns to loose grainy low quality rock through super easy terrain for another forty feet. It feels like the energizer bunny, it just keeps going and going and going and going and... well you get the point. Even with the low quality section at the top of the route it is still a worthwhile route because of the fun moves through the lower section.




After Eco Challenge we packed up and headed home so that the kids could get their naps. It was a short day of climbing, but we still had a great time.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Riverside Quarry - 11/24/2011 - Thanksgiving

On Thanksgiving we wanted to do a bit of climbing before we gained so much weight that we wouldn't be able to climb anymore so we decided to head to the Riverside Quarry. Unfortunately, just after leaving the house I realized that we forgot the camera so this will be another lame post with no photos (I mean seriously, who reads a blog, you go to look at pictures).

So we arrived at the quarry and headed over to Slab City since it is a good kid friendly area and has some fun climbs. We started by climbing a 5.10a called "Mantle Marathon" which as the name implies, involves about 10 mantles onto ledges throughout the climb (ok, I might be exaggerating a little, but there are at least 4 or 5). I lead it quickly and felt like it was just a cruiser easy route, but Amy didn't feel the same about it. She has a hard time with the first 10 feet of the route and then does fine, but the first 10 feet were enough to discourage her from wanting to do anything else.

Amy wanted to head over to Schoolhouse Rock on the other side of the quarry (where there are a bunch of super easy routes), but I wanted to do at least one harder route before we headed over there, so Amy agreed to belay me as long as I didn't make her try to climb it.

I decided to try a 5.11b called Bottom Feeder. I worked this route a couple of times and got the redpoint about 1.5 years ago, but it had been a while since I'd done it so all though I kind of hoped to be able to redpoint it again, I certainly wasn't expecting it. I got to the crux move and couldn't quite stick it so I peeled off, I tried once more again peeling off, but on the third try I stuck the move and cruised the rest of the route.

We headed over to Schoolhouse rock to do a couple more routes before heading home for our Thanksgiving dinner. We started out with a 5.0 called "My Hero Zero" which has to be the most overbolted route in the entire world at 7 bolts in like 40 feet on climbing that really doesn't need any protection at all. Needless to say, I soloed up the route to set up a TR for Danny. Danny TR'd the route with me soloing next to him for moral support, but he did a great job. After Danny got down, Amy lead the route because she didn't want to TR it, but also didn't feel comfortable soloing it.

We decided to do one more route before heading home, and since we had draws on the anchors of "My hero Zero" we decided to do a 5.6 called I'm just a bill since it heads up to the same anchors. I lead it, Amy TR'd it, and we headed home.

J-Tree - 11/19/2011

On Saturday the 19th of November we decided to head out to J-Tree to do some climbing. I had been climbing at the gym the day before and was still tired and Bennett and Gwynne weren't feeling like climbing anything too hard so we decided to look for some easy climbs. Bennett suggested going to the Hemmingway area. I didn't even know where Hemmingway was off the top of my head, but not having any better suggestions myself, I agreed to check it out. As we were driving into the park I was looking out the window at some good looking cracks and mentioned to Amy that I've always wanted to climb them when we saw the sign for the turnoff that said Hemmingway.

We did the short hike over to the wall and decided to start by climbing a 5.6 called Poodlesby. Bennett lead it up first and as he was leading we realized that we had a problem, the wall we were climbing was in the shade and it was just a bit too cold to be belaying and hanging out in the shade. After Bennett finished up we pulled the rope and I ran up it on lead. As I was climbing I decided that I would top out and belay from the top so that I could at least be sitting in the sun while I belayed the girls up.




We decided to go find a sunny climb so that we wouldn't freeze to death. We headed over to Hidden Valley Campground to see if any of the west facing climbs were unoccupied and on The Blob we found a climb that would work for us, a 5.2 called "Beginners 2". We thought that this climb looked perfect, since it was so low angle we realized that Danny would love climbing the first half of it before it got steeper.

I ran up the route and set up a TR anchor then lowered off so that Danny could give it a go.




Danny had a blast. He went a good hundred feet up 3rd and 4th class slabs (which to him were certainly 5th class) and loved it. He did get scared a couple of times, but I was climbing up next to him and when he'd get scared he'd just say "Daddy Hug" and I'd give him a hug then he'd keep on climbing. It was hilarious.

After Danny finished his climbing Amy, Gwynne, and Bennitt TR'd the route and we called it a day. Although it certainly wasn't the most productive day of climbing we've ever had, we certainly had a good time.



And lastly, I got a photo of the rock formation called The Old Woman because from The Blob you can clearly see how the formation got it's name.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

St. George - 11/11/2011 - 11/14/2011

On 11/11/11 it happened to be Veterans Day which means that I got the day off. Since Veterans Day happened to fall on a Friday, and it also happened to be my normal Friday off, I also got Monday the 14th off so we decided to go on a roadtrip for the four day weekend. We decided to meet up with my sister Stephanie in St. George, UT since that is the halfway point between us and her, and there is some fun climbing there as well.

We headed out on Friday morning and arrived in St. George about 5 hours later. Stephanie hadn't arrived yet so we decided to do some climbing at Chuckwalla Wall since it is super close to the city and it would be easy for her to find.

We started out by climbing "Apostasy", a fun 5.10a through a bunch of huecos (that's basically all of Chuckwalla Wall), I easily got the redpoint, then Amy followed it on TR.




After Apostasy we moved down a couple of routes to try a 5.10c called "Popular Demand", I don't think that I have ever climbed this route, so i wanted to get the onsight. I made it to about a foot below the anchors but all of the hand holds ran out and I couldn't really see my feet to figure out where to move them. I was on two slopers for hands and basically just ended up sitting there pumping myself out until I fell off. I paid a bit more attention to where the feet were as I headed up again and got to the chains without a problem, but I was feeling pretty pumped because of hanging out earlier. Amy again ran up the route on TR and we pulled the rope just before Stephanie arrived.


Steph wanted to climb something easy, and the easiest route on Chuckwalla wall is a 5.9 called "Sands of Blood". I ran up it getting the redpoint, then Steph and Amy TR'd it.




After climbing "Sands of Blood", it was starting to get a little dark, but Danny had been wanting to climb, and luckily we recently bought him a harness. I climbed up a low angled section of the rock just right of "Sands of Blood, and belayed Danny up to me while Steph climbed next to him helping him out. It was pretty cool seeing Danny climbing and loving it. Here are a couple of pictures of his first time climbing.



By the time Danny was done climbing it was dark so we decided to call it a day.

The next day we decided to head into Snow Canyon State Park. Snow Canyon has been one of my favorite places ever since I was little, and it is one of the places that made me want to be a climber. We started out the day by hiking into a little slot canyon called Jenny's Canyon, then we went to the sand dunes so that Danny could play in the sand.

Finally it was warm enough to do some climbing so we headed to Circus Wall. The classic climb on Circus Wall is a 5.7 called "Pygmy Alien", so we decided to start out with that. "Pygmy Alien" starts with some third class slab, steepening into 4th class slab, followed by a little bit of easy fifth class slab and ending with 100 feet of near vertical face climbing on varnished patina edges to a cool little cave 200 ft. up the face. I lead the route without a problem and following our usual pattern, Stephanie and Amy TR'd it.






After "Pygmy Alien" we climbed a route that I have always seen and wanted to climb, but have never gotten around to it. The climb is a 5.6 called "The Barbarian". The route follows a left facing corner crack for 150 feet. It was super easy and we all took turns cruising up it (unfortunately we didn't get any photos).

Amy and Stephanie both wanted to be done with climbing for the day at this point, but I wanted to do at least one more route so we decided to climb the first pitch of "Cloudwalker". I started up the route, and arrived at a set of belay anchors about 50 feet up, but at this point I noticed some bolts heading right up a steeper face. I thought the route looked fun so I decided to go that way. The route ended up being a super easy (like 5.5 or 5.6) face climb past tons of bolts (the route was way overbolted, especially for the dificulty) to a set of anchors about ten feet left of the anchors atop "The Barbarian". Again Amy and Steph TR'd the route, and again we forgot to get any photos.

Sunday we went to church, Stephanie headed home, and then we went to Pioneer Park to do some hiking and get some photos. We didn't do any climbing so I won't include anything more about that day here.

Monday we needed to drive back to CA, so we didn't have a lot of time, but I had noticed a few new routed in Pioneer Park so we decided to check them out.

We started by climbing a steep hueco'd 4 bolt route that I thought looked like fun. It was a pretty good route that felt like a 5.10c. I ended up going with my right hand to the crux hold on my first attempt (which made it so that I couldn't clip the third bolt) so I fell off, but the second time I went with my left hand and completed the route. Amy then TR'd the route, but she isn't really a big fan of overhanging routes so she didn't like it very much.




After that route, Amy just wanted to head home, but I wanted to climb at least one more route, so we decided to run up a fun little 5.9 just down the canyon from our first route of the day. This route follows vertical huecos past 2 drilled angles and one bolt to the anchors. Again I ran up it and Amy TR'd it then we headed home after a good weekend of climbing.




Monday, October 24, 2011

J-Tree - 10/22/2011

On Friday the 21st of October as I was waiting for the world to end (google Harold camping if you don't know what I'm talking about), I got a text from my friend Bennett wondering if we wanted to join him, his wife and his baby to do some climbing at J-Tree the next day. I told him that I'd love to as long as both myself and J-Tree were still around the next day. We made plans to meet at his house at 9:00 AM to head out.

Amazingly enough, we woke up in our apartment which was still on the earth Saturday morning and got ready to head out to J-Tree. We did pretty good and ended up getting to Bennett's house at about 10 after nine even with getting the 2 kids ready for the day. We decided to go to a remote area of the park called the Towers of Uncertainty which is off of the Geology Tour Road.

We arrived at the park and located the parking area for the Towers of Uncertainty, but we found that when they grade the geology tour road, it looks like they just push all of the loose sand into a 2 foot tall pile blocking the pullout. We tried to back into the pullout so that we could get off the road, but there was no way that our low clearance 2 wheel drive cars were going to make it, so we ended up just parking on the road.

We hiked the long .3 miles out to the climbing and found some really good looking cracks. We tried to determine where we were by using the map in the book, but it was completely confusing as it showed the trail going north and south when the trail actually goes east and west. Luckily there was a couple who had just finished one of the cracks we were looking at who was able to tell us that the formation we were at was called "Crow's Nest".

We started by climbing Trench Connection which was a really fun 5.5 face climb that used the crack for protection. I lead it onsight, and the most difficult part of the climb was placing pro due to the irregular nature of the crack. Hexes would have worked perfectly but I had left mine at home. After I lead it I rapped off and cleaned the gear so that Bennett could lead it as well. He also had no problem and we set up a TR for the girls to climb. Amy and Gwen both TR'd it and we moved on to try something else.

I had been eyeing a face between two of the main cracks that looked fun, seemed to have some thin cracks that could be used for pro, and wasn't in the book, so I decided to give it a go. I started up it and found it to be a jug haul for the first 20 feet or so, but then it hit the steeper section with the thin cracks. I got a good nut in at the start of the thin cracks and started to climb above it but I was having a hard time finding anything for pro. About 8 feet above the nut I placed a 0 TCU in a horizontal pocket that didn't look like it would even hold body weight, but it was all I could find since the thin cracks I had seen from the ground had no constrictions and were to small for any of my cams. I finally decided to just run it out above that horrible looking TCU and just ran it out to the top from there. I thought it felt about 5.8 but looking at mountain project once we got home it looks like it is a 5.7 called "Caws and Effect", the nerves of thinking I had no decent pro probably made it feel harder to me. I set up an anchor so that the others could TR the route, and as I lowered off, I decided to check the TCU that I was so worried about to see how it would have done. Surprisingly, I was able to do some pretty intense bounce testing on a dyneema sling and was unable to get it to budge, I guess it might have held a fall after all!

Bennett leading the first part of Yeah Baby

As I was leading Caws and Effect, Bennett had lead another face between two of the main cracks that followed some discontinuous cracks for the first 2/3 of the wall, then joined one of the main cracks for the rest of the route. It looks like the route was a linkup of "Yeah Baby" for the first 2/3 to "No Strings Attached" for the last 1/3 of the wall. Bennett is a fairly new trad climber so he wanted me to check out his gear for him. I also wanted to lead the route so we pulled the rope and I lead it while checking his gear but not using it so that I could place my own and still get the redpoint.

Bennett Joining No Strings Attached

Amy about to join No Strings Attached

The girls wanted to lead something, but they didn't want to place gear, so as I lowered off I checked all the gear and made sure that it was bomber, then both Gwen and Amy lead the route on the preplaced gear each getting the pinkpoint.

Amy Starting up Yeah Baby

Amy with the 2 pieces of stuck gear

Bennett, Gwen and Amy each took turns TRing Caws and Effect, and it was getting a little late, so we decided to call it a day. The only problem was that Amy had been unable to clean 2 pieces of gear on the upper section of No Strings Attached, and we still had Anchors on top of two of the routes. I wanted to lead No Strings Attached, but everyone else was done climbing so I decided to basically free solo No Strings Attached to clean the two pieces of pro, then clean the two anchors and walk off. I say basically free solo because I did have Bennett belay me, and I did place pro next to the two pieces of pro that Amy couldn't clean so that I wouldn't have to worry about slipping and falling to my death as I tried to clean the stuck gear, but after I removed the stuck gear, I also removed the pro that I placed next to it so that the route would be cleaned when I reached the top. This worked out well, and neither of the "stuck" pieces were very hard to clean at all, so we packed up and headed home after a fun day of climbing in J-Tree.

Riverside Quarry - 10/15/2011

On Saturday the fifteenth of October, we wanted to go climbing, but Amy had fallen and hurt her knee a week before so she wasn't feeling like climbing anything hard. She also wanted to lead so we decided to head to Schoolhouse Rock at the Riverside Quarry since it has lots of very easy sport routes (even if they aren't very high quality).

We arrived at Schoolhouse Rock and started by climbing the route called Schoolhouse Rock. This route is a 5.8 that has 3 small roofs between slabby sections. Amy wanted me to hang the draws for her so I ran up the route and hung the draws. She then proceeded to redpoint it without any problems except for her knee hurting her.

Because of her knee she decided that she didn't want to lead any other routes that day, so I decided to run up a 5.9 called Tyrannosaurus Debt. This is a fun route for Schoolhouse Rock and consists of a 5.9 friction slab followed by a little 5.9 roof and ending with about 20 feet of 4th class to the anchors. I started up the route, but fell off on the 5.9 friction move so I lowered off, pulled the rope and went up again for a redpoint. Amy then TR'd the route and we decided that we only had time for one more quick route since it was getting so hot.

The final route we climbed was a 5.6 called I'm Just a bill that is mostly just friction slab with a 4 foot finger crack thrown in for good measure. I thought it'd be fun to lead it in chacos so I ran up it and got a redpoint in chacos which at least made it a little more interesting for a 5.6. Amy then TRd it and we started packing up to go.

As we packed up I noticed that the belayer in a group of climbers right next to us had no clue how to use a grigri (luckily they were climbinga 5.0 with bolts every 2 feet and the leader was only at the first bolt which is about 6 feet off the ground). I quickly offered to show him how to use the grigri and they asked me to belay the leader so that the new belayer could see how it's done. I belayed their leader and explained how the grigri works and how to belay so that hopefully they have a better idea now.

After that we headed out because it was way to hot to still be climbing in the sun.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Red Rock NV - 10/08/2011 - 10/10/2011

One of the benefits of being employed by the federal government is that you get all kinds of random holidays off that most people outside of elementary school don't even remember exist. October 10th is one of those holidays (Columbus Day), and since I am a government employee we decided to head to Vegas to do some climbing at Red Rocks.

Luckily for us, Amy's brother and his wife (Michael and Kim) were planning on going to Vegas that weekend to visit some friends, so we decided to split the cost of a condo for the weekend so that we wouldn't have to camp with the kidos.

We drove out to Vegas on Friday night and after staying up late catching up with Michael and Kim we went to bed hoping for a good nights sleep so that we would be well rested for climbing the next day.

Well, the good nights sleep thing didn't happen since Danny decided that 4:00 AM was when he wanted to wake up and wouldn't even think of going back to bed. Since we were feeling tired we just kind of lounged around until about 10:00 AM and finally decided to go do some climbing. Since we weren't feeling all that perky we decided to climb at the Jagged Edges area since it has several single pitch easy trad climbs and also has a fairly short approach.

We had a fun hike out to the crag as Danny insisted on climbing up every little rock on the approach and wouldn't let us help him at all (it was hilarious). When we got to the crag we started by climbing "Go Ahead and Jump", an easy 5.5 face climb that follows a crack for protection ending in a very easy chimney.



After that we climbed "OK, OK, OK" which is a much better route in my opinion. It's a 5.6 crack that actually has a couple of crack moves on it instead of just pure face climbing, and it's a little bit longer as well. I lead the route, belayed Amy up, and we moved on to the main Jagged Edges face.



Since we had the kids and only one rope we decided to just do the first pitch of Jagged Edges to the bolted belay station about 60 feet up. I lead the route (which consists of face climbing with the crack for pro for the first 50 feet and ends with about 10 feet of very slick varnished 5.8 hand crack guarding the anchors) cleanly then Amy TR'd it cleanly as well.





After Jagged Edges (since we already had the TR set up) we decided to TR the first pitch of "Plan F", a .10a finger crack that shares the first pitch anchors with Jagged Edges. We both TR'd it cleanly and it actually felt nice to get a little bit of a workout after the super easy routes that we had done earlier.



After the four routes we decided to call it a day and met up with Michael and Kim for dinner.

Sunday we just went to church and hung out with Michael and Kim but planned on a full day of climbing on Monday.

Sunday night we all got some good sleep so we decided to do some harder sport climbing on Monday. We headed to the Black Corridor which has a bunch of .10s and .11s and is shaded all day long. We started by climbing "The Cell", one of the three 5.9 warmups in the corridor. It gave us no trouble so we were about to move onto some of the mid .10s when the kids went crazy. They both started crying and throwing tantrums and since there were a bunch of other climbers we decided to leave the area.

We thought about heading to a less crowded area, but the kids were obviously tired and didn't want to be outside anymore, so we ended up just calling it a day and they both napped for the entire drive home.

Riverside Quarry - 09/30/2011

On Friday the 30th of September I had the day off, so we decided to do a little bit of sport climbing in the morning before it got too hot. We headed to Riverside Quarry because it is close by and is a pretty fun place to climb even if it isn't all that beautiful. We decided to climb at Slab City since it has a bunch of moderates, isn't a long or steep hike, and is nice and flat for the kids to hang out and play.

When we got there we met a couple of guys who were filling up there pickup truck with trash. They said that every time they go to the quary they haul out a pickup load of trash which is pretty cool in my opinion. The worst part about the quarry is that it really is just a big junk yard where people dump all of their garbage, I wish I had a truck so that I could do more about cleaning up the area like they were doing.

We started out by climbing Shattered Dreams which is a fun .10c that follows a juggy, jagged crack up a slightly overhanging face. Whenever we climb at Slab City we have to do this route because Amy wants to get it with no hangs and is working on doing that. I ran up it and got the redpoint (for like the 10th time now), then Amy TR'd it and did better then she has done before (though she did have to hang at the crux).





After Shattered Dreams we climbed a .10d called Cling Thing. This route starts out up an overhanging juggy roof with long reaches, then climbs a nice hand crack for about 10 feet, and finishes up a thin slab. I lead it up with no problems, but I did have to hang once because the crux bolt is placed a bit high for clipping the draw into it (it is perfect if you have the draw pre-placed). After I lead it, Amy gave it a go. She wasn't able to complete the climb, but she did have a fun time doing one of the dynos on the crux section.







After Amy's unsuccessful attempt I ran up the route on TR to clean the gear and we called it a day.