Sunday, January 29, 2012

J-Tree - 01/28/2012

Saturday the 28th was a beautiful day here in Redlands, CA so we decided to take advantage of that and head to J-Tree to do some climbing. I had been eyeing a route on in the Steve Canyon area and wanted to give it a try. The route is a 5.9 called Super Roof and as you can imagine, it follows a roof crack that looks really cool. Amy had some things to do in the morning, so I got the gear and the kids ready while she was out, then we left around 11:00 and arrived in the parking area for Steve Canyon at around 12:30. The weather looked beautiful, so we were a bit surprised when we opened the car doors and felt an icy cold wind hit us in the face. Amy and I were just wearing shorts and t-shirts and hadn't brought any jackets or anything, but luckily, we at least brought jackets and blankets for the kids. We decided to walk over to Steve Canyon to see if it was any more sheltered from the wind so that we could climb without freezing to death. Luckily for us, the rocks did shelter us from the wind, but it was still rather chilly so we wanted to at least climb in the sun so that we would stay warm, and unfortunately, Super Roof was in the shade so it was out for the day.

As we arrived at Steve Canyon Amy spotted a crack that she wanted to climb and it was in the sun so we decided to give it a go. It looked easy enough from the ground (I guessed 5.4 when I saw it) so we got the kids situated, racked up, and I started up the route. The route started up a thin hands crack until it widened to an offwidth for a few feet, then closed back down to perfect hands for the rest of the way to a slabby section with a couple of steep steps before reaching the summit. I climbed the route without any problems, but I did find it to be quite a bit harder than 5.4. I thought that the route was super fun, and it felt like the crux was in the offwidth section and I guessed at 5.9. Amy then went up the route on TR and had some trouble with the offwidth section, but overall did pretty good with the route. The formation we were climbing on didn't have a walk-off, but there was a pair of anchors above another route, so Amy cleaned the anchor, and lowered off the anchors at the top. At this point I wanted to see how hard the route was actually rated so I pulled out the guidebook and found that we had climbed "Grand Theft Avocado" which is rated 5.7. When we saw that I decided that maybe this wasn't my best day of climbing if a 5.7 felt like a 5.9.

By this time, the route had gone into the shade, so we decided to pull the rope and head somewhere else where we could again be in the sun. Because the anchors that Amy lowered off of were above another route, I couldn't see the other end of the rope when I started pulling it (which is never a good thing), and sure enough, the rope stopped pulling all of the sudden. I immediately realized what had happened, but I double checked by asking Amy if she had untied her figure 8 from the rope, and as I had expected, she had not. This meant that we would have to climb back up on the other side of the rope so that we could retrieve the rope from the anchors. I figured that if we had to climb back up, we might as well do another route, so I found another crack that looked fun and started up it.

The route started up a thin vertical crack in a groove with good finger locks to a little steep section before a ledge, and then finished up a lower angled off-width. I ran up the route without any problems, but I did have to stand for a bit on the ledge half way up to warm my fingers up since the rock was so cold. I made it to the top, set up an anchor, and belayed Amy up. Before Amy started up she asked me how hard the route was and I told her that if the first route was a 5.7 then this one must be a 5.6 because if felt slightly easier, but in reality, it felt like another 5.9. Amy climbed the route and the only problem she had was trying to get out the number 5 Camalot that I had placed too deeply in the crack for her to reach with her shorter arms. She was finally able to squeeze herself far enough into the crack to get the cam, and arrived on the summit shortly thereafter. We cleaned the anchor, rapped off the top, and decided to call it a day since the kids were getting cranky and it was just so cold. Before we left I decided to look at the book and check what the second route we climbed was. We found that the second route was "The Orc" and is rated 5.10a.

Thinking about it now and comparing the first route we did with other 5.7 off-width routes that I have climbed, I think it really is a 5.7, I just really suck at climbing off-widths which is why the route felt so hard. The second route we did felt easier because the hard section was a finger crack which I am much better at climbing (all though I still do feel that 5.9 would be a more accurate rating for The Orc). We headed home after only 2 routes, but at least we learned a couple of valuable lessons, one, always check the weather before going somewhere even if it is perfect in Redlands, and two, always check the rope for knots before pulling it even if it means having to walk 10 feet to where you can see it;)

Once again, sorry for the lack of photos in this post, but we lost the remote to our camera a couple of weeks ago in New Jack City, and the replacement hasn't arrived yet.

Riverside Quarry - 01/16/2012

Monday the 16th of January was Martin Luther King day, so as a government employee, I got the day off. Unfortunately we didn't have a lot of time to go climbing because we had some errands to do, but we wanted to get some climbing in so we headed to the Riverside Quarry. Amy has a friend (Asia) who has been climbing with us once before who has been saying that she would like to come with us again so we invited her and her son Romney (who is Danny's best friend) to come along.

Since Asia had only been climbing once before, and since we wanted to have Amy practice her leading some more, we decided to climb at Schoolhouse Rock. Unfortunately, our replacement remote control for the camera hasn't arrived yet, so we only got pictures of Asia, and not ourselves, but hopefully our new remote arrives soon.

We started out by climbing a 5.6 called "I'm Just a Bill". I ran up the route, then Asia TR'd it, and Amy finished up by leading it and getting the redpoint.



I'm Just a Bill ends at the same anchors as a 5.0 called "My Hero Zero" so we decided that it would be good for the kids to try out if they wanted to. Danny went up first (I climbed next to him for moral support) and he made it up without too many problems. Asia's son Romney had been acting like he wanted to climb (as seen below in the photo of him), so we tried to put the harness on him, but as soon as he realized what was happening he started freaking out and wasn't having any of that. We took the harness off and I ran up and cleaned the anchor.


We have never climbed anything to the right of My Hero Zero, so we decided to try the next route over, a 5.9 called "Conjunction Junction". The route started out as a super easy low angled slab and finished on a vertical headwall with a couple of 5.9 moves to get to the anchor. I ran up the route and got the onsight. After I climbed it, Asia went up the lower portion of the route, but didn't want to go any farther when she got to the crux. After Asia, I convinced Amy to try leading it, and she got the redpoint without any problem. Prior to this route, 5.8 was the hardest that she had ever lead, so I think she did pretty good.



Asia was done climbing after that, but Amy and I wanted to do a couple more routes, so we ran up a 5.7 called "Dollars and Sense". Again we both lead it, and both got the redpoint. The route is basically a one move wonder, but at least it's a pretty fun move. We finished up with another 5.9 called "Tyrannosaurus Debt". This route has a couple of 5.9 cruxes, there is a 5.9 slab crux, then an awkward balancy 5.9 section a little bit later. I ran up and got the redpoint, and I convinced Amy to try leading it as well. She definitely struggled a bit more with this one than the other 5.9 that she did, but at least she made it to the top after a couple of hangs.

Even though we only climbed easy stuff I consider it a very successful day out since Amy was able to bump both her hardest lead and redpoint up by a full grade.

Monday, January 16, 2012

New Jack City - 01/13/2012 - 01/14/2012

We don't get out camping much with the two kids, but I had a 4 day weekend for Martin Luther King Day so we decided to go camping for at least one of those nights. We decided to head to New Jack City on Friday the 13th since we had only been there once before. We didn't want to interrupt the kids nap schedule too much, so we left at nap time so that the kids could sleep on the way there. We got to NJC around 4:00 which gave us a little bit of time to climb before it got dark.

We chose to camp right by White Face because it is a ways away from where most people camp, there is climbing right there, and it is a nice little cove type of thing to help keep the kids contained.

I've been wanting Amy to start leading more for a while, and since NJC has a lot of easy routes we decided that this would be a good weekend to have her start doing more. Amy took her first lead fall at the Gym a few weeks ago, and realized that it really isn't that bad so she feels better about leading now. We started by climbing a 5.7 called "White Flight". Amy lead the route and got the redpoint (it wasn't an onsight because she had TR'd the route over a year ago). After Amy got down I also ran up it and got the redpoint.



After "White Flight" we decided to do a 5.9 called "White Head". Amy didn't want to lead the 5.9 so I ran up it getting the redpoint, then Amy TR'd it.





After the 5.9 there was still a bit of daylight left so we set up a TR on some lower angle rock so that Danny could have some fun climbing as well.




On Saturday it was a little bit cold so we wanted to climb somewhere in the sun. A crag called Sunnyside seemed like it fit that bill, plus it had quite a few routes in the 5.6 to 5.10 range so we thought it would make a good place to spend the day. Unfortunately I misplaced the remote control for the camera so we don't have many photos for this day, but we did get a few of Danny climbing so I'll at least post those.

We started by doing a couple of routes in this dusty little corridor on the left side of the crag. The first route we did was a 5.8 called "Powder Puff" which ended up being quite soft for the rating (A theme that we seemed to see throughout the day). I ran up the route and got the onsight (there may have been one 5.8 move on the route), then Amy ran up the route getting the redpoint. The second route was called "Cheap Lipstick" and the guidebook calls it a 5.9, but it ended up being easier than the first route I'd say that 5.7 would be about right for the rating. Again, I onsighted it and Amy got the redpoint.

It had warmed up a bit and we had seen a 5.6 that was around the corner in the shade that looked like it would be fun for Danny to try climbing so we headed over there. The climb is called "Little Jack Horner" and was pretty fun for being so easy. I got the onsight, then Danny climbed up to the first bolt, and Amy redpointed the route.




It ended up still being a bit chilly in the shade so we headed back around the corner into the sun to do a couple more routes before heading home. Next we jumped on a 5.10c (felt more like .10a) called "Gold Finger". I went up first and blew the onsight when I slipped off at a balancy move just past the third bolt. Amy didn't want to lead anything that hard so she TR'd it without any real problems. Next we climbed a 5.8 called "Walk in the Park" and the name says it all. Once again, this route might have had 1 5.8 move on it, but the rest felt closer to 5.6. I ran up and got the onsight, then Amy got the redpoint. Finally before we left it was bugging me that I had fallen off "Gold Finger", so I ran up it once more this time getting the redpoint so that it wouldn't haunt me later.

After that it was time for the kids nap so we figured that it would be the perfect time to leave so that they could just nap on the way home. On the way home both Amy and I commented on how we really liked the rock at NJC. We had only been once before and hadn't remembered being all that fond of it, but I guess the place grows on you because we had a great time and can't wait to go back.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Riverside Quarry - 01/07/2012

Our daughter Emily is currently teething which means that she is always cranky and not sleeping very well. On Saturday we wanted to go climbing, but didn't want to go anywhere too far away so that we could easily return home if she got too cranky. Riverside Quarry ended up being the place to go.

We headed to Slab City since it is a good kid friendly area and has quite a few climbs in the 5.10 range. When we got there we found one other couple climbing there, and luckily enough they also had a baby (which is always nice since that means they won't be to bothered if Emily is a little bit fussy).

Unfortunately we forgot the camera so we didn't take any photos, but I'll try to put up a couple of older ones to at least show the routes. We started by climbing a 5.10b called "Goody Two Shoes". I ran up it and got the redpoint then Amy TR'd it (sorry, no photos of this one).

After "Goody Two Shoes" I noticed that someone had bailed off of "Shattered Dreams" and left a quicklink. Being unable to resist the booty call I ran up that route (again getting the redpoint for probably the 10th time now), and Amy TR'd it.

Shattered Dreams - 5.10c


After cleaning the trash off of "Shattered Dreams" I wanted to do something that would give me a bit of a work out so I jumped on a 5.10d called "Cling Thing". Even though this one is only a 10d it is steep pumpy and is certainly not the type of climbing that I am best at right now so it feels much harder to me than either of the previous two routes we had done that day. I was able to get the Redpoint, and Amy didn't even want to try that route so we just called it a day.

Cling Thing - 5.10d

AF Canyon - 12/31/2011

Since Amy had enjoyed Ice climbing so much and I felt much more confident in my abilities after having climbed again I decided to head up AF Canyon on Friday December 30th to see if there was any ice up there that we could climb the following morning. Unfortunately, I couldn't see any ice whatsoever in any of the normal places. I did get out of the car at one area to hike in and look for some ice, and when I did I noticed that it was quite warm. I couldn't keep myself off of the rock so I did a little bouldering and found that even the rock wasn't too cold for climbing on. I was in an area called The Membrane which is north facing and overhung (so it gets no sun whatsoever) and the temperature was perfect. All though there was no ice I did notice a couple of new routes that must have been bolted in the last year or two since I had been there, and I wanted to try them out.

The next day we decided to head back up the canyon to do some rock climbing instead of ice climbing. It was colder on Saturday than it had been on Friday so I was hoping to go to an area in the sun. Unfortunately, Amy had been out doing things until fairly late in the afternoon, and by the time we got up the canyon there were no areas in the sun anymore. Because of this I decided to go back to The Membrane to try the new routes.

We got to The Membrane and found the rock to be much colder than it had been the day before and Amy didn't even want to climb so I decided to just do one route. According to Mountain Project the route I did is a 5.10b called "Kory's Route". I started up the route which is 4 bolts until the anchors and made it to the 4th bolt before I absolutely couldn't feel my fingers at all because they were so numb. As I clipped the 4th bolt I commented to Amy that I had no idea how good or bad the hold I was clipping from was since I couldn't feel it. Unfortunately this caused me to blow the onsight as I had to take while I warmed up my fingers. I warmed them up, finished the route, lowered off, packed up and headed home.

Even though I only climbed one finger numbing route I still had a good time and am glad that I was able to make it out.

Ice Climbing - 12/28/2011

It's been a very long time since I've been ice climbing. My regular ice climbing partner died in a car accident back in March of 2005, and my current climbing partner (my wife Amy) was always scared of trying it, so I haven't been on ice since like January or February of 2005. We'll I've been trying to convince my wife to try it ever since we got married, and she was finally warming up to the idea just before we moved to SoCal (where there isn't much ice climbing to be had). Since we were going to Utah for Christmas we decided to take ice gear with us in case the ice was in and we could do some climbing. Lucky for us, the ice in Utah was in great condition while we were there.

We decided to just do some top roping on The Apron of Stairway to heaven up Provo Canyon. I wasn't really feeling up to leading since it had been so long since I've been ice climbing, and The Apron is a great place for setting up a TR.

Stairway to Heaven (The Apron is the first 100 ft. where you can see people in the photo)

We headed out early on Wednesday the 28th for Amy's first ice climb. When we pulled up to the parking area we could see one person climbing (with his belayer) and 2 people hiking up to the ice which is pretty good for the most popular ice climb in Utah. We made the hike up (which was more difficult than usual due to the lack of any snow in Utah) and arrived at the ice a short time later. I headed around the right side of the ice to access the ledge and set up a toprope.

As I was getting to the ledge at the top of The Apron I ran into someone that I knew and had climbed with on several occasions in the past. Neither of us remembered the others name, but we exchanged names again (his name is Dan), and caught up a little bit before I went on to set up our TR. I just think that it's crazy that the first time I went ice climbing in like 6 years I ran into someone that I had climbed with previously. I guess the ice climbing world is still pretty small.

Anyway, I set up a TR and we started climbing.

Me Climbing

Amy ready to climb

Amy Climbing

We started on an easy WI3 section and both TR'd it. Amazingly enough Amy loved it and wanted to climb some more. We just kept the same anchor and moved the rope to the other side of a bulge where it looked like it would be a little bit more difficult. I gave Amy some pointers on how she could improve and she ran up the route again. She ended up climbing just a couple feet to the left of where she climbed the first time which kept it at about WI3 again (with much better technique than the first time I must add), then I ran up a section a few feet further to the left that went at closer to WI5 (at least from what I thought it felt like after many years of not climbing ice).

Amy on her second time up

Me on the second route

We had to leave after the two climbs since my parents were babysitting and we didn't want to inconvenience them for too long, but as we hiked out Amy was talking about how we needed to get another pare of crampons and set of Ice Tools so that we could get more into ice climbing. I think the trip was a success.

Red Rock NV - 12/23/2011

For Christmas this year we headed to UT to visit my family, and since we had to pass through Vegas to get there we decided to stop and do a couple of routes in Red Rock. Because we were traveling we didn't have a whole lot of time so we decided to climb in Calico Basin so that we wouldn't have to drive the complete 17 mile scenic loop road at 25 mph.

When we got to Calico Basin we decided to just climb at Cannibal Crag since it is close to the road and is a good safe area for the kids. As usual, Cannibal Crag was very busy and the normal 5.8+ warm up was occupied so we started by climbing one route to the left of the 5.8+, a 5.10a called "What's Eating You". I cruised it and got the onsight, then Amy followed it on TR.





After that route, I wanted to climb something harder and had my eyes on a 5.11a called "Have a Beer with Fear". We headed over there and I roped up, but I was having a little bit of trouble figuring out the moves above the first bolt and the kids were getting kind of crazy so I decided to downclimb. I knew that 5.11a is getting close to my limit and I would probably have to hangdog the whole route which didn't sound like a fun option with the kids crying in the background.

We calmed the kids down and I wanted to do at least one more route so I decided to just run up the 5.8+ (A Man in Every Pot) since I knew it would be easy and wouldn't take any time. Amy just wanted to leave so after I ran up the route we packed up and headed on to Utah.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Apple Valley - 12/10/2011

On the 10th of December we decided to check out somewhere new. We had never been climbing in Apple Valley so we decided to see how it was out there. Now the only book that we have for the area is Troy Marr's Sport Climbing Southern California which isn't known for being the most accurate book, but we figured that directions and map in the book could at least get us to the area.

We headed out and made it to Apple Valley without any problems, but once we were to the general area we started having some issues. The book said to turn north from Highway 18 onto Joshua Road, then to turn right onto Yucca Loma Road and follow it for two miles until getting to a dirt road on the right that headed to the crags. Now the problem we had was that the directions didn't give a distance you had to go down Joshua Road before you got to Yucca Loma, but on the map when comparing it to the two miles you have to go down Yucca Loma, we figured it must be about a half mile. Of course we didn't expect the map to be 100% to scale, but you would figure that whoever drew it would at least try to get it somewhat right. Needless to say, we ended up driving back and forth on Joshua Road without finding Yucca Loma. We tried the GPS, but the road didn't come up in it, so finally as we were driving around looking for the road we saw a mail truck and stopped to ask the driver where the road was. Come to find out, Yucca Loma was the immediate right when you turned onto Joshua street, and I mean immediate as in like 5 feet after turning onto Joshua Street, so we had been driving back and forth on Joshua Street from one end of the street to the other, but we never saw yucca Loma because we would turn around just before getting to Highway 18 where Yucca Loma was.

So we didn't have the greatest start to the day, but we finally arrived at the trailhead to head up to the crag. We hiked up the trail (rather slowly I might add because Danny is now at the stage where he doesn't want to be carried so hiking takes a bit longer), but we did eventually get to the crag.

We decided to start by warming up on a 5.8 called "Cheer Me Up". The climb starts in a chimney then steps onto the face once you reach the first bolt. I ran up the route onsight, then Amy TR'd it.




After our "warm up", the kids were being crazy and just wanted to go home, so our warm up ended up being the only climb of the day. We weren't all that fond of the route we did and the others in the area didn't look like they were any better, so we weren't too disappointed when we had to leave, and now we have one more area that we have visited (even if we don't plan on going back).