Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ice, Ice, Baby!

My knee has been healing well and I've managed to climb a few ice routes in the last week. With our thin and weak snowpack I've been more inspired to ice climb than to go on a tour. Maybe that will change when I get my new skis! Here are some pictures of Trail Creek ice. Drew brought his helmet cam out for the first time and we got a few photos from that. Look for some videos to come.


James killin' it in Rock Roll Canyon. This was his second day ice climbing ever and he's hooked!



We gotta come up with a good name for this flow. It's short, but really fun and I think there could be a mixed route or two out the cave. How about Mini Me?




A couple helmet cam pics.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Passing

My friend Guy Lacelle passed away late last week while climbing in Hyalite Canyon, Montana. While i am extremely sad with his passing, i can't help but celebrate the many days of ice and mixed climbing we've shared over the years. Guy and I shared a lot of the same beliefs. He did not drink alcohol, despised elitism and secrecy, and believed it's not about what you've got, but what you give. There is no doubt Guy had what it took to be "Guy Lacelle" soloist, mixed climber, ice master, and explorer of new terrain, but his life was about giving. And that is what he did with his time and his talent. To many he will be remembered as one of the best ice climbers in the world, but to those who have known Guy for decades, or for those who knew him for a brief few hours, he will be remembered as someone who loved climbing, loved sharing it with anyone who had passion, and loved the human spirit of compassion, motivation, and wanted to see others succeed.
This weekend many of the best ice climbers in the world gathered at the Bozeman Ice Festival to share our love of winter climbing with others who wanted to learn about it. In the wake of Guy's death and the heavy cloud of sorrow that haunted many of us, we could not disappoint our friend by calling it quits for the weekend. And I'm glad we didn't. I got to share two full days with dozens of people who wanted to learn about ice and mixed climbing. It's not paid guiding. All or most of the athletes who attend the Bozeman Ice Festival donate our time to share skills with those in attendance. Simply for the love of sharing what makes our lives so meaningful.
The highlight of the weekend was sharing some time with my friend Tom Smartt, who had never been ice climbing before. He pretty much owned every piece of ice and mixed route he attempted. It was like watching an artist paint a picture!
Without the opportunity to share what i know, climbing would be selfish and meaningless to me. And whether it's sharing information or climbing skills with others, for me, it's the right thing to do and is what makes my climbing world go around.
The climbing community lost another important and well loved icon. Yet by the end of the weekend, a new ice climbing soul was born. Welcome to the fold young Tom Smartt. Just remember, it's not what you've got, it's what you give...
Two thumbs up from Tom Smartt
-Dean Lords

Saturday, December 5, 2009

New Route in the Sawtooths

I recently received some photos from my friend James Q Martin. Q, (as his friends call him) is writing an article on the Sawtooths for Climbing magazine. He had arrived early in September and spent almost two weeks climbing and shooting photos at the Elephants Perch. I wasn't able to join him until the end of his stay and we ventured up to the Finger of Fate for a couple days. Q wanted to climb the ultra classic "Open Book" on the Finger and "anything else that looked good". I told him I had my eye on a line that my college roommate and I tried years ago. He inquired and I described it as "a finger to hands spitter diagonalling through a short headwall". Q's eyes light up...

We arrived at the upper lakes just as the sun was dropping behind Sevy Peak and the western skyline. If we wanted to get on the route, we'd better hustle! We dropped our loads and boogied up to the line.

I remembered climbing the first pitch years ago; a wide lichen covered crack that gave access to the upper headwall. I also remembered climbing up to a two piece, magic X anchor built with finger sized gear. Mike (my old roommate) had belayed me up to this partially hanging stance. I looked at the anchor, I looked at Mike. I looked at the anchor again. I didn't like the fact that we had only two pieces in, but our meager rack at that time didn't afford us to beef it up and still have plenty of small gear for the route. Uneasy about putting my full weight on the anchor, I set up and belayed Mike as he eased out into the thin line that split orange stone. Mike was a strong climber, but neither of us were in any sort of shape for what we were getting ourselves into. He wrenched his fingers in the first few locks and tried to wiggle in a stopper. After what seemed like forever, legs began to quiver, his forearms rippling, Mike re-racked the stopper and fiddled in a cam. Then he said "take". We looked at each other, then the anchor, then the cam Mike was weighting... the sentiment was mutual. Let's get the hell outta here! We bailed that day, and I hadn't been back... but I hadn't forgotten either.

In fading light with Q snapping photos and Rachel belaying, I climbed the route ground up, cleaning lichen and few loose holds as I went. I rested a few times on gear at the crux: thin tips and next to nothing for feet for 10 feet or so. Then it was into solid finger locks and jams to the top. The route is two pitches. P1 is probably 5.7 and a little dirty. P2 is probably 5.11-; I'd compare it to the 5.11s on the Perch. I'll have to get back next season to clean it up a bit and send!

Thanks to Mike for spying the line and Q and Rachel for making it a reality!!





Photos by James Q Martin

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Paddling the south, west, pac. fork of the Salmon


Nov.2, 2009
KIRKHAM st. :
I drove all the way back to berkeley and got the biggest board that I own and went back out.

This time I used a bit more tact and went to the sand dunes to scope out a riptide to aid in paddling out.

I scored a DOH+(?), macker. I made the drop, bottom turned into a mid face speed pump underneath a hucking lip. I didnt really have a chance to enjoy the view of the lip 5 feet over my head cuz it was only there for a split second (guess i should have stalled instead of pumped). I made an awkward hack off the top to another bottom turn to a speed pump to kick out. I got around to see where i was and saw the small pack of surfers that I started at, they were really far away, like 2-3 hundred yards. I was really amazed at how fast i went, but i did not want to get stuck back inside again.

I looked back out to sea to see a triple overhead steam roller charging towards me, I noodled my arms as fast as possible towards the biggest submarine beating of my life. A visceral tinkling of my worst nightmares spilled into my conscientiousness as i attempted to will my two lactic acid filled appendages into action.

I am five years old again only this time I am not asleep, the monster bering down on me is not a figment of my imagination. Its right there in front of me, rushing towards me frothing its gaping, roaring mouth.
The only way to escape it is to run towards it and go between its legs, only I cant run. No matter how hard I try I just cannot get my arms to move fast enough.

I began to silence the little boy inside of me and prepared to pay for what she gave me.

Friday, November 27, 2009

climbing in sin city

so yeah, i got ditched by two indian creek crews, dirty bastards, so instead of sitting on my ass, i went to vegas!

the idaho alpine club, based in idaho falls, takes a yearly trip to red rocks, a huge complex of crags near las vegas, nevada. the routes here range from 30 to 2000 feet long. almost seemed to me like a combo of joshua tree and indian creek in a way. lot's of sketchy trad routes, aka my favorite kind of climbing. plus, there was no snow! kinda nice after digging my car out of 2 feet of snow and ice up in montana. plus, with trad climbs, you have to take every route on it's own terms, as 5.8 can be the scariest thing you've ever done, and even though you may cruise 5.10 on a regular basis, you may run into sketchy pro on bad rock and have to bail. the most common accidents tend to be strong 5.12/13 gym climbers fucking up on easy terrain.
(photos courtesy of julie g.)


check out my rad shades! i found these on a rock after crawling through some bushes to the base of the willow springs wall. i kinda got lost... oh, and that's bruce, staring off into the magic that is rock climbing.
there were a pair of sketch fest 5.8 routes here that were really fun. or at least, i thought they were fun. the better of the two is a dead vertical route, with no cracks for the first 30 feet or so. all you get is some big huecos and pods to pull on. i hear you can find a shitty cam placement in these pockets... but the most solid piece i found pulled right away when i tested it... so after thirty feet i found a stopper placement that was pretty bomber, not going anywhere. from here i found 3 more iffy to decent placements to protect the last twenty feet. although the climbing was easy, it was a total mind game dealing with the serious consequences of this route, a game made harder when climbing with a large group watching you. definitely not everyone's cup of tea, but i really enjoy it.


tami-loves belaying at the black corridor. a pretty kick ass little crag in a 8 foot wide corrdor. lots of good easy routes.


julie g. steppin it up and placin' pro! leading a 5.4 at the moderate mecca crag. I hear this route was pretty sketch.
the route directly left was one of the scariest slabs ever, with horrid mank being passed off as bolts (as in a steel bar that had been bent into a hook and riveted to the rock, and there was maybe 3 pieces of protection in 80 feet), loose flakes for footholds, and required creative use of stoppers to add some sense of safety.


dunno what route this is, but the climber is one matt L. who is a total bad ass.
later in the trip, matt and i climbed a route at willow springs called "ragged edges", which is superb. no photos as we were the only two there. i took an alternate start on the first pitch that upped the grade from 5.7 to 5.9+, and it was brilliant, best climbing of the whole extended weekend. anyways, at the top of this pitch, after the finger sized crack died out, is a ridiculously smooth ramp that slants down to the right to join the main crack and the second pitch. not gonna lie, it was pretty tough. matt's limit is somewhere around 5.9 or 5.10, and i was belaying him, standing above on the good holds he was gunning for. he totally pulled it! then he went on to lead the offwidth second pitch, which was really just run out face climbing with a few huge cams plugged in the crack.


jesus, hardest thing ever! i have no idea what this route is called or rated (5.10?), but it was hard. it's an off-hands roof crack, that is, it's too big for solid hand jams, and too small for fist jams, requiring some awkward finagling to find something to pull on. at the lip, you throw a heel over, find a left arm bar, and try to mantle up over until you hit a good hold. pretty burly. the last 70 feet or so is super easy, and due to rope drag created by climbing a roof into a slab, i pretty much soloed the rest of the climb.

but yeah, i also saw the strip for the first time. so outrageous. i've been all over to big cities(mostly in europe), and even with all the pomp and circumstance of those places, nothing is like the strip. crazy taxi drivers that can't do math, huge water cannons in front of the belagio, a courtyard inside the venetian that looks like it's outside... so ridiculous. plus i got to see cirque du soleil preform "LOVE" which is all about the beatles. it was pretty rad, but i think if you were to spend that much on beatles' music from itunes you'd get more enjoyment. still though, it was bad ass. tami-loves even beat vegas on the slots at our hotel, 'the orleans'. she totally won two dollars! WOOT!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

some pretty good skiing in the Tetons

We've been getting some pretty good turns in the last few weeks. North facing aspects above 9,000ft offer 40+ inches of snow with a firm base. Yesterday, me and a crew of friends headed to Steve Baugh's Bowl, east of Grand Targhee Ski Resort. We found winter in all of its glory as well as its fierceness with deep snow, blowing wind and negative digit wind chills.
More snow fell in Eastern Idaho today! I hope you guys in the Sun Valley area picked up a bunch as well.
Heather Lords exiting Scotty's Chute on the east side of Fred's Mountain.
- Dean Lords

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Berkeley bouldering

Heres some footage from Indian Rock, a few minutes up the street, its a long traverse with a short 4th class down climb to link the sections. I had to do a statistical analyses for my last math class. My requirements for the project were to measure or observe something(s) at least 30 times. So far I've done this traverse 28 times. I am measuring lap time, number of laps in a session and whether or not I fall, and if I fall, I record the number of falls and where. The hardest single portion of the traverse is v3, right at the end.

Hope you are recovering well, Marc. So I guess we are not climbing this Thanksgiving weekend? Ill carry everything to the crag if it helps.
video

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dissonance to Cadence


“I can believe that I'm a wizard, that I can do everything with my mind, and I'll be strong as all hell... I just need to be confident.” -Dave Graham


At some point things just click. Specific focus isn’t needed; things just happen. Confidence, weakness, focus, whatever, the brain begins to recognize sequences of movement faster and more efficiently, always looking ahead. When to bear down on that razor edge, reel in, and lunge for that next hold. Pace --rhythmic breathing, anticipation-- comes together, speeding up when the moves are difficult, slowing when they let up, always looking ahead. All parts of the body do exactly what they need to be, “PSAAHT!!!” The difficulties are over, the puzzle deciphered. One last move. Then the mind realizes what is going on. Other thoughts begin to drift in, excitement from climbing through this heinous problem, anxiety thinking that this may just be the day that you send, fear from being so high off the ground... all this swirling round and round, killing your focus, disrupting your breathing, and then, a small error leads to a foot popping off, throwing everything out of balance... you try to correct, but a split second later, you crash into the pads, roll down the hill, and lie huddled in the dirt. Defeat.



This failure is all too common in climbing. Falling is part of the process. If you never fall, you aren’t trying hard enough. Like any orchestration, it’s nearly impossible to play the notes right on the first go. The process of projecting a climb, working it over and over to figure it out, can be the most frustrating yet rewarding experience for a climber. You see, when you do figure out the individual pieces, when you figure out the very best way to do something, when you can finally sustain sound focus, strength doesn't seem to matter as much.


The notes are there for all eternity, and the musician has to unlock them perfectly to make music. There is a path in your mind that shows the sequence, the moves, and what to do to adapt to each movement. When things move perfectly in motion there is brilliance to it. Climbing is a strange game of body positions. A game of engrams, of muscle memory. It’s a game of occupying space, keeping everything together, feet, hands, fingers, core, whatever... you need it all together. There is a kind of fluency, and the climbing language develops. With dissonance gone, harmony follows. It takes a strong body to pull the moves, and a stronger mind to ultimately realize success.



The sun falls behind the mountains, the rock cools down, and you’re back, walking the trail you know so very well. That boulder is still there; this time, it’s revenge. The breathing pattern begins, steadying on the inhale, executing on the exhale.You reach for that tiny quartz crystal. Then the physical disappears. You grab the sharp grainy hold, set your feet, move your hips, slap the pinch, bump your hand again, inhale, then “PSAAHT!!! AHHHAAAH!” Keep it together! pull the lip, and bam! you’re sitting on top just as the last light fades and stars appear. The cadence dies down, the number fades. Victory.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Wildhorse Basin Headwalls


I've been spending too much time looking at photos, topo maps, and geologic maps of the Pioneer mountains. I put this image together to identify several possible ridge routes up the north faces of Hyndman and Old Hyndman Peaks. I know Dean Lords has spent some time climbing these peaks in winter. I also know the north side of Hyndman peak has been climbed by at least two parties. I am curious if anyone reading this knows more about the climbing history of these peaks and or this basin. You can answer here or contact me off-blog at (matt@mattlphoto.com).

The photo was taken from what I am calling Arrowhead Arete, the west facing 1000' ridge climbing out of Arrowhead Lake. It is a fabulous class 3 to 4 route that we did in a 7 mile loop up Wildhorse Cr., up the Arrowhead arete and down onto "Tilly Lake" and out the Left Fork of Wildhorse Creek.

-Matt-

Friday, November 13, 2009

One Third Less

I had surgery on my knee yesterday, and as it turned out Dr Tony found several tears in my meniscus. Due to the amount of trauma to the meniscus he was unable to repair any of it, and performed a Meniscectomy (removal of the damaged meniscus) instead. Apparently I have one third less meniscus on my right knee now! The problem with meniscectomies is that once the portion of meniscus is removed, it doesn't regenerate and consequently opens the door for arthritis later in life. In my case, I didn't have much choice. Prior to surgery, Dr Tony was uncertain of the extent of damage to the meniscus and thought a repair might have been an option. Once inside the joint it became obvious that removing the damaged tissue was the only thing he could do. If I had chosen not to have the surgery, there most certainly would have been complications and pain associated with the use of that knee.



Today, I lie on the couch, watch Fuel TV, surf the internet and began rehabilitation. I've got a handful of exercises to do and have been keeping that silly mantra "Pain is Weakness Leaving the Body" close at hand! I'm also reading "Endurance", Lansing's epic tale of Ernest Shackelton's survival in the antarctic, which seems fitting.

My phone has been steadily ringing. Thanks to all my friends and family for their overwhelming support! It's a great feeling knowing that people care! Now it's up to you to carry the torch on this blog. Let's hear about your mountain adventures. Otherwise, I will continue to post boring entrees about how I road the bike in rehab or how much bend I got in my knee today! Let's hear it!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Highs and Lows



I had a varied and exciting weekend, filled with highs and lows. Things started off Friday evening with the premier of the new TGR flick. We went to the local burger and brew joint, Grumpy's, where we ran into friend Jason Haase and his American Mammal crew (I'm not sure what that's all about). These folks were participating in Edward Schooner Hands, where they had 32 oz schooners taped to each hand and were required to finish them before removing the tape and schooner.



I did not participate in ESH, but felt like I had the following morning! We got up early (barely) and made the trip to Twin Falls (barely) to have the Subaru serviced and do some shopping. We met Ian and Lindsey in Twin and afterwards drove to Murtaugh to check out the crack climbing. I hadn't climbed in Murtaugh before and was keen to check it out. In the last few years the place has been somewhat rediscovered and several new anchors had been added to crack lines in addition to some bolted face routes. We had fun climbing in the afternoon light. The routes are bit short and somewhat broken, but it's the only crack cragging that we have near home. I'd really like to find some columnar basalt thats a little cleaner and taller, more along the lines of Trout Creek in Oregon.


The Dark Corner.

On Sunday I headed down to the Channel with Ian, Joe and Angry. We were surprised to see a number of cars in the parking lot. Turns out there was a good sized group there from Boise and another from Twin Falls. By far the most people I have ever seen at the Channel! Ted Thompson was there and had just injured his ankle before we arrived. He was hobbling around and giving support to his crew. (Get well Ted!) There was lots of talk of injuries, from ankles to wrists to knees. I felt good and fired the "Angry Inch" second try. Next we moved to the North Shore area and began dutifully cleaning the problems that hadn't seen any action this season. I was pretty fired up to get on a problem I'd tried two years ago before breaking my wrist. It has a cool hand foot match in a pocket that requires you to hold it as a mono to make room for your toes. The problem has a pretty bad landing, but we were able to pad it well. After cleaning the top out, I fired the problem third try and called it "5 to 1", as in 5 toes to 1 finger. I did the problem a second time and then we began focussing on the "Dark Corner", a classic steep, hard finger crack. Like "5 to 1", I had worked this problem two years previously and was pretty close before winter came. (For video footage of the "Dark Corner" and the "Angry Inch" watch The Channel Project!) After sorting out the opening moves I was suprized to find myself high up on the problem groping dirty holds and not sure what to do next. As I bailed off, I was concerned about my left fingers, which were buried in the crack. I focused on getting my fingers clear of the crack and not the landing... the ground was further away then I anticipated, and I came down on a straight right leg and hyperextended my knee. I felt a pop... not good.

I spent yesterday at the Dr's office and on the phone with my insurance company. The good news is that nothings broken and my ligaments are intact. The ACL has been slightly stretched, but the Dr is almost certain that wont be a problem. The bad news is that I have a torn Lateral Meniscus. I've decided to have the surgery and get it taken care of now while there's no snow and no guiding. The Dr thinks I should be on skis in about 3 months... It's a bummer, and not exactly what I had in mind on Sunday, but sh*t happens! I just want to get it taken care of and start the recovery process.

I'd like to thank everybody for their condolences and Ian, Joe, Angry and Nat for their help on Sunday!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Kane Creek Ice


I headed out yesterday with fellow guide, Drew Daly, to climb ice in the Pioneer Mountains. I had been to Kane Lake in the summer and noticed an impressive waterfall above the lake. Our mission was to hike in and climb this water ice, before returning to Ketchum. I was scheduled to work at the YMCA Climbing Wall at 4PM. We left Ketchum at 5AM, left the trailhead just after 6, and arrived at Kane Lake just after 8. The sun rise in the canyon was spectacular and we saw lots of smaller ice flows on the hike in. When we arrived at the lake, there was absolutely no trace of the waterfall we had seen in summer. My hunch is that the waterfall is a result of snow melt on the slabs above and it eventually dries up before the cold temps arrive. We did climb a short ice pitch of probably WI4- ice as a consolation prize, but I think both of us were a bit disappointed. Next we moved down canyon and Drew lead his first ice climb on one of the many lower angle WI3- flows. After which, we packed it up and headed back to Ketchum for me to arrive at the Y at 3:55PM. Perfect timing and a fun day in the alpine!


Kane Lake and the waterfall in summer.


Drew rapping off the first ice flow climbed.


The impressive Devil's Bedstead West. Earlier this year, Erik Leidecker guided the right ridge to the summit.


Drew, racking up for his first ice lead.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Neglected and Dejected


Well, the idea that this would become a community blog has pretty much flopped. If it weren't for the Eastern Idaho boys and their posts, it would just be me. Now that the summer guiding season has tapered off and winter has yet to arrive, I have some time. So here are a few pictures from the fall.

Rapping off the Comp Splitter at the Castles. I've climbed this beautiful crack a few times now and it is sooo good! This time we did the second pitch, 5.10, which comes highly recommended. I would suggest a #3 cam, which we didn't have... if you have the gear you might try linking both pitches together into one long SPLITTER! I have yet to do it, but I have linked some of the face pitches together on Shop and Compare to the left.




Cedar Creek... it's interesting that the Lost River Mountains have so many "cedar creeks", but yet no cedars! Really, they are junipers. Regardless, the new crag has really taken shape this past season. At some point I'll do a guide on here, but for now the Elephant's Perch in Ketchum has a hand written explanation of the routes. We've got about 25 routes up so far and room for another 10-15 more. It's a nice 45 minute hike in, with the option of camping near the routes. The grades range from 5.7 - 5.13, with most in the 5.10 -5.11 range. The rock is of very good quality and features jugs, crimps, edges and the occasional pocket. Stay tuned for information on the area.



My great friend, neighbor and client, Wolf, getting some milage in before his trip to Nepal. Wolf is off today to climb Ama Dablam! I'm so jealous! Ama Dablam has always inspired me, from the first time I saw a photo of it as a teenager. Good Luck Wolf and have a fantastic experience! Here is a photo of the peak.

Finally, here a few pictures of the quintessential cragging area, Wallstreet, just outside of Moab, Utah. Aki and I renewed our WFR certifications at the AMGA Annual Meeting. We managed to get a few pitches in after class with our friend Toby, who is living in Moab these days. What fun!!!


Toby, getting around on his "high speed" scooter!


"Flakes of Wrath" ... really, I'm suppose to place and trust a stopper here in this desert sandstone???
Toby, on his project, "Last Tango in Potash" 5.11+. A mixed route with tricky sequences... next time Toby!

Thanks for taking the time to read... please join in and post something. Remember, this is suppose to be a community blog!

Pray for Snow, or at least a little ice in the meantime!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

i thought this was impossible!



ok, i don't know anything really about aid climbing, except that it can be the scariest shit in the universe, but i thought A6 was a theoretical grade. that it can't get worse than A5. that A5 equals imminent death, and here are some dudes claiming A6+!!!!
i once saw an interview that said for some route to truly be A5, someone has to die on the ascent. yeah that's right, die. in comparison to sport climbing, or trad even, there is no redpointing in aid climbing. redpointing is the method used by everyone to climb their hardest. how do you redpoint something where a fall equals certain death to you and your partner? 

i am confused as to how this is possible. please enlighten me.

Monday, August 31, 2009

just because it's the City of Rocks and not some east Idaho choss pile

Heather Lords jammin' on the classic, Fred Rasmussen

Jennilyn's first traditional lead on Heartbreaker 5.10d

Jennilyn makin' easy work of Hearbreaker 5.10d

Friday, August 28, 2009

End of Summer...


The days are getting shorter and the nights are cooler... I apologize for not posting anything new in the last month or so. Guiding has been extremely busy and I've barely had time to do the laundry and check emails! One of the great things about my work is the places it takes me! I've thrown together a few pictures from the last month of guiding in the Sawtooths. So here is a little compilation that hopefully will inspire a few to get into the high country before the summer is gone:


Warbonnet and the Cirque Lake Group.


Clients (11 year olds!) on the final pitch of Warbonnet - one of the best summit pitches in the Sawtooths!


The "floating block"! I'm always concerned about this thing... you basically walk across it as it spans the gap between the 2 summits of Warbonnet. You can see the contact point on the bottom right - it's about 12 inches that's holding this thing in place. The first time I climbed the route I avoided it all together, doing some 5.9 moves up and around it. This last time I noticed that the contact point had some scars on the right wall... it has moved in recent time! Wonder how long it will be there?


Beautiful Japan Peak (right) and Packrat Peak in the evening light of summer!


The Perch from afar.

Client Robert sending the second pitch (5.8) on the Mountaineers Route, the Elephant's Perch.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

symmetry spire, a rafting epic, and the broken finger fiasco


so with all this business of breaking bones and whatnot, i forgot to describe a few of my latest wild and wacky adventures. yeah, this entry has a lot of text, and no pictures, but it's kinda epic in a way.

last friday, my good friend patty russell and i went and climbed symmetry spire in the tetons. the spire tops out at 10,560 feet, and includes 5 full rope length pitches of technical rock climbing up to 5.7.
now, 5.7 may not seem like a big deal, considering my recent 5.13b/c(?) ascent, but in the mountains the game changes completely.
we started around 5:15 am and drove to catch the 7:00 am ferry at jenny lake to access that area of the tetons. we hiked in 2+ miles, a good portion up steep rocky slopes. as we hit the base, patty thought she spaced her belay device!!! that would have made for some tricky ropework, but thankfully, she did have the thing. whew! patty also said she didn't want to lead any part of the route, which would make this the first time i lead in the tetons.
the first pitches were confusing to lead, mostly just scrambling trying to find certain features outlined on my pocket route topo. and yeah, i got lost a few times. we reached the crux pitch, and it was stunning. a beautiful dihedral, the rock was super polished, and in many places i had only 60-70 year old rusty pitons for protection(the first ascent was in 1938... i assume they put in the pitons). the last three pitches were all stunning, and were so much fun. but, an ominous rain storm was fast approaching and threatening our summit plans. somehow, it hailed and thunderstormed all day in jackson hole, but as the weather hit the grand teton, it was like moses parting the red sea, and we had nice sunshine. it was extremely windy, but no rain. no hail. and luckily, no lighting.
we summited, i ate my sandwich, and we hauled ass to get to the last ferry (7:00 pm). we made the 6:30 one, and were quite pleased. we had dinner with patty's friend, and renowned mountain guide,  rob hess, a dude i met earlier this year in city of rocks. then drove home.

definitely took one step higher on the mighty staircase of bad-assery.

then the next day i broke my fingers... but more on that later...

so i decided to go rafting with some friends of mine yesterday. yeah, i was wearing a hand splint thing, i couldn't hold a paddle, and i probably wasn't supposed to get wet. little did i know...

it was generally warm, with mild rapids in the hoback section of the snake river. (i believe) 
the rapids weren't really too bad, except one. "kahuna" was very gnarly. it was huge! like, we went into the rapid head on, and next thing we know, the raft flipped, dumping all 7 of us. several of us got caught under the raft, and fought for the surface. my friend bailey was under the longest. it was scary. my bud peter got on top of the flipped over raft and started pullin peeps up, but only four managed to get on the raft before the next rapid. "lunch counter" wasn't particularly big, but after you're all shaken up from bein tossed out, frantically doing a head count, yadda yadda, the story kinda changes. i did not get pulled up, and had to ride the next rapids solo. in the end, we were all ok, shaken up, but ok. i lost a flip flop, and somehow my glasses got caught on my life jacket and i didn't lose em. we were all freezing. and i got my splint wet....
ha! it was such an adrenaline rush, and actually was my favorite part of the day.

and with the fingers... ugh. i probably sound more bitter than i really am. i finally got to see an xray today. i have a fracture at each of the middle knuckles on my right index and middle fingers. tomorrow i get a cast/splint thingy put on, and in 4-6 weeks, it should be mostly healed. so no climbing for a while. but i think that's kinda ok. i've been goin full tilt since january, climbed a bunch of hard and beautiful routes, and most importantly had a blast. 
plus, gotta settle in to school, and at least mentally, i kinda needed a break anyway. this year was always supposed to be a rebuilding year of sorts, and what a year it was! 

so two parting thoughts:

- do not go to idaho urgent care. they don't have a clue, they were slow, they misread my xray, and frankly, i didn't feel comfortable around their staff, and barely spoke with the "doctor". i don't even remember his name. no clue. 
however, the specialist they sent me to has his shit together. thank god.

-also, i turn 20 in like two weeks! woot! 

cheers,
tom

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

crank cave update part two

YEAH! 

 today i got the second ascent of a brilliant IF test piece 

"wave-police" (5.13c?)

 at least that's what i've been calling it, dunno if it has it's own name or not...

i'm super psyched, and felt like sharing.
cheers,
tom




Thursday, July 30, 2009

crank cave update


the mighty crank cave

my plans for workin "900 S" fell through, and johann, neil and i headed down to crank cave. we met up with jerry painter later on, and we had one hell of a good evening climbing...

neil b. on "powder finger" (5.8)

johann workin the no hand rest on "riff raff" (5.12c/d)
the dealie bob found a new project!

painter, fresh off his redpoint of "bride of crankenstein" (5.12b), givin some beta to johann, who came close to gettin through this route.

 i wanted a pic of jerry, but no one was around, i was belayin', and he fired it way easy on his first go! total no anticipation send, well done jerry!

 and yours truly coming very close to the second ascent of "wave-police" (5.13c). 

the route climbs the bulk of a project called "wave of mutilation" then moves right into the ending of "karma police". "wave" may very well be the best route in the area when it's done, and certainly is the best route in crank cave. (dean, if you're reading this, i'm very excited about this route!!!) but since it isn't complete yet, i've been working on the link up, which is super fun. my time in idaho is coming to an end soon, and i've been very lazy about projecting this route... kinda have to re-learn the beta every time i get on it... hmm, time to put it away!!  johann found two good routes to work on, neil continued to work through the mental barrier of leading, and jerry painter got his project! 

all in all, a good day!