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!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Lost River Limestone

I spent a few more days at the new crag with good friends and work partners Erik Leidecker and Drew Daly. Temperatures were just about perfect and even though we got a few drops of rain from the rumbling thundershowers, conditions were very climbable. The area is a challenge for photos due to all the trees and lack of vantage points, but here a few:

Erik warming up on "Little Dark Cloud" 5.9/10-


Gunning for the onsight of "Whisper Pine" 5.11, a great long and sustained route.


Erik flashing "Ataya" 5.11+


Another shot of "Ataya".


Seeking out the onsight of "Dirt Lotus" 5.10+/11-

I hope to have some more information about the area on here soon. To date there are 17 routes and 4 projects, with potential for another dozen or so. A big thanks goes out to the Elephants Perch in Ketchum and Ian Jameson for their donations of hardware!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Yankee Fork Crag

Over the past few years the guides at Sawtooth Mountain Guides have worked on the development of a little crag out the Yankee Fork of the Salmon River. As many of you know, the Sawtooth Mountains have some premier alpine climbs and long trad routes. But, there is almost no cragging in the Stanley area. To date we've established 8 lead routes at the Yankee Fork, with potential for more. The rock is part of the Idaho Batholith and I would describe it as decomposing granite. Although not the highest of quality, the routes climb really well and are all very different. There is some lichen and grit on the newer routes that will clean up over time.

To get there: From Stanley follow the Salmon River downstream on hwy 75 for 15 minutes to the Sunbeam Dam and the Yankee Fork Junction. Turn left and head up the Yankee Fork about a mile to the first large pullout on the right side of the road. Park here and cross the road to the crag.

Routes from left to right:
1) Little Bear Hug 5.9 : Bolts up a pillar feature to anchor.
2) dihedral 5.8 : Corner that takes gear to #3 anchors; needs cleaning.
3) Rusty Knife 5.10- : Cool moves up arete. Bolts wander a bit but stay on arete.
4) Kind Veggie Brother 5.10+ : Bolts up slab and over small roof. Shares anchor with #5.
5) You Be Lichen It 5.10+ : Bolts up arching layback. Tricky moves off the ground.
6) Stone Bruise 5.11- : Shares same starting bolt as #7 then climbs up and left. Beware of scary loose pillar off route on the upper section. You shouldn't have to even touch it!!!
7) Yank On This 5.11+/12- : Bolts through small roof with hard move pulling the lip.
8) New Yankee Workshop 5.10 : This nice crack splits a white face up high and behind a large pine tree. Start 40' right of Yank and carefully climb dirty approach rock to the large tree and the crack behind. Bolted anchors.

These routes have been set up for leading, although it is possible to top rope some of them. Be extra careful on the ledges above; there is lots of loose rock and grit up there!!! Leading is recommended and as always, wear your helmet!

Photos and updates to come...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

climbing in the land of the cowboys


the 16th annual international climber's festival

lander, wyoming


clint showin peeps what's what in the crate stacking comp. yeah, you need climbing shoes and a top rope.

bad ass. the winner this year stacked 22 crates. beating clint this year and his record of 20 set last year. 


mmhhmmm.

anyway, i had an eye opening trip.

i set three goals for myself on the trip:

-try a 5.14

-onsight 3 5.12s in a day

-send a 5.13 in one session


basically, i would've been happy with doing just one, and in all actuality, i almost did two of them!


the first day, went to wild iris, i pulled out a pair of 5.11d onsights, and came super close to onsighting a 12b. i missed a foot and well, fell off. then pulled the rope and climbed it pumped(for the non climbers, by pumped, i mean that my arms were full of lactic acid. the route was like 80 feet long, and the crux was the very last move! and i fired it way easy on the 2nd go.


the next day was really chill. i tried the infamous 'killer', the classic 5.12c at sinks canyon... somehow (well, a conscious decision really) i got onto 'mr. majestic', which is in fact, not 'killer', not a 12c, but is 5.13a. yeah... i didn't have a guidebook, nor any motivation, and a 5.13 is kinda rough for a warm up. the combo of those three didn't go over very well. (serious, i tried to warm up on that, i had no idea what else to go for.) ha, what evs.


"rodeo free europe" 5.14a


the third day was strange, but in a good way.

so if you noticed, my main goal was to try a 5.14. well that seems simple on paper, but in reality, is not at all. i was very nervous. the crag was very crowded, and well, i didn't wanna feel or look like a punter, up there way over his head... plus, legitimately attempting something of that difficulty is very intimidating. like climbing in killer cave, trying evilution to the lip(v10) or the mandala( v12) in bishop, climbing indian creek in general, or the first few times i went to the fins. i don't really know the best way to describe that feeling. i guess, well, it feels like such a huge thing, something i have dreamed about for a long time, and all of a sudden, this year, i felt it was time to go for it. a big step.

the night before, i thought a lot about it. i decided to kick my ego and just go for it. fuck that shit, i came here to try an established 5.14. i wanted to know what it takes to climb the grade. one of my biggest goals in climbing has always been to climb 5.14, and it's beginning to feel like that could happen, but how am i gonna know in an area where the hardest established route is 5.13c (karma police, which i climbed in 2007), and where the only things that are harder are projects.


i picked a route at the rodeo wave wall in wild iris called 'rodeo free europe' (5.14a).  in an old edition of the guidebook it is called 5.14b, and in the new edition it is called 5.14a. what does that mean? well, it means it's solid at 5.14a, if not hard for the grade. the route doesn't suit me very well either. i believe it would be easier for a shorter person to do the moves, based on the foot holds available, plus it is very power intensive. basically a boulder problem (it's like, 35 feet long), the moves are all way physical, and the holds are all really bad, with monos and desperate pocket stabs in the crux, pretty much scaring the hell out of me. i've had three tendon injuries in the past two years... yeah, what was i thinking.


the setup for the crux. the two moves after this shot shut me down cold....

so having chosen a hard route that doesn't play to my strengths but probably to the polar opposites, aka my weaknesses, here is what i learned:


i tried it 4 times on one day.

i managed to do all of the moves except for 2 or 3. which i came close on! amazing!  

i did not link very many moves together, but i did make links.

i could hold every single one of those horrid little pockets, not weighting the rope!!!!!!!

the crux of this route is not mental, but very much physical.


now to apply what i learned:


-my first day on 'rodeo free europe' was much more inspiring than my first days on either 'unagi' or 'the mist project'.

-'ueber unagi' is way harder than 'rodeo free europe', and in similar style. 

-'the mist project' is not quite as physical, but almost twice as long, and so it is hard to say which is harder, as they are in different styles, and 'the mist' is more my style(big reaches on small holds). but you know, it could very well be 5.14a, i'm hesitant to say that, and kinda doubt it. one day on 'rodeo free' was not enough for me to tell. we'll just have to see.

-i make an annual trip to lander, and i believe i can do 'rodeo free europe', and that i will do it. no way have i peaked yet. and it allows me to use this route as a yardstick of sorts, to measure my progress every year.


so yeah, a productive trip.

i'm still waiting on a photo, so once i can contact jerry painter, i will get one.

 i'm glad to be psyched about wild iris. cause i kinda hated that place, like it's super pretty, mountains, trees, flowers and all, but yeah, i hated it... now i have a reason to go back there! and i actually am starting to like it a lot! (still workin' on liking sinks....)

well, hmm, i only told my highlights for the trip, but i believe every one had a good time, and it was super inspiring to see supy and clint pushin' their limits and trying to onsight every route they climb. i dunno if either has climbed 5.11, but they are both onsighting solid 5.10 pretty frequently. also, the local swimming pool was a lot of fun, as usual, and has a climbing wall above the deep end! not to mention the only place to get a shower for under 5 bucks.


and a parting shot for my buddy peter:

this dude dominated the slackline comp. 360 spins, jumps, yoga poses, and the best of all,
 he downed 2 beers while on the line. 

The Fins

Katie Strong redpointing Yellowman on the Discovery Wall

Matt on his Pure Rock Fury proj


Matt on The Mothership


Images from a trip in June 2009. Fun day spent working routes on the spectacular Discovery Wall. Katie cruised Yellowman with ease (next up is Shaken Not Stirred!), Tom worked on his new 990S project (just left of Skeletor) and made major progress and I worked on my Pure Rock Fury project (which I almost sent on the following trip up there).

Kudos to all who put in the time, energy and money to establish such fine routes. The Fins=The Shiz.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

being the wizard (warning, it's a ramble)

(edit: thought i should throw in a photo! this is the infamous "900 S" aka "the mist project" aka "mistalicious" up at the fins. this is the huge -as in full extension on my 6'4" frame and +4/5 inch reach- that guards the crux -v9?-section) 

hey so i just got back from palisades... got my ass handed to me by this heinous set of bulges i bolted.... 5.14? 5.14+?? it's called ueber unagi, one of a trifecta of routes really. 
ueber unagi-ridiculously/outrageously heinous project
the basilisk- ridiculously heinous project
quart of blood technique- still waiting for matty T. to FA, but it's like 5.13-
anywho, so i have a blog of my own , but i have been thinking of asking peeps about a collective blog, and what do ya know, i open my email and here it is!
so i've got tons of good shit on my page, a 2 for 1 special(2 peaks in a day, and they are 4 hours drive away from each other!!!), discussions of climbing philosophy(seriously!), and much more. so yeah check it out! (i will probably double post most of the stuff!)

ha! so i haven't said much of consequence yet have i? 
well here's something i have been cookin up:

being the wizard:

omg check this out  http://www.udini.de/index.php?option=com_gallery2&Itemid=117&g2_itemId=16849) (oh by the way,he uses french ratings in his discussion. 7C=v9, 9a=5.14d, apparently the crux for realization is only a v8!!!)


a mind that races.

this makes me laugh. yeah, cause i'm totally on his level of climbing, NOT! 

no it's funny, cause i feel like i need this wizardry to climb. the two guys i climb with inside, they are fuckin strong as hell. it's ridiculous. me... not so much. i have so much trouble with problems they come up with. POWER! 

after a season on rock, i always feel this amazing rhythm with the stone. like, it takes me a while to figure out routes... i'm really bad at onsighting, but projecting... i seem to make shit happen in that stage. at least to my puny climbing abilities.... but eventually reading the rock just comes easily, muscle memory kicks in, and sequences come together. i don't really know how, but they do. magic?


 god damn, if i could really figure out what it was that dave graham was talking about(video), maybe i would be sending hard. instead of flailing all over on 5.13. especially the focusing thing... man, i have had so much trouble with that lately. i took 6 months off climbing because of that!

 but when you can finally focus again, when you do figure out the fucking moves, when you figure out the BEST way for you to do something, strength doesn't seem to matter as much.

 take soul slinger, not a power problem at all. people try to thug through it, and damn, you'd have to be so fucking strong to do that. those holds are terrible. but when you really look at it, you figure something out. OH MY GOD!!! look, a hold that no one ever ever used! and bam, you send.

 yeah, you need to be able to hold that tiny little crystal, but the physical dissapears, and the problem is easy. like really easy. i often feel that way after i get on a route a couple times. after 3 or 4 half hour sessions, i figured out soul slinger. it was strange, i wanted to use the conventional beta, i dunno why, i saw the crystal out left on the third day, but it wasn't until someone ticked the hold that i decided it was something to try. then it came together in a matter of three tries.


or take the mist proj(which i think i will end up calling 900 S, after my beloved saab) that felt so fucking hard the first few times, i was like, shit! 5.14! now it's like, hmmm 5.13?? then, is it really harder than bushido??? then you look up at bushido, and you say, yes... it is much much harder. that's why it sat empty until i put some bolts into it, said, "well maybe it goes... there are some holds..." now what, a line! beautiful, hard, and strangely like soul slinger.... but it's more physical, and 20+ feet of v5/6 after that. so it's harder!!(the exit section feels as hard as the crux on tengaio's route, and his route is in the range of 5.13a-5.13c) oh, soul slinger is given v9 in the bishop guidebook, but it could be v8, so i figure that the crux on my route is more solid at v9, cause it is sooo much like soul slinger, but in addition, there is strength involved in this one. but really, i have no idea, so yeah.


then one can get into the grading issue. what to call that???? how does one take three boulder problems, stack em, and turn it into a route rating??? v0/1+v9+v6=5.13+?????? strange! in pure form, closest comparison i can think of, v11=5.14a look at the present, a route in utah. 2 bolts long.

so you know what i'm gonna do! i will not rate it at all! i will say in my official last chance to rate after i do it, that to me it is comfortably harder than bushido. by a lot


yeah, that was my latest post on my site


 on wednesday i'm traveling to lander, wyoming for the international climber's festival. time to test my mettle, aka time to try 5.14! ahhh yeeah! beat down in the making!


well hey, thanks for the invite marc! 


cheers foo's,

tom

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Limestone Paradise

Heather and I just returned from a month of climbing in the country of Croatia. I'll rehash these images from my blog page, so some of you may have seen these already.

We had an incredible time and climbed in some amazing and exotic locations. The people are friendly, the Adriatic Sea is sublime, and the climbing is incredible. Although we had a dream vacation, we are excited to be back home in Idaho with friends and chossy rock! I'm serious about that. Good stone is too easy to climb! I hope you enjoy the photos.










Thanks for inviting us to contribute to your blog! I sure like motivation and motivating people. I look forward to following stories and adventures from more like minded folks in our neck of the woods.
Dean Lords - East Idaho

Shape Shifter

In an effort to keep things fresh I thought I'd upload a short clip of skiing from last winter. I know there are a few of you out there with pics of recent trips...  what are you waiting for? Post 'em! 

This particular day, Drew Daly and I headed up to Lightning Ridge in the Boulder Mountains just north of Ketchum. We had spied this line while returning from skiing the East Couloir of Lorenzo Peak. We encountered lots of steep rock and snow on the climb up, and a bit of variable conditions in the entrance to the couloir. Once in the meat of it though, the protected snow skied great. In the video you can see the tracks of a mountain goat cross the couloir. We never actually saw the guy, but his tracks lead into some incredibly exposed terrain. We called the line "Shape Shifter" because I'm pretty sure he transformed to a cloud and moved on to the next peak! Enjoy.

video