4 days in Bishop

Day 1:
We arrived Thursday afternoon after a long and semi-stressful drive
full of “deep” conversations. Leaving LA county after eleven a.m. was
a bad idea due to the lunch traffic and construction on the I15 North.
After making a quick late lunch stop and picking up more road munchies
we arrived at the pit and luckily had multiple free sites to pick
from. Time flew and we did no climbing, good for me since I was
exhausted from all the driving. I almost never go to sleep before
midnight, but this time my body would force me to do it.Bishop 1
Day 2:
I was anticipating a really cold night so I double bagged it with a
zero and thirty-five degree bag. I think I only woke up once in the
middle of the night because my face and ears were really cold because
of the occasional rolling around. I woke up after ten hours of amazing
sleep. After a quick breakfast we headed down to the Happies for my
first day time bouldering session in Bishop. My last visit to the
happies was at night after a long sport climbing session at Owens
River Gorge.

Bishop 2We had a quick warm-up sessions before we jumped on Solarium and The
Hulk. My buddy George sent his project, The Hulk after a few
attempt’s. Maybe next time I will send it. I had better luck on
Solarium, I stuck the lip hold, but had no luck getting my left hand
on the jug. Definitely going to project this one. Feeling a bit more
stoked we moved onto Serengeti. I managed to catch the sharp left
handed crimp, but by then had lost plenty of skin and became too much
to hold and bring up my left hand. Day one would come to an end with
no hard sends for me. Perhaps day two will be better.

Bishop 4

Day 3:

Woke up a few hours earlier today to get an earlier start and to meet up with some friends in the Buttermilks. First stop was at Starbucks for some breakfast and a quick look at the results for the ABS 13 Qualifier round. Unfortunately Dan Bealle and Kyle Owens didn’t make it to the semis, but plenty of Madrock athletes did.

The Grandma and Grandpa Peabody boulders are as intimidating in person as they are in images and in videos. Had a quick warm up on the Green Wall. Although warming up was a bit difficult with the strong winds blowing. I then walked around following the Hangar 18 youth team as they worked on some projects. I stopped and was amazed by Ambrosia. It’s so huge!!!
Bishop 6
They decided to stop and try a slightly overhanging and traversing v6 or v7. A pretty cool looking arete caught my attention a few feet away. It turned out to be the Saigon boulder. Had the wind not been freezing my fingers, I would have attempted the start of the climb. I decided to start with one hand on a left side-pull and the right at the start hold. On my first attempt I managed to make it to a left facing hold which I used as a gaston. On my third attempt I was able to get my left hand on a higher left facing hold which I used as a side-pull in order to grab the right hand sloper hold. At this point I dropped because I only had two pads and lack of trust in one of my two spotters. I believe I found a project to bring me back to the Buttermilks. Although I gave Ironman traverse a few attempts, it just wasn’t as interesting as Saigon.
Bishop 3
After a few hours of climbing videos and facebooking we were happy to hear that some people were bringing firewood and we would be warm. Unfortunately when we arrived the winds had snapped the center pole of my friend’s tent and was laying flat on the ground held down by several boulders that had been placed by a neighbor. I wonder if the tent went airborne…To make the night worse when we were just about to start the fire the rude and obnoxious campground host told us we couldn’t have a fire because of the strong winds. A simple explanation would have sufficed, but he went out of his way to belittle the two friends that were starting the fire as the rest of us set up a tent that almost flew off into the pitch black campground. It would be another early night for us…
Day 4:
After a rough windy night and who knows when I finally passed out, we woke up to perfect weather. No wind and good temps. After a quick breakfast and goodbyes to our friends, we went back to the Happy boulders for another session. This trip turned out to be a success for my friend George. He managed to send Serengeti (right variation) after a few attempts.
Bishop 7
I climbed a few easy problems, but didn’t really get any further on Solarium nor did I try The Hulk or Serengeti again. We decided to end our climbing early to get to the Keogh Hot Springs and back on the road. I think this wasn’t a trip to send hard climbs, but one to test out as many climbs as I could get on and find future projects. The Buttermilks are by far my favorite bouldering crag so far. Until my next adventure…
Bishop 5

To Jam or not to Jam… part 2

Exactly one year ago I wrote about my first traditional(Trad) climbing experience. It was an awesome adventure and I’m glad I got to experience foot and hand jams. I’ve even purchased my own full rack of cams, nuts, slings and what-not. Flash forward one year and I have now several trad leads under my belt.

My first lead was sometime in August of 2012 at Castle Rock area in the San Bernadino mountains. It was a bit terrifying at first, but the route itself was really easy. The most challenging part was placing gear. The first route I lead with my own gear was The Bong in Joshua Tree. I believe this route was a bit more challenging than the route I lead at Castle Rock.

Since then I have lead several routes including the classic Joshua Tree routes, Toe Jam and Sail Away. My favorite Joshua Tree climb thus far is Right On. This multi-pitch climb on Saddle Rock was a bit more exciting starting the first pitch with the offwith variation. Right On was more of a training route for my Red Rocks trip in late November.

Our goal for Red Rocks was to do Epinephrine, but the temps were too extreme and we did Cookie Monster and Dark Shadows instead. Two really fun routes for my first Red Rocks visit. My goal is to someday climb even bigger walls. For now I will continue to train in Joshua Tree and occasionally in Red Rocks until I can someday try my skills on routes on El Capitan and Half Dome. Thank you for reading and stay tuned for part three.

-Die Spinne

jtree

Call of the wild and unruly…

Chirp, chirp, chirp, rustle and silence. Just a few soothing sounds that one hears and doesn’t when outdoors in nature, away from the city. For most of us getting away from the city even if just for a day is a mini vacation. You get to relax, enjoy your time away from the office and work, the city noise, the climbing gym and most of the drama back home.

Now imagine whilst approaching a drama free crag you run into a group of climbers and one of them asks you about a missing comrade. Hopefully the majority of people reading this post would be willing to pause that extremely “important” conversation, help and not be smug and nonchalant about the interruption. That decision could mean life or death for someone or in this case shame for the leader of the group.

Getting back to a less extreme situation that won’t save your life unless you need to be heard a great distance, but unfortunately happens too often when not. The unfortunate part that is happening more often is the typical gym sculpted climber of several months that ventures outdoors for some real rock climbing and brings the gym mentality and rowdiness with them. I enjoy the camaraderie of having my fellow climbing buddies pushing me with positive vibes and some words of encouragement as long as it’s not extremely loud. If other parties can hear you several miles away, then you need to either stay in the gym or keep it down.

Yes your shrieks of joy, excitement and frustrating pain surprisingly carry for large distances especially in the mountains. So if you’re a frequent visitor of any crag, other locals and frequent visitors will be able to recognize your irritating voice. The other thing that needs to stay at the gym is the loud music. That tranquility experienced outdoors is fading away with climbers that believe they climb harder with the loud bass of overplayed dubstep or any loud music. Climbing should never get a bad reputation for having loud people!

That satisfying feeling experienced in the mountains.

Only Beta…keep it to yourself!

I’m climbing at my local gym. Already warmed up and working on a mini-plastic project and while working the crux, all of a sudden I hear one of many beta blurting climbers shout out, “breathe!” I stop mid-move a bit puzzled thinking to myself, “when did I stop doing something that comes natural to all living humans?!” I stop climbing that particular route and look at them as if they had just insulted me.

 

I find myself hearing a certain breed of climbers using this type of beta or word of encouragement too often. By breed I mean gym rats, and to be more precise, from a particular neighboring gym. I don’t always reject words of encouragement or insults in my masochistic climbing tendencies. I welcome it most of the time when climbing with my gym friends or climbing partners, but when certain words such as “breathe,” “get it,” and “commit” are used then things all go downhill from there. I’m usually really calm and have been working on my breathing techniques to focus and keep the pump at bay on more vertically challenging terrain using ropes. So breathing is definitely not an issue here!

While we’re on the breathing subject, obviously to some climbers adopting breathing techniques used by women about to give birth are becoming the norm. What happened to the good old inhale with your nose and exhaling through the mouth?! Relax before you faint! I also don’t think exhaling like you’re trying to get your classmates attention or like an obnoxious sumo climber can be very helpful either. Just don’t do it!

Unfortunately bouldering has been taking over my climbing life due to the lack of sport climbing partners and the never ending energy draining heat. Whenever I find myself climbing on the plastic I tend to bump into notorious beta blurters or in this case annoying climbers. There are times when I would like to shout my own silencing words of encouragement at these people! So next time you consider giving a complete stranger some beta while he or she climbs, think twice about it or you might get some nasty words. Also try to keep your breathing volume to a reasonable level. I’ll end it with some silence encouraging words from a good climbing buddy of mine, “shut the fuck up when I climb!”

- Die Spinne

Clip!!!

Ah it’s been so long since my last post. So much climbing and little time set aside for writing. In the last few months I have gotten stronger and increase my endurance. In my last post I wrote about starting a project at Echo Cliffs in the Santa Monica mountains in Southern California. I decided to put that project aside for a few months, well mostly until the winter! It’s been really warm lately…

So I also made a change in my climbing. A friend of mine suggested I try building up a pyramid type of climb sends before attempting to go to projecting high 5.12′s. So basically what I intend on doing is sending a lot of 5.11′s anywhere I go and only getting on few 5.12′s…So I’m building up my endurance, strength, technique and move repertoire to be able to onsight 5.11′s and some 5.12′s. The main area I have been doing this at is the Riverside Quarry. I especially like climbing here because a lot of the routes are long, but with occasional no hands rests…I try not to abuse them though!

I’ve been seeing great improvements in my endurance and ability to read routes while going for onsight and many redpoint attempts. Three of my most recent and proud ascents have been Nostalgia(5.11c), Violator(5.11c) and the four pitch American Dream(5.11b,10a,11b,11c) in that order. I would like to send the majority of the 5.11′s at the riverside quarry before I go back to projecting 5.12′s, but that would take a long time! So I have decided to climb them until I can onsight 5.11d’s without any difficulty and occasionally attempt to onsight 5.12a/b. Then I will truly be ready to go back and send Apathy at Echo Cliffs and the super long 5.12′s at the Riverside Quarry!

- Die Spinne

To Jam or not to Jam…

It’s Saturday around two in the afternoon and the weather is almost perfect. After working a Joshua Tree classic for over half an hour we decided to join our friends across the street at another popular climb, Double Cross. I was worried that JBMFP had left me with almost no tips on my fingers, but either way I was set to get my hands on my first Trad route. Unfortunately before going to the climb I decided to drop off my crashpad at the car and with it my climbing shoes. When I decided to rope up the only thing I could do to not further upset the two climbers waiting to climb after us, was to climb in my approach shoes. The route initiated with some easy scrambling onto a bulging ledge which then brought me to the actual hand and foot jams. The first ten to fifteen feet were simple until the crack began to get bigger and deeper. I then began to climb like a complete crack noob! With every five to eight feet I climbed I would slide down the crack about two, because my foot jams were sloppy. To make it worse I began to get frustrated and started smearing instead of jamming my feet in the crack. I eventually began to move up and over the overhanging stuff and made it to the easier section and then the “exposed” chimney end. Which I thought was super easy, although if I lead it I probably would have cried. The next time I get to climb this route I will not forget my shoes.

After one of the most extremely windy nights I have ever experienced at Joshua Tree and being woken up by one of the walls of my tent smacking me in the face, we decided to search for some areas protected from the wind. The only place we thought would be great was Echo Rock. So we packed our gear and headed over to hidden valley to escape the wind. There I think I redeemed myself with a one take send of a harder crack climb called Pinky Lee’s at Echo Rock. Even though it wasn’t my first time climbing the route it felt awesome because I got to use my new pair of TC Pro’s I had purchased at the REI used gear sale for thirty dollars brand new! Hopefully I get to practice some crack climbing soon and get to continue breaking in my TC Pro’s, until then keep crushing and thanks for reading!

-Die Spinne