Saturday, April 26, 2008

11mile Update

Yesterday, Ander and I went to Elevenmile.  We first headed to the State Park were I was able to finish off Scalius with a couple hours of work.  Probably one of the more unique lines in Southern Colorado and, in my opinion, very very cool.  When I did it, it flowed very well and I specifically took my time to get each hand and foot on the right spot.  As for the grade, its somewhere between 9 and 10.  Harder for me then Cool Cuts but easier then The Nickness.  After that, we went to the canyon and Ander did Smoke Signals is good form.  Overall, a fun day out in beautiful weather.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Block Break

With a lack of psych I decided to spend block break doing something a little different.  I still went climbing but it was the first block break I spent not focused on bouldering or with any specific goals.  Here is a brief rundown of my days:

Thursday:  Tim and Noah planned on climbing Jah Man on the Sister Superior tower so I was on my own.  I tried Return of the Jedi (V9/10) at Big Bend for half and hour, did all the moves but left once the sun hit it.  Next, I drove into Moab and purchased a 9 dollar kiddie pool at the hardware store.  This thing runs an amazing five feet in diameter and 13 inches tall.  My plan was to cross the Colorado River and check out some new bouldering on opposite side of the canyon.  To say the least, this was poorly planned out but it was hot out and chosen crossing was slow water so it was at least not dangerous.  My oars were two branches I found just before pushing out.  About five feet into my crossing I punctured the upper of three inflatable rings that make up the side wall of the pool.  I was down to about 8 inches of raft between me and the water.  Surprisingly I made it across fairly easily but very pumped from the paddling. I spent the next couple hours exploring the hillside, climbing many moderates on excellent rock.  I found a few things that would be harder or taller but declined trying them by myself with one pad.  Some of the things were likely first ascents others clearly had signs of being climbed or attempted before.  I did find one boulder that would be very hard and tall with a perfect line of small crimps going up an arete then moving to the face.  V10 or harder and 30+ feet over tallus anyone?  The crossing took a little longer going back but was overall uneventful. 

Friday:  Mike and I climbed Holier than Thou on The Nuns.  It is a 3 pitch climb up the craziest calcite features ever.  The first pitch is 130 feet and 11 bolts where you are grabbing perfect edges, tufas, stalagtites, and underclings ever.  Imagine throwing Spain onto a desert tower.  Overall impression: climbing of the highest caliber but with to much involved to make it happen.  Hiking, gear, hanging belays, rappels, helmets, etc.  Give me a pad and chalk and some freedom of movement.

Saturday:  Tim and I climbed a route up Lighthouse Tower, above Big Bend.  It was a 5.10 that where I found many heel hooks, mantles, and kneebars that made the awkward crack sections very cool.  Standing on top of the tower looking at the river is a very cool experienced improved upon by not seeing any other parties all day.

Sunday:  Tim, Noah and I went to the Ninja Training Center today.  Recently featured on Momentum, this is the home of Potter's Zen Garden (5.13ish).  The place is an amazing setting and very different from other places I have climbed in the Moab region.  The rock however leaves room for some improvement.  Zen Garden climbs out the best section of rock and is by and large very solid and not sandy.  However, some of the boulder problems use edges that just will not clean up.  I could not do the crux moves but would be interested in returning for another attempt.  

I also put in two other random 30-60 minute sessions on Return of the Jedi.  At each one I feel just before the final move to the finishing jug.  Despite the slight contrivance of the line, this problem climbs exceedingly well.  Better than many at Big Bend.  It was never too hot but I clearly did not have the required endurance that the line beckoned for.  Maybe another time.

The Desert

Big Bend with Lighthouse Tower in the right center at night

The moon rising over the hills above Onion Creek in Castle Valley

The moon rising over a butte in Castle Valley

Castleton Tower at night

The "Ninja Training Center"

Today, Tim, Noah, and I went to a roof that has been dubbed the Ninja Training Center.   It is a long and steep roof on with a crack out the center on fairly good rock.  Matt Segal recently did the second ascent after Dean Potter.  I found the crux difficult and was not able to unlock the moves but I am very psyched on the place and will return.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sunday at Elevenmile

Today Gatzke, Byron, Ander, and myself headed up to Elevenmile Canyon to do some rock climbing.  There we met Scott, Justin, Rylan, Kevin, and Thomas.  We all convened at the Spray Wall where a session had begun on Scott's Anger Management.  Justin came close,f alling on the tensiony move multiple times.  Chris and I headed up canyon to do a little bouldering while the rest attempted some routes.  Chris made quick work of Smoke Signals (V7 or 8) and I was able to finish off Chill Style left.  I think this is the first ascent since this problem broke and it is probably around V8 or 9 now.  Unfortunately, the Denver crew had a different series of climbing spots to go to and we passed them all on our way back to the Spray Wall.  Scott came very very close to his project.  Which is a direct version of Rapture.  Consider it a V6 to a V9 to a 5.13a.  Next we headed to Scalius, which I was able to do all the moves on quickly and put it into two or three pieces.  Psyched to return for it, the problem was better than I was expecting.  Below are three shots of Ander on Rapture (5.13a) and then one on Scalius V9 or 10.

8a Yearbook

Happy to say that two of my photographs were published in the 2007 8a Yearbook.  Both were small shots to go along with the rankings but it was still cool to see my shots on a piece of paper.  This is the second time a piece of mine has been printed, after a shot of a friend on The Swarm ran in a USA Climbing magazine distributed with Urban Climber.  Almost a cool was seeing 8a is at least realizing how silly its whole basis is.  There are a few places were quotes like "Parental Advisory: points may kill the fun in climbing" and "Just remember that all the lists and rankings are only one way of viewing things.  Keep in mind that climbing is for fun!  However, if you lie or over grade in your scorecard we might just have to kill you."  I look forward to the day when the points, bold and italics writing, and value statements like "Brave and humble downgrader" are no longer found on 8a but rather a online community of climbers looking to share.  If 8a was able to become more of a global online guidebook and forum I would see a much greater value to the site.  For now its a nice place to read the news.

One of the two shots published.  Simon Benkert sends Silverback (V10 or 11)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Cripple Creek Gold Mine

Pretty burnt out on climbing right now, at least with the stuff close to Colorado Springs.  So I thought I would post just a few of the shots I took yesterday.  My Sustainable Development class went to the Cripple Creek Gold Mine, located on the other side of Pikes Peak from Colorado Springs..  An open pit cyanide heat leach mining process is used there to extract gold from the ore.  The mine operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Over 75,000 tons of ore are blasted, dug, removed, ground, and leached per day.  For every 300 tons of ore, 1 once of gold is retrieved.  The mine has been in operation since 1993 and are currently permitted to continue removing material until 2012, with the final land reclamation estimated to be finished by 2020.   Besides the obvious impact of removing that much material from the earth and leaching it with cyanide, the operation also uses 330 gallons of water a minute and each of the 14 30o ton load trucks consumes about a gallon of oil per mile driven.  It is hard to comprehend the scale in these photos but trust me that this place is on a completely different level than anything I have seen before.

Filtering the bonded gold-cyanide through carbon bits to take it out of solution.

Bags of the Sri Lankan "coconut shell" carbon bits

The main dig site at the mine.  The trees at the top are large evergreens and from the bottom to the top it is around 750 feet.  This particular pit will be dug to 1300 feet.

The 300 ton capacity trucks.  For scale the wheel of the truck is 15 feet tall and costs 15000 dollars.  There are six on each of the 14 trucks used at Cripple Creek and each one is replaced every 8 months.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Went up to the pass at the very last second today.  Byron and I headed to Crack in the Woods area and Byron pissed on his one arm project FIRST GO in style.  Big props to him for coming back into the game with some power and psych on his side.  I give him bare minimum eight points for his send.  I also caught the problem on film and it should be up on his blog in the next day or two. Feel free to leave him harassing posts or emails to get it up quicker though.  After that, we met up with Brian Rhodes, who had just returned from a long trip to Bishop and Red Rocks.  He is amped up on bouldering right now and I excited to get out with him more, maybe even do some ropes.  He had a very good first day on Cool Cuts for Tojo, doing all the moves in less than an hour and beginning to put some very good links together.  We headed to the Green Lantern (yes, again) and I failed once again at sending.  Brian took a nasty fall after his hand picked off the finishing jug of the stand but in an inspiring effort sent in good form shortly after.  If all goes to plan, I should be heading up to the Pass tomorrow but hopefully not in the direction of the Green Lantern.  My stagnant progress has left me feeling more frustrated then fulfilled after a day of climbing on it and I would rather go out tomorrow and climb some fun moderates.