Monday, December 28, 2009


Today Owen and I made the trek up to Goldbar. It was a nice day and everything was dry. We warmed up and I was able to repeat Twisted (V10) and the Rubix Cube (V9). I came very close to also getting back up Equinox but could not manage it. We spent most of our day at Lighten Up (V9). A large amount of work had been put into the landing since I tried it last and it was much less scary. I stuck the crux move in isolation and came very close to latching the same hold from the start. Guess I will have to try it in six months again like usual. I also put some effort into the newly done Positive Vibrations, which was fun and interesting but also very hard feeling. I probably will not get back out until January 5th or so when I am back in Colorado Springs. Until then.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Bret Johnston gets a blog

My good friend Bret just created a blog to chronicle his travles. He will be in Bishop until just after the first of the year and should have some good updates when he gets back. Check it here.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


I arrived back in Seattle for the holidays last night. I have been in Bishop since my last post. I will write a bit about my trip there in the next couple days, but for now I will just share a few photos.

Kyle on the Mandala

Max on Evilution

Bret on Green Wall Essential

Saigon boulder by night

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Big Bend

After a long hiatus from real rock, I am back on the road. I spent the last day and a half at Big Bend. For the size of the area, this is one of the best places on can go, especially in the winter. My primary goal was to work on Hellbelly. I had two long sessions on it and came away with still not having done all the moves. I am already planning a return visit in January for another round with this prize line. In other news, I did manage to get to the top of two V10s today. The first was Return of the Jedi, a low traverse that has surprising fun movement. I then polished off Big Horn Beaver, an amazing upwards rising sloper battle. I came very close to sending early in the morning but had to wait until the sun went down (and the rock to cool off) to hold the tension of the crux from the start. Tomorrow I will be in Red Rocks to check out the bouldering of Black Velvet Canyon, before Bishop on Friday.

Castleton Tower creating its own weather

A snowy and cold north side of Big Bend

Blurry self-portrait on Big Horn Beaver

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Back at Last

I have been traveling for a while now and have finally settled into Colorado Springs for a couple days. I will be leaving again on Monday to Moab, Red Rocks, then Bishop. Very excited. I have been training a bunch to try and get some fitness back and am starting to feel good again. Today Max and I headed up to a new block a bit past Ute Pass and worked on a cool line. Crimps and pinches up a slight overhang. Probably around V9 or 10. Here is Max sticking the opening move.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Black Dahlia

I posted about a project a couple weeks ago in Joe's Valley. I got a text from Silven yesterday saying that Mike Bockino had completed it. This problem can now join the ranks with the best Joe's has to offer. A true stunner. Check out the video:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Last days at the Red

The end of my time in the Red was good. I continued to check out new crags and on my second to last day I decided I had developed enough endurance to head to the Motherlode. WOW! That is a crag! I got on some amazing lines and managed to top a few of them out. Tomorrow I am heading to Rome, Italy to hang out with my family for two weeks. Until then, cheers.

Matty on No Redemption, Bob Marley Wall

Undertow Wall, the Motherlode

Ander trying Kaleidesope, Drive-by Crag

Sunday, November 15, 2009

More from the Red

I decided to take a rest day today. Being as I have climbed for as many as 25 days on, I thought I could stay on for 10 days here. But I have never sport climbed at a high level for so many days and while I still had power yesterday, I could tell my endurance was starting to be drained and my muscles wanted a rest. I did not bring my desktop to Kentucky (duh), so I download Picasa as substitute to Lightroom and Photoshop. Between working on my senior thesis proposal on developing a new paleothermometer using Strontium/Calcium ratios in carbonate nodules (I know, I am dork), I messed around a bunch with Picasa as a break and came up with these. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Climbing has been going great. I feel like I am getting endurance and leaning how to keep the pump under control as I continue to move quickly up walls. I feel alright resting on jugs but things seem to work better when I just keep moving and shake a bit on every move. We have been checking some sick walls out: Roadside, Left Flank, Military, Solar Collector, Gold Coast, Biblioteque, and Midnight Surf. I love the names of some of the walls here. I have especially enjoyed going to less popular walls. The routes there are just as amazing but there will "only" be 5 mega classics as opposed to 15 (plus nobody else at the crag). Today I was able to fight my way to the top of Shiva, an amazing 13b at Midnight Surf, on my second go. It is as hard of a climb as I have ever sent and while it was cool to connect with something harder, some of the 12s I have onsited have felt a lot harder. It will be interesting if I can really take a step forward for myself in the next week here. Huge shout out to Dan Dalton for spending some serious hours on a rope today and snaping some photos.

Me sticking the dyno at the end of the crux sequence on Shiva

Ander on Iniquity

Me trying to "manage the pump" through the easier climbing of Iniquity

Monday, November 9, 2009

Red River Gorge

Dan and I survived the epic drive out to the Red. We were pretty inefficient at leaving and did not get out of Denver until 1 pm on Saturday. We crashed at the gate (which locked at 10pm) to a state park in Missouri for 4 hours before waking up to a shotgun going off somewhere nearby. We got in the car quickly and continued east. After getting in yesterday afternoon, we headed straight to the Roadside crag, where I onsited a couple of low end 12s. Today, I woke up with all the symptoms of the flu. I have about 10 more days here, so the first order of business is to get better while still trying to develop some endurance. I will take some photos soon and post again.

Entry on Five Ten's Blog

I recently wrote a little blurb for the Five Ten blog. If you read my stuff normally, then you will have seen the photos but the text is all new. Check it here.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


The Obelisk

I took a bunch of shots of this amazing line because it was so beautiful. I got to the lip once and it took everything I had. The mantle seems to be a whole other crux that I was not able to do. Amazing incuts on black rock into a outstanding compression sequence up the arete with a left hand undercling. Totally my style of climbing; I thought it was one of the best things I have been on at Joe's. 1st tier for sure and on the very top of my list for when I return.

Drawn back to Joe's

Silven and I spent the last four days climbing and exploring Joe's Valley. The weekend was busy but we managed to avoid all crowds with short hikes up to new problems. This trip more so than any previous one really showed me how much potential is left in Joe's Valley. This fall I have spent a combined three weeks in Joe's and have seen undone lines that are as good as the best established problems and that are only a few minutes from the road. I honestly think Joe's Valley is the best bouldering area in North America for its quality of stone, amazing variety of holds, beautiful lines, and great movement. The ease of camping there is a huge bonus too. There are some undone projects that I am really excited about and I will be returning at the start of December, weather permitting, to try them. Here are some photos.

Silven trying Gentleman's Project. Getting the spot from Douglas!

Ryan Young on Godsend. One of the best new problems I have seen. Head straight up the drainage from Eden for longer than you think you need to for this one.

Silven on Skull.

Barracuda, above the Wills boulder just a bit. This guy has the best mantel I have done in Joe's.

Ryan getting his pinch on for the crux slam dunk move on Barracuda.

Me on Botox Stand.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Indian Creek

After Joe's, I meet up with Kevin and we spent five days climbing the amazing sandstone splitters of the Utah desert. As always it was really amazing and I am very excited to go back. I checked out a bunch of new walls that I had never been to and tried some of the best climbs I have seen in the Creek. I climbed a bunch of rad stuff but of particular note was a 5.12- offwidth that I was able to send. Brother from Another Planet ascents 50 feet of moderate climbing then cuts out a 10 foot roof which you climb upside down, with you feet camming above you. Tim tried it first, and while this method to get rightside up did not work, it was a proud effort and yielded some fun pictures.

View of the creek from the Fin.

Tim and the start of the inverted climbing.

Tim trying to rotate 180 degress to get back upright in the offwidth.

Tim's shoulder after one too many big cracks.

More From Joe's

Ryan Held on his problem River Runs Through It (V8). One can find this bloc by driving past the 6 mile marker in Left Fork and parking on the right, opposite of an access road to the dam, and walking up the drainage a minute or two.

Kelsey on one of Rocco's new problems, Raiden (V8). This problem is five to ten minutes uphill in Left Fork. Park in the first large lot on the left after Big Joe, walk back a couple hundred yards to the drainage and follow the cairns.

Ryan Silven's new problem Dunwoody (V8). This problem is located on the backside of the Raiden boulder. Start on the two good underclings and move up. If you are short the second move is hard, if you are tall the first is.

Ryan Held trying Silven's other new problem, Can I Borrow a Fellin'. This problem is the first boulder you pass as you hike up to Raiden and is only 10 yards or so off the road.

Ryan trying Trent's Mom.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Last days at Joe's

The last two days at Joe's have been very productive. On Tuesday, I onsited a cool problem across the river called Moment of Truth. V10 has been sugested for this bloc but as a taller person it felt a tad easier. That day I also flashed Black and Blue and Moby Dick, both V6. Then on Wednesday, I flashed an amazing problem called River Runs Through It (V8), then did Dunwoody, Raiden, and Love in an Elevator (all V8). I went on to get the second ascent of Silven's new problem, Can I Borrow a Fellin', which he suggested V10 for. I also sent Bow to the East after it broke, which is probably V9 or V10, then finished up the Ghost King (V11). Probably my best day of climbing ever.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I only take pictures of Silven...

Playmate of the Year (V9)

Playmate again

Ryan trying some hard beta on the Ghost King

Coming close to sticking the crux of Jitterbug Perfume

Back in Joe's

I got back to Joe's Saturday afternoon. I ran into Rylan Marshall and we worked Beyond Life, Lumberjack Low, and Eden. I came closer than I ever had on all of these climbs but could not finish them up. The next morning we headed towards New Joe's. I warmed up on an awesome slab that felt very hard and ended up spliting my tip just before doing it. Bummer! After a beta rundown from Jamie, I started working the Ghost Kingand and had some good goes. However, the combination of tape on my split tip and warming temps ended my day on it. I was going to rest for the remainder of the day but ran into Silven and his friend Phillip and got coaxed into trying Playmate of the Year and Battletoads. In the end it was worth it because both Silven and I completed these awesome rock climbs. Today was my fourth day on but I still made progress on the Ghost King, however I could not bring it all together for a send. I will be back for this excellent climb when it gets colder and my skin is not so oozy. Now I am hanging out in town to force myself to rest. Hopefully it will pay off with more good news to come.

Photo Published in Squamish Magazine

I got a picture that I took a while ago of my friend Eli (who also just started her freshman year at Colorado College) on Trad Killer published in the second issue of Squamish Magazine. I am really psyched on the recent trend of online magazines because it not only provides another outlet for amateur photographers like myself to get their work out there but forces the print publications to not publish crap like they do in order to stay in business. Check the second issue here.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Last Day in the SoCo

Yesterday I finished up Pretentious Vendor of Invention for the 3rd ascent. I am going with V10 for this one. I tried this problem for six days, which makes me think it might be harder than Silven's suggested V9+. I also climbed the other arete on the opposite side of the same overhang. The problem starts at head height with a good right hand sidepull and a small left hand crimp. A campus move to a sloper leads one onto the arete, where you continue up with heel hooks, bumps, and compression. I am calling it BEARS!, and suggesting V8.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Midnight Lightning

My friend Ted shot this video of me and posted it to my Vimeo account. It is a bit blurry on the first couple moves but captures the business well. Respect.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Last Update before heading to Utah

Despite some windows of bad weather here on the Front Range, I have been getting down south. Some problems were wet on Friday but we found some dry stone in places. First up was Walk Softly, in my opinion the best problems in the SoCo. Owen Anderson came very close but could not manage a send. Then we went up to the New Sector where Owen sent Uncivilized (V8). Owen threw to the lip left handed, which I had never seen anyone else do and felt nearly impossible to everyone else who tried to follow suit. Kieffer came very close and I think he will be climbing his first V8 soon. We went back on Monday with much better weather. On his first go of the day, Owen hiked through the crux of Walk Softly and then dropped after over a minute of trying to figure out what to do next. Later, Owen took the most ridiculous fall ever, pitching off near the top of Walk Softly and falling down the hill, past the pads, onto his back without hurting himself. Unfortunately, I did not get video of it. I also made good progress on Walk Softly, nearly sticking the crux move. We then moved up canyon to the New Sector but I was not able to finish off Pretentious Vendor of Invention. Hopefully I can pull it together tomorrow, which will be my last day in Southern Colorado for two or three weeks because I am heading to Utah. For now, check out this sweet picture of a black bear that wandered onto Colorado College's campus this weekend and climbed up into a tree.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Quick Visit to Southern Colorado

We woke up to bad weather in Gunnison on Sunday and I made a quick decision to head to the Springs. I have spent the last two days doing some bouldering. The conditions are prime and beautiful golden trees abound. I made a lot of progress on Silven's arete in the New Sector, falling off the move to the lip a number of times today and yesterday. Hopefully it will go down on Thursday. Silven and I also tried another line on the backside of the Old Gaurd bloc that will be pretty cool. Interesting compression moves with toe hooks and some bad slopers. Sit looks like a 8B Schulte project. Got some video of a few sends yesterday. Enjoy.

Black Canyon

After the Creek I headed to Gunnison to meet up with John and do some Black Canyon climbing. John settled on us trying to do two shorter routes. The first up with Trilogy (5.12- R, 6 pitches) and the second was Midsummer Night's Dream (5.11-, 5 pitches). While we did not get climbing until 9:30 in the morning, we were off Midsummer by 6:30. A good pace I thought. Trilogy was an awesome route, definitely the better of the two. The first pitch was a 5.11+ R pitch that John led. In 120 feet there were three bolts and little other good gear. John led it smoothly, protecting the crux off of a fixed bashie head. I led the next pitch. The guide called it 11- but it was more like 11+ and after 80 feet of steep flared fingers I was pumped and fell just a move or two before the end of the business. Another 10+ pitch followed before the crux pitch. I led up the crux, firing it onsite, which I was very psyched about. 30 feet or so of hard climbing up a finger crack to delicate face moves, all of which was through a classic Black Canyon pegmatite band (read: scary choss). The route eased up a bit after that with another 5.10 pitch and then an easy exit pitch. We then banged out Midsummer in about two and a half hours and headed back to Gunnison for some pizza.

Indian Creek

After waking up to rain in Joe's last Wednesday, I headed south to meet back up with Rich and Kevin in the Creek. I had been having some nagging stomach issues which was keeping my psych at a slightly lower level than the Creek normally produces. I tied into the rope five times in two days, including two top rope climbs but it was a lot of fun and I am starting to get over my fear of #1 camalots. I also played around on fixed lines a bit trying to snap some photos. The light was never ideal but I got a few reasonable frames.

Kevin sending Ananaki (5.12-), his first of the grade on gear

Can you name this spot? Its within an hour of the creek but not in Utah.

Rich sending a 5.11+ at the Cat Wall