Good Bye Social Media, a Digital Trashcan Fire

May 31, 2020

This week I am deleting my Facebook accounts and will no longer post to instagram. These platforms haven’t worked for small unique contributors like Backcountry Nomad and have lost their ability for creating positive community long ago.. I will continue my Backcountry Nomad blog here at bricepollock.com documenting my adventures since it has been a wonderful live-journal and will be a fun place to share experiences.

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Battle of the Big Gear: An Off-Width Protection Review

April 4, 2020
Comparison of BD #6 and Piton “Adventure Sausage” Skiles

The ultimate buying guide to big gear is here! In this review, these burly pieces of protection chicken wing, arm bar and leviathan their way to the award podium. It makes me dream of an offwidth climbing problem in the olympics. (Speed off-width climbing? I guess I could come around to that.)

Who won? Who lost? How do the Big Bros compare with cams? What about passive gear? All is revealed below.

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Ultimate Crack Glove Review

March 29, 2020
Left to Right: Ocun (L), Outdoor Research (L/XL), Black Diamond (L)

Ocun was the first, Outdoor Research (OR) was the second and then in March 2020, Black Diamond (BD) came to the table with their offering of crack gloves. Now with three options, its time to review the gloves after putting in several hundred pitches of use.

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Scrambl-eering on the Island in the Sky Traverse

March 10, 2020

Inside one of the best hidden gems in Utah is a sandstone behemoth called Island in the Sky. Most climbs go part way up its face, but there is a traverse which gains its summit and traverses a labyrinth of short canyons with scrambling ascents between them. RoadTripRyan has the best beta, but doesn’t utilize or follow all the rappels I found and published on ropewiki. Regardless of tools (map, gpx or physical markings), good route finding intuition is a must. However, none of this took away from the five hours of fun which ends in four rappels!

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Weird Adventures at Whipple Cave

March 6, 2020

The drive east across Nevada is desolate and mostly sand. Fortunately, Sadie and I the interesting and rare Whipple Cave on our route from Mammoth Lakes to SLC. A vertical drop into an unregulated cave which hosts loads of stalagmites, stalactites, popcorn, bats and other unique cave oddities.

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Frozen Legs in Yankee Doodle Hollow

March 1, 2020

I typically don’t do wet canyons which is why I shoot for B rated canyons at maximum. However, Yankee Doodle Hollow had a rep: beautiful photos, RoadTripRyan listed it as A/B and a wonderful slot canyon style not typically seen outside Canyonlands or Moab. Unfortunately, we really underestimated what winter + a rain event four days prior would mean. The canyon was great, but an adventure that sent me plunging into thigh-waist high water which was coated with surface ice.

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A Lamb, Oz & the Hobbit Walk into a Bar

September 17, 2019
Leo cleaning a cam from On the Lamb

Tuolumne Meadows is the alpine granite wonderland sibling of Yosemite Valley’s long aesthetic crack climbs. Tuolumne is known for its easy moderate alpine climbs like Cathedral Peak as well its runout dome slab climbing where ‘R’ protection ratings (i.e. a fall could cause serious injury) are more common than bolts. I think the place is pretty but I’m in the minority of not being a fan. In my opinion, the cracks are often irregular with marble-golf ball sized rock crystals, the bolted climbs are scary and the moderate classics attract shitshows like gravity. However, I couldn’t turn down a climbing weekend with my super strong friend Leo to give the harder classics a go.

Leo and I planned a link of up of On the Lamb (5.9, 4 pitches) as an approach to Oz (5.10d, 5 pitches), as an approach to Hobbit Book (5.7 R, 4 pitches). Each a classic in its own way.

OZ to Hobbit Book linkup. (Photo Borrowed from Mountain Project
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Mountain Project Admin Meetup at The City of Rocks

September 3, 2019

Every year the good people at Mountain Projects (now the Adventure Projects branch of REI) put on an informal meetup for all their Admins. We pick a place, our hosts grab a campsite and bring a cooler of beer and grilling supplies. It is a great opportunity to meet the unpaid volunteers who give their time to moderate, cultivate, develop and further the climbing community inside and outside the digital hub that is Mountain Project in North America. This year’s destination was The City of Rocks, ID which features all the ease of the road side crags of Joshua Tree, the rock-plated jugs of Red Rocks, the solid granite of Yosemite and a bit of the muted popularity and orange-black coloration of Shuteye Ridge.

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Climbing Bear Creek Spire – North Arete to 13,700 feet

August 18, 2019
NE Arete as viewed from high up on North Arete on Bear Creek Spire

Bear Creek Spire is found in the Eastern Sierra past several alpine lakes and a mile of talus where the North Arete (5.8, 10 pitch) starts above 12,000 ft. It was also my first date with Sadie Skiles on a failed attempt back in 2016 and we’ve been thinking about it ever since. Now with Little Lakes trailhead 45 minutes away from our new home in Mammoth Lakes we were excited to take another crack at it in non-wind advisory conditions.

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An Adventurers Guide for Driving to Alaska

August 4, 2019
What I thought all of Alaska looked like (Wrangell-St Elias NP)

My recent trip to Alaska had a lot going on. I worked as a digital nomad for three weeks and took three weeks off, established a new mountaineering route, hiked, kayaked, climbed and played around with drone videography. More than any of that I started getting a good taste of Alaska and understanding how to travel around it and what each region has to offer.

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