[3] Work Smart, Not Hard. Route Development Techniques and Tips.

July 21, 2020

This story is part of a series on route development. Click this tag to see all.

One of the things I realized from my first development project is how much repetitive work you have to do if you go back to the top and re-clean. I have to go all the way down the moderate routes again and brush all the holds. I’m sure y’all can remember topping out using sandy holds or trying to pull on even the best jug with dirt on it.

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[2] Cliff Development Tools of the Trade

July 15, 2020
All my tools laid out at the cliff

This story is part of a series on route development. Click this tag to see all.

I started with the basic tools and after blowing out a couple pairs of gloves, banging my knuckles, struggling to clean all different sizes and depths of cracks…. After 30-40 hrs of route development, I learned a few things and revamped my cleaning tools. I hope you can learn from my mistakes and give you an idea of what tools work well.

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[1] Finding that Cliff to Develop

July 10, 2020

This story is the first a part of a series on Route Development. Click on this tag to see all.

Route/Rock/Crag/Cliff development, is the unsexy cousin of the super fly First Ascent everyone wants a part of. The first reaction people have with route development is whether it is top down (you clean first, spec out the route) or bottom up (true plunge into mungy reality). If you’ve ever climbed anything that was bolted on lead, you know which approach does better routes… I really liked this quote, “There are two kinds of route developers… One that bolts a couple routes and does it bottom up. Another who bolts a ton of routes and does it top down”. (queue the Mountain Project Flame Wars)

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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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Tags

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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