Oh Shit, The Anchor Blew on the Rope I was Ascending

November 18, 2020
After the accident avoidance, I was greeted by my blown anchor

I had a near accident in the Spring of 2020 while I was out developing my crag. I already had a fixed my static line in the Welcome to Nightvale area. However, I wanted to start working on a 30m crack I had found that looked pretty great in a new Desert Bluffs area next door.

read more …

[4] Drilling, Bolting and Learning

October 30, 2020

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

I was excited, it was my first time… hauling a dense and heavy pack containing a 36V hammer drill, two charge packs and hunks of metal. My first day out bolting was not quite a success but at least I accomplished bringing the heaviest pack yet up the loose dusty hill to the cliff. Luckily, I learned the hard way so you don’t have to.

read more …

The 3500ft Birthday Scramble in my Backyard: Laurel Peak

October 24, 2020
A Red River halfway up Laurel Peak

Laurel Peak and Mt. Morrison are some of the most dramatic peaks one can see from the Eastern Sierra Highway-395 while driving past Convict Lake. The area in the backcountry is enchanting and leads towards an iconic Lake Basin. For my birthday (June 25th, 2020), my adventure partner Sadie “Alpine Babe” Skiles and I decided finally check out this beautiful and unstable 3500 ft adventure climb up the Northeast Gully (5.2).

read more …

[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.

read more …

[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.

read more …

[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)

read more …

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.

read more …

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.

read more …

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.

read more …

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!

read more …