The Beveridge Lesson in Humility

April 4, 2021
The cabin we were hoping to reach at Beverage Mine [Source]

An old stone cabin, collapsed tramways and mining artifacts. These are things that get my partner Sadie and myself to say yes to a 9,000 ft and 20 mile long backpacking trip to the Beveridge Ghost Town. On a weekend with complex options of High Sierra snow (early April 2021) and Death Valley heat (90+ degrees), we thought we found our oasis in the Inyo Mountains Wilderness.

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Art: A New Aspect for Climbing

January 27, 2021
A drawing of sunset in the Minarets, Eastern Sierra, CA

One of the things I remember most from Meru is not about climbing at all. It is Renan Ozturk painting a large vibrant canvas outside his tent of the surrounding mountainscape. Outdoor art has always inspired me. I felt creating art alongside outdoor experience made the whole thing greater than the sum of two parts. In the hard year of 2020 isolationist COVID, this was the silver lining of my year.

Renan painting his vibrant canvas of the mountains. More prints on his website.
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Exploring Unmarked Mines in Death Valley

December 2, 2020

Sadly, Thanksgiving 2020 (like everything in 2020) didn’t go as expected. I canceled our amazing Turkey-Holiday in the San Rafael Swell desert wilderness and instead I slept 12 hours a day with the flu (luckily not COVID-19). However, Sadie “Alpine Babe” Skiles and I did get out to explore around Death Valley in some unmarked mines…

Another beautiful vein in Monarch Canyon
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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.

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[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.

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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).

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[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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