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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30 Pitches, 20 Costumes, 12 hrs of fun

June 28, 2019

Every year I do something fun to celebrate my Birthday. It started with Half Dome cables in 2012 and continued to include backcountry river fording adventure in the Eastern Sierra and an overnight at the top of Royal Arches. This year I co-conspired with the lovely Sadie Skiles to climb 30-costumed pitches in a day for my 30th birthday.

I’ll be the first to admit, this isn’t really that impressive compared to Alex Honnold’s 290 pitches for his Birthday in 2014, but hey. He didn’t wear any costumes.

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Reading Braille on Higher Cathedral

June 18, 2019
On top of Higher Cathedral Rock

The prior weekend I spent two hours leading one 100ft sustained 10b off-width. Having to clear cams on lead 3-4 times after they fixed themselves bumping them on Mental Block. Which kinda told me that Lauren and I were not ready for the notorious Steck-Salethe. So why not take on one of the most sandbagged climbs in the valley instead? NE Buttress of Higher Cathedral: an 11 pitch climb cruxing out at 5.9++.

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Quiet Oceanside Cruxes on Memorial Day

June 3, 2019
Patrick’s Point – Black Wall

On Memorial Day weekend I had to get creative after having to abandon my Sonora Pass destination due to an abnormally wet Spring. Using my Where To Climb App I was able to find somewhere dry, it was just 6 hrs away. There was a wide-variety of good climbing in NorCal outside of Eureka and even on Memorial Day weekend we had most the crags to ourselves… Although it was hard to find a place to sleep. (classic California)

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How to be a Super Slacker Yosemite Climber

April 15, 2019
Climber sending 10a crack up Reed’s Pinnacle Direct.

It. Has. Stopped. Raining!!! For nearly the first weekend since December, it was no longer raining in California so we could get out and climb. It is very snowy in Yosemite Valley, but Down Canyon is warm and mostly dry. Time for some awful off-width and super slacker knobs.

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Acknowledging and Overcoming Psychological and Stress Injury in Climbing

January 12, 2019

 One of the most striking parts I remember about Free Solo, featuring Alex Honnold trying free solo 3000 granite feet of El Cap, was when he was filling out his mental health questionnaire before an MRI to measure his fear tolerance. He was discussing in classic Honnold fashion about how much of a no big deal free soloing is, but then pauses on a question. “Am i depressed… huh…” he contemplates. 

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What do you get when you mix Red Rocks, Zion, Fiery Furnace and a lack of people

November 30, 2018

200 ft up Island in the Sky in Snow Canyon State Park outside of Saint George

Some of the most enjoyable trips I’ve had are pulling into to medium-small climbing areas where I have no expectations and being blown away by the rock and route quality. The availability of camping and access. The lack of crowds. Places like the crystal crusted granite Needles of South Dakota, the steep North Shore cliffs of the Palisade Head in Minnesota and splitter gray cracks of Woodfords Canyon in East Tahoe. On my pilgrimage out to the Great Salt Lake for the Thanksgiving holiday, Sadie and I discovered a new such area in Saint George. Choosing to leave the lines behind at Red Rock for exploring the mysterious 1000+ routes around Saint George just two hours away.

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Going to Temple at 13,000 ft on Moon Goddess Arete

July 16, 2018

View of Temple Crag from our campsite at Lake Three

“I could actually die or get seriously injured out here”, plunged into my brain stem at 12,500 ft, six hours into my climb of Temple Crag on Moon Goddess Arete. I had just lifted my foot off a refrigerator sized block that had shifted and nearly tumbled 1000 ft down the mountain. I also didn’t love the single cam in a short horizontal crack laid 30 ft diagonally to my left as the last piece of protection I had placed. This was what the last hour was like as I searched on lead to find a long ‘4th class ledges’ traverse using conflicting information among deteriorating rock quality. Things had changed drastically since my emboldened attitude that we could probably link neighboring Celestial Arete Venusian Blind with a scramble or traverse up Mt. Galey.

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