[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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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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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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