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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Journey to the Edge of the World – Saudi Arabia

March 31, 2019
The Edge of the World

No good Backcountry Nomad trip is complete without an expedition into nature. Exiting the sprawling, status-hungry, car-obsessed city of Riyadh, I set my sights on visiting “The Edge of the World”. I was not expecting 1000 ft desert massifs shooting out of the ground in a flat region of Saudi Arabia.

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How to Ski Up a Log and an Ogoul Peak

January 28, 2019

I had the joy to join my friend Ayelet on her quest to winter ascend the 65 Ogoul Peaks in Tahoe. I’m not a list person myself, but its super fun to join people on their objectives. PLUS, if you climb an Ogoul with Ayelet you are invited to her Ogoul party when she finishes the list. Wow. Insentives.

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Rappelling a Pile of Rocks in Death Valley

January 7, 2019

A mine explored in Death Valley

Death Valley feels like a place people are told to visit but then don’t know what to do when they get here. It’s an American road trip destination where people drive through to stop for ten minutes at various pull offs. However, if you are a canyoneer and don’t mind a solid hike there are nearly one hundred documented canyons out here with big drops and with no water (rated A). Just make sure you have a GPS device and all the beta recorded before you go, there is zero cell service here. Unfortunately, the style of canyon seems to lend itself towards kairn anchors: piles of rocks stacked on top of a single slung rock. Our first experience with this sketchy cannoneer “anchor type”.

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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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The Dead Mouse on the Rae Lakes Loop

August 30, 2018

The view from Rae Lake

The Rae Lakes Loop is a 38 mile, ~8,000 ft elevation gain loop that, even with those statistics, makes it maybe the easiest loop in SEKI. Not only that, it hosts strikingly wide valley views of lake filled meadows contrasted with high sierra alpine. Finally, the whole loop is abundant in water either from large rivers or larger lakes 90% of its length. I discovered, on trail, these are the reasons the Rae Lakes Loop is a common name among outdoor enthusiasts who are often used to the steep High Sierra in a water starved California.

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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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