Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ahhh Drat...

I had a chance to go to Rifle, CO for the first time this past week. All I have to say is I approve. I have only had the chance to climb on limestone a handful of times at the VRG, the Cathedral, and now at Rifle. The style of climbing that limestone lends itself to is completely different than the sandstone that I am used to. The one thing that I had always heard about Rifle was that the feet were slick and the hands were polished. However, after a few days there I was already getting used to the funky techniques necessary to ascend the blocky faces. The one thing that I really had a hard time grasping was the time it takes to figure out beta. I'm used to being able to see the sequence quickly on southern Rifle 90% of the battle is figuring out/getting beta. There was definitely more than one instance where I tossed a wobbler out of frustration during our short stay. I need to do better! Ha! It's funny how you can go bolt to bolt at a place like Rifle and then clip chains your next go...just goes to show you how far beta can go.

Our first day there we warmed up on a classic 5.11b called 80 feet of Meat. Super polished but still super cool. Afterwards we did Crime and Punishment 5.12a and Rehabilitator 5.11c. I went on to try a route called Cantina Boy 5.13b and got SHUT DOWN! Good God! I suck! Techy! I swear that thing is 14a...seriously...

After getting extremely humbled I thought I'd try a route that was a little more down my ally.   I had heard good things about a route called Spray-a-Thon, a steep 5.13c, before I even came to Rifle so I had to check it out.  We pulled into the Arsenal parking lot and I roped up immediately.  There wasn't anybody around to give me beta so I figured I'd just try for the onsight.  My track record for onsighting isn't that great so I really didn't think I had that great of a chance.  After I hit a big move down low to a good incut pocket I arrived at a rest where I tried to eye the next holds over a bulge.  I couldn't really see a sequence from my stance so I just kinda went with it and found myself on a bad pinch, two bolts from the anchors, pumped as all hell.  I shook out and tried to find a good stance before deciding to just gun for the anchors.  Luckily I had just enough left in the tank to pull the final hard moves and found myself at the anchors!  So psyched!  What an amazing route!  

Spray-a-Thon 5.13c

Spray-a-Thon had been my goal for the trip and I had done it on the first day so I figured I should try something hard.  I tried Stockboys Revenge 5.14b/c before deciding to take it down a notch.  I'm nowhere near having the Rifle knowhow for that route...kneebars galore!  That route is sick though...I think I've watched the video on at least a hundred times....maybe one day...

The next day we warmed up slowly and made our way to the Wasteland to try another classic route called The Beast 5.13a.  The Wasteland is extremely atypical of Rifle.  Awesome blue tufa features cover the wall.  I got beta for The Beast but fell low on my flash burn, so I made my way up the route slowly.  I managed to do it next burn for the 2nd try send.  One route on my lifetime ticklist is a route called Zulu 5.14a, so after the Wasteland we made our way to Wicked Cave so I could give it a go.  I managed to do all the moves except for one my first day, which kinda frustrated me.  It wasn't so much that I couldn't DO the was more that I couldn't figure out HOW to do the move.   I haven't had trouble doing a move on a route in a little bit so it was kind of a rude awakening. Once again beta is key.
I have a way of obsessing over routes so I managed to conjure up a method later on that night in my head as we were hanging out at camp.  I came back the next day and did the move with a little more effort, utilizing my mental beta.  On my fourth try I fell low but managed to link fairly high.  Hayley and I are heading back this weekend and I'm psyched to make some progress...maybe I'll even be able to pull out some try hard and clip chains...

Some shots...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Takin Em Down

Last week I had the chance to get on a route called Divine Fury 5.14b.  After cleaning the holds and figuring out the moves I was freaking out at how good the route was.  On my second redpoint attempt I managed to two hang the rig.  I felt pretty confident that I would be able to do the route quickly and left that night to go back home, psyched to return.  Hayley and I returned Wednesday morning psyched to try our projects...Hayley almost FLOATED her project, Deliverance 5.12c, her first try of the day, only to fall after the crux because of a foot slip.  Just to let everybody know...don't ever ask her for beta on this is heinous.  That is unless you like matching on small two finger pockets..a.k.a.. mono matching.  Definitely not for was my turn and I jumped on Divine Fury.  I made it through an awkward kneebar, reach move down low and sprinted my way through the next 30 or so feet to get to a big rest.  From there, you have one really big lockoff move, to a v4 or v5 crux, to pumpy 5.11+ climbing.  I managed to make my way to the chains to pull of the 3rd burn send!  PSYCHED!

I guess technically you could say I did the route in 3.2 tries...Let me explain...

A few weeks ago I hopped on the first 15 feet and got shut down on the 'awkward kneebar, reach move'  so I bailed.  I count this as .2 attempts since it was only the first 15 feet

I tried the route again a week ago and made my way to the chains, cleaning and figuring out the moves...which equals 1 real burn to me

I jumped on it again the same day and managed to two hang it...2 tries

Send go=3rd go

I'm sure some people will have a problem with my math so call it 4 tries if it really irritates you that much...anyways...

Hayley then got on Deliverance 5.12c again and managed to pull through her heinous method and clipped chains!  So happy for her...I know she tried hard on this one!

The next day I tried a route called T-Rex 5.14b.  It is another extension off of Millennium 5.13d.  I managed to do that route first try as well...however I couldn't tell you how many times I have been on Millenium... I had also done the extension section the day before when doing a route called Mexican Rodeo...pretty psyched for sure. Basically I just had to put the two sections together.  I ended up doing a few other routes during our two day trip like Don't Mess With Texas and Mexican Rodeo...both in the 5.13c/d range.

Next week we are off to Rifle for a few days.  I've never climbed there before so I am BEYOND psyched!  

Sunday, June 14, 2009


For starters...the shots of the garage crag...

Well damn...what a weekend. Hayley, Kevin, and I headed down to Maple Canyon Thursday morning.  We were greeted with  thunderstorms that let up long enough for us to make the hike up to Pipedream without getting wet.  We quickly warmed up in the FRIGID June temps and hopped on our projects.  My goal for the trip was to send Pipedream 5.14a, which is an extension to Wyoming Sheep Shagger 5.13d, a route I had done a week prior.  I fell low my first go after breaking off a foot in the crux.  I lowered and rested 5 minutes before jumping on route again.  This time I pulled through the crux and found myself resting a few moves before the extension's crux.  The crux involves a deadpoint move off a slopey left hand undercling and a good right hand crimp...the crux itself is probably around v4 or v5....nothing too heinous but just enough to where you have to keep your hustle tight.  I made it through the boulder problem and made it to a HUGE jug rail where I recovered and made it the rest of the way up to route to clip chains!  PSYCHED!  The next day my goal was to put some good links on Eulogy 5.14a/b...once again Eulogy is an extension...this time it takes Millennium 5.13d/14a into the same extension as Pipedream.  Since I had done both sections previously I figured I had a good chance at doing the route turns out I did the route quicker than I thought and pulled out the send first go on link.  Once again...PSYCHED!  After doing Eulogy my friend Shannon gave me beta for Toxic Turkey 5.13c so I could try to flash it.  I was tired but I somehow managed to pull out the try-hard and made it to the chains...AGAIN...PSYCHEEEDDDD!!!  Things are coming together for sure!  Yesterday was our last day of the trip and I wanted to work out the moves on Divine Fury 5.14b.  I tried the route a little bit last week and lowered after getting shut down on the bottom kneebar move...this time I was armed with a pad and it made the move much easier and I was able to get to the real climbing.  Basically this route is the shit!  Sooo rad!  Long, bouldery, BIG moves, has it all.  I was able to 2 hang it my 2nd try (not counting trying the first 15 feet one day prior).  It is exactly what I am looking for....I'm heading down Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday so we'll see what happens...

Some shots from the last few weekends...

Hayley dispatching Grip Tease 5.12a...Photo: Kevin Todd

The new RIG...just a little guy

Busy day up at the Pipedream Cave

Isaac Caldiero on Sheep Shagger 5.13d

Jon Starr...enough said

Kevin chillin' after killin Sprout 5.13a

Rocco lookin' good

Monday, June 8, 2009

Whole Shot

Not really in the writing mood lately but I'll try anyways...After a whole lot of getting back into the route game it is game on!  Last week after doing Sheep Shagger and The Great Feast I took a few rest days and headed back to Maple to find a new project.  I got on the beginning of Divine Fury 5.14b and decided that I wasn't in the mood to try to figure out some trickery for a strange kneebar so I lowered and hopped on Whole Shot 5.13d.  Whole Shot and The Great Feast share the same start...basically the routes are 60 percent the same...Whole Shot breaks right after a big rest and The Great Feast breaks left.  I felt really good on the bottom of the route and that good feeling stuck with me till the chains.  I'm finally feeling like I can recover on route again, which is sweet!  The next thing on the agenda is Pipedream 5.14a, which is basically a long extension of Sheep Shagger.  I got on it after Whole Shot and I think I'll be able to do it in a couple more goes.  I'm headed out Thursday so hopefully I can make something happen... 

Monday, June 1, 2009

Mr. Maaggggooooo

I spent the past weekend at Maple Canyon.  It was a pretty productive weekend as far as projects go.  We got down pretty late on Friday night so we decided to skip out on the long approach to the Pipedream Cave and headed to Box Canyon instead.  Hayley got psyched on Grip Tease 5.12a and figured out the moves with ease.  I decided to try Cobble Killer 5.13b/c.  Kevin and I ended up finding a much easier method for the bottom crux, using an unchalked hold.  I sussed out the moves and ended up doing it second go.  

Photos:  Kevin Todd
Cobble Killer 5.13b/c
The next day we had made plans to go to Pipedream but after our warm up at Box we decided to stay there for the day.  Hayley had fallen off the last few moves of Grip Tease and I was interested in trying Body Dump 5.13c.  I ended up finding a good sequence through the bottom boulder problem, which weighs in around v7/8, and fired it second go as well.  I woke up fairly sore Sunday but I was pretty determined to make it up to Pipedream so I could get completely wrecked before heading home.  I had tried Sheep Shagger 5.13d and The Great Feast 5.13c a week prior and was psyched to get back on both.  I held off on my second burn on Sheep Shagger because I thought I had a good shot at doing it second go.  This time I fired through the crux and found myself at the chains where I could hear my friend Clay yelling to keep going.  I was wicked pumped but tried anyways.  I kept going up the extension of Pipedream 5.14a and fell in the crux...right before a MASSIVE jug rail where you can get an upside down double kneebar.  After a long rest I hopped on The Great Feast for an end of the day enduro burn and ended up doing that as well!  All in all it was a good weekend and I have completed all my projects.  I'm off to Maple again tomorrow and Wednesday so I'm sure I'll have at least one project by the time I get back.

Maple Canyon