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I left Red Rocks last Monday morning and drove to Saint George in Southwest Utah. The area is called Moe’s Valley. It is located in this huge boulder field on the edge of town. I spent a couple hours working on few different boulders with everything from V0’s to V4’s amongst them. It was fun, but really hot, it got up to 89 that day. The rock was getting pretty hot and hard to hold onto so I called it a day. On my way back through town, I came a across a driving range so I stopped by and hit a bucket of balls. This was the first time in a couple of years I have swung a golf club so it was a little rough. I was hooking the ball like crazy for the first half of the bucket until I remembered my swing and left feeling pretty good considering I hadn’t played in forever. Here a couple of the pictures:
After Moe’s Valley, I drove up to Salt Lake City to visit a friend and explore the city. Salt Lake City was awesome, but what was not awesome was that when I woke up on Tuesday my back was killing me, it had been doing so well since my back and neck got jacked up again in December when I was rear-ended. So I took some time to work on myself and break from climbing. I got a great massage from Massage Envy. It helped a lot and coupled with using my foam roller and massage stick I was able to free my back up. Later on Tuesday I went on a hike in the foothills of the mountains that lookout onto the city, it was pretty cool up there.
Of course, being an Oregon State alum, I had to have my Dead Guy Ale. Wednesday, I decided to check out the field house at the University of Utah. I did some cardio and kettlebells and then I decided to shoot some hoops which lead to playing a couple of pick up games of 2 on 2. The guys seems like undergrads so my guess is that I had 8-10 years on them. Long story short, I played two games, we won both, but unfortunately, I tweaked my left knee at some point. It still hurts occasionally when going up stairs 5 days later. Thursday, however, I was determined to climb so I drove down to Joe’s Valley which is in central Utah near a small town called Orangeville. The bouldering was great, but it was hard to enjoy because my knee was hurting when landing on my crash pad. I only did a few problems, a V0, V1 and V3 on this wide and round looking rock.
Then I moved over to working on a V4 on a higher hanging boulder, but after a few falls my knee was hurting pretty good so I called it a short day and went to check out Joe Valley’s Reservoir. The water was really clear and look like the ocean off a tropical island.
After that, I headed back to Salt Lake because I had an appointment to get a cut and shave from Desert Barbershop. I had never had someone shave my face before and it was amazing! First, he rubbed so oils into my face and put a hot towel over to relax and prep me. After 3 rounds of the hot towel, the shaving cream was added and he used a straight edge blade that almost looked like a knife. If you have never had your face shaved from a barber, I would highly recommend it. It was great and felt awesome! If you are ever in Salt Lake City, check out Deseret Barbershop and ask for Rich, he will hook you up. My last stop was at Smith Rock and that post should be up sometime on Thursdsay.
On Thursday morning, I headed out from San Francisco to Red Rocks Canyon near Las Vegas. It took slightly over 8 hours to get the house we rented. The house was located about half way in between the strip and Red Rocks which made it really easy to get to climbing area. Most everyone got into Vegas on Thursday and by Friday night all nine of us had arrived. Friday morning, we climbed in the park at the Gallery. The sun was out and the shirtless climbing had begun. We had four ropes up most of the day. I don’t know the actual names of the routes, but here is the order that I climbed them: 5.10a, 5.10b, 5.8, 5.9, 5.11c, 5.11a. The first four were easy leads, but since I have mainly been bouldering this winter, I was starting to get pumped. Then, I top roped the 5.11c and it was brutal. The moves were not very difficult, but I was so pumped that I could not more than three moves at a time. The 5.11a was really fun, but again being pumped out, I had to take several breaks. After that, my forearms were shot for the rest of the day. Here are some of the pictures from Friday:
Saturday morning, four of us got up early and went bouldering at the Kraft boulders which are located in the Calico Basin area outside of the main park. I was able to get several problems including a V2 and a V3. The V2 had a big dead point and a fun chimney down climb. The V3 was really cool, the crux was moving off of two slopers to a two finger gaston and then a pincher. After bouldering, we meet up with the rest of the crew for ropes at Cannibal Crags, also at Calcio Basin. The wall had early shade on the north side and afternoon shade on the south side. Accordingly we followed the shade all day which was needed after baking in the sun on Friday. Again with several ropes up, my order was 5.8, 5.9, 5.10a, 5.9, 5.11b, 5.11b. I lead the first four again and felt good. Much less pumpy then Friday. The two 11’s were really fun routes. The first one, went up an arête that made for some amazing pictures. The second was just around the corner and you had to hug a column most the way up until a couple of bigger moves at the end. Here are some of the pictures:
Sunday was a “rest day” meaning that four of us did a moderate three pitch climb called Big Bad Wolf (5.9). We got baked in the sun again, but a had a great time. We broke up into two groups and our first climbers passed another group on the wall, but I was in the second group and we got held up by them. The climbing was easy and fun and it was great to do a multi-pitch route. Here is a picture of the approach and a view from the top:
On Friday, I headed out on a 3000 mile, 16 day, 4 state road trip. My first stop was in Portland. I ended up at a bar called Ground Control. It had every arcade game from the late 80’s and early 90’s such as:
It was really fun and brought me back to my childhood. Saturday, I headed out to San Francisco. After spending a few days in the city, I drove down to Saratoga for the first of two bouldering days. Unfortunately, I left my guidebook at home so I had to piece together what I could from the Mountain Project app. It was cold and hard, but it gave me a good feel for the layout. Here are day 1’s pictures:
Day 2 was much better. I meet a group of 4 guys who where bouldering which allowed me to work on some harder problems. There was a V3 which had a dyno on it. However, I was determined to only use a dead point to complete it. After trying and failing about a dozen times, I decided to give it one more go. With three big rocks into it and good spotters, I was able to full extend and stick it! It felt great and allowed to take a few bigger risk later in the day.
The next boulder, also a V3, had a similar move, but foot was a little tiny key hole. After the first attempt with my looser shoes, I changed over to my pointy shoes. The pointy shoes allowed my to toe into the key hole and make another dead point to finish it on my second attempt. After that, I worked a V6 which was right next to it. After a couple big falls, I called it there. We finished the day on a tough V1. Most the problem was good, but the finish was hard due a not so good sloper. It took several attempts, but finally I was able to get it. All in all, it was a good day, thanks to Miguel, Dan, Dave and Adam for climbing with me and showing me the lay of land at Castle Rock State Park.
It’s that time of year where we plan out of the spring, summer and fall climbing adventures! Last year was the first season of blog and after taking the winter off again, I started my training mid January with one day a week. Since then, I have bumped it up to twice a week. My goal is to add a third day in the next week or two.
As of today, we are 4 weeks out from the first climbing trip of season! I will be out in Vantage, Washington with whoever is willing to make to trip the first weekend of April. It will be a great to get a few leads in before I embark on my first big trip of the year. On April 12th, I’ll begin a 16 day, 4 state and 3000 mile road trip!! I’ll be hitting up Castle Rock State Park (Santa Cruz), then Red Rocks Canyon (Las Vegas) and American Fork Canyon (Salt Lake City) before finishing up at my old stomping grounds, Smith Rock State Park (Terrebone). I’ll be sport climbing, bouldering and maybe leading a little bit of trad at each stop along the way. The best part about this trip is that I will be meeting up with friends at every stop. Even though I will be driving by myself, I will be far from alone on this adventure. It is going to be amazing and I can’t wait to start writing, making videos and most importantly CLIMB at all of the amazing places that await me!
By the time I get back to Seattle, it will be May and the Washington climbing season will be in full effect. I haven’t planned beyond this first big trip, however, I am planning on climbing in Leavenworth, Tieton, Vantage, Mazama, Smith, Squamish, Exit 32, Exit 38, Mt Erie, Darrington, Newhalem, Gold Bar and maybe even Infinite Bliss depending on if I can convince one of my buddies to climb 23 pitches with me.
After a great off-season in which I was able to cross-train and let me body rest and heal, I am back! Last Thursday marked the start of my pre-season training. Last year I took the entire off-season off to recovery from many years of climbing continuously and it worked amazingly! Not only was I able to make it through the whole season without having to tape any fingers or joints, but I was also able to climb as hard as I have ever climbed before. I lead three different 5.11a’s and top ropes a 5.11d. The only thing was that it took most of the season to get back into climbing shape.
This is where my pre-season training comes into play. The goal to be leading 11’s in April as apposed to starting them in September. My plan is to start climbing hard once a week and build to twice a week and eventually three times as April approaches. The key will be not over-training which is something I use to do all the time because I love climbing so much it is hard for me to take breaks and let my body rest.
…if you missed part one check it out here
Day 2 of our trip we went up for Cheakamus. It is about 15 miles North of Squamish on 99. It is home to a ton of sport climbing. When I was there over Labor Day weekend, I just assumed it was part of Squamish, but it is actually it’s actually a little ways away and has its own area on Mountain Project. We warmed up on a 5.10a called Clearcut on the Conroy’s Castle wall. I took two videos for this route, but neither one came out very well. The first time up the GoPro was on my helmet like in my other videos. The second video was from the ground and it was cool to see that view until I am so far away you can’t see anything. Instead here is the picture from the start:
After that we walked over the Forgotten Wall and did an 5.11a called Junkyard Patio. This was my second 5.11a of year and it was really hard. I struggled through the crux.
The first half of the route was a left leaning seam with no great feet. I had a hard time finding a way to clip the third bolt. I ended up having to hug the right side using a smooth sloper and heel hooking with left foot at a 90 degree angle waist high. After that it was “Sharma time.” First grunt, a throw to a block which I could only fish hook with my pinky and ring finger. Second grunt, match on the side of the block. Third grunt, dead point up and left to a v-cut edge. It was hard, but a really fun move. The last 2 bolts were cruisers up the anchor. I liked this route and will have to come back sometime later and do it smoother.
Next, we did the 5.10d directly to our left called The Voodoo That You Do. For a route just one grade lower than what we struggled through, it was really easy. You know the route was easy for me when the video is about 5-6 minutes instead of 12 or 14.
If it looks like the last climb, it is because they originally shared an anchor, the 5.10d is the left side of the picture. I actually end up cramping in both forearm extensors and I had to continually straighten my arms to avoid the cramping and I still able to flash it. I think I was dehydrated because it was only my forth lead of the day. We decided to call it day because we had a long drive home and I didn’t want to be cramping during the four hour drive ahead.