Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The bishop can wait

The beginning of my historical ascent

Got home from work at 5 and had a meeting at 6:30 with our bishop to go visit the lost sheep of our ward. That left 1.5 hours of free time to engage in some meaningful activity. Grocery shopping was out(boring), so I decided to time trial the LCC quarry trail. I had gone 1:04 as my fastest time previous, but knew I could go faster if pressed. So I pressed. I got amped listening to Katy Perry and Carly Rae J on the 5 minute drive over, stretched the old cow infants, and took off.

I wanted to go sub 30 up, but just barely missed it at 30:24. I am not a barrel racer of a downhill runner like Stevo, so I maintained what I felt was a 'mediumly horrifical out of control' pace back down. Got a new PR of 52:04. You may be thinking 8 minutes is a pretty pathetic displacement of time between up and down, but 8 min/2.8 miles=2.85 min/mile faster down than up. Plus Hoka just called me asking if I wanted a free pair of shoes after my downright killer time, but I told them I already had a Hoka army of friends and wanted to stay original, so best me first comrades, then judge. Got back with 5 minutes to spare where a warm shower, a grilled cheese, and some black church socks were waiting for me.

52 minutes/5.6 miles=9.28 min/mile

The stats

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Taste the Rainbow

Rainbow Wall, schizophrenia pano style

The Original Route(OR) on Rainbow Wall has been on my "must-do" list for quite some time. It is by far and away one of the ultra-classics of Red Rocks in Las Vegas. Having attempted to train for this one by doing other tough classics like Levitation 29 and Cloud Tower, I was hoping my skills would be up for the challenge. However, OR is a bit harder than anything else I have tried before. It is 14 pitches long, with 5 5.11 pitches, 2 5.12 pitches, and 3 5.10 pitches, with 4 medium "gimme" pitches in between. To be honest I wasn't sure if I was up for the challenge, but I enlisted Court with the hopes that we would be able to sack up.

Our trip started out with a stay at Court's parents' place in St George. A temple clean home with glass showers, flat screen tv, and electronic lazy boys made the stay downright comfortable. We hit up the noisy Virgin River Gorge Friday morning where I had set my sights on a 12b called Mentor, one of the best 12's in the country according to some. We were not disappointed. We warmed up on an 11c nearby, then attempted to tackle the overhanging jugfest. Towel racks, pockets, hand jams, mono's, jugs, leg threads, head jam rests, this thing has it all! One bolt was actually a slung chockstone, which was odd for a sport climb. I hung twice my first go, then one hung it my second go after falling on the mono crux. Court wasn't feeling super strong that day and was unable to make it past the crux, but still seemed to enjoy the leg thread.

Court on Mentors awesome leg thread

Mentor Cave. Mentor climbs through obvious big chalked pockets in the roof

 We took off for Vegas feeling pretty pumped out. We gathered our things together and got ready to shlep our stuff up the 2 hour approach to the base of the wall. It was a bit nasty, but we got there, set up camp, and attempted to fix one or two pitches of the wall to get us a head start. Court led pitch 1, an 11c spicy thin sporty pitch that he did well on, despite cheating a few times. Darkness came soon, so we called it a day, rapped down, and listened to ultrarunner podcasts on the iphone while eating bagels.

Court at our bivy

The morning dawned beautiful after court spent most of the night getting eaten by mosquitos. I was fine.

The long slab approach to Rainbow-the route goes straight up the main dihedral

Another group had beaten us to the climb so we had to wait while they made it up pitch 2. We jugged our fixed line, then I started up the 2nd 11d pitch. It was hard. Thin liebacking, hard sporty moves with gear below your feet, and some steep crimpy stuff landed me at the belay after hanging several times. One of the harder 11 pitches I've done. Court did well on pitch 3, an 11a with a sporty runout. I managed to get pitch 4 clean, an 11c roof, which I found to be fantastic. The next 2 5.10 pitches were a welcome relief, and we scurried up the middle crappy pitches to "over the rainbow ledge". We hung out, ate some food, and let the AMGA guides behind us pass. I traversed over to the base of the Red Dihedral, only to find our AMGA guides and the other group swearing and whipping quite loudly on the 2 crux .12 pitches. Our stoke whispered away like second hand smoke. We sat at the base of the 1st .12 pitch, contemplating whether we should continue. We had daylight to spare, but we ultimately decided to bail, for a number of reasons, but the only one that really matters is we are a bunch of pansies. Fresh spring freaking pansies.

Court leading pitch 1

Moving back into corner on 2nd 11d pitch

Looking down from above pitch 4

Fun 5.10 pitch

Party on Red Dihedrals

Looking back to "over the rainbow ledge"


An easy descent with no rope issues landed us at the base. We drove back to St george, ate some Rio and watched my Utes lose another Pac-12 game. Overall the trip was a blast. The bottom 10 pitches we did on Rainbow were stellar, despite their difficulty. I'm always bummed when I don't top out a climb or redpoint an excellent .12, but it provides a reason to return. I'll be back someday once I get stronger, and maybe bring some skittles.

Pitches 14
Hours driven 14


Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Little School After Work

Beautiful LCC

A goal of mine ever since my good friend Court texted me one day mid-summer as he was alone, jobless, and climbing all the time saying he had soloed Schoolroom, was to match that accomplishment. He had done it with a rope and harness on his back as the general descent is down the so named Schoolroom rappels. Who wants to solo with a rope and harness? That defeats the whole fun of soloing. So my desire to solo the SR died for a time, until about 2 weeks ago when I found myself watching BD poster boy Ari Menitov solo SR then downclimb into the Green A gully via a very easy 5th class blocky chimney. Holy Smokes Batman! He pointed out the line to access the chimney, and ever since I haven't been able to convince myself soloing the thing was a bad idea. So after psyching myself up by watching "alone on the wall" a few times I set off after work with my wife's blessing in hopes of an uneventful solo.

Schoolroom is easy. Its 5.6, 4 pitches, and gets 3 stars in the Ruckman guide. However, it is not to   be underestimated. It provides a variety of climbing styles, from hand cracks, to finger cracks, to chimney/offwidth, to slab traverse, all rated accurately at LCC 5.6. I have climbed it a number of times, but not this year. I was a little antsy at first as I couldn't remember exactly how the traverse was on pitch 3. I started up pitch 1 about 6 pm, opting for the original 5.6 start versus the 5.7R start where a sketchy mantle is required despite the gorgeous finger crack appeal. All went well through the first 2 pitches as secure jamming abounded. Pitch 3's OW felt as secure as a chimney can, then the traverse came. Its all there, but thin and no hand jams. I slowly made my way across it without incident, though it was definitely the mental crux. I had never climbed the 4th pitch as I have always done the 5.8 Movie variation instead, which is excellent, though harder than my current soloing aptitude. So I guess I onsight soloed the 5.6 4th pitch. Wahoo for me. Move over Ari, I'm the new poster boy now.

Pitch 1 hands. Super good

2nd pitch fingers
Inside the pitch 3 chimney

Virgin terrain for my hands-pitch 4 hand crack

I was a little nerv about the descent but my confidence in seeing Ari do it(and he's like 45) made me not sweat it. I picked the first downclimbable terrain I saw, then schwaked up to the landmark tree, and found Ari's chimney. Sweet!

The descent blocks, with the huge tree landmark, mostly for Courts reference

Went back to the base of the climb to grab my shoes, and developed the urge to do the 5.7R version. If its R then whats the difference soloing it right? Manned up and did the mantle move, then downclimbed the original version. Fun day in LCC.

Is this a huge accomplishment? Not really, but its a step forward for my mental game for sure. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Maple Syrup


Enjoyed a fun weekend down in Maple with the Steve, Izzy, Pete and Court. We stayed at the deluxe accommodations at Casa de Pace. We hit up Pipeline and Orangatane Wall Saturday morning and Windshield Wiper Wall in the afternoon. The fingers were a bit cold to start but the sun eventually came out. We enjoyed lots of shorter but still quality cobble pulling routes. I managed to onsight an 11a, 11c, 11d,  and  a 12a called "honey bucket" that involved a massive dyno to a jug, but got stymied on a two 12b's. We hit up conference after and then gorged on Papa Murphy's pizza, cookie dough, chips, dr pepper and scotchoroos. I am so sick.

Steve on super fun 11c jughaul.

More Steve

Nice colors