Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Road...the revelation of being and the quintessential state of floating

Photo by Axel
I have spent a great deal of time in the great white north. I was able to reflect and analyze on the experience of living and have gracefully not reached a conclusion but instead working theories about being, cycles and a non-linear trajectory about life/time.
It has been my great pleasure to touch rock and in a meaningful way again. I arrived in SLC a few weeks ago and was able to get in a few session before the impending winter season arrived. In the two sessions I had I was able to climb some great problems including, BarFly V8, Butt Trumpet V8, Bear Hug SDS V8, Surprise V8, Lance's Dihedral V6, all of which are excellent problems and the latter four being among the best of the grade anywhere. It was an amazing experience to occupy the canyon with the temperatures not in the nineties as all my other forays had involved. LCC or 'little' as it is known to the locals is truly an amazing climbing playground full of kinesthetic beauty that can rival some of the great destinations of the sport. The tragic flaw seems to be the temperamental conditions that not only guard sending but also can close windows of climbing for months on end.
I made a break for it to Bishop when the storms were seeming to piggie back each other and there was no hope for dry rock.
Bishop ironically enough has been quite warm. The time I spent recently in AK stands as my longest hiatus from the sport and although my mind is fresh and excited for the opportunity my body and bio rhythm is seemingly in a disconnect but perhaps that is one of the necessary learning curves to climbing with life long longevity.
I have really only been able to climb one day on and then occur several rest days. I was able to send 'Acid Wash V10' very fast and have tried the 'Xavier's Roof V11' which has gone quite well and holds lots of excitement.
The temperatures only seem to be climbing so I will take advantage of this beautiful vitamin D producing circle that seems to occupy the sky and explore with some extended hiking. Hopefully more soon. Ander.

Friday, August 6, 2010

AK Bouldering Adventure Photo Dump

Sending Bryan on his first hitch hiking mission
Zack eyeing down the first move of 'Darth Mal V7' in the Tatlanika Boulders
Tom going up the perfect angle of 'School Yard Crush V4' in the Coming of Age Sector
A view of the valley from the Coming of Age Sector, lots more work to do

Thursday, August 5, 2010

AK Bouldering Adventure Photo Dump

I call this picture 'Patience'
this the mega radness that I FA'ed and called 'Carnal Knowledge V9'
Me completing the compression goodness of 'King Louie SDS V10'
Tom sending the amazing 'Captain Kaboom V6'
A shot of independence Mine

AK Bouldering Adventure Part III

At about the mid point on trip we decided that Hatchers Pass that was worth a visit regardless of the weather. We just had to know so we drove into the night and had an amazing 2am twilight approach and were very impressed with the beauty and climbing potential.
We had an amazing first day where we checked out a very short and stout boulder called the Crucifix Bloc bc it was one of the only boulders that we had the beat on and thought it would be nice to see what the locals were visioning on the amazing granite that abounds in those passes. I have to admit that I thought the area was absolutely beautiful but when I climbed on that boulder was a little bummed and so I went for a hike and kept having the shrinking boulder syndrome and was starting to think Hatchers was not to be the Shangri La that I had envisioned. So after a couple of hours at that bloc where the guys crushed all the bunchy crimper problems we decied to really get into scouring for boulders mode. As chance has it we happened upon where all the locals have been recently developing and is basically the fresh and new new. The rock for the most part was exceptionally sharp but some very classic lines were around. We were lucky enough to run into some locals, Todd, Drew and Will give us some direction onto the classics to be had and we spent the last couple hours Climbing the amazing 'Captain Caboom V6', flashing 'Premature V7', and finishing it off with a second ascent of 'King Louie' from the stand which is V8 in the total rain with most of the pads being held over the holds to keep them only moist instead of soaking, pretty reminiscent of my time in Fontainebleau.
I spent the whole next day exploring for new bloks and hopefully a whole new sector while the others had a moderate session. I was very excited because I found an amazing sector that appeared to be not developed at all with some real promising lines and this is what I was super psyched to get back to.
The next day was very dreary and I rallied everybody up by 8 so we could drive down the hill and desperately find a TV that was showing the World Cup Finals. This proved to be very difficult in the rural farming communities of the Matsu Valley of Alaska. But with only missing the very begining of the match we found the diner in town that would tune in for us. The match was amazing and it was a tone of fun to watch powerfully defensive futbal teams go head to head and war it out in extremely physical and political style, I am of course speaking of the referee here.
We used the opportunity to re-stock on supplies. I had exchanged numbers with a local named Drew and e gave us a call to let it be known that the whether was actually quite nice up the hill so we scrambled to get up there and get a half day in. We set Brian out to hitch hike to the airport and push his adventure levels and we were off.
We went back to Independence Mine and made sure that Tom dispatched with 'Captain Caboom v6' which he did and it was in good style no less. Then we head to the Fantasia boulder as Zack was psyched to use his crimp bone and try the 2 V8's on the blok. I also decided to pull on and nearly flashed both the 8's using inpromtu Ander beta and believe they are in the v7 range but of good quality. After a couple of minutes drying the lip in which I blew the flash on I static-ed both climbs second try each. On a personal note I have been training very hard while at home and exclusively climbing on a 65 degree was and thus have no real idea of where my ability is at but I have truly enjoyed feeling more control and strength on the rock, it is genuinely a connected feeling with the geo-puzzle in front of me that motivates this.
After I convinced Tom and Zack to use some gangle beta as I belived the concepts would still apply to them they dispatched and moved on to the King Louie blok so that Tome could try the stand and I could try the sit down start. Long story short after battling with some more rain we were both able to complete our goals in a session. I made the second ascent of both the stand up and the sitdown which is believed to be 'King Louie SDS v10'. It was a really complex problem revolving around compression and tension. I really love this style and was very exited to be able to interact with such amazing climbing in my home state of AK, needless to say it was beautiful raining hike out.
The next day we set out to develop the sector that I had found a couple days previous. AFter mostly brushing for the day we left the area about 15 new climbs that ranged from good to absolutely amazing. I will keep it short as I am sure that all of you have heard about the excitement that comes from developing a thousand times over. But I will say that the area is called the Coming of Age sector and I established a new majestic boulder 'Carnal Knowledge V9'. I am very proud of seeing this line and being able to actualize it in the same session as it was cleaned. Rising to remote and beautiful natural challenges is really becoming the most powerful inspiration in bouldering for me. Enjoy some pictures and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

AK Bouldering Adventure Part II

So after we checked out the Tatlanika boulder we needed to head back to Fairbanks and pick up new friend Brian Bosac. Perhaps this driving back to Fairbanks was a good thing because for the next couple of days all of AK was raining and we just prepped the car for the adventure to come.
Once we got back on the road we stopped and tracked down the Rock Creek boulders which was far more of a logistical challenge than we were expecting. After a longish approach up a river bed we found the first of the boulders and climbed all of the lines, they were surprisingly quality.
Up the creek we found the main boulder of the area. We all climbed the area classic 'High Water Hippie Pant V5'. Brian earned the Employee of the day award with climbing tis line for his first V5, radical work buddy.
I then spent the rest of the session working on the project that goes of the area on some incredibly marginal pinches and crystal crimps. I believe this arete does go and most likely at a finicky V11 or V12. But with all ultra thin climbing the temps mean everything and perhaps I will try it come the fall and get a better idea of what secrets it holds.
The following day we headed back to Tatlanika boulders so Zack could work on Darth Mal and while were there I tried V9 until I found that it has a manufactured hold. Has chipping really hit the interior of AK?, a funny notion in of itself. We spent the rest of the day looking and trying the rest of the established climbs.
The plan for the next day was to head south and keep our eyes peeled for rock and end up in Byers Lake. During the drive we had several stops and scoured the hill side but nothing yielded hiking the pads up.
I saw some really plentiful and good looking rock just north of Byer Lake but the team decided it was worth it to keep heading to Byers Lake. Long story short we were not blown away with the Byer Lake boulder and decided that against the weather adviseries to make a bid for the mildly established Hatchers Pass.

Monday, July 19, 2010

1st leg of AK Boulder Mission

Hear no evil, think no evil, Tom on spaz patrol

A V9 at Tatlanika
The view from the Tatlanika boulder
I have been in Alaska recently in an effort to get healthy in many ways. I am finally having the oppertunity to train again which has been a blast and is a part of climbing that I truly enjoy. It has been 2 months since I have climbed and this has been my longest hiatus ever since I started this sometimes silly obsession. With all of the steep board climbing I have been doing in my garage I have made dramatic gains but there is just no way of actually knowing in reference to true rock climbing other than to get out and use it, so when dear friends and road tripper veterans Tom Donze and Zaych Rubin expressed interest in vacationing in the wilds of AK and helping me find boulders I thought, 'this is it, lets grab rock again!'.
The first stop was to check out the Tatlanika boulders which were largely developed by friend Tom Ellis. I climbed a really good V7 called Darth Mal while warming up. But what was really a the highlight was establishing a new V5 Slab problem I called the The Sneeze for its dramatic and reflexive climbing. This problem was hidden beneath a few fallen trees and took some major rearranging but what is left is radical and would be at home in the great slabs of Yosemite or Fontainebleau. This is only the first day so stay tuned as I keep the photos running.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Organic Crag Pack Review

The Mega Zippers that make life easy when you are traveling less than light
Waist belt, chest belt, and good back padding
Classic Organic Style
Show me a single climber that doesn't have a stack of back-packs in front of them. It seems as though back-packs are to climber what shoes are to fashionistas, we only need one and yet somehow we end up with a collection trying to find the perfect shangri-la set up. So when I heard Organic Climbing was making a crag pack I was curious to see whether they had cracked the code.
The verdict? Well, I will start by saying that once I got my Organic Crag Pack I haven't used any other bag. I brought it to France for its initial test and it travels extremely well. As my nature dictates I packed it full and heavy and it was comfortable over the many hours in the airport and connecting flights. When I got to Font I found that everyday I could pack 3 sets of climbing shoes, 2 Knee pads, 4 liters of water bottles, all my food for the day, Chalk bucket and sweatshirt with no problem. It has one sturdy large compartment with no wasted capacity with needless compartments. Beside the trademark bulletproof construction that has become signature with Organic Climbing my favorite feature to the pack is the monster sized burly zippers that make opening and shutting this bag a breeze even with a maximum load.
In review this bag is simple. It is simple in all the right ways that make it the only thing I have to stuff in my pad for the whole day of climbing. It is sturdy and bulletproof and makes it ideal for traveling because it is the last thing you own that can fail. Highly recommend for boulderers and roadtrippers alike.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Font Files: another photo

Couldn't resist sharing this 7a+ with you
Photo: A. Savage

Monday, March 15, 2010

Font Files: More Photos

Me trying T-Rex(7c+)
Me on just another amazing unnamed 7a+

Font Files: Photos

I will take this opportunity to introduce some members of our crew. The first being Steve Maisch
Les Warnock
Gui our local Frenchman aka 'The Method Man'
Homie Justin Wood

Lastly our dearest Kangoo to which all of our pads fit amazingly

Font Files: In the Beginning

This voyage began in Chattanooga where I was able to get one last day of amazing sandstone bouldering in at LRC. As I was scrambling about to pack for this time in France I remembered a classic human thought, that of ritual as a method of partitioning time. Together as a species we go through graduation ceremonies, birthday celebrations, and new years count downs in order to differentiate between the past and the present thus allowing the future to hold its own charge independent of its predecessor. I find such rituals to be powerful in understanding the futility of dwelling on the past and the liberation in engaging in the new day.
That being said it was off to France and I deemed a separation of stages to be needed and wanted. So I stopped by a bargain bin store and bought a hair buzzer. After finishing my packing I shaved my head and allowed myself to shake the past and bring a brightness for the future.
Without sleeping much that night it was off to the airport and subsequently France. Lots of airport time full of delays and such and I was landing in Paris where I was to make connection with trip compatriots Justin Wood and Steve Maisch. That day we were able to sneak in a mini session on the famous circuits of Bas Cuvier in an effort to free of bodies from the kinesthetic restriction of airline travel. We climbed up to Font scale 7a did some stretching and it was off to the grocery store to start our new petite lives in France. I always love the interaction with day to day lives of other societies and a food distributor allows a perfect venue.
For our first week we were allowed marginal weather to which we utilized with great enthusiasm but the snow and rain did come in a big way. I will accompany some photos and this will just be the first of several posts. Enjoy.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Inclement Weather, The South & some Travel

Bonjour seems the appropriate greeting as I am headed out to Fontainebleau the birthplace of Bouldering as we know it. Font is known for is super technical climbing and style and I am excited to see what I can learn and add to my own. It will be an excellent time and surrounded with good friends from Salt Lake City.
As for the south, it has been a little rough as far as the weather is concerned. SO the days in which we can get out has been minimized that being said I have made some missions to LRC to climb on whatever was dry which can be a fun and refreshing way/motivation to climb.
There was a ten day stint where I headed out to SLC in an effort to work and to make/maintain connections with friends of the outdoor world.
So hopefully there will be some climbing conducive weather before I head out to France on the 17th.
Hope everybody is braving the weather in a fashion that suits them. Best to all!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Little Rock City & Dayton

Now that I am staying at a house the rest has been great especially considering that it has been frigid outside and climbing seems more like a survival sport. Matt and I went to LRC our first day and I was extremely impressed with the rock quality and the variety of holds was much greater than in Rocktown. Lrc actually was quite a crimpy area, at least in comparison to the rest of the south. It was very cold and I was psyched to keep moving after we had an amazing warmup with problems like the Wave and Genghis Khan both V5 and then moved on to the Cinderella boulder where Matt wanted to try the traverse which he did after a couple of goes. While we were at the boulder and Matt was resting I decided to try the 'Cinderlla V8?9?' and managed to flash it. This felt good as I usually dont try to do flash that much but when I topped out I almost vomited because how cold and painful the whole experience was. I was very psyched about this and then climbed another classic called 'The Pinch V7/8' in a couple tries. Afterwords Matt toured me around and lets just say I very psyched to return. At the end of our session I wanted to see the classic 'Super Mario V4' so we walked over and I flashed that and climbed the 'Red House V7' and that was a day, a great day.
The next day we went to Laurel Snow, which is a state park outside of Dayton, TN. It is much more spread out and of a different texture then what I have seen of the south thus far. It is home to the famed Dayton Roof(aka the roof as people seem to know it). This roof holds some of the most amazing and sculpted holds that are similar to the Warpath cave of Idaho's Castle Rock. I was very impressed with most of the climbs and I just tried to get comfortable with upside-down climbing. I flashed a V6 and then started to work on some other climbs in an extremely ADD fashion. After this brief session we checked out the excellent 'River Dance V9'. I came very close to doing this climb very fast but the park closed at sunset and we were not about to be locked in!! More to come.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Rocktown, GA and the exodus of The Red

In December I was still in the Red and I found that sport-climbing and the winter time are not the best matches. Sport-climbing ends up just being to time consuming and when you only get to warm up and the try the route your psyched once and maybe a second time if your lucky then it just isn't enough climbing. I think sport climbing is better left for the longer days of summer when its too hot to grab the itsie bittsies on boulders. I held out until the very end with friends Matt, Lauren, and Keith until they all bounced back to the mountains of Colorado's Front Range. Then I hit the road despite the apocalyptic weather conditions and made my way south Chattanooga only to decide that Rocktown, GA was to be my first major stop. I met up with friends Brent Perkins and Jim Patton, both of which are RED fixtures. I was immediately impressed by the quality of the stone. The first hour I was telling everybody stranger and friend alike that this climbing is full of beautiful movement on exquisite stone.
I found that climbing short days at the end of the RED season had left my power at a low and I had some work to I set out on a mission; climb, climb, climb.
After three days of climbing I was starting to feel back into it(read: my fingers were tuned up and felt springy again) and I climbed 'Brown Hole V8' & 'Paparrazi V8' both in a little session and after some work I was able to climb the mega classics 'The Orb V8' and 'The Vagina V8' & 'Sherman Photo Roof V7'. These climbs were my favorites but I also managed to climb many many quality problems and the only regret is that I would have loved to show up in the south in some kind of bouldering shape so I could see whether the 'Stout' or 'Sandbagged' grades of the south were accurate or what, but since I used the area to get back into some bouldering fitness I have no real idea. Either way the climbing is phenomenal.
It has gotten very cold in this neighborhood and I am now staying with a dear friend from my time in Rocklands, Matt Ballard. Life is good and it off to check out new boulders tomorrow at LRC. Got 'Em.