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spikeddem


Mar 31, 2011, 7:24 AM
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Spikeddem goes west
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The time is here, my good buddies. Today I leave for the West. I'm not exactly sure of the places I'll be going, but I've got a (quite) loosely planned itinerary. I tell people I expect it to be two and half months long, but it could be a month less or a month more; I just don't have a clue.

  • I may stop in Colorado on the way to Indian Creek. After I get to the creek sometime this weekend, I'll stay there for maybe 2-3 weeks.

  • After Indian Creek, I'll stop by Red Rock for a week or something like that.

  • After Red Rock, it'll maybe be Southern California for a week or two: Bishop/Owens River Gorge / Joshua Tree

  • Following that, it'll be Yosemite...!

  • And then north to Smith Rock

  • Finally, perhaps I'll make my way to Squamish
  • .

    It'll be interesting to see how everything works out in comparison to how I've loosely predicted it here.

    All that being said, feel free to PM me or post in here if you'd like to meet up and climb in any of the areas you'll be in. Whatever you're interested in, I'll be down for. Trad, sport, or bouldering. I decided not to bother bringing my own pad, so I'd have to graciously mooch off anyone else, but hopefully that's alright. I'm certainly down for meeting at areas outside of what has been listed here.

    I'll be posting updates and pictures to this thread maybe once a week or something? I guess whenever I make it into town/have internet.

    -Joel


    (This post was edited by spikeddem on Mar 31, 2011, 7:25 AM)


    caughtinside


    Mar 31, 2011, 8:14 AM
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    That is a really fun sounding trip, take lots of photos.

    Think about pit stopping at Lover's Leap in south lake tahoe on your way north from yosemite, it's a terrific crag.


    ENARE


    Mar 31, 2011, 9:00 AM
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    Have a good one man! I would love a trip like that. I am lucky if I can get down to Jtree for the weekend let alone be away from my 9 to 5 for a month.


    rock_fencer


    Mar 31, 2011, 10:18 AM
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    take a day or two from yosemite and hit up the Cali Needles, you wont be dissapointed!


    snoopy138


    Mar 31, 2011, 11:26 AM
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    rock_fencer wrote:
    take a day or two from yosemite and hit up the Cali Needles, you wont be dissapointed!

    road to the needles won't be open yet, especially with this year's snowfall. obviously, you can still hike in along the road (or from the lower road), but it's more of a pain in the ass. and you'd want to stay for a while to get the full advantage of caching your gear.


    potreroed


    Mar 31, 2011, 12:13 PM
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    Sounds like an ambitious plan. Have fun and be safe.


    bearbreeder


    Mar 31, 2011, 12:33 PM
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    squamish is very climbable if the weather is good for a few days right now

    if that fails and yr in bc ... hit up skaha ... prime climbing season right now


    malcolm777b


    Mar 31, 2011, 1:16 PM
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    You're not going to stop at the best granite crag on the West Coast?


    silascl


    Mar 31, 2011, 2:50 PM
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    caughtinside wrote:
    That is a really fun sounding trip, take lots of photos.

    Think about pit stopping at Lover's Leap in south lake tahoe on your way north from yosemite, it's a terrific crag.

    Depending on travel dates tioga pass may not be open yet, in which case the drive from bishop to yosemite will take him right by lover's leap. You know this, spikeddem might not.


    notapplicable


    Mar 31, 2011, 3:12 PM
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    Another case of old fashioned coastism, I see.

    Thats fine, we folks here on the right coast didn't to rope up with you anyway.


    Jooler


    Apr 1, 2011, 8:38 AM
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    If you make it up to BC, let me know.

    Have a great trip.


    (This post was edited by Jooler on Apr 1, 2011, 8:39 AM)


    spikeddem


    Apr 8, 2011, 11:14 AM
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    notapplicable wrote:
    Another case of old fashioned coastism, I see.

    Thats fine, we folks here on the right coast didn't to rope up with you anyway.

    Well, I'm moving to the Cincinnati for five years in a few months, so give me a break wanting to climb in the West before I climb in the East for a long time!


    saint_john


    Apr 8, 2011, 11:26 AM
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    pics or it didn't happen.


    spikeddem


    Apr 8, 2011, 11:48 AM
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    saint_john wrote:
    pics or it didn't happen.

    This is a good point. The pictures I've got so far aren't that great, since I've only been climbing with one other person. They'll be up in my next post.


    (This post was edited by spikeddem on Apr 8, 2011, 11:50 AM)


    spikeddem


    Apr 8, 2011, 12:08 PM
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    My drive out here from Minnesota was decent. I started it out with a short--but hungover--drive to Iowa to stay with some friends near Des Moines for the night. I woke up the next morning and headed out on the road around 10:00 AM. About two hours into the drive, I heard a funky noise coming from beneath my car as I drove along I-80 West just past Omaha. As I exited and slowed down, the sound got more and more heinous. It became clear that aluminum was dragging against the ground. Rather nervous, I pulled over into the strip mall that happened to be conveniently located right at the exit. Apparently, the plastic protective undercarriage cover had fallen off. A sigh of relief, indeed. I walked over to a (yet again) conveniently located tool store and picked up a socket set to take off the bits of the carriage that had not already broken off. Tossed 'em into the back, and continued on the road.

    Ten hours later, not having found myself yawning yet, I entered the Rockies. The signs may have said 65 or 70 mph, but nobody was going over 20 or 30 mph. The driving definitely kept me alert, and falling asleep was a complete non-issue. Once through the mountains, I pulled over to a rest stop for a nap. About an hour later, I woke up feeling rather the apparent effects of food poisoning--which isn't exactly the most enjoyable thing to go through while at a rest stop. I ended up driving to a nearby hotel for the night. Glad I did. By the next morning I was feeling fine and ready to complete my trip to my first desintation: Indian Creek.

    After a few more hours of driving, a bit of grocery shopping, and filling up a propane tank, I was past Moab and on my way to Indian Creek.

    [Apparently I just accidentally deleted the photo I planned to put here. Oh well. No biggie. Pretend you see snow mountains in the background of sandstone formations.]

    I arrived at the creek, set up my tent, met my partner with whom I'll be climbing for the next month or two, Lee, and prepared for the climbing tomorrow.


    spikeddem


    Apr 8, 2011, 12:33 PM
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    On Tuesday I did my first climbs. I ended up doing five different pitches. Two of the pitches I led, and the other three I just top-roped.

    After discussing which crag to head to, Lee and I settled on Scarface. I started out with a 5.10a hand crack called Wavy Gravy. I on-sighted it; intimidated by the bulges to which I am rather unaccustomed in my crack climbing career. I definitely found myself climbing slowly, as it had been about a year exactly since I last found myself either climbing trad or climbing crack.


    Wavy Gravy from the base.

    After this, I top-roped a climb that can be seen in the background of the Wavy Gravy picture, a route called Mantel Illness, which featured a bit of a face climbing, a bit of hand jamming, and a bit of thumb stacking action. After Mantel Illness, I on-sighted a short unnamed 5.9/+ route, which merely said "awkward" in its plaque at the base. Enjoyable, I suppose, but also a bit forgettable due to its brevity.

    After these three climbs, it was time for lunch, and also time to chase down some shade. The sunburn had begun. Following lunch, we chased down some shade and met up with some people in the Big Guy area of Scarface. Lee led up a nearby unnamed 10+ crack of thumb stacks. I hung the heck out of it as I learned how to properly thumbstack. After this, despite being tired and sunburned, I decided to climb Big Guy, a 120' 5.11- off-width route which a nearby party had put up for everyone to top-rope. Wow. What an introduction to off-width climbing for me. Made it to the top using legitimate (a.k.a. non-lieback) techniques, but definitely had to sit on the rope a good number of times before finally figuring out how to properly stack my fingers and hands together to fill the void of the crack while jamming my knee in it. I have to admit, OW was actually kind of enjoyable--but, of course, I was top-roping it.

    This route marked the end of nice day of climbing, and provided a nice view of just a tiny portion of the Creek to finish off the first day in the Creek.




    (This post was edited by spikeddem on Apr 8, 2011, 1:49 PM)
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    notapplicable


    Apr 8, 2011, 1:08 PM
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    spikeddem wrote:
    notapplicable wrote:
    Another case of old fashioned coastism, I see.

    Thats fine, we folks here on the right coast didn't to rope up with you anyway.

    Well, I'm moving to the Cincinnati for five years in a few months, so give me a break wanting to climb in the West before I climb in the East for a long time!

    I'm just jealous that you're out West climbing the big stuff and I'm stuck back east staring down the barrel of a humid summer. Have fun dude!

    Oh and Wavy Gravy looks pretty wild, I'd get on that.


    spikeddem


    Apr 8, 2011, 1:20 PM
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    The next day (4/6) was rather uneventful. Although Lee found some people to climb with, I was feeling too sunburned and just generally fatigued from the sun and climbing and hiking of the day before. I did nothing. I suppose that's not entirely true. I moved my tent. I read. I sat. Enjoyed being in a nice quiet little tent.

    Although I didn't think much of it at the time, I also noticed a bit of sand creep in. Didn't think much of it, and decided that I must have brought it in on my own. Oops, no big deal. After cleaning it up, I made some dinner and headed off for dreams of the cracks to be climbed the following day.

    Although the weather was supposed to be pretty iffy (indeed, it had driven many others out of camp and the creek in general), upon opening my eyes I was greeted by the morning sun shining into my tent. Lee and I stopped off at the parking lot for Donnelly Canyon. As we arrived, we saw that Generic Crack was taken by the only other car in the parking lot. We continued down to Binou's Crack, an enjoyable 5.9 corner crack consisting of stemming fingers to a wide section near the top. I led it on-sight without much trouble, and we kept heading further down the trail.

    We arrived to find a group just finishing up on Elephant Man. This 80' 5.10- vaired crack system reminded me of climbs like those at The Dairy Queen Wall at Joshua Tree. Another on-sight to add to my back with Elephant Man. I was beginning to find myself leading routes more and more quickly as I was finding my groove. Following this route, I led a nearby classic called Chocolate Corner. This is a thin hands crack in a right-facing corner. With my size hands, this route definitely felt more 5.9+, and I most definitely found myself doing a couple ring locks to pull through some tighter spots. On-sighted this, but it felt right on par with Elephant Man. I probably enjoyed Elephant Man more.


    Generic Crack, right above the climbers racking up.

    We then hiked down to Generic Crack, 5.10-, and found it deserted. I climbed it first, made it through the lower crux, and only had to pound through the dreamy golden camalot sized crack for the next 80 feet. After pulling through about 15 feet or so, I noticed I only had an ill-sized friend (about a half size too small) and three blue (#3) camalots left on my rack. I looked ahead, trying to spot any variations in the next twenty feet that might allow me to place my small friend or my larger-sized camalots. Nothing. I hungout out my handjam for as long as I could bare. Weighing my different options: Running it out and hoping for a #3 placement within 15 or so feet, down climbing to a #2 camalot and bumping it up the crack for God-Knows-How-Far, and lowering off. I decided to go with the safe play, and lowered off. After I lowered off, Lee led up the climb and finished it out; his comfort level allowed him to space out the gear at a much larger interval, and he also squeezed in a #3 camalot near where I had wasted a #2. As Lee rappelled, I looked in the book for the gear recommendation. In addition to the smaller pieces I had brought, it suggests eight number #2s, of which I had only brought five (which was all that Lee and I have), and an optional #3. Shucks. A big disappointment, since I really wanted to tick off another on-sight, but, hey, live and learn, right?

    We then TR'd a short tips crack/face climb. This was the variation of The Naked and the Dead. A fingery, crimpy, balancy bottom leads to easy climbing up top. The bottom even made me feel like I was back at Barn Bluff in MN, climbing two number grades easier on an inverted version of the classic Perfect Crimb.

    Following this, Lee eyed up a route called Fuel-Injected Hard Body, but decided to leave it for another day. Expect to see a bit about Lee getting on this in the coming weeks.

    After this wonderful day of leading while using many of the techniques I'd learned while top-roping the previous day, I came back to my campsite to find this:



    My new sand-filled tent.

    Apparently, the wind blowing through campground throughout the night had blown sand under the rain-fly and through the mesh, leaving it right inside my tent. After cleaning out the sand, I took a blanket and some extra 3' slings and covered the mesh on the East side of my tent. Despite high winds only a bit of sand found its way in during the night, and the tent stayed much cleaner.


    (This post was edited by spikeddem on Apr 8, 2011, 1:54 PM)
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    curt


    Apr 8, 2011, 6:43 PM
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    If you get anywhere near Arizona, I will be happy to school your n00b ass show you a few boulder problems that you may find amusing. Cool

    Curt


    donald949


    Apr 14, 2011, 12:44 PM
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    Cool TR so far. Well done on the climbing.
    Re sand in the tents.
    I have noticed that most tents now have the mesh windows without being able to zipper it closed with a nylon panel. Which I'm not to partial to. I like putting up the tent on moderate days with out the fly, but that arangement doesn't give you any privacy.
    And Apparently, even with the fly it doesn't keep the dumb sand out. Mad


    caughtinside


    Apr 14, 2011, 1:33 PM
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    Fun TR. I've done all the climbs you have listed so far and they are all quality. That thumb stack thing left of big guy is harder than 10+ though. Big Guy is a classic, runs you through all the sizes.

    If you go back to Donnelly, give Dos Hermanos a try, not so bad for the grade and you don't need a ton of any one size. 4 purple camalots and less of everything else.

    You aren't the first group to not have enough #2s for Generic.

    Also, stay out of the sun, it will destroy you out there. Check out 4x4 for some good shade, and 2nd Meat.


    spikeddem


    Apr 14, 2011, 2:44 PM
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    donald949 wrote:
    Cool TR so far. Well done on the climbing.
    Re sand in the tents.
    I have noticed that most tents now have the mesh windows without being able to zipper it closed with a nylon panel. Which I'm not to partial to. I like putting up the tent on moderate days with out the fly, but that arangement doesn't give you any privacy.
    And Apparently, even with the fly it doesn't keep the dumb sand out. Mad

    Yeah, it's fairly annoying. A nice nylon panel to zip closed would have solved all of my problems. Oh well. My hanging blanket strategy worked really quite well for all but the strongest gusts of wind.

    caughtinside wrote:
    If you go back to Donnelly, give Dos Hermanos a try, not so bad for the grade and you don't need a ton of any one size. 4 purple camalots and less of everything else.

    The day before I showed up, my partner, Lee, led Dos Hermanos. I don't know how he did, but he kept talking about it over and over!

    In reply to:
    Also, stay out of the sun, it will destroy you out there. Check out 4x4 for some good shade, and 2nd Meat.

    We actually found ourselves sun-chasing this last week, 'twas suuuper chilly in the shade.


    (This post was edited by spikeddem on Apr 14, 2011, 3:22 PM)


    spikeddem


    Apr 14, 2011, 3:15 PM
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    Last friday I was in the Moab Library, which is where I am again. The following day was overcast and rainy (with a bit of snow even). We ended up having nice climbing days Sunday-Wednesday. Also, Lee and I ended up climbing a lot with two fellas named Matt and Cameron who have been on an extended trip since January, and are just about to head to Yosemite. My body didn't want to climb a fourth day in a row, so here's a report from the three climbing days I've had this week!

    Sunday, April 10th, 2011

    We had planned on heading to Way Rambo, but after arriving at the base and seeing a group of 13 hiking up, we headed further south for the Pistol Whipped area.

    I had plans for a number of climbs at Way Rambo, so I was a bit disappointed in the change of plans, but was able to live with it once I saw Jolly Rancher. This beast (140') of a single pitch climb is dominated mostly by hands, both perfect and cupped, finishes with 20 feet of fingers, and is guarded at the base by a short, but challenging section of thin hands.


    140' feet of 5.10 hands, fingers, and even a knee jam

    Seriously, this is probably the most rewarding climb I've ever done. I was psyched out by the amount of gear I was brining, the start, and the length (I'm from MN, I climb 30' to 50' at a time, thank you very much).


    Me, through the thin hands start, enjoying some perfect hand jams.

    From the base of Jolly Rancher, we all saw this:


    A boulder, peculiarly perched atop a mud tower, seemed worthy of a picture to me.

    Following the group's success on Jolly Rancher, Lee hopped on a impressive looking line, Sig Sauer. This 5.12 finger crack was kinder to Lee than it looked like it would be from the bottom. Tiny feet--hidden at the base--gave him all he needed to get the climb clean. I hangdogged on TR, but did every move. It was definitely a unique experience climbing such a vertical finger crack...thank god there were feet for me (except for the difficult last 8' or so!).


    Lee crushing it on Sig Sauer

    I finished up the day with a climb called Dusty Trails to Nowhere. Either I was feeling good from Jolly Rancher, or my hands fit this 5.10 crack perfectly, because it was by far the fastest climb I did in the creek, and it felt 5.8 to me. Consisting of perfect hands in a corner for like 40' (the guidebook and MP seem to overestimate a lot of heights at the Creek--60'? Ha, yeah right), this climb was cruiser!


    Lee rapping Dusty Trails after our last climb of the day.


    (This post was edited by spikeddem on Apr 14, 2011, 3:18 PM)
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    spikeddem


    Apr 14, 2011, 3:51 PM
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    Monday, April 11th, 2011

    Huzzah! Today we made it to the Way Rambo crag. The group of thirteen people we saw the day before did not beat us to the area today. Yet . . . we saw an even larger group heading up the base of the trail once we finished the approach. The large group mostly TR'd a bunch of off width stuff, so they were never really a hassle.

    The plan was to warm up on a climb called Blue Sun, but it was taken, so I moved on to hop on a very fun line dubbed The Monk. The climb begins immediately with some fist jams and cupped hands, climbs into a pod, and then continues on for about 25'-30' feet staying around the perfect hands zone. That leads to a thought-provoking move involving (for me) a low, left hand jam and a high right hand reach above a boulder stuck like chockstone in a pod. The anchors were guarded by some serious thumb stacking. The comment in the MP.com description, which states that "[c]onvincing yourself to let go with one hand and pull up slack to clip the anchors might be the crux of the route" hits the nail on the head. A fun route, indeed! . . . Definitely thought I was going to blow it at the anchors, but managed a clean onsight.


    The Monk, looking clean.

    Lee hopped on a Way Rambo classic called Slice and Dice. This 55' 5.12 is completely jam packed of thumbstacking madness. If you want to learn how to thumb stack, this climb will teach you how. Having looked forward to getting on Slice and Dice since his last effort two years ago, Lee dispatched it . . . making it look like no big deal. I quickly learned that it was much harder than his cruising made it appear:


    Lee Slicing and Dicing his way up a classic

    My hangdogging up it involved adding more bruises to my knees, and learning that I apparently didn't know how to thumbstack quite as well as I thought I did. Surprisingly, the roof moves were probably the easiest (that's coming from someone that hangdogged it, and didn't have to deal with a pump).

    I finished off the day with a ridiculous splitter called Blue Sun. There's not really much more that can be said about this climb than a picture shows of it: It's super fun, straightforward 5.10a handjamming goodness!


    Like I said, the photo sums up the whole climb, you just have to add another 65' feet!
    Attachments: TheMonk_empty.jpg (131 KB)
      Lee_SliceandDice.jpg (85.7 KB)
      me_BlueSun.jpg (111 KB)

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