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dagibbs


Nov 15, 2012, 10:13 AM
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Canadian update... [In reply to]
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Jessica and I, along with Phil, made it back to Chapel Pond Slab as a day-trip down from Ottawa. We did it in reasonable time, for a team of 3 -- I lead every pitch, Jessica following 2nd and Phil 3rd and cleaning the gear. The rock was damp to wet in some places, and on at least one pitch I took a harder variation because the easiest variation was wet. Definitely a fun climb. We also got one route done at Jewels and Gems, which is, essentially, just across the road from Chapel Pond Slab.

We've also continued to have reasonably warm weather this November, so I've been managing to get out locally. Nothing exciting, just the usual local cragging. Ok, not exciting except that it is cragging in November around Ottawa, which all told is kind of exciting. Bummed off work last Monday because it was 15C (60F) with mixed sun and cloud, and I couldn't work through weather like that, rather than climbing. The rock wasn't even cold to the touch!

Plan to head out this weekend, but it will be more chilly (high 5C/41F), expect to be warming the hands every move or three.

Big excitement: 2 weeks in Las Vegas in December. Red Rocks, a side-trip to Joshua Tree, and maybe a (rest) day of hiking in Zion.


dagibbs


Dec 24, 2012, 7:16 AM
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A trip to the American Southwest [In reply to]
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I just got home from a two-week climbing trip to Red Rocks and Joshua Tree. I flew down to Las Vegas on the 8th of December, and back yesterday -- the 23rd, giving me 14 days down there. I end up climbing, at least a little bit, 13 of those 14 days. I met a guy from southern Ontario down there, and things worked out well.

Day 1: Moderate Mecca in Calico Hills. A bunch of single-pitch trad and a bit of top-rope to get a feeling for the rock, especially leading on the rock.

Day 2: Cat in the Hat on Mescalito. We had some rental car finagling to do in the morning, so got a late start, then had some approach finding issues.. After doing the first three pitches, we looked at the time and weren't sure we could finish and get down and back to the car in time to not get ticketed, and hadn't got a late exit permit, so we bailed.

Day 3: Panty Wall in Calico Hills for some sport climbing. Lots of fun climbs, and the determination that the sport grades seem a bit softer than the trad grades at Red Rocks.

Day 4: Birdland. 560', 5.7+, 5 pitches. Mike lead the first (easy) pitch, and I lead the rest. Awesome climbing, well-deserved of its classic status. And, we were lucky to be the only one's on it that day. Sharing belays for the first 3 would be ok, but the last two stances are... small.

Day 5: We tried to find Magic Bus in Calico Hills, 2nd pull-out but failed. We diverted to Black Corridor, where we did 3 climbs before it started raining.

Day 6: rain in the canyon and local area, so we took a drive to Death Valley, hiked out to some sand dunes, and did a couple shorter canyon hikes.

Day 7: We hit a couple local to Las Vegas limestone crags while the sandstone dried. Gun Club crag which has OMG sharp limestone, and Urban crag.

Day 8: Still waiting for the sandstone to dry, we drove to Keyhole Canyon, a local granite crag. Without a lot of guide information, I randomly headed up some stuff that look like it would go pretty easily and Mike locked the keys in the car. Getting AAA out there was interesting... the drive-up approach ends up taking un-marked un-named gravel sort-of-roads across the desert, then along a power line, etc. But it happened. With much of the day eaten by car issues, we didn't get a lot of climbing in, but there looks to be a bunch of fun stuff there.

Day 9: We drove to Joshua Tree in the morning, arriving for around noon. Looked at climbs on Intersection Rock, but all the easy stuff was busy, so moved to Trashcan Rock. I picked out a nice 5.4 to start on, and spent most of the first 2/3s cursing it as a really stiff 5.4 until someone told me it was, really, a 5.8. Checked the guide... yup I was on the wrong climb, and had just taken on a 5.8 J-Tree trad lead as my first lead there. Got up it with one hang, though.

Day 10: Got our usual early start, took a try at Bat Crack (5.5) on Intersection Rock, got one piece in, then couldn't figure out how to make progress. Backed off, and went after a 5.3 that went ok. Then it started to rain, and looked to continue, so we quite for the day and took a rest day.

Day 11: It was cold. Windy and cold. Just above freezing, with noticeable wind. So we spent most of the morning hiking around various different bits of J-Tree. We spotted a nice looking dike up one little cliff near the Barker Dam hiking path, and both decided it looked like a fun free solo, so after making sure there was a down-climb, we got our climbing shoes and soloed it. For the afternoon we headed to The Blob, and I did one of the 5.3 cracks to the top. Fun climbing up, but we couldn't find a descent that either of us was willing to do, so we slung a boulder and rappelled. Did another on to the top. and re-used our rap anchor.

Day 12: A warmer day, so we hiked in to Dairy Queen wall, which was supposed to have morning sun... might be the case other times of year, but not late December. I lead a lovely 5.7, which was surprisingly soft for a J-Tree trad 5.7. I think it may be that it is a more recent climb than some of the old-school ones we'd been on so far. TRed another 5.7 beside it that was about a 1/2 grade harder, but also fun. Then decided to move to somewhere that would be warmer. Climbed "The Eye" (5.3) on Cyclops rock which is a wonderful classic, and far easier than it looks like it could be. Then backed off 60' feet up a 5.5 on Cyclops rock after dealing with too much crumbly granite, poor feet and iffy pro. Then drove back to Las Vegas.

Day 13: Cookie Monster, a 340' 5.7 route up Mescalito. It finishes a bit above the 2nd belay for Cat in the Hat, though it goes up a different face of the same buttress. I did this in two long pitches, though the guide I had (Handren) lists it as 3 pitches. We talked about continueing up Cat in the Hat (which is a common thing to do) but there was traffic on Cat in the Hat, and I had run out of lead head for trad. (Combination of the really stressful route I'd back off the previous day, and the really long sustained leading on Cookie Monster.) Cookie Monster is, though, a really good, fun climb.

Day 14: Found Magic Bus this time, did the 6 climbs on it, leading the 3 sport routes, TRing the 3 trad routes. Lots of fun. Found a way up to Magic Bus, took a different route back down, still not sure we've found the "right" or "book" approach, though. Then back to Black Corridor, where I lead 3 more sport routes (up to a 5.10a) and top-roped a 5.10b that someone else there setup.

All in all, it was a really good trip. Mike and I got along well as climbing partners, and I spent a lot of time on the sharp end.


Gmburns2000


Dec 24, 2012, 7:40 AM
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Re: [dagibbs] A trip to the American Southwest [In reply to]
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Sweet trip dude. Thanks for sharing that. Birdland is pretty amazing. How about that finish on the last pitch (the one most people finish on) getting into the pod with only small gear below you? Best part of the climb for me.

I'm off to Spain for 3.5 weeks starting this afternoon. About a week of that'll be climbing in Andalucia, which includes El Chorro. Looks like after months of absence I'll be able to contribute again in a couple of weeks.

Happy holidays to everyone!


dagibbs


Dec 24, 2012, 7:46 AM
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Re: [Gmburns2000] A trip to the American Southwest [In reply to]
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Gmburns2000 wrote:
Birdland is pretty amazing. How about that finish on the last pitch (the one most people finish on) getting into the pod with only small gear below you? Best part of the climb for me.

Yeah, you're moving up the thin crack, and you see this nice-looking ledge, you reach up to grab it, and find it is a downward angled sloper! Argh! Probably the crux move of the whole climbing is that finishing move. I did put a bunch of gear in up that thin crack, though.


Gmburns2000


Dec 24, 2012, 8:00 AM
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Re: [dagibbs] A trip to the American Southwest [In reply to]
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dagibbs wrote:
Gmburns2000 wrote:
Birdland is pretty amazing. How about that finish on the last pitch (the one most people finish on) getting into the pod with only small gear below you? Best part of the climb for me.

Yeah, you're moving up the thin crack, and you see this nice-looking ledge, you reach up to grab it, and find it is a downward angled sloper! Argh! Probably the crux move of the whole climbing is that finishing move. I did put a bunch of gear in up that thin crack, though.

Exactly! And you don't feel confident until after you've clipped! Shocked At least for me, because I was too short to reach the chains without committing.

I think I had maybe two pieces in that thin crack. I didn't have much on me at that point in those sizes. Would've been a big fun fall for sure. hehe


dagibbs


Dec 24, 2012, 8:09 AM
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Re: [Gmburns2000] A trip to the American Southwest [In reply to]
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Gmburns2000 wrote:
dagibbs wrote:
Gmburns2000 wrote:
Birdland is pretty amazing. How about that finish on the last pitch (the one most people finish on) getting into the pod with only small gear below you? Best part of the climb for me.

Yeah, you're moving up the thin crack, and you see this nice-looking ledge, you reach up to grab it, and find it is a downward angled sloper! Argh! Probably the crux move of the whole climbing is that finishing move. I did put a bunch of gear in up that thin crack, though.

Exactly! And you don't feel confident until after you've clipped! Shocked At least for me, because I was too short to reach the chains without committing.

I think I had maybe two pieces in that thin crack. I didn't have much on me at that point in those sizes. Would've been a big fun fall for sure. hehe

Yeah, I didn't clip the anchor until I was standing up on the (really quite small) ledge, myself.

At least there weren't any big ledges to hit if you did fall at that point -- just lots of little, tiny, varnish edges.


Gmburns2000


Dec 24, 2012, 9:05 AM
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Re: [dagibbs] A trip to the American Southwest [In reply to]
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dagibbs wrote:
Gmburns2000 wrote:
dagibbs wrote:
Gmburns2000 wrote:
Birdland is pretty amazing. How about that finish on the last pitch (the one most people finish on) getting into the pod with only small gear below you? Best part of the climb for me.

Yeah, you're moving up the thin crack, and you see this nice-looking ledge, you reach up to grab it, and find it is a downward angled sloper! Argh! Probably the crux move of the whole climbing is that finishing move. I did put a bunch of gear in up that thin crack, though.

Exactly! And you don't feel confident until after you've clipped! Shocked At least for me, because I was too short to reach the chains without committing.

I think I had maybe two pieces in that thin crack. I didn't have much on me at that point in those sizes. Would've been a big fun fall for sure. hehe

Yeah, I didn't clip the anchor until I was standing up on the (really quite small) ledge, myself.

At least there weren't any big ledges to hit if you did fall at that point -- just lots of little, tiny, varnish edges.

and lots of great exposure


sethg


Dec 24, 2012, 10:03 AM
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Re: [dagibbs] A trip to the American Southwest [In reply to]
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Sorry you had such wet weather. I did Cookie Monster on my last trip to Red Rocks, I liked it too. At least with the iffy conditions you got Birdland to yourself. The day I did it there was a huge pile-up of parties, it sucked.


dagibbs


Dec 24, 2012, 10:51 AM
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Re: [sethg] A trip to the American Southwest [In reply to]
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sethg wrote:
Sorry you had such wet weather. I did Cookie Monster on my last trip to Red Rocks, I liked it too. At least with the iffy conditions you got Birdland to yourself. The day I did it there was a huge pile-up of parties, it sucked.

We actually had good weather for Birdland, which made it even more surprising that we had it to ourselves -- but we didn't complain about that. And it wasn't that we had a lot of wet weather -- it is that if you have any wet weather, you need to give the sandstone a couple days to dry.


gblauer
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Dec 25, 2012, 7:42 PM
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Re: [dagibbs] A trip to the American Southwest [In reply to]
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glad you had fun. Mitch and I encountered rain on our first trip to Red Rocks. We too, hit Urban Crag while we waited for things to dry out.


I just got back from climbing at Cochise Stronghold. Slab and Chimney...two things I rarely practice here at the gunks. I finally started leading on the third day.


gblauer
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Dec 31, 2012, 4:17 PM
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Well, I climbed on the very last day of the year. It was 35 degrees, cloudy and the snow was melting. (We had about a foot of snow at the Gunks over the last few days. The cross country skiing has been a lot fun.)

As we walked into the Uberfall, we eyed the lines...everything looked reasonably dry despite the snow melt. Bunny? No it was a little seepy. The ten's were too hard...moved on to Apoplexy. Seemed doable. Seemed dry. Ah...what the heck, let's put a rope up on Laurel and see how we feel.

We laid our tarp down, careful to keep our wet boots off our little base camp. Patrick geared up and started up the route. Immediately he hit water, ice and mud. "Umm...this is a bit slimy". I encouraged him as he delicately moved through the crux. He moved deliberately and carefully. I asked him to place more gear than he normally would place. Thankfully, he obliged. The rock was much slicker than it looked from the ground.

I figured he would be fine after the crux, but, he continued to move very carefully. His fingers were numb by the time he made it to the last moves before the anchors. The ledge was covered with a foot of snow, he leaned over and clipped the anchors and released an avalanche of snow onto my head.

My turn. I contemplated pulling the rope and leading, but, I wasn't nuts about Patrick's description of the conditions. I followed the climb; every hand hold, horizontal, jam was wet or filled with snow/mud. Good practice for climbing in cruddy conditions. Glad I didn't lead it. We took two runs, comtemplated doing another climb. We decided against it, even though we really wanted to climb.

Tonight, Mitch and I walked the stairmaster to the carriage trail. We walked the trail in the dark and as we rounded the corner near the Andrew boulder we saw the glow of blue christmast lights on the pine on top of the boulder. What a treat! A great way to end 2012 and start 2013.

Happy New Year to all!


dagibbs


Jan 1, 2013, 8:06 PM
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Re: [gblauer] A trip to the American Southwest [In reply to]
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Awesome getting out on the last day of the year!


dagibbs


Feb 10, 2013, 9:57 PM
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Mt St Helena, California [In reply to]
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Nothing epic, but for a Canadian, getting a day of rock climbing in in mid-February is nice. I'm in the bay area on a business trip for two weeks, and I managed to get out to Mt Saint Helena, north of San Francisco, for a pleasant day of hiking and a bit of cragging.


Gmburns2000


Feb 11, 2013, 4:10 AM
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dagibbs wrote:
Nothing epic, but for a Canadian, getting a day of rock climbing in in mid-February is nice. I'm in the bay area on a business trip for two weeks, and I managed to get out to Mt Saint Helena, north of San Francisco, for a pleasant day of hiking and a bit of cragging.


It's always nice to get on rock when you're not really expecting it eh?

Mid-summer here and we've had too much rain. Besides, it Carnival right now and the city is DEAD because everyone's at the beach. That's either a yay or sigh, depending on how one looks at it.


gblauer
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Feb 11, 2013, 6:38 AM
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We had almost a foot of snow at the gunks on Friday. Dashed all of my hopes to get out and climb.

Or so I thought...

I was out cross country skiing on Sunday (~28 degrees, sunny) and Pauline was on No Picnic, two other guys runing laps on Retribution/Nosedive. I instantly regretted that I didn't try to get on a climb.


Gmburns2000


Feb 11, 2013, 6:51 AM
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Re: [gblauer] Mt St Helena, California [In reply to]
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gblauer wrote:
We had almost a foot of snow at the gunks on Friday. Dashed all of my hopes to get out and climb.

Or so I thought...

I was out cross country skiing on Sunday (~28 degrees, sunny) and Pauline was on No Picnic, two other guys runing laps on Retribution/Nosedive. I instantly regretted that I didn't try to get on a climb.

that's too cold for my little fingers. if they were in the sun and it was about 60 in the sun, considering how cold the rock is already, I might have been able to climb something. But if the rock is cold and the air, too, forget it.


gblauer
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Mar 11, 2013, 6:59 PM
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Re: [Gmburns2000] Mt St Helena, California [In reply to]
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GUnks Fun!

Sun=50 degrees + 8" of melting snow

Who cares about a little melting snow when it's 50 at the gunks? Not me...I finally got my hot little hands on real rock this weekend.

I learned how to use my Micro traxion on Saturday, did 9 laps on That nice 7 and Black Fly. It's a little freaky at first, but, then you forget that you are using it and you just climb. Lots of fun, no belayer required. (Mitch was there anyways, he wanted to make sure that I didn't kill myself).

I set out to do same on Sunday, but, a special shout out to Cameron and Rob for letting me crash their party. I enjoyed Bunny, TRing laps on Retribution (nice and clean, thank you) and we did Retro Bunny. It's a 10d between bunny and retribution. It's very fun and has some very interesting/thin slabby 10 moves. I liked it quite a bit.

There were lots of people out climbing, alas, it is going to get cold again this weekend. I bundle up and Aid climb or I just sit out the weekend. Or I can stay home and train inside.


Gmburns2000


Mar 11, 2013, 7:35 PM
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gblauer wrote:
GUnks Fun!

Sun=50 degrees + 8" of melting snow

Who cares about a little melting snow when it's 50 at the gunks? Not me...I finally got my hot little hands on real rock this weekend.

I learned how to use my Micro traxion on Saturday, did 9 laps on That nice 7 and Black Fly. It's a little freaky at first, but, then you forget that you are using it and you just climb. Lots of fun, no belayer required. (Mitch was there anyways, he wanted to make sure that I didn't kill myself).

I set out to do same on Sunday, but, a special shout out to Cameron and Rob for letting me crash their party. I enjoyed Bunny, TRing laps on Retribution (nice and clean, thank you) and we did Retro Bunny. It's a 10d between bunny and retribution. It's very fun and has some very interesting/thin slabby 10 moves. I liked it quite a bit.

There were lots of people out climbing, alas, it is going to get cold again this weekend. I bundle up and Aid climb or I just sit out the weekend. Or I can stay home and train inside.

Now that you can climb alone and work those routes, I fully expect a nosedive and retribution on lead TR this year. no excuses


gblauer
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Mar 11, 2013, 7:40 PM
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Hey...no work required. I have been training like a mad person. I floated Retribution on Sunday. It felt easy peasy.

Not sure how I feel about stopping to place gear....I guess I should just give it a go right? I will do it sometime during the week when no one is hanging around.


Gmburns2000


Mar 11, 2013, 8:03 PM
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gblauer wrote:
Hey...no work required. I have been training like a mad person. I floated Retribution on Sunday. It felt easy peasy.

Not sure how I feel about stopping to place gear....I guess I should just give it a go right? I will do it sometime during the week when no one is hanging around.

that's the spirit. can't wait to see how it goes.


sethg


Mar 13, 2013, 12:04 PM
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Gail I've seen you on Retribution and you & I both know you would float it on lead, no problem! I will belay you.


Gmburns2000


Mar 13, 2013, 1:19 PM
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sethg wrote:
Gail I've seen you on Retribution and you & I both know you would float it on lead, no problem! I will belay you.

That deserves five stars


dagibbs


Mar 25, 2013, 7:14 PM
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Unexpected bouldering day [In reply to]
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I'm in San Diego, California for a work trip, and I unexpectedly had my all-day meeting for today cancelled around 8am. So, I googled around for some climbing, and headed for the Santee boulders. This is a nice field of boulders in the city of Santee (suburb of San Diego). About a 20-minute car ride from my hotel, park in a convenient parking lot for a city park, then cross the street and hike a few minutes in.

Mostly granite friction and small edges, though with the occasional crack climb. I found the rock quite reminiscent of Joshua Tree, actually.

Since I was bouldering without spotter or crash pad, I stuck to stuff with comfortable landing zones, and not too hard or committing. But, even with that, there was a lot to climb, in quite a small, convenient area.

Unfortunately, I forgot how much farther south I am (I'm from Canada), and also came out with a bit of a sunburn.

(And, hoping for good weather in the Gunks next weekend, since I'm headed there.)


Gmburns2000


Mar 25, 2013, 7:25 PM
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Always nice to get little surprises like that.

I finally made it out yesterday, but for only two climbs. My german friend who met us in Spain in Jan arrived here in Brasil on Sat and we hit the rock early sunday morning. Only two climbs as we bailed at the sense that rain was coming. It was a good choice, though we probably could have bagged another route if we wanted to.

My head was terrible. I was pissing as the second on a route I have previously led without problems. we're hoping to get out on Friday at a place that overlooks a beach town. the town is on an isthmus with gorgeous beaches on both sides and the rock on the ocean-side of the strip. fingers are crossed we get good weather.


Gmburns2000


Mar 25, 2013, 7:27 PM
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from the last time we were there.



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