Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sawtooths video

This is the long awaited much promised video from the Grandjean boulders in the Sawtooths. Jeff Smith on Milk Roof Variation V8 and Wild Raspberry V6/7 and myself on the Prow and Crossing the Boundary.

A few words about the climbing: Milk Roof is amazing. Mike McClure put this problem up and I ended up figuring out a different sequence that completely changes the problem/grade. A difference of one move and 3 grades, the version that he authored is a much more powerful and complete line of the roof. Wild Raspberry is essentially two big moves on 1/2 pad flat edges. Mantle a heel hook and grab a good crimp, switch it to a toe and rock up to a good right hand gaston then jump to the lip, or if you are tall enough just reach up and grab it.

The Prow is the best problem I did all summer. Aside from the questionable rock quality (all the holds are solid as of now and will clean up further with more traffic) it is one of the best climbs in the state. Mike McClure plucked the gem of the area with this one. Big moves on good holds with good feet to an all out pogo dyno to a giant sloping jug. Heady yet easy topout at around 20′ makes this boulder the total package that we as climbers look for upon finding new boulders. The last climb in the video marked a milestone for myself. Every move of that problem is hard, foot moves and hand moves alike. The days I would work on it made me realize that I had never done such a physically demanding problem. Ever. I would hike the 51/2 miles out and feel like I had been beaten up. Over the course of 5 days I hiked almost 80 miles to send that problem, the first thing that I have ever done that I would consider V13. The last thing that took me that long was my very first V11, Brass Monkey that I did over 3 years ago in Riggins. Crossing the Boundary is what it is called. The rock quality is bullet granite, the holds are perfect and the climbing is amazing, compression at it finest. Enjoy!

Monday, September 13, 2010


As I have been since returning from Colorado and starting school, I again hiked up to the boulders out of Grandjean on Saturday to try and send my project. Monday, Jeff and I went up and I came really close, or so I thought, and needed a rope to finish cleaning the 20 feet of slab that accompanied sending the "Sawtooth Super Project". I have a habit of wearing my running shoes to clean techy slabs and figure out the beta, hoping it will feel easier in climbing shoes. Here I am on a rope, 20 feet up trying to suss out the beta for the slab section.

Over the course of the four other days that I had worked the problem, I had never been able to stick jump move, something that was troubling me. I don't care how hard moves are, as long as I have done them one time, I know it is possible and can do it on the go. This move involved holding a swing with the right hand on a good pinch and the left essentially on nothing but a flat wall. As you swing out, the right becomes good and the left bad, and on the in-swing I was falling as the right hand becomes a nothing and the left good again. Probably tried that one move almost 100 times and had not done it.

You can see how poor the left hand is before the throw is over, and as I swung out to the left it got worse. I tried the move over and over again, coming really close to sticking it but always falling on the in swing, finally deciding to look for some different beta. Jeff had been pointing out this "pinch" which was really no more than a spike for your thumb and the flat wall. I tried the move to the jug from that and decided after only one try it was the way I would have to do the climb. To get to the pinch was the issue. It added 3 moves at the end of the hardest part of the problem, and then the 5.13- slab that I would have to climb. I managed to do all of the moves, and ran out of energy, already talking about "next time I will bring another pad...". Jeff wanted to work the Prow, a very nice V10 that Mike McClure established earlier this summer. We went down there and he tried moves and linked most of them together over the course of an hour or so.

I thought about it and decided to walk up the hill and give the thing one more good attempt for the day. I was tired, there was a hole in my ring finger from the newly discovered beta sequence and I really didn't think I could do it. With the added moves I was starting to question if it was possible for me to send this thing. Laced up my Dragons, took off the sweater and shirt and pulled on, promptly falling 2 moves in. The temps had dropped to around 50, and the holds felt as good as they ever had. I chalked, got psyched and pulled on again. Everything clicked, all the heel placements for the right foot were good and held, and I trusted my left toe hook and bumped my left hand up the arete all the way to the top. Pasted the left foot and jumped, catching the spike perfectly. For just an instant, I thought I was going to fall, so I yelled louder, got my feet up and held the swing. A few hard moves to get around the corner onto the slab and I had done it! I quickly traversed the slab and it was done, I had finally sent. I had just made the first ascent of Crossing the Boundary. It is the hardest thing I have ever done. Not only is it the hardest moves, but I hiked roughly 75 miles over 5 days in the process. It is 5.5 miles from the car to the boulders, making it even more of a mental battle than anything else.

I have some other shots of the climb, in somewhat of the order they go in. Enjoy!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Rocky, Lincoln Lake and the Fall

The beautiful view of Lincoln Lake aka Wolverineland at 12000 feet

Matt Fultz and I concluded our trip to Colorado with a day at Lincoln Lake, an area high in the Mt. Evans/Arapaho Forest area southwest of Boulder, and a final day at the Park. Catching almost perfect weather save one rainy day, we both managed to send some things we wanted to and also fail on others, leaving projects for another time.

As has become a certainty, I captured some moments of people's try hard and was left with none of my own, but here are the best of the photos that I took while milling about waiting for MY time to shine.

Ryan Young, Skipper Roof

A butterfly on my shorts

Matt Fultz, Top Notch

Top Notch

With school starting, I am embarking on a mission to finish my geology degree in as few semesters as possible...and climb at the same time. As always, training for trips that I take and using the trips as training for the coming season in Idaho. Five big projects loom in front of me, one I have tried for three years, another I have yet to try and still know is hard. Juggling climbing, training, school and a new job as the head coach of the climbing teams at the Front will be a difficult task, and I am prepared to be busy for the next few months as I make time for everything to be done to the fullest of my abilities.

For now, this last photo of Lincoln Lake at dark before we hiked out(and had the subsequent near heart-attack) last Friday night will have to tide you over until I go to the Sawtooths to try and send a project this weekend.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Matt Fultz and I headed out to Rocky Mountain late last week and have been sampling the best that the high-altitude areas of Colorado have to offer. Upper Chaos Canyon in Rocky Mountain National Park is just that: complete chaos. House size boulders sit upon pedestals of monster truck size "pebbles" that we grapple and grovel with. The amount of rock that one can see upon topping out near Top Notch and looking in a 360 degree view is mind blowing. Years of bouldering have produced lines that are merely the tip of the iceberg that is Upper Chaos. Climbers are still plucking the gems and beautiful lines, not yet having to settle for climbing the marginal lines.

Fresh out of the car (a short 9 hour jaunt from Ogden), we hiked in to Both Sides of the Spectrum, a cool sloper problem at Moraine Park with the shortest approach in the area which suited our late afternoon arrival perfectly. Warmed up on some pretty cool stuff that was right near Both Sides and then got down to business. We soon realized that it was a little warmer than we thought and the slopers a little worse than expected. I sent some unnamed problem on a really cool suspended block that pinched and heel hooked its way up an arete. Matt did pretty well on Both Sides despite the conditions, yet neither of us were psyched enough to try it anymore than our fresh tissue paper skin could handle. Even then, Matt's fingers paid the price of one too many attempts and he ended up with a bleeder on day 0.5. Fultz on the first move of Both Sides of the Spectrum

All our time since then has been at Upper Chaos, we both sent Blood Money from the stand start, Matt did the Lochness Monster and I came away with a flash of Skipper D (thank you Ryan Young for the beta spray down). Blood Money from the sit start should have been done for me, but an ass rocket to the rocks and a heel hooking on my own finger put a hitch in the sending. Fresh and repsyched I will try and send that Thursday. Matt is eyeing Top Notch and Jade...he can lock off "the move" to within 6 inches of the left crimp in only a few tries, so hopefully he can make some progress on that. I am looking to flash Eternia, a goal that has been one of mine for a long time. I will check back in soon with more, hopefully a good report filled with sending and good photos. For now, I have only these images to offer, but more to come!!

Jade Stand Start

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Alpine Boulders

Went back up to the Sawtooths again this last weekend with Jeff Smith. This time we were joined by Jamey Sproull, owner of Asana Climbing, his girlfriend Venessa and two of his employees and fellow climbers Adam Healy and Morty ??????? (Sorry man I still don't know your last name). Adam had a pretty rough day, forgetting all his food in the car and only having 3 PBR's to sustain him! He still had a decent day, should have sent the Prow but was thwarted by a wicked calf cramp. He managed to send Milk Roof Left with the new beta that I found. Here is Adam on the first of the hard compression moves on the Prow.

Jeff's project to the right of the Prow, a super thin and techy dihedral climb broke and is now harder. Shame too, the movement was very high quality and now is less than stellar and much harder. Jamey cleaned off a pretty cool little roof climb that had a super highball choss fest topout, drop off jug obvious here. Adam sent a new problem, a short little arete to the left of the Prow on the Warmup Boulder. He called it Cramp Corner, it starts on a low left undercling and right hand pinch and grovels up the arete.

I sent two new lines, one that ended up being a stand start to a problem that really doesn't go due to dabbage and gayness. I called it One Up, cause we started going one hold up every time we couldn't fit in the little cave. I also sent a line to the right of the "Big Blunt Arete" project, a compression line that tops out on some TINY crimpers. 100 Degree Razor (photo above) was a fitting name, the topout crimps stay in the sun all day and in the evening are hot to the touch! Sounds real appealing huh?

I had packed all my flashes, extra lenses and tripods up in the hopes of shooting a bunch of photos on the Prow, but I did manage to get one good one of Adam on his only attempt. Jeff Smith on the proj to the left of 100 Degree Razor and a shot of Adam and Jamey discussing why his leg may have cramped up...

I am headed to the OR show in Salt Lake next week, to meet up with some friends and some business type stuff. Should have some sick new Organic gear for my trip to Rocky Mountain, and a new pad on the way!!! Super psyched for that, the new design is sick! Check back in late next week for some images from OR, and the citizen's comp setting extravaganza at the Front SLC.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sawtooth Boulders

Finally got up to the boulders that Jeff Smith has been raving about for years now. Only a short drive from Boise, a 5.3 mile hike and you're there. Jeff and I went up for Saturday and I shot some photos of almost everything we tried. I sent the Prow, a MM problem that is one of the best I have been on since the Flame in Hueco. Jeff did a new line on a small boulder in the main area, no name or grade yet, I sent a problem near the Prow that is really good, in the 5-7 range, big moves and fairly good holds.

The first is Jeff on Camouflage, the second is Jeff on an unnamed ridiculously hard compression problem that neither of us could really even hold body positions. The last two are me on the compression line in the act of trying to do the first move, and Jeff on a new line he almost did on the boulder just uphill from there. Headed back next weekend to try some established stuff and find some new and amazing lines to try. We think the talus goes all the way up and over the ridge, and if it does....

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Been a while since the last post, the past couple of months have been pretty hectic and didn't involve a lot of climbing. Mostly moving from SLC to Boise, Idaho to prepare for the fall semester and hopefully do some new alpine exploration in my home state!

Moving from Salt Lake because I wanted to go to Font in the spring, do a lot of climbing in the fall and winter would have pushed my graduation back at U of Utah another 2 years, in Boise I can finish in 3 semesters and then take off and go climbing with an actual sense of freedom.

On the climbing front, Kaiya, me and the McClures made it up to the McCall scree after a near death experience with a whitetail deer for a couple of days of cleaning boulders and climbing. Many problems were sent, some amazing, some not so great but still good, with the best and hardest not even attempted since we were all wasted and way too low on skin to try anything else. Photos and soon to be video at climbidaho.com, the excellent website of Mr. McClure.

Kaiya has been sidelined with a stress fracture in her left middle knuckle, so she has been taking time off and doing Crossfit workouts, a killer workout program that has a different workout every day, and periodical rest days as well. She came up to check out some boulders on Highway 55 with myself, Adam Healy and Morty on the 4th of July. Couldn't think of a better way to be independent!

We found some amazing stuff, one boulder in a creek that will be host to 3 great problems, two of them being pretty damn tall and scary. Adam found a beautiful line of slopers one would expect to seen in Font or the southeast, and we worked on it for quite some time. I managed to stick all but the first and last move, the first being due to some needed removal of more dirt from the landing, the last because of...uuuhhhhh. Not strong enough on it. Anyways, here are some photos from the day, I am psyched to head back up there and try the thing again in cooler temps and with stronger muscles

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Some climbing, and no sending...

Kaiya and I have been taking it a bit easy of late...we both are working on some things that are really hard for us and the weather is Salt Lake is getting warm! No, bad temps! Go down! But it just keeps getting warmer.

I got a new job, again, framing houses that requires a 40 minute drive every day each way, so the whole climbing at LCC after work thing has kind of gone to shit lately. I have been training though, trying to send Spinal Twist, a Sharma problem (its not redtagged, I checked with Nalle) at the Gate Boulders. Kaiya has been working the Crystal Pinch and Supa Fly, both at the Gate and on the same boulder. Makes it easy for us to session.

Last week, I went out and shoveled off the two boulders that we needed dry 3 times, there was a total of probably 18" of snow that fell in 4 days up the canyon. We went out one of those days and the conditions were amazing, I managed to do all the moves on Spinal Twist, including the first 2 in row, which are the hardest, Kaiya did all the moves to Crystal Pinch and put some time into Supa Fly again. Here are a couple of shots of her on the Crystal Pinch...I think we are heading out Sunday evening to catch some cold temps, so maybe some photos of Spinal Twist.

As work picks up and summer gets into full swing, I will have less and less time to climb. Putting on bulk weight of muscle in all the wrong areas for climbing is frustrating as well, but necessary. I have a setup at work that converts overtime hours into vacation time. Every hour of overtime = 1.5 hours of vacation time, so by the end of summer i should have accumulated somewhere around a month of paid vacation. Get paid to go climbing...in the Dirty South! Jyeah!!!!!!!!!

Stay tuned for more from Sundays session

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Kaiya and I are engaged!! I popped the question at Castle Rock on Monday the 22nd. She said yes. Then the most hectic, ridiculous and crowded day of climbing there began! I fell off the jug rail of Columbian Bowtie twice, once resulting in a screaming, shoe-throwing mantrum...and Kaiya sent Jared's Roof Stand! Her hardest yet, according to her. Weather was a bit crazy there, snow and sunshine intermittently traded places all day, and on the way out, we finally stopped at the Cattle Guard, a V7 that Mike and I have always said we wanted to stop and do every time we walk out. Conrad and I sent after a bit of effort and one really long slightly awkward move to a HUGE jug. Here I am in my Ben Spannuth/Jamie Emerson costume after sticking the dyno.

After the trip to Castle, I got pretty sick, Kaiya and I didn't climb much at all during the week, then I finally made it out to LCC on Thursday to check to see if Spinal Twist was dry. I need a hard project to motivate me to train a bit more enthusiastically for a while. Been slackin' yo! It was, and I climbed at the Gate Boulders alone while 30 people were less than a mile down the road at the Secret Garden...lazy SLCers. I managed to do all but a couple of problems, but I did a 6, two 8's and a 10 in a couple hours in the Darkroom. We went back out with Ben Spannuth and Ryan Young on Saturday after Kaiya got off of work, and my sister from Jackson showed up also. I managed to send the last worthwhile thing at the Gate(besides Spinal Twist), a super sick linkup/eliminate that links one V8 into the other, called Pro Series. I shot some photos of Ben and Ryan, as well as some of Kaiya on Shingles Stand.

Ryan Young on Twisted

Ben Spannuth, Lance's Dihedral

Ryan on Lance's

Ben came really close to sending Shingles, he ended up sticking the big move a few times only to pop off on the in-swing.

They are both psyched to come back, Ben to head up to Castle to send Green in the Face, he fell off the 2nd to last move on his last day there before driving down here to Salt Lake. Ryan was pretty close to doing Bully, here he is sticking the big left hand move with relative ease.

Ryan Young, Bully

Kaiya finally picked out a ring that she really wants, and that is in the mail, I will post some photos of that and us really soon, some nice romantical shots up in LCC and around Salt Lake...very soon

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Castle, Ibex, LCC and more!!

The last few weeks have been a bit quiet here, at least on the blog, apologies for that. Internet silence has not been congruent with a lack of climbing however. Kaiya and I have been up to Castle Rock with Anthony Txertudi and Pawel, down to Ibex with the Cahoons, McClures and Pawel again, and then just the other day, out to Little Cottonwood where we met some friends from the gym here in town.

So a quick rundown/update of what has happened in the past few weeks:

At Castle, Kaiya fired a quick send of Tacos for Two (V6), Pawel and our new German friend Tobias quickly sent the Smell and Jareds Roof Stand, both V8 and Tacos in a couple of goes. Anthony and I struggled that day, neither of us could send our projects, me on Columbian Bowtie and the Bagpiper, Anthony on Green in the Face and Golden Chandelier.

Here is Pawel on the lip traverse of Tacos for Two

Ibex was an amazing experience, Kaiya and I had never been there before, so it was even more impressive in that regard. I had a pretty good weekend, the White Arete, Meat and Potatoes, Bruce Lee and Fister. Mike McClure sent all of those also, and with a last minute beta change sent The Bone Collector (V11). Tammy and Kaiya both sent Tranced out and Dreaming, a powerful V6 with a long first move from a pinch to a sloping pocket. Tammy sticks that move here.

Tammy McClure working Ju (V7) on the Red Monster boulder

Kaiya on Blue Flowers on the Red Monster

On Tuesday of this week, Kaiya and I went out to Little Cottonwood for an after work session. With the time change, I now have alsomt 5 hours of daylight to climb after I get off work. We ran into some people that we know from the Front and had a nice session till about dark at the Secret Garden. After some warmups on the back of the All Thumbs boulder, Kaiya set to work on Lance's Dihedral, a really cool V6 that climbs on slopers and heel hooks up a dihedral.

After some work on Lance's, I headed up to Bully and managed to finally send after falling off the same move for 3 days. Our friend Tim was working Lance's Scary (V7) coming very close to sticking the big move, he should send next time out.

Kaiya is psyched to head back out there for the Dihedral, and the stand start to Shingles, which as the sun was setting saw some amazing colors that I attempted to capture. The real thing was spectacular, here is Kaiya throwing for the jug pinch on Shingles.

Other photos of the day, Nathan on Lance's Dihedral and his girlfriend China on Shingles.

The sun setting on the end of a great session.