Friday, July 31, 2015

Noname Basin

I was able to get out and guide a little bit at the end of June.  Tim has been coming out for years and we always have a great time.  As he had done last year, he was bringing along 3 friend so I brought along Bill.  The plan always starts out big.  Like we are going to climb everything in the area in 2 days big.  Usually it might get pared down a little bit, but this year it go pared down a bunch.  Luckily it was still and great trip.  We hiked up Noname Basin and set up camp at around 10,900'.  Just before dark Rodger yells, "a marmot stole my boot!" Sure enough.  We spent the next thirty minutes searching the area with headlamps until Bill finally spotted it halfway down Marmot hole.  Luckily it was still functional.
Looking up Noname toward Knife Point and Jagged
The next morning we hiked up to Jagged Pass and decided to change plans and climb Leviathan instead of Jagged.  Then ontop of Leviathan, we decided we might as well climb Vallecito Peak too.
Although we bailed on our primary objective of Jagged, we still got two great peaks and had a great time.  Jared had been struggling with blisters since day one, so on day three I took him out while everyone else climbed Knife Point.
Short break before the last mile to camp.
As usual, it's hard to have a bad trip in the mountains when you are with great people!

Popes Nose

This spring was rough.  There were too many planned climbing trips that got cancelled last minute because of weather to count.  So when there was a weather window I did everything I could to make sure I got out.  Ryan and I were originally going to hike in and climb Grand Gulch Spire but the forecast was for 100+ degree days in the desert.  So instead, we decided on a more alpine objective.  We left the trail head for the Popes Nose in the late afternoon.  We made good time and 13 miles later were at our little campsite just before dark.  It was fun to hike past Flag Mountain Falls again.  The last time I had been up that direction was when Eric and I climbed it in the spring of 2014.
Ryan following low on the route.
The next morning we got an early start and started up the Central Buttress.  We were climbing the last pitch to the summit when the sun finally swung around and started to cook the Central Buttress.
Ryan leading.
Luckily the heinous descent gully turned out to be pretty mellow.  By the time we got back to Flint creek the icy waters from the night before had transformed into nothing more than refreshing.
Crossing Flint Creek
The last few miles of the hike out were nothing short of brutal.  Between 26 miles of hiking and 1000' of climbing our feet were beat!  Flip flops have never felt better!


Amanda had a break from PA(Physician's Assistant) school in the end of May and we were able to get away to SoCal for a bit.  Before I showed up, she spent the weekend at a festival called 'Lightning in a Bottle', and then picked me up at LAX when I flew in.  The Brandewie Family drove down from  Three Rivers and camped with us at a campground in Malibu State Park.  It was great fun to see how fast Owen and Maya are growing up!  And as always it was great to hangout with Koren and Brad.
Maya, Owen, Koren, Brad
Amanda and I were able to go climbing for a couple hours, and go to a museum called the Getty Villa.
 Brad, Amanda and I went out one morning on the Pacific to fish for Rock Fish.  Since we we didn't have a freezer, Amanda and I gave most of our fish to Brad to take home.  We did keep a little that we fried up on our camp stove that night.  Delicious!

 Amanda got to go surfing a few days and obviously had a great time.  (Side note, she had bought an old board a couple years ago that she didn't love.  Recently however she upgraded by trading her board for something that will work better for her.  I'm excited for her to get out and try it!)

After Malibu we drove down to Costa Mesa and stayed at a friends house.  Amanda got to surf again, we did some road riding, and took some long walks on the beach.  On the Drive back to Phoenix we detoured down to San Diego to visit Stephanie, Hannah, Louise, and Max.  It had been way too long since seeing them!
The real highlight of the trip though, was getting to hang out with Amanda.  Hopefully in another year that'll be way more common!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Fine Jade

About a month ago Matt and I  drove out to the desert for the day to climb 'Fine Jade' on 'The Rectory' in Castle Valley.  Good day climbing with a great buddy!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Weaver's Needle

I'd been wanting to check out the Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix since Amanda started school in the area last June.  It was obviously way too warm for the first few months she was there but the temps in mid January were perfect!  I left the car at 9:30am passing a constant stream of elderly hiking groups.  Without fail every group I would pass, the person in the back would yell, "Youngster coming through!" to the rest of the group.  Funny, and yet pretty effective for clearing the trail!
Weaver's Needle
I took the wrong trail hiking up to Weaver's Needle and ended up to the south of it.  Then I got cut off from the base of the route by a cliff that ran out from the base of the needle.  So I started climbing up thinking I would traverse into the route higher up.  Well the cliff just got bigger and I ended up on top of the very loose south summit.  I tried to get over to the north summit at the notch but my way was blocked.  After looking and looking I down climbed back to the base and walked down and around the original cliff that had thrown me off.
Crazy cool rock feature thing.
Now on the standard route things went more smoothly.  It took only 12 minutes to solo from the base of the route to the top of the pinnacle, and 14 to down climb the route.  I found the trail on the way down which fortunately lacked the thorn bushes and loose rock I had encountered on my off trail approach.  I was back at the car at 2:45pm thankful to have not hauled a bunch of climbing gear all that way.  I can't wait to check out more of the Superstitions!
On top!

San Juan Ice Link Up

For a few years Matt and I had been talking about doing a link up of Bridalveil Falls, Bird Brain Boulavard, and Ames Ice Hose.  This winter during the Ouray Ice Festival we decided we were going to make it happen.  We were talking to the late great Mark Miller about it and he said, "Well you might as well add in The Talisman.  Adam George and Bryan Gilmore did those 4 in just under 24 hours a few years ago."  So that was the plan.  Until we were driving up to Ouray anyways.
Hiking up to The Talisman.
I got off work at 7am in Farmington, NM and drove up to Durango to meet Matt.  I jumped in his vehicle and we took off around 8:30am.  Way too late to start the day we had planned, but we had head lamps and were stoked.  We swung our first tool on Whorehouse Hoses.  Somewhere between Durango and Silverton we had decided that we needed to add Whorehouse Hoses to the link up.  We simul-climbed the whole route, finishing on the steeper right option which Matt had never been up.  Years ago, Matt was climbing the right side of the last pitch and the route fell down.  Matt and his partner were lucky to survive and considering the potential, came away relatively unscathed.
Ben on the first pitch of The Talisman.
Next up was Bird Brain Boulevard.  I hadn't climbed it in a decade and Matt had never climbed it so we thought it would be good to do it in the light.  He started off leading and stopped on top of the 5th pitch because there were people above.  We pitched out the last two pitches then passed the party before they got on the rappels.
Matt following pitch one of The Talisman.
Matt and I had just climbed The Talisman for his first time a few weeks before, so it was fresh in our minds.  I took pitch one and he linked pitches two and three.  We rappelled and got back to the car as the shadows lengthened into night.
Luckily Bill was done with guiding for the day and was home so we were able to stop by his place and refill our water bottles, sharpen our tools, and make some tea.  Thanks Bill!
Bridalveil's parking lot.
Same as Bird Brain I hadn't climbed Bridalveil in around a decade.  Out of all the routes, I was the most nervous about Bridalveil.  When I had climbed it years before the ice was super hard.  I only had two screws that were sharp enough for the hard ice.  I would place the sharp screw half way in then remove it and put a dull screw in the starter hole.  It was exhausting.  On top of that, I could only get my tools into the ice about a centimeter which was enough to get me up but surely made me over grip my tools with fear.  This time Bridalveil was much more tame and went smoothly.
On top of Bridalveil Falls.
Last but not least was Ames Ice Hose.  Both of us had climbed the route a few times before so we weren't too worried about it.  We left the road on a trail which ended up splitting multiple times.  We would go one way then turn around and try the another.  In the dark we had no idea where we were going.  Finally we just took the trail that went the steepest uphill and we got back in familiar terrain and found the route.  I linked the first two pitches.  When Matt got up to me and let his arms down he got one of the worst cases of the 'screaming barfies" he'd ever had.  As always on Ames, the last pitch seemed to go on forever.  Just as I started worrying about having enough screws I rolled over the top.  All in all it was a great day out, climbing with great company!

Rock and Ice Article

Whorehouse Hoses
Depart Car              9:45
Starting                  10
Top                        10:45
Car                        11:05
Bottom to top        45 mins
Car to car              1 hr 20 mins

Bird Brain Boulevard 
Depart Car             12:00
Starting                  12:30
Top                         14:25
Car                         15:08
Bottom to top        1 hr 55 mins
Car to car              3 hrs 8 mins

The Talisman 
Depart Car            15:27
Starting                 16:00
Top                       17:20
Car                       17:50
Bottom to top      1 hr 20 mins
Car to car            2 hrs 23 mins 

Bridalveil Falls
Depart Car           19:48
Starting                20:45
Top                       22:22
Car                       23:15
Bottom to top      1 hr 37 mins 
Car to car             3 hrs 27 mins

Ames Ice Hose 
Depart Car           23:50
Starting                12:55
Top                       3:05
Car                       4:10
Bottom to top      2 hrs 10 mins 
Car to car            4 hrs 20 mins 

3,170' of ice climbing
18 hrs 25 mins car to car
17 hrs 5 minutes bottom of Whorehouse to top of Ames.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Costa Rica

I finally put together a short video from the footage that Amanda took while in Costa Rica last year.