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.