Saturday, April 27, 2013


What is it about climbing (or swimming, running, biking, playing outside) as much as I can all day every day? 
Rest days are so few and far between.  My biceps ache, my shoulders hunch slightly every morning and my hands tingle when I sleep.  

I struggle to open a beer can!! 
Leading the Traverse Pitch on Moonlight

I was inspired by a friend, Dave, back in Estes Park, to attempt some link-ups in Zion.  Male climbers have been doing some rad link-ups in the park since the early 90’s (as far as my research has taken me).  
Recently, some free climbing hard asses have been getting after it.  Tommy and Alex free climbed Touchstone, Moonlight, Sheer Lunacy, and Spaceshot in ~ 16 hours!!!!  Unfortunately, I am a normal human with a fitness level that is not there...yet...maybe one day.  I would like to mess around on Touchstone and Spaceshot's 5.13 pitches, and I have recently had a free climbing mission on Moonlight that went surprisingly well.  


Adam Baxter and I sweating it out. 
Before arriving in Zion, I had another great weekend in Indian Creek.  I climbed both Saturday and Sunday at the Fin and Broken Tooth, respectively.  Saturday climbs include The Last Day, Double Trouble, and Court Summons.  One of the KMAC family boys, Adam Baxter met me there, along with old aquaintences and new friends.  Sunday, Adam and I ran a warm 17 miles in Canyonlands, a loopity loop lollypop around the Confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers.  Apres, I headed up to the Broken Tooth for 4 quick laps on the amazing splitters.  
Sunday evening the crew headed back to Durango.  Monday, I regrouped, rested a little and then got a great tour of the local bouldering scene.  Pretty stellar bouldering in Durango.  
Tuesday I was off!!  A sandstormy drive from Durango to Zion culminated with a gorgeous foggy tunnel exit.  Zion's upper peaks were blanketed in snow.  Wednesday was our first day of climbing and the gaggle of us decided sport wanking in St. George was the best option for the moist cold day.
Shunes Buttress
Thursday, Baster and I sussed out some pitches and descents for our Friday link-up of Spaceshot and Moonlight.    It was a busy day on the walls.  We climbed Spaceshot first, did the usual rappels and then scurried over to Touchstone.  A procession of parties were on the route.  We quickly did a 180 and headed over to Moonlight Buttress instead…almost equally as crowded but easier stances to pass.  
A few days ago some friends, Mary and Chris, and I headed up for a free-climb jaunt on Moonlight.  It went pretty well over all for all.  A few falls for me but not more than a handful.  I will return!!
Baxter left and Buster arrived.  Buster (another Kmac'er) and I sussed out the first 4 pitches on Touchstone.  Then we ran over to Spaceshot, we soloed up the  first 3 pitches to have a better look.  Two days ago, Buster and I returned to Moonlight to give it a full lap.  Chris and Mary also returned on their quest to free climb, both getting really really close!  

Buster and I finished the route in 4:07…Buster’s first time!  Yesterday was a full attempt at Touchstone, we completed it in 3:21!  Super stoked!


Friday, April 12, 2013

Tips to Hips

On the road. 
One new adorable nephew, Henry.  Congrats to my brother and sister-in-law.  
One lost wallet scare...luckily just called the restaurant in Sedona where I left it.   
One snowy bivy near Flagstaff and 
Tons of amazing company and adventures packed into this week already!!!

I left the front range April 2nd with Randy the Forester,  packed for 2 months of adventure.  First stop, Indian Creek in a snowy push.  Great friends, some unexpectedly, were in the area.  I spent one joyous day elbow deep in the beautiful sandstone.  Our posse took over the Cliffs of Insanity.  I warmed up on MC's Hammer, followed by a quick and lovely lap on an unnamed 5.11 just to the left.  I googled at Broken Brain as Clay and I clumsily meandered our way to his climb of choice, Lobotomy.  

Clay digging deep!

So proud!!!  

He styled the lengthy off-width section quickly.  The 150 foot splitter quickly diminishes near the finish to fingers.  I top roped this climb, working on both my double fisting technique and a good grunt.  

My plan was to then attempt Broken Brain.  The first half of the climb starts as a not-easy finger crack before getting into a series of hand cracks through pods.  This puts you at the base of an awesome head wall, and one of the steepest splitters at the Creek. Go from good hands, to thin hands, to ring locks, to hard finger stacks, all a bit offset!!  I was exhausted from Lobotomy and honestly thankful that we didn't have the necessary 70 meter available.  Lazily, I hopped on another short unnamed 5.11, finishing just as the sun began its habitual bedtime ritual...tucking behind the North Six Shooter.  Returning this weekend to give it more than just a good look!  

The Pond, running for once!  
We all hiked out in darkness, lounged on the tailgate sipping the beer we had buried in the cool earth.  A quick bite and I was off to Durango.  

Chris with a big smile and blue duffel bag piled into Randy Friday afternoon.  We landed at my parents house in East Mesa shortly after sunset.  Saturday I woke early, excited to hit one of my favorite 4 mile runs.  This run has become a "gage of fitness" trail run for me over the years.  Surprisingly, I ran a personal best!!!

Afterward, we escaped the valley heat by climbing in Queens Creek at the Pond area.  Shade chasing was the name of the game at this sporty volcanic climbing area.  We climbed many pitches of 5.10, a few 5.11's and I hopped on a Desert Devil a 5.13a.  This climb is super steep with good edges and sadly some cemented holds.  I put together the lower moves quickly but was stymied after the 4th bolt or so.  Big move with right hand up then cross to a pocket with your left....not sure if that right hand hold was still there?  Fun to try anyway.  Video shows the moves...
Weaver's Needle from Fremont Saddle.  

Sunday, Chris and I adventured into the depths of the Superstition Wilderness area for a solo of Weavers Needle.  The 8 mile hike with about ~2800 total elevation change took us 4 hours CTC.  The class 5 climbing was very mellow, albeit typical Superstition chossy conglomerate.  We on-sighted the bushy approach, did no running and soloed both up and down.    
Anvil Boulders, Sedona

Monday the west was blanketed with bad weather.  We both tinkered away the morning inter-webbing and sipping bailey's and coffee.  As the clouds persisted, we settled on a lovely boulder session at the Anvil Boulders.  We scurried about the unique sandstone boulders, some splitter cracks, intermingling push-ups between problems.
In the afternoon I went on two rainy runs.  

Soloing Anvil Rocks

The first run followed a great single track trail for 5 miles around Courthouse Butte, outside the Village of Oak Creek.  The second run, feeling like I didn't get enough in, took me on a short loop and summit of Sugarloaf in West Sedona.  This town has some amazing trail systems I could get lost in!!! 

Wednesday the clouds finally broke and the sandstone was dry.  Through much discussion we settled on climbing the Mace.  A great choice!  Moderate climbing and fantastic summit.  The 3 dimensional chimney/off-width on the 4th pitch was really enjoyable!!  

Thursday we were back in Durango for a little work.  Breakfast was a 2000 meter swim, lunch was a fantastic yoga class on main street, and happy hour was climbing at East Animas,  6 pitches (and jugging two more).