Thursday, June 17, 2010

It's been a while.....

I'm mostly adding a post here because I want anyone who stumbles across it to be aware of what we've been up to here in Minnesota.

After being repeatedly ignored, overlooked, and overrun by kids at our local climbing gym, we are starting our own gym/training facilty/co-op. If you want to know what that's all about, go here & read up! Get on the list of members! Or even better, get on the list of investors! Help us get this off the ground in whatever way you can! This is for the climbers, not the kids...not that serious kids who really want to climb will be excluded, we just aren't making a day care here.

So go to for all the info!

We'll be having a boulder comp on July 10th (11th if it rains) in our backyard to help sponsor the start up! So look out for that to posted on our coop blog as well!


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sawing to Sawmill

I was warned by Nic that there had been an ice storm up north, and that I would want to bring a saw. So I brought a collapsable camp saw & a small hatchet....I wish I had brought a chainsaw! What we walked into was a downed-tree travesty!

Chris Hirsch and I drove up Saturday afternoon, to avoid driving the 3 and a half our trip twice in the same day. Jim Merli would meet us at the boulders on Sunday. What Chris and I walked into was enough to scare Jim & Nic into going over the top of the dome the weekend before, verses hacking through the woven, twisted entanglement of fall tree tops. Just finding the trail was made difficult by the thorough devastation of 80 percent of the trees in the forest. Either their tops were broken off, large limbs were snapped, some left hanging, or the occasional completely uprooted tree. Work was made hard with crash pads on our backs. So we eventually dropped our pads, cut through a ways, went back and picked them up, hiked to where we could go no further, set them down again and resumed work. What is normally a 25 minute hike, became a 2-something hour tour de force of sawing, hacking and pulling full sized trees off the path.....ALL the way to the boulders.

I drank almost all of my water for the day before making it there.

Chris had aspirations to work Exodus on the backside of the dome, but as is often the case, the ending was soaked. So instead he put his sights to doing Absolution, a tall problem with a few broken holds & big move at the end. Well, big for anyone of a normal size.
I was on top of the boulder, cutting down the remains of a tree that was broken and hanging off the top, when I heard a smack on the rock behind me. Then Chris' head popped up. "Hey! Did you just do it?" I asked, being completely surprised by his hand & face. "Nah" He said topping out.

Nic had put up a new variation of this problem last weekend, starting from the right arete. Chris put that one down quickly too.

"Hey, has anyone done just the arete?" He asked...."No, I don't think so. You should! That would really piss off Nic!" Chris cleaned the line as he climbed it, pulling out a large chunk of rock from a seam halfway up, brushing out pockets & blowing off holds as he went.

After a couple tries he topped it out, naming it Dic Oblowjoba, after someone very special.

After that Chris started looking at possible lines going up the backside of the large boulder leaning onto Absolution, where The Juggernaut exits. He points out two really nice edges to start on. We scope out a couple more holds, brush them up, and then climbed the very fun new line we're calling Puffer Cheeks, after that same special guy.

It was my first FA. Yeah! As far as I can tell...the holds were all dirty, but that's not saying that it may not have already been climbed. We just don't know that it was. So I'm calling FA! FAAAA!
After that I started talking pictures of all of the boulders, to get something visual up on Mountain Project. Coming soon....
I shot all of the main area and then hiked and clear the path to the right area, with the large slab. We were on Back Slapper when we heard leaves crunching. We had heard that before and we disappointed by a squirrel....but this time it was Jim! We were starting to think he wasn't coming! He showed us a new line he put up on a boulder just below his Turnstile project. I finished shooting the area and we headed back to the main.
Jim and I threw our pads down under the Amateur boulder; me working the arete called Sticky Icky, and Jim on his insane sit start to his insane problem Amateur. Jim has only been climbing about a month since his (almost) 2 year hiatus away from climbing, and the bastard is just as close to doing the line as he was before!

I was feeling surprisingly strong as well, considering I spent the morning sawing trees.

I got to the sloping lip of Sticky Icky with only a few tries, only to find the sun staring me straight in the face!

Chris was nice enough to go up on top of the boulder and hold a pad in front of it as I worked it.
I had always been told that the hard part of that problem is the heel hook at the start. This has never been a problem for me, so I naively thought it would be over quick. Not so quick. Even with Chris blocking the sun for me, the top out if really hard! With no good right foot and the rock under angling away quickly, I pushed and humped and rolled off the top several times until my wrists were raw. Top-out shmop-out! Next time I'll nail it for sure.

The rest of the day I shot pictures of Jim on his line, a very satisfying thing in itself.

But after his fingers couldn't take the tiny holds anymore he sat down under Sticky Icky, "I wanna climb something today!"
To my inner delight he flailed a bit. He's always walking up my projects, so it felt good to see him having trouble on one of them. Sorry Jim! Finally he asked for my beta and sent it, but not before hanging out and humping the top out a bit too. I'm glad it's not just me! That top IS hard, Jim said so!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Between Frost & Melt Water

On a beautiful saturday @ 36 some degrees, Chris(Hirsch), Eric, Neil, Trinh & I went, um, sightseeing I guess.

We had aspirations to climb on some rock that is only workable when the St. Croix river is frozen. We started in Franconia, just down stream from Taylors Falls. Damn I want to buy that Scandinavian Chalete! What a cute collection of houses in that little glen. We hiked down the river, well frozen over, with about 6" of good snow, (as in NO slush). The wall which held the cave we were headed to came into view after a short 5 minute hike. The small nook in the bottom right of the wall is the "cave".

Josh Helke is supposedly the first ascender of the problem that works from the back of the cave straight out the edge of the roof.

Nic O(god I'm gonna spell this wrong) Oklobzija(?) did another line starting under the roof, going out & up the wall, dropping off at the first large jug you encounter. Josh's goes @ about a 7, and Nic's at a 9. I'm not sure of the names of these lines, so someone help me out here...

You'll notice the while frost all over the underside of the roof. Beneath the cave was an unexpected pool of about 2" of water. Damn! "Drink up everyone!" I exclaimed, until someone pointed out the several dead bats frozen into the ice.

We studied the lines. I hiked around a bit, hoping to scope out something else, but didn't find a thing. Chris & I were both psyched about a crack starting to the right of the cave & swirving up above it. I might have put on a harness, had we come equiped for that sort of thing.

Directly across the river is another great face at the edge of the river. This one Chris & Alex visited last summer by kayak before she headed off to Colorado. Today it was grey & supremely contrasted by the frost over the entire wall. You could make out every micro crimp & feature on it. But again, no climbing today.

The water is apparently pretty deep right in the "drop zone" of the cliff face, so we've put it off until summer, when we can return with a depth finder & really check it out. There is usually a sand bar right in the middle of the river across from it, so you could swim to the wall & climb it barefoot. We also began invisioning a Huck Finn style raft covered in pads, to paddle around to these walls. Kris, um, you're supposedly building this for us.

We headed back to the car, encountering some snow-shoers who of course inquired about "those things on our back". We drove to Taylors falls to walk the river there. Again, a lot of fun looking lines in a not so climbable state. I walked up stream, almost to the bridge, to scope a line I look at everytime I cross the river to Wisconsin. Very often the landing zone is under water, and I've never seen ANYONE climbing on it, though it is supposedly in the guide book. I checked it from the top. There was a huge landing zone exposed by the low water level. Plenty of room to land AND have a crowd watching. I can't wait until fall, when the river will be low again, and frost will not cover it.

So back to the gym with us for now...baahh!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

God Damn!

Well, things could be going better for me...but they aren't. I've had about 3 days to climb, the rest I've spent laid up in my room, with my right intercostal, (rib muscle torn). I tried to go up to the Buttermilks with everyone yesterday, just to take pictures and hang out, but the cold just provoked the snot factory inside me and made me cough too hard again. I felt the right rib tear. Kris had to drive me back down to the room because it hurt to stand, pick anything up, and breathe. As soon as I feel better, something new pops up to smack me back down. My pessimism is at an all time peak.

Eric, Trinh & Mike showed up a few days ago. I spent 1 day in the Happies with them before my curse returned. Kris just left to drive Mike back down to Vegas to fly home. Joel & Erin are headed back up to the happies today with our dogs. Hopefully that's not too much for them. Crazy has totally warmed up to Joel, at last! The whole time Erin lived with us she cowarded away from him. A few apple cores and some other treats have fixed that!

I don't have much to say about climbing right now...since I haven't been climbing, but I'll post a bunch of pictures I've taken. They can probably speak better for the trip than I can...I'm just bad-mouthing it....stupid Bishop....stupid body....damn, I MUST be old now! I've been sick since I turned 30 and it sure doesn't look like the year will end any differently. I did see that it was in the 40's at Taylors the other day though, so I hope all you back home are enjoying your warmth! Maybe if I can do something here again I'll make another post, but right now, I wouldn't count on it!

Many more pics to it's off to the hot springs! Hopefully....

Monday, December 22, 2008

Back in Bishop Again

After a record time of 25 hours and less than 70 bucks in gas, we rolled into town, Kris with a new cold, and me with a pulled/torn intercostal, (upper side rib, under my arm) from restricted movement for 25 hours and still violently coughing up the remainder of my plehgm. Regardless, we climbed--not the first day, we were smarter than that this year...but after a nights rest we headed to the sun-filled hillside of the Buttermilks.

We started out on the Ironman, to try to start building skin and wake up the muscles. After we decided it was just too hot sitting under that highly reflective oblong rock slice, we walked down to the Tut boulder. Not sure of the separation of holds between Funky Tut & King Tut, we did some fun combination of both.

Around the corner from the Tut problems is Milk the Milks. Erin and I both got psyched on this when we decided to disregard Joel's reachy, slippery-foot beta and heel-hooked the shit out of the start hold to gain the good crimp above. The sloper holds at the finish we snowed over, so we still need to go back to bag this one, but I'm happy to do that!

We hiked over to the Mandala for Joel. I said 'hello' to an old friend, Pope's Prow, getting higher up than most of the guys trying it. When will they learn to SLOW DOWN? I fell at the same spot again and again, just like last year. However, some new beta from Nic the next day made me get super optimistic! Now to put it to the test...whenever the cold and snow recedes again from the hillside.

Our first two days here were really warm and great, but yesterday it got cold, and last night it snowed. So now I'm in the coffee shop trying to fill in the events from the last few days.

Wu Tang Dave and his girlfriend Anna came into town yesterday and climbed at the Buttermilks with us. I got there later, stopping by the emergency room to try to address the stabbing pain coming from my side. Climbing makes it feel better...then, that night it feels worse. Through a treatment of Tylonol, Advil, and Turumodal,(something like that) and an Icy Hot patch I am finding comfort....I mean numbness. As long as it doesn't hurt when I'm climbing I don't care how much damage I cause...I'll worry about that when I get home. I'm not willing to sacrifice my climbing to pain...unless it REALLY hurts. Lucky for me, there IS an acupuncture place in town...phew!

The clouds are parting now, and the sun is coming out. Most of the snow in town is melted or well on it's way. Hopefully by midday we can head out to he Happies. Eric, Trinh & Mike Simon have most likely landed and are driving from Vegas now. I'm super phsyced to get Trinh on some REAL rock! She's gonna crush! AAAND I can't wait to play, "Love it or Hate it" with Simon. Kris can't wait to wish his jewishy friend a Happy Haunuka!

This weeks' weather doesn't look great, but I'm holding on to the optimism that we are in the mountains, and the weather is not predictable up here. We'll see...

PS, forgot my power cord in the motel--computer dead...will add pictures soon...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Governor Dodge State Park...a long, long time ago...

Once, a long, long time ago...last Labor Day a state Wisconsin...named after a Governor...whos name was Dodge...and there was sandstone...Yes, there was sandstone...

We started out on the B2 bluff, through an occupied and unfriendly campsite, (I recommend estabishing a path NOT through the campsite, possibly left of the outhouse.)

This was an intresting little guy we noticed around the park. It's probably asain & intrusive, as all wildlife and foliage I come across and find unique and intriguing, is usually a devistatingly intrusive species.

This is Sandstone Violence that can be seen with less sun/shade contrast on Neil's blog. He also has a really nice video of Nic sending it.

Here's Hirsch making a something tall look rather small...

Moment it time...Pi falling on his kidney trying Illusions of Paradise. I've accumulated quite a collection of pictures of Pi hitting the ground. Someday I'll make a book.

The Godfather Boulder was sweet! Tall, free-standing, and featuring a perfect line right up the middle. Perfect!

And it comes with a perfectly place tree down-climb. Not so great when you're wearing shorts though...

Pi got a little something in his butt...

This was my second day climbing after taking a 3 week break from climbing, coupled with intensive acupuncture & chiro for a really tweaked up elbow. It was pain free for me that weekend, but EVERY muscle in my body was aching from unuse...I dropped off the top of this boulder a few times, always to pumped to top out. I'm psyched to go back and flash it next time.

I didn't even try this has a really high jump start that you jump to off of a little ledge, up and left to the holds.

This is Secret Agent Man, or something. Chris Hirsch set out to re-climb it after a hold was broken. After a warm up run to set the draws, he sent it with effortless style. 5.13 something.
There you go Chris...I finally loaded your pictures!