Sunday, May 24

Lander Part 2

I'm sold. Wyoming kicks ass. I'm a huge fan. But, don't get me wrong- I rep Colorado hard! I love the Centennial State, and it will always be home, I'm not changing my license plate or nothing, but I am saying that Wyoming, kicks ass. Marisa and I went up to Lander this past week, in search of revenge after our spring break trip wound up getting the catastrophic snow dump.

I awoke Wednesday morning in a ray of sunlight, the Popo Agie (pronounced: pa-po-ja what? are you serious?) raging just behind me and the dolomite cliffs of Sinks Canyon hanging overhead. The weather was perfect all week, so we decided to go hard and not rest. Short and sweet we climbed all day three days in a row. Marisa and I both put in some good effort and left feeling fired up on our successes. I did a bunch of hard climbing that I am proud of and excited about, but I don't want to spray your head off so I will keep the send-talk to a minimum and share only a couple of my favorites.. 
'Busload of Faith' is a line that I had eyed on the left side of the Killer Cave when we were out here in March, but had not gotten a chance to climb on. Fresh off of doing 'Primeval' quickly I had Busload on the top of my list to try. Hard, off vertical boulder problems through crappy underclings, a mono and a fiery drive-by characterized this route. It is a brilliant line for sure and at 13d/14a I was stoked to send on my 2nd go. Another line I had eyed (who hasn't) before but not gotten a chance to play on was 'Endeavor to Persevere' 13c. Beginning with a ultra steep thuggish belly, like so many Sinks climbs, this route hits hard from the get go. After an initial boulder problem you find moderate rests throughout, in between awesome steep arete climbing in outer space- the position is rad. I tried hard for the onsight, but when you screw up your sequence in pockets, mostly you're just screwed. I fired on my 2nd go. Another rad climb was called 'Samsara' 13b, that takes the most direct line out of the steepest section of the cave, culminating in a crux boulder problem way the hell up there. Pockets for days, this climb goes on for what seems like 20 minutes.. Marisa will verify the time I'm sure. Perhaps the best line out of the steep cave- awesome, I climbed it onsight. Like I mentioned, I had a successful trip and the list goes on with hard routes mostly in the 4 star quality and up range- this crag is awesome. If you climb 5.13 a/b you will stay busy here for a while and I would bet you will find the climbing fantastic. And might I add that if you climb 5.11 you will stay just as busy with a plethora of great moderates. Marisa had some break through sends on the trip and got tired of waiting on a top rope, and thus started leading hard right out of the blue. Victories for all!

And about this seasonal snake migration thing? While the horror stories of thousands of snakes, jumping from the tops of the cliffs and chasing you down the trail are definitely not true, there were more rattlers up there than I have ever experienced before. On the last night, as we hiked out I was just telling Marisa that I was sorry she only got to see slaughtered snakes and no alive ones, when BOOM, right on the trail in front of me there was a rattler, all fired up and rattlin' its ass off. I experienced some adrenal gland secretion for sure, but we simply found an alternative route and let the beautiful snake do its thing. It was not in any hurry to attack us, it just wanted to be left alone- as they all do. 

On our last night we treated ourselves to a veggie burger at the Lander Bar, which is the quintessential after-the-redpoint spot to celebrate. All sun burnt, grimy and tired we crushed those french fries and hot sauce with the same ambition as we did the cliff.

It was short and sweet, but as it always does, a couple days felt like a week or two. I can't wait to head back next month and sample the other famous Lander crag, Wild Iris.. On a side note, all the locals and visitors we met were very cool. Locals happily shared info and Killer Cave link up secrets. Even the crag dogs were out to make friends, with which Marisa bonded nicely. Oh yeah, forgot to mention.. SHHHH!! don't tell your friends how awesome Lander is. 

Monday, May 18

prime evil

I've been busy.. In a feel good kind of way- and I'm feeling like its 'bout damn time to update the site. last week I decided to give the Primo wall in Clear Creak another chance and get my roped bouldering on (sometimes referred to as boltering). I had visited this crag once before a long time back and was disenheartened by the length and quality of the routes. But I kind of figured I didn't give it enough of a chance- I knew well that this cliff was rumored to pack a punch and anyone who has seen the topo knows it is STACKED with difficulty and sees hours of afternoon shade- which is really what drew me back. Well here I am 3 days of climbing later and I've got two busted-ass thumbs up.. this wall hits hard. Day 1 my buddy Ben Randolph and I checked out the classic 'Sucking My Will to Live' 12+, and I dispatched the sloper-technical masterpiece 'Public Solitude' 13b along with a more recent Hong-Damboise addition 'Squeeze Play' 13b/c. Both routes were enjoyable, but Public took the cake for jaw-dropedness. The two would warrant a little grade swap in my opinion (I found Public quite a bit harder than Squeeze). 

After day 1 at the Primo my girlfriend Marisa and I spent a few days searching for good climbing weather up in Estes Park but found nothing but subpar temps and howling wind.. oh except for the freakin awesome elk skull I found, and those countless ticks that we later found on one another after hours of new crag searching. 

Back in Boulder and I was soon thereafter heavily M.I.A. Had a nice dinner on Thursday with friends and then BOOOM, Thursday night I was up and violent-vomit. Friday I was basically dead, in bed all day and strugglin. Saturday I was feeling a little better in the stomach region, but otherwise still sick and nasty. Sunday I was 80-90% and eager to get back to the Primo on a fantastic sunny day so my dad and I headed out. Day 2 I took a crack at the intimidating, bouldery and proud 'Primeval' 14a, which to me, is definitely the most striking line at the cliff. Aesthetics of routes is always a highly motivating factor for me, and kind of essential on a harder route for me to get fired up. I gave a couple burns on Primeval and felt stoked, and tired, so I turned my ambitions down a touch and did a killer, steep and gymnastic climb called 'River Run' 13b. My dad put in some great effort on Sucking and we both left beat up and hungry- barely leaving strength for the uphill tyrolean. 

Day 3.. Today. Ben and I went back for a afternoon session on a freakin hot, but beautiful day. I was really excited to try and finish up 'Primeval' today and I'm stoked to say I did indeed. This climb is definitely not my style- short, bouldery and steep- but with incredible movement and delicate position, plus aesthetics and a little bit of history, there was plenty there to inspire. I'm really happy to get this climb in and get my momentum up before I head out for five days in Wyoming (and before the temps get any hotter- it was 90 today people!! a/c tonight?). Ben had a few full hearted burns on 'River Run' as well, falling from the last hold twice.. I finished with two other highly rated climbs, 'Flying Cowboys' and 'Pizza Dick'. Wicked day. 

Damn.. That felt like a lot to write up, hopefully you enjoyed your stay cause I can't offer you a time refund. Stay tuned for news from Lander - Sinks awaits!

Sunday, May 10

College Grad

It's official. I am a college graduate! Although the thorough impact of this has yet to sink in, I can say that I am very, very excited about the future and proud of my successes as a student. This is a major milestone in my life thus far and I am stoked to celebrate this transition as well as egger to begin my new life. I'd like to offer a big thank you to all my friends and family wishing me well and sending me love right now! But more on that later, lets talk rock scrambling. 

I got a taste of things to come this past week, getting out FINALLY and grip grabbing some real rock nearly everyday. Seth Lightning and I checked out this incredible Eldo boulder problem called 'The Heist' V12 a few days back (check out photo). Truly a proud find by Kevin Jorgenson- how did us front rangers allow him to grab this send?!?!? It's like, right there, yet you would have to be looking for it I suppose. The problem is KILLER. This thing is strange and difficult to protect, although you could step off anywhere- you could take some bad falls too. We did some great linkage on this 20+ move beast, but decided to save it for a cooler day and return with a little more foam. Absolutely killer problem though. 
A gaggle of us headed out to Clear Creek later in the week, a crag I have not been to in over a year or more. Dan Richelson aka Richelson Hommie was making progression on his proj- the amazing 'Anarchitect' 12d (pictured), meanwhile I was stoked to send this obscure little turd next to it, 'Chaos' 13a, that is actually worthy of a burn if you are in the area. Short with crimps- ultra reachy undercling move though- beware short folk!! For that day, however, I was focused and fired up to climb on two Clear Creek classics that I had somehow never been on, 'Twitch' 12d and 'Sonic Youth' 13a. I found both climbs to be very impressive, and offer an awesome contrast between one another. 'Twitch' is barley overhung, with a short crux that requires thin crimps and deadpoint strength, where 'Sonic' is sick steep and requires some burl and trickery throughout. I am stoked to have onsighted both classics- these routes had been on my list for a long while so doing them in good style is always a plus. Neely Quinn aka (insert funny / inspired nickname here) also made some progression on her project, 'Twitch' in direct sun, so surely she will piss on the climb next round. 

I have got some embarrassing photos from my graduation I will post up after I airbrush some imperfections out of them.. stay tuned. Happy Mothers Day ya'll!!

Wednesday, May 6

Take Off

Yesterday I happily turned in my final assignment as an undergraduate student at Naropa University. I feel much like I did when I was finishing high school, in that I have many opportunities to look forward to and much to be excited about. In the hopes to pursue a dream of mine (as well as prolong any additional responsibility), I set out to explore some fresh Earth terrain, gather a few more good stories and enjoy the potential that I (with the support of good friends and family) have built underneath me. Rock climbing has been a powerful motivation for this next step in my life and I am greatly thankful to the sport and community for that. Give yourself a high five! Hopefully I will have the chance to do it in person as I am planning travels and adventures near and far. I'm aiming to climb and travel as long as my pockets and my imagination will take me (with the superb aid of my sponsors). I realize that the opportunity before me does not often arise and thus I am intending to really go for it. Enter the stories of J-STAR, IN ORBIT!!!!

side note: J-STAR routes will still exist at the BRC, I'll be working hard on the ladder whenever I'm in town.. 

Tuesday was a hell of day to kick it all off as well. Seth Lytton (aka LIGHTNING) and I did a killer trifecta in Eldo beginning with the short and powerful Captain Crunch (13 a/b), a highly under-rated climb that demands some grunt and tricky beta. We then headed directly to the burly cave route, the Monument (13a), for a team flash. We finished the day with a run on Your Mother (12d), which I had done a couple times, but the exposure and high quality of this classic deserves plenty of repeats in my opinion. We also had a chance to check out a couple boulder problems that I have been interested in- stay tuned for these.. 

After crushing Eldo, I headed into my local grocer and crushed that place, stoked to get some real grub in my house after eating peanut butter and pretzels all through finals. Fueled and excited, I finished my first day of freedom with a ride up flagstaff and an amazing dinner with my lovely girl. Life is good!

Photo: Myself taking flight off of Sarchasm.