Friday, April 30

a little front range love.

First off.. BIG thanks to the community for coming out last night and making 'Colorado Burl Part 2' a huge success. Community events such as these are vital to our culture and an awesome opportunity to share inspiration with one another. Matt Wilder, Andy Mann and I are all super grateful to have had the chance to share some tales of Front Range burl and a taste of our passion with everybody.. and in exchange we shared a sh*t ton of loot and a keg of tasty brew!! (seems like a fair trade) Thanks to Neptunes for hosting such a cool event, our title sponsor ARCTERYX for swag galore, and Avery for enough I.P.A. to go around (a couple times). If you made it out, we hope you had a killer time.. if you missed it, keep your eyes out for an event near you! Colorado Burl might be going on the road.

120+ people!
'Arcteryx packs for $5 raffle.. WHAT?!'
In the spirit of the Front Range, I've been hiking into the Flatirons recently to check out a couple fresh routes I hadn't yet put down. My dad and I got out for a morning early in the week to check out a new addition to Dinosaur Mountain my buddies Matt Samet and Ted Lanzano put up last fall called 'Ultrasaurus'. Directly next to the also new classic 'Milk Bone' 13a, 'Ultrasaurus' 13b is a mega pitch that ascends bomber flatirons sandstone for a full 35meters. Standing at the precarious base of this climb, I racked up a healthy 15 quickdraws and took to this beast expecting a monumental flash pump. I quickly discovered that 15 draws was not enough, and I had to strategically skip 3 bolts to make my onsight- thankfully I'm into that kind of thing. Verdict? This route KILLZ! Super fun climbing for a long time, and a nice compliment to it's neighbor. Big props to Matt and Ted.

'Ultrasaurus' 13b Andy Mann Photo
Andy Mann Photo
Despite an impeding thunder storm, I urged the crew to wander up the hill to a sick little route I had checked out briefly last year. 'The Horn Project', aka 'Spitzelhorn', aka 'Der Horn' is the wildly overhanging, proud arete just a little left of the classic slab route 'Drugs' 11b up towards the top of Dinosaur Mountain. Ted and Matt bolted this crazy little route last year and after some attempts gave me a shot at it. In some depressing heat I managed all but one move, which proved really difficult to even try due to the final bolt position. A few weeks back Matt shot me an email and let me know they had moved the final bolt enough to allow for the sequence to be more properly worked.

The impeding thunder storm arrived with vigor just as we set up at the base of The Horn Project, but I did barely manage pull through and hang some draws before my belayer was soaked and ready to leave (sorry Dad!). A few days later I returned in crisp temps, not expecting much other than to get a sequence worked out. The new bolt position turned out to be perfect for working the crux moves although it would never be clipped on the go- In many ways this is a bolt protected boulder problem. It's not that it could be protected with pads, (not even for K Jorg!) but it's that you climb 30 feet of 5.11, clip, and then fire a 9 move, brutal crux sequence above your final bolt to a finishing jug. Finicky body position, precision dead-points and sharp flatirons crimps characterize this bouldery route. As soon as I got my sequence figured out I decided to lower to the ground and give it a proper effort. Second try I took the slightly terrifying fall from the final, sideways dead-point. Stoked, I lowered and gave it 5 min before roping up and clipping chains. Super stoked! More than anything, it means the world to me to be able to make a contribution to one of my favorite areas that's history has largely defined my pursuit. 'The Horn' is a great new addition, that will suit bouldery rope climbers well. I estimated a 5.13+ grade, although depending on one's preferences and/or abilities it may feel easier, or perhaps harder.. bottom line is that there is a new hard route in the Flatirons and I'm proud to be (partly) responsible! HUGE thanks to Ted and Matt for all the work and money they have invested in the Flatirons over the years, and for handing over such a kick ass route for my efforts. Andy Mann was there on the send taking some footage- stay tuned for a video short on my F.A. of 'The Horn'.

F.A. 'The Horn' 13+ Andy Mann Photo
While Paige fires through her final exams, I'm busy getting all set for our fast approaching and much anticipated road trip. Despite how much I look forward to trips, they always seem to sneak up on me. There comes a pivotal moment when I suddenly realize the imminence of departure, and for a second I'm overwhelmed with stress.. which quickly dissolves to excitement along with a furry of guidebook studying, beta soliciting and Internet image searching.. We've got 7 killer North American spots planned out, and we will likely add a couple along the way. First stop? The mighty Smith Rocks.. an American super-crag with a history unmatched. A number of the countries most transformative routes lie there, and many ancient test-pieces still bought the best of us. I've been dreaming of visiting Smith Rocks since I first started rock climbing, and this area has long captivated my attention despite it's current 'off-radar' position in the limelight.

We'll be there in under a week, and I couldn't be more stoked. After a couple weeks in Smith we are going to make our way north through the Seattle area (a spot I visited last summer and total fell in love with), carrying on up through Canada as the summer temps heat up. LaSportiva will be with us all along the way, posting some rad and unique content on their LIVE site as we *hopefully* crush everything in our path!

Our good friends at Primus generously hooked us up with some killer cooking gear to make the back of my Subaru a little more comfortable. I've completely geeked out over the Primus EtaExpress recently, clocking its lightning fast boil time (fastest on the market) and admiring its pack-ability.. avoiding the use of my range top stove at all costs.

EtaExpress makes it HOT
I'll likely get one more post off before we hit the road and then I'll be reporting from the field. If anyone has got advice, beta or suggestions on Smith or the North-West please feel free to post it up! Cheers!