Thursday, June 30

nothing like a good photo

I did a quick interview with climbing magazine about one of my recent new routes in Washington, and Andy Mann submitted this killer photo of the crux section - had to post it. Enjoy!
'New World Order'
After one more day of frenzied packing, moving and some brutal training on plastic, I'm off to climb with seemingly everyone in Wyoming.. it's gonna be a party I think! can't wait to get back on the road.

Tuesday, June 28

Mazama -

This country is freakin' huge... I'm always amazed at how long you can barrel down the highway, zooming through all kinds of landscape and small towns - for hours upon hours - without ever seeing a state line. Driving home from Mazama, WA was probably the longest solo drive I've ever embarked upon, and somewhere around the 11 hour mark I started going a little crazy. I think I listened to country music radio for nearly 2 hours straight through Southern Montana. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a few country tunes when I'm cruising through the wild west, but 2 hours? I was stoked to discover that my stopping point - Billings, MT - was experiencing record levels of tourism due to a fun filled weekend of war reenactments, monster truck rallies and car shows. After searching for an available room after midnight, I paid way too much for a sub-par hotel. Thankfully before too long I was back on the road, polishing off another 9 hours early in the morning... arriving back to Boulder just in time for a quick gym session and an evening at Sherpas Restaurant.
Before my epic drive, I spent a few days hanging out with a few of the Arcteryx crew, capturing some video and stills around Seattle and checking out the Rockfest in Mazama, WA. I did a couple new to me 5.13's at Equinox and at the Fire wall in Mazama... a beautiful spot on the east side of the Cascades.

I contemplated sticking around the NorthWest for another few days, but given that I'm off to Wyoming this coming Saturday, I figured I better visit Boulder - work a couple days, finish moving out of my place and share a few beers with some friends I might not see in a while. I'm planning to pack some training in too, although I might end up poolside considering the back-to-back 90 degree forecasts. Excited to be on the road again.

Wednesday, June 22


Just dropped homeboy Andy Mann off at the airport after hanging out and shooting some photos and video over the last few days. We put in a long day dangling off of Little Si yesterday in some pretty dang warm temps, but the footage of 'New World Order' looks amazing. Andy's film making has really grown up over the last couple years as he's focused more and more on video alongside photography projects. I'm psyched to see what he does with the clips we gathered here in Seattle, but in the meantime, I'm enjoying this awesome piece that we did back in March on the Virgin River Gorge - proudly presented by my rope sponsor Maxim Ropes (have a look at their brand new website). I love seeing this fresh look on an American classic, Necessary Evil, along with other VRG test-pieces.

After ten days of hanging out and climbing in Seattle, I was finally fettered by rain and wet conditions this past weekend - I feel quite lucky actually, part of me was expecting to get a few dry climbing days in total. To remain psyched I checked out the brand new, humungous Seattle Bouldering Project and had a rowdy session at the classic Vertical World.

Thankfully, even with a couple wet grips I managed to finish off an incredible project at Equinox - a proud extension to a burly 13a called 'Black Magic'. It features powerful moves on thin holds highlighted by a truly incredible finishing boulder problem, and offers essentially no opportunities for rest. I'm naming the extension 'Voodoo' and suggesting 14b for the grade based on other routes at the cliff - it's a sizable step up. Huge thanks to local hardman and developer Kimmo Nissinen for giving me the green light to take down this pitch... it's a killer line.
Bret learns about Hi Fructose Corn Syrup... the hard way
Andy gets fired up on a rapid paced Banana Slug
Now I'm starting to think ahead about my plans for July and about that 20 hours of driving I've got on the horizon... not super psyched. I'll spend a couple more days hanging around lovely Seattle before heading back to Colorado very briefly to finish moving out of my place, set a few routes at the BRC and get prepared for the International Climbers Festival in Lander!

Friday, June 17

New World Order

I've been very much enjoying myself here in Seattle. Just as I remembered, it still remains one of my favorite cities in the World - beautiful, clean and dynamic. I admire Seattle's friendly, green neighborhoods just minutes from a bustling downtown and the city has done an excellent job of building and maintaining parks all over. On a *rare* sunny day, Seattle is an amazing place to be. If the weather was better, I could easily see myself living here.
Zeke and his buddy Lupin are a rowdy bunch
Thankfully, the weather has mostly been cooperating - giving me the opportunity to put down my project at Little Si. As I described in my previous post, this humongous pitch extends an old Erik Kubiak test-piece called 'Whore of Babylon' 14b, which has seen only a couple repeats itself. After climbing the majority of WOB, including it's v10 crux, you continue into the meat of 'Lost Horizons' 14a, ending some 45+ meters above the deck. I finished the route this past Tuesday, it was my third day on the route, and my fifth try total. I finished off the day by doing 'Lost Horizons' for reference. Originally I presumed that the route could be 9a, but after finishing the climb so quickly I've settled with solid 14c. I'm calling the route 'New World Order'. An amazing climb and an endurance test-piece to rival most anything at the Red... come and get it!!!!
Andy Mann Image, circa 09.. one of many cruxes on New World Order
On Wednesday we returned to Little Si in some unfortunate rain. I decided to try the shorter (and slightly different) version of a route that I did last year - Extended Evil's little brother 'Dr Evil' 14a. With humidity at a staggering high, I was psyched to manage my way up this brutally crimpy route.

Yesterday I finally got to revisit Equinox, a crag I only got to spend one day at two years ago. I focused on a very cool open project the adds some intense difficulty to the top of 'Black Magic' 13a. I was psyched to find tiny grips the whole way up this 40 foot headwall - with very little opportunity to open your hands or catch any rest. After a few promising burns, we called it a day.... VERY excited to head back after some rest.

Homeboy Andy Mann arrives tomorrow to take stills and capture some video... stay tuned for some sports action! In the meantime have a look at an image gallery from my Vegas trip that just went live on the Climbing Magazine website.
Lastly, get your tickets now for the year's best climbing festival - the International Climbers Festival in Lander, Wy!!! I'll proudly be keynote speaker at this year's ICF - teaching two days of clinics and showing off some killer photos and video from the Red, Smith Rock, Vegas and of course the Northwest! July 6-10, BE THERE.

Monday, June 13


I've been pretty dang psyched on the Seattle scene since I first visited here 2 years ago. The local climbing is remarkably good, the food is great, the people are awesome and the city is fun. I've loved returning to Sea-Town whenever possible.

Thankfully last fall, my homeboy Bret Johnston kindly reminded me of a long-standing Eric Kubiak project at the choice local cliff, Little Si. This route was originally the primary goal of this trip, but poor weather diverted me to lovely Smith Rock for almost a week - obviously not at all bad thing. Now that the rain has finally quit, I'm up in Seattle, ambitious to get this incredible project done.
beautiful northwest...
beta photo - click to enlarge
It's a massive extension to Erik Kubiak's bouldery 'Whore of Babylon' 14b. After climbing through the majority of this mega line, you break left to join 'Lost Horizons' 14a/b at a decent rest just before it's ~23 move continuous crux, finishing with 35 feet of 12- climbing to the top of this huge wall. I have to lower twice with my 80meter rope. It's pumpy, massive and of super high quality. I'm very stoked on this rig.

Yesterday was my second day on the route and I made some great links, climbing through 'Whore of Babylon' and into the upper crux from the ground. After some beta refinement, I managed to link from the top of the first crux to the summit. I can't wait to piece this epic pitch together!

Thursday, June 9

Just Did It

Smith is a really special place - unquestionably one of the greatest crags in America. Towering walls dramatically rise above the Crooked River, huge raptors zig-zag the sky and sun-bathing snakes line the hillside. The scenery and hang at Smith are amazing. The climbing is honest; old school bolting ethics and an unforgiving technical style characterize this world class crag. Climbing well here takes experience that one can't acquire in a gym - it's bold, perplexing and at times seriously heinous.... It's awesome!!

Needless to say, I'm a Smith Rock fan, so it was only natural that I give myself an opportunity to try one of it's most impressive climbs, 'Just Do It' 14c. I got to try Just Do It once last year when I visited for two weeks in May. Unfortunately my effort was in the direct sun, and proved to be mostly worthless accept for the fact that I did get my draws hanging on this 18 clip masterpiece.

I was thrilled to find that my draws remained when I hiked to the Monkey Face last Thursday. I got one burn in, ticking some feet and learning the sequences - pleased to find that the route felt quite a bit more reasonable in the shade of the late afternoon.

Tyler Roemer Image

Just Do It is a monster of a rock climb. It begins with an in-your-face delicate edging sequence that features some of the most finger taxing crimps I'd experienced at Smith. After 5 bolts the route allows a good shake before passing a strenuous section of blank rock via a powerful undercling, shallow mono and a crucial foot smear - this sequence brings you to the end of the lower section and the first set of anchors. Here you relax in a great rest before entering into the upper purple rock, and the routes crux. A few bolts of pumpy 5.12 climbing lead to a brief rest before a very bouldery crux - a few difficult lock-offs followed by a huge span, and a successive 10 move boulder problem takes you to the top.

A bend local, and impressive photographer, Tyler Roemer came out with me at a moment's notice to capture these rad photos of 'Just Do It' - have a look at some of his other varied and interesting photography on his website.

I was psyched to get this beast down to a one-hang on Sunday, and had high hopes for our next day out. Unfortunately, my dog Zeke had a little too much fun chasing the horses out on the ranch, and he wound up getting kicked pretty good. He seemed to be okay but by Sunday night he was in a bunch of pain so we made an emergency trip to Bend to the 24hr Vet. They hooked him up with some meds and checked out his wounds, but we didn't make it to sleep until 4am - I figured Monday would be little more than a active rest day.

Thankfully, it only took a single scoop of coveted Huckleberry ice cream to convince Marisa into giving me a belay late in the afternoon, and to my surprise, I sent! It was such a rad experience being back on the Monkey and trying this route - on colder days it felt pretty isolated back there. As for the grade: It took me six tries to finish this rig, but given the shear amount of difficult and varied climbing on Just Do It, I'd say it felt 14c to me - albeit a soft one.

feeling especially cowboy, thanks to the hospitality of my homeboy Greg Garretson

Now we've swiftly moved on to the next spot - lovely Seattle... A city I've really fell in love with over the last few years. I'm stoked to be here and can't wait to get out climbing!

Friday, June 3


Somehow I had convinced myself that the drive from Boulder to Bend, OR was 16 hours.. so when we stopped off in SLC to visit with our good friends Leif and Lindsay Gasch, naturally we took our time, had a killer breakfast at the Park Cafe, strolled around Whole Foods and chatted it up - assuming that at 8 hours, we were half way there. Well, unfortunately my recollection was slightly off - by about 4 hours. Needless to say, Wednesday was a surprisingly (*disappointingly) long haul.
I had a ball running in the Bolder Boulder 10k with tens of thousands of
enthusiastic runner types last week. It's pretty fantastic people
watching, and it's always fun to take part in such a huge event.
myself and Zeke.. determined to get there.
flood zone in Burns, central Oregon
country love
We pulled into our buddy Greg Garretson's country home quite a bit later than expected. We made it though - and we were rewarded with minimal crowds and a shockingly cool day for June 1. Marisa got her first delicious taste of the incredible volcanic tuft that is Smith, and I finally got to revisit the Monkey Face, where I pleasantly discovered my draws still danglin'. Hopefully this unseasonably cool weather continues, so I can 'Just Do It'!!