Wednesday, January 25


A quick change of pace can be refreshing. Here, I'm referring to this past weekend's rain across Southern Nevada. Sure, it screwed up a couple days I could have trying my project, and rained out countless stoked individuals, but a little rain in the desert is actually quite nice. It's a nice change. 

And here I find myself in.... Tulsa?? Indeed! I'm setting routes on an Eldo Walls job this week. The crew is great, I enjoy the hard work and of course it also puts some good money in my pocket. While it was definitely very hard to leave Nevada given the awesome forecast and also my steady progress on the project, again, a little change can be nice.

I only got a couple burns on the route since last writing, but I'm making headway with every go. While it pissed rain on Arrow Canyon and Vegas alike this past weekend, I spent a handful of days training my ass off, non stop going through beta in my head. I can not wait to buckle down on this project and put it to rest, but it'll have to wait until next week when I return from Oklahoma. I feel like I've been climbing on this route for a month now, when in reality I've only had a chance to try it 7 times... definitely feeling my motivation building up to do this damn thing!!!

Chris Weidner in work mode
Zeke and Sammy

Lots of friends are stopping through Vegas this next week and through mid Feb. It will undoubtedly bring some wicked good times. Stay tuned...


Monday, January 16

Project Mode

We've spent much of the last week hiking through the walls of Arrow Canyon and wandering our way to the Swamp Cave and my project. It's rare that we exit this erie canyon in day light, we've become accustom to finding our way back to the truck in moonlight, or guided by headlamp.
I'm always fond of the relationship I develop with a cliff when projecting. A certain crag becomes something of a second home. I inevitably memorize a long list of details during the hike-- the landmarks, the views, the time in and out. Warm ups that once felt solid for the grade gradually become almost too easy. Here's where I set down my pack, here's where I escape to the sun at 1pm, etc. I think it's awesome, learning a crag so well. I can look back and almost taste the air of the crags I've spent days after days projecting at.

rock art in Arrow Canyon
Arrow Canyon is such a unique place. Quite intimidating at first, but now I've slowly started to develop a better relationship and understanding of the place. Despite how many days I've spent back there, I've only had a handful of attempts on this awesome project. Sussing beta and cleaning can be super time intensive, so up until now I've essentially limited myself to one go a day (sometimes forcefully because of waning sunlight), in large part to save the psyche of my belayer. However, these few attempts have proved to be very productive. On Saturday I did every move on the climb, and began to make links. Yesterday the process continued and my links both from low on the route and mid route are gradually expanding. 

It's a beast of a route. The meat of the climbing is only 70-80 feet but there is very little easy terrain. The angle gradually increases to a full on 45˚ at the upper crux. It's sick!

you can see my draws hanging in the shade out the cave
The climb: You begin with two short bolts of mid 5.11 on beautiful white flow stone to a jug and a clip. From here the first crux, and perhaps the hardest boulder problem on the route begins. Slippery holds, a sharp one and a half finger pocket and very delicate body position leads you to an explosive finish, ending with a good jug and poor feet. Rest. Here the angle changes and so does the rock. A bolt of dynamic albeit easier climbing takes you right into the upper business. The first boulder problem moves through a mono for both hands and into a tenuous gaston before a long and accurate move to a good three finger pocket. Here's your clip and now you enter the crowning boulder problem, and the redpoint crux, without rest. Eight hard moves take you through this mind bending, explosive and powerful finale. From here you escape the steepness and carry on through 13a terrain for 5 bolts to the anchors.

I've managed to link into the upper boulder problem, but honestly, I'm completely gased when I get there. The more I climb on it the easier it will undoubtably become, but for now it's feeling damn hard. It easily could be the hardest route I've ever tried... but it's always hard to tell with new routes-- finding sequences and testing beta always requires a lot of time and effort. Now that I've got my beta sussed I can approach the route with a new mentality-- no more funny business, time to climb this damn thing! 

Sunday, January 8

week one.

As to be expected, Vegas has served up a a little bit of everything in the last week. Bouldering, routes, training, hiking... we've camped, we spent a few nights on the strip, ate well and celebrated. It's fair to say that we got a pretty damn full spectrum of Vegas in during the last 8 days-- it's been awesome.

Last week I was stoked to have a look at Paul Robinson's boulder 'The Grande Hustle' V13, an alternative ending to an amazing V10 called 'Vigilante'. Surprisingly, Vigilante was basically bare of chalk, so after a little bit of confusion both finding that line and also spotting out the Grand Hustle, I managed to fire the V10 (once accidentally from one move in, and then again from the proper start) and chalk the holds for the hard version just before it was too dark. I think, however, from my brief time on the problem that it will be a great bouldering project for me -- close to home, perfect angle and holds for my preference. I'm stoked to give it some effort. 

The next day we took off for Arrow Canyon, an incredible limestone slot canyon adrift in the Nevada desert. I spent a day or two in this wicked landscape last year and remembered hearing rumor that there was a gnarly project somewhere in the canyon but didn't have a chance to look for it. I brought the full kit into the canyon with me and spent the better part of two days dangling on this rad route cleaning it up, chalking holds, and discovering this gnarly climb. I've not had a proper chance to give it any effort yet, but I'm guessing it's going to be heinous hard... barely there holds, steep angle, big moves.... So stoked to try it!

I've been polishing off my climbing days with some great training sessions at a community garage torture chamber that we refer to as 'Club Tread'. I'm super excited to have such a rad little place to train.. it's got essentially everything you'd need. I'm more ambitious than ever to take my climbing to the next level and for me, a steady training regiment is definitely a big part of that goal. 
While my girlfriend Marisa is visiting we also really wanted to soak up the strip and enjoy a good night out. We teamed up with our friends Natasha Barnes and Max Zolotukhin from San Fran. I've had some of my favorite nights in Vegas and this past weekend would certainly be on that list. This city is straight crazy. If you've never partied in Vegas I suggest you make a plan to. Enough said. 

Lastly, I put together a new gear review on my absolute favorite rope, the Maxim Airliner 9.1. This burly skinny rope is finally on the market and has proven itself to be the single best cord I've ever used over the last year. Have a look at a few photos, some specs and a more of my thoughts on the rope here. 

Hope everyone is enjoying their 2012 thus far!!