Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A couple of links

Here's a couple of TR's I posted earlier this year on Enjoy!

Texas Hold em to Lone Star V 11c
Blake Herrington breaching a giant roof on the finishing pitch of Texas Hold Em

I looked down!

Picket Range - Complete Enchainment Attempt
Jens Holsten climbing into the sunset high on The Rake
Living the dream in the North Cascades

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Goals for the New Year

Happy Holidays everyone! It's been way too long since I blogged, life as a nursing student/climber/landlord/husband is busy... but that's no excuse. I apologize to my readers and I'll put an end to my online absence right now.

Summit of Liberty Bell. Photo: Max Hasson
I climbed a few FA's this summer that I have not reported. They were exciting adventures that I will recount here or link to here in the near future so stay tuned for those.

Forging ahead on new ground high on the West Face Wall, Mt. Stuart. Photo: Jens Holsten.
Currently I'm layed out on the couch (during xmas break...HARSH). As such I've got plenty of time to think about the future. I'm preparing my current training plan for 2012 and as should be the start of any training plan i will begin with my goals.

Preparing to stare down the devil in Terror Creek. Photo: Blake Herrington.
Last year was a busy one. Year one of nursing school is particularly brutal as the learning curve is very steep. My training plan failed miserably in the wake of an exceptionally taxing spring and summer quarter. While I did accomplish a number of goals in the alpine, my rock skills took a severe beating and I felt like I ended the season much weaker then I started. This list is intended to keep me focused and motivated on the smaller stone throughout the next year. I chose 7 climbs in 5 of my favorite disciplines:

***Climbs in red font have been SENT!

Premium Coffee V7 - 5/20/12
Zorro Sit Start V8 - 5/31/12
Was V8
Batman V8
Jerry Garcia V8
Mushashi V9
Superman V10
The Practitioner V11

No Such Thing as a Free Lunge 11+ Castle Rock, LTown - 4/10/12
Full Model Worker 11+ Index - 7/14/12 - Flash
Shirley 11+ Lower Town Wall, Index
Stevens Pass Motel 11+/12- Midnight Rock, LTown
Iron Horse 11+/12- Lower Town Wall, Index
Shriek of the Mutilated 12- Lower Castle Rock, LTown
Squeak of the Humiliated 12- Lower Castle Rock LTown
Narrow Arrow Direct 12+ Lower Town Wall, Index
Supercrack 12+ Midnight Rock, LTown

Even Steven 11-, Index, WA. Photo: Dave Elder
Appassionata Sonata 12a/b Jigsaw Wall, Vantage
Little Jupiter (medium) 12bThe Country, Index
Technorigine 12c World Wall, Little Si
Propaganda 12c World Wall, Little Si
Jugulator 12c The Sanctuary, Vantage
Ruthless 12d Drip Wall, LTown
Heart Transplant 13a Main Cave, Nason Ridge - 5/14/12

Lowland Multi-Pitch
Iconoclast to Edge of Space 11- Snow Creek Wall, LTown - 5/25/12
East Face 11+ Bridge Creek Wall, LTown
Japanease Gardens Full 11++, Lower Town Wall, Index
University Wall 12- Squamish, B.C.
Wildest Dreams 12 Upper Town Wall, Index
Good Girls Like Bad Boys 12 Upper Town Wall, Index
The Green Dragon 12+ Upper Town Wall, Index

Jens Holsten and I wondering, "where do we go from here?" Bridge Creek Wall. Photo: Max Hasson
Alpine Rock
Project X
Project Y
Project Z
Tooth and Claw (rebolt and free) 12- Lexington Tower
The Independence Route 12-R Liberty Bell
Let it Burn 12- CBR
The Tempest Wall Free 12+ CBR

Wide-eyed, Freedom Rider, Liberty Bell. Photo: Aaron Scott
It's unrealistic to think I'll climb them all this season, but it's nice to consolidate some goals. I hope this gets everyone psyched to crush. 2012 is right around the corner, let's make it a good one!

Thursday, August 4, 2011


There is no doubt that the  alpine rock climbing season in the Cascades (roughly mid-june to mid-september) is my favorite time of the year.  Three months to send all the routes i've been daydreaming about, drolling-over, visualizing, and ultimately obsessing on through the long dark winter. Of course, I never climb them all, but there's no doubt I try!

This year i'm deep in the throes of a 2-Year RN program (it's great!), and subsequently find myself with very little freetime (and very little sleep).  Nonetheless, I do what I can do, and found myself booting up the ever familiar Colchuck Lake Trail on  a mild June day, less that 24 hrs after walking out of my Final Exam for a particularly brutal Spring Quarter.

First up on the plate for this season was a climb of the neo-classic Acid Baby, on the Spineless Prow near Aasgard Pass. It's a good warm-up for the year, with a reasonable approach, slightly BURLY  10+ crux, easy descent, and lots of beautiful positions and scenery. This year I teamed up with fun-guy Joel Kauffman for the seasons first romp. 

Starting us off for the day

Joel psyched up for the crux on Pitch 2

Pitch 3 is a wee bit chossy...

 ...but still really fun.

It really starts coming together on Pitch 4 

Alpine Bliss

The finale is a classic knife-edge ridge traverse...

The season begins!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

East Face of Bridge Creek Wall

Earlier this spring Jens Holsten and myself made an attempt on the East Face of Bridge Creek Wall.  For the past couple of seasons we've been looking to BCW to serve up adventure, and it always seems to deliver.

Jens Holsten getting psyched to free the Nose Route, October 2010:

The East Face is a 7-9 pitch route  put up in 1984 by hardmen Jim Yoder, Bob Vaughn, and Gordon Briody at 5.10+ A2.  The route has been reported to have  gone free at 11+ and we were lured in by guidebook reports of ferocious liebacking, overhanging chimneys, and the mythical "Astroman Pitch."

Jens had tried to climb the route once before with local climber Dan Cappellini. Perhaps classic to BCW, they missed the route, and inadvertently completed a different line. In the process sending a probable first ascent, all-free, onsight and ground-up. Nice job guys!!

A large mudslide in Icicle Creek Canyon forced us to begin this venture on bikes:

Though BCW is guarded by an arduous 3,000 ft approach, the views and excitement for the day always seem to wash away the misery of one of the longest slogs in Ltown.

The one and only, Bridge Creek Wall:

Choose your own adventure:

As soon as we rounded the corner to the wall we began to sense, that for this season, we had arrived a bit early.  The descent was still shrouded in snow, and a thousand ft above us, we could see some blocks of ice, shimmering in the sun, and clinging precariously to the upper wall. Nonetheless, for some reason (ignorance mixed with optimism and  a tad bit of OCD?) we continued on.

Rackin up:

and starting out:

We followed the vague description of our topo to the best of our abilities and ended up beneath the closest thing we could call a V-slot, this beast:

Dirty as hell, awkward and loose, BCW was starting to deliver.

The going was kinda slow but we were making progress. A short pitch of flakes and another long traverse pitch put us directly under the cleft that defines the East Face route. The climbing looked to get even better so Jens eagerly launched off into what appeared to be the business of the route.

Unfortunately for us, our luck had come to an end (or was it just beginning?) and the ice blocks above parted from their winter nest, crashed onto the wall a couple hundred feet above us, and littered the belay with thousands of ice chunks.

Jens, shielded from the majority of the ice fall by the steep climbing, quickly called down to see if I was alright. Which I was. Immediately, we began our descent. But not before being hit once more by another barrage of ice. Yikes!

As you can see from the next photo the descent was super chill and there was no loose rock at all (just kidding!!):

While we've tried to get back up there, the rigors of nursing school, and a generally very busy spring, may have delayed the E Face until next season.  Nonetheless, it was adventure we were seeking, and adventure we got served. BCW always delivers.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hyped on Hyperspace

Sorry it's been so long folks. While i've done lots of different climbing since I last posted, most recently, Jens Holsten and myself made a Sunday run up Hyperspace on Snow Creek Wall.

Hyperspace is a 7-8 pitch 11a that takes the burliest line up SCW.  Years ago I had climbed the route with good friend Tyree, surprisngly, Jens had never been up the route and was eager to give it a burn.   A cool and cloudy Sunday found us with the wall all to ourselves.

Highlights include taking the psycho whipper on the Psychopath (twice!) when I botched the sequence, and watching Jens send a dripping wet Pressure Chamber onsight.  Yeah buddy!!

Remeber that nice campspot right by the creek crossing? Well, it's been obliterated:

The Psychopath!

Jens looking down from 1/2 way up the Pressure Chamber:


The last pitch (so cool!):

Hope everyone's having a great spring and making it outside.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A little training motivation.

The snow continues to come down in Leavenworth.  Thoughts of dry local rock have been replaced with rooster tails of deep powder, steep chutes, and cliff drops.

While i'm not really complaining (and packing up to go tour right now),  I am currently stuck between two sports.  Too entranced with the powder to stop riding, but with an impending spring break trip to Red Rocks to hook up with my good friend Blake Herrington, too disciplined to stop training for the rock.  So for now I do it all.  A half day tour balanced with a study session, some plastic pulling, a ring workout, and perhaps a bit of campusing.

In an effort to provide a little motivation to myself and my readers, here is a video shot and edited by my neighbor Mike Tremberth last fall.  I am featured in the video climbing a fun V7 at the JY Boulders called Nosebleed.  Also in the video is some footage of Kyle O on The Strainer, a challenging V9 that I pulled off last fall as my first problem of the grade (it must be an V8!!!).  Hope you enjoy and don't stop training folks, climbing season should be just around the corner....

Leavenworth Bouldering Fall 2010 from Mike Tremberth on Vimeo.

And for those who need some motivation to get out and ride, another great video by Mike:

Untitled from Mike Tremberth on Vimeo.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Reality Check

With over a foot of fresh snow in Leavenworth its hard to believe that we were climbing dry sunny rock just 8 days ago.

Jens warming up on Tubbing in Der Ritterhof (11a) at Rattlesnake Rock:

Kyle on the cliff classic, Rock and Rattle (11c):

3 perspectives on The Rib, a classic V4 at the Carnival Boulders.
Drew starting up:

 Jasmine looking solid:

 Geoff getting close:

For now we kill pow, but I gotta say that dry granite sure felt good...