Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Road Trip Continued

Okay, so Yosemite served up a HUGE portion of Humble Pie, much like it always does. Free climbing El Cap is HARD work, and I don't know if I was fully prepared for it. But in the end, getting sick to the point of vomiting and temperatures in the 30s prevented us from doing any free climbing, and forced a hasty retreat from 22 pitches up the wall. Oh well, the big stone isn't going anywhere, so I can come back again next year!

It was then off to Smith Rocks for the American Mountain Guides Association Annual Meeting. I managed to squeak in a few days of climbing before and during some meetings and trainings, and even got to tick some classic Smith Rock's routes, including Toxic and Chain Reaction.
Smith Rocks at Sunset

The Classic 11b Toxic

Classic Smith Views on the warmup

Trying to figure out the beta on The Quickening 12c/d

All in all, it was an amazing event to support the non-profit AMGA, in furthering their cause on training and certifying guides in the should read more about the AMGA, and if you do hire a guide always try and hire one that is certified and/or trained by the AMGA.

At the last minute the keynote speaker bailed (it was supposed to be Jack Tackle) and yours truly had to step in and give a presentation on climbing in Squamish and my alpine trip to the Adamants this past summer (which I blogged abit about here). Free flowing beer aided my cause, and my 2 hours of prep time proved to be more than enough to really get together a pretty good show, or so I thought. Lots of videos, great pics (from friends who know how to use a camera) and some hopefully funny self depricating stories all added up to a good time. The same night also had a silent auction and raffle raising thousands of dollars for the AMGA. There were also 2 days of clinics on all sorts of great topics. Next year the event will be in Moab, UT so make yourself available to check out this fun event.

After the meeting was done I left Smith to pick up my wife in Yosemite. We jumped right back in the car and clipped some bolts and soaked in some hot springs in Bishop for a few days. Feeling the need for more crack climbing, we have now relocated for a 2 weeks in Indian Creek. I will keep you posted on the good times had down here in the red desert!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fall Road Tripping - Part 1 El Cap

Okay, so I have been a slacker with blogging. September came and I actually had to work a bunch. Well if you call teaching a bunch of keen 20 year olds how to climb in Squamish and the Coast Mountains Work, then so be it. But it was all in the name of 3 months of no work and all play before the winter snows have me pounding out the vertical on the skis.

Part 1 of my journey has taken Jasmin, my wife, and I down to Yosemite, where we are just super psyched to climb as much as possible. After a few days of cragging, we decided that what we really want to do is get up on El Cap again, but this time with no aiders, trying our best to free climb it via the route 'Freerider'.

Freerider is no walk in the park, and it checks in at around 30 pitches, with most being hard 5.10 to hard 5.12. Neither of us are expecting to send it on this trip, but we both want to check it out to see if it is possible to ever do the unimaginable: free climb the most iconic big wall in the world. It has always been a dream of mine, and will likely be a multi trip endeavor but who cares! It will be a lot of fun trying!

But free climbing big walls is HARD work. Day one we climbed the first 10 pitches, and rapped back down to the valley floor via some fixed lines. Yesterday we packed up our haulbags and got prepped to be on the wall for 4 days. Today we jugged back up and hauled our 100+ lbs bags up about 1200' - a third of the way. Tomorrow we get down to business and drag our butts up El Cap trying to free climb as much as possible. Stay tuned...I will keep you posted on how it goes, as well as the rest of the road trip, which will include Smith Rocks, Indian Creek and Spain (I guess that is a flying trip not a road trip!)
The first 100', only 3,300' more to go!

Jasmin soaks up some intense CA rays 1000' feet above El Cap Meadow

Jas heads out on pitch 11 of Freerider