Saturday, January 31, 2015

Hogum Fork Fun

Stable conditions are becoming quite trendy here in the Wasatch. We headed up to Hogum Fork on Saturday with no plan in mind. A fresh coat of paint dotted the landscape, where 4 inches went a long way at making some of the slicker sections a little more comfortable.

These "green days" are getting pretty rad and I have no complaints. If you don't believe me check out some of my links (right toolbar).

Early morning light with low and high clouds 

Mark making turns down Hogum 200 

Coming up the Hypodermic Needle 

And going down 

Looking up The Sliver 

 It's still a little dicey out there

But the views made up for it 

Steeper than it looks 

The end.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hypodermic Needle 1.24.15

Incredible stability lately has given me a stronger desire to ski bigger lines. Here are some pics from The Needle taken last Saturday, it's not quite fully filled in, but who cares, the skiing in Hogum Fork is never disappointing.

The End

Monday, January 19, 2015

Grandeur/Indian Creek Photo dump

Been on the run for a month or more, climbing, night skiing, etc. etc. Here are some photos:

The skiing in the Wasatch has been pretty marginal lately, great days followed by long stretches of really warm weather, which has put a damper on my winter attitude. Being unwilling to "get after it" I  headed down to the creek with my silent partner for some solo practice.

Took me a little while to put up supercrack (I'll play the lack of partner card)

Lobo was there for moral support

 Another easy 9 turned hard due to the whole "soloing business"

Driving into work on MLK day had me fixated on the mountains (as usual) and I couldn't help but notice the western slopes of Grandeur looking quite filled in. Against my better judgement I rounded up a partner to go see just how filled in they actually were. Tom Goth referred to this as novelty skiing which given the conditions I figured was all we were going to encounter, Turns out Grandeur is quite surprising when skied and held everything from good powder to steep turns, making Mark and I quite reluctant that we "forgot" our shovels. Several years ago I skied it in February right after a foot fell in the valley, it wasn't quite that good but still pretty good.

Novelty skiing...more like mashed tater powder turns at 8K

The sun peaked put for our second run

The west face was a mixed bag of dense powder, slush, and crusty sections. 

The end

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Potential New Routes in Bells Canyon

Climbing in the Wasatch dates back to the early 1930’s and beyond. These early pioneers were known for their bold ascents with limited protection and even more limited footwear. These days however, most climbing is mundane in comparison, the routes are documented, the equipment has become almost indestructible, and the training required to reach that level of aspiration exhibited by those audacious climbers of yesteryear, can be easily accomplished 5 miles down the road in your local climbing gym.

This is the new age of climbing, and I have no complaints. However, with great advancement comes difficulty. There is no more low hanging fruit, at least not within 5 miles from a city of a million people. But if you’re persistent, resilient, and a little imaginative new routes can be found every day.

Disclaimer: I’m not claiming any of these routes as first ascents (at least not until I get your full input, which I’d gladly welcome). Also every route was completed in alpine style, no bolts were placed (the only one that really needed them was the slab and that was TR’d), and every anchor was a big fat pine tree (kind of nice that every routed ended in a groove of those). If you’re feeling chippy I’d gladly give out beta on the location of all of these. We found nothing on any of these routes as well, no old hardware, no old slings, etc. Our only sign of any activity was an old piece of rope we found about a half mile from our first crag. We obviously attempted to put up routes that weren’t contrived, nor just plain weird.

Granite or more specifically Quartz Monzonite runs rampant in our beloved mountains and Bells Canyon is no exception to this. I had my first experience with Bell’s early on in my skiing career, where we loaded up on our heaviest touring equipment (this was before my light is right epiphany) and tried to ski Thunder bowl in early June, needless to say we were way underprepared and barely made it to the first meadow before dark. However, if you’ve ever been up there you know there is plenty of rock, and every time since that I’ve returned, I’ve admired, scoped, and been observant for future/new alpine lines. 

It was this that drove Mark and I up to the higher Bells area this Saturday where we explored, attempted and completed several moderate routes.

Mark walking through the upper meadow.

We stumbled upon a nice slab not far from the main trail and figured we'd try our luck on some of the cracks present there.

Our first route.

Easy jams, feet for days (5.5-5.6 ~50 feet)

We then TR'd the slab adjacent to the main crack system.

Ok smears, bulges+crystals if you can see them, no good hands at the crux. (5.9 ~50 feet)

We then continued upward following one of the many streams to an area that exhibited quite a bit of potential. This area was probably a half mile or so from the main trail.

Our route w/lines. A solid 40 feet of handjams leads to the 1st roof which is easily liebacked (very reminiscent of Gordon’s Hangover), to another roof, which was deceptively gritty and flared. (5.9-5.10 ~120 feet)


Mark tackles the easy jams

Onto the second and much more insecure (think kitty litter) roof

The 1st roof, it's hard to tell but the flake left of the purple sling was bulletproof and really fun to wail on. 

Our last route of the day. 15 feet of laser cut locks brings you to a great hands roof which is easily dispatched with proper footwork. (5.9-5.10 ~35 feet). Standard Wasatch route, you’d wish it were 100 feet longer.

Mark onto the tight jams.

The end

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Drowning in a Sea of Granite.

My annual Yosemite trip is complete, my fingers are trashed, my body is weak, and my pride has been humbled. I think I spent too much time in the desert to be properly prepared for the idiosyncrasies of granite climbing, but we all got problems...

We left for our trip on Sunday morning. Post Speedgoat 50k shenanigans almost left me in the hospital due to dehydration but a rally on Saturday night had us ready to go by Sunday. We camped outside the park that night and entered on Monday with warm weather and roaring waterfalls (an anomaly this time of year).

A nice summer storm turned on all the faucets.

Monday we spent introducing Mark to the park. Here he is leading up Jamcrack (5.9), one of my personal favorites as far as access and aesthetics go. 

Since the falls were running  we went over and went up Super Hands (5.8).

Me leading

More of the same

Dancing in a sea of granite.

Mark gives it a go as the tourons look on.

Chesy climbing

Mark pulling through on Conductor Crack (5.10d)

Sewing up Chruch Bowl Tree (5.10a/b)

Mark heads up the 1st pitch of Center Pillar of Frenzy...we both thought this was a serious 5.9.

El Cap from the base of Middle Cathedral

Mark cruising up the first pitch of After Seven (5.8). We rapped from the tree at the top of the 1st pitch and went over and played around on Nutcracker. 

Chesy on the alt start to Nutcracker (5.9) the only pitch we did. This was my lead I lost my footing several times at the crux, luckily a nice ledge arrested my fall every time.

Looking up at the 3rd pitch and 3rd roof of Commitment (5.9).

Mark pulling through...I thought the second roof (at the end of the 2nd pitch) was way scarier, less protection/ more ledges to hit. 

Essential Half Dome pic

Essential Travis and Chesy pic

Mark leading Grant's Crack (5.9)

Me leading Stone Groove (5.10b)

One more of the same

Chesy coming up Lunatic Fringe (5.10c)

Pulling through on great fingers.

One more of the sequence.

Mark follows my trail of blood on Moby Dick (5.10a)

Chesy does the same

Two idiots rounding out the trip on Pine Line (5.7)