Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bishop: and the usual bag of tricks

We are in Bishop after a very interesting and highly education stint in Yosemite Valley. While here in Bishop all the usual things have been happening. Such a list includes windy nights to the point sleep is not possible and then ironically blazing hot days in DEC and then freak rain storms. Among the list has been tall boulders and some pretty darn exciting sending. I was having a pretty good run at the beginning where everyday had a double digit boulder being sent but now I have been dealing with a little sickness which has slowed down things but there still has been whole new zones and FA's as well. The list includes a ground up ascent of the amazing 'Golden Age V8', 'Dierdrin V10', 'Bubba Gump V10', 'Letting Go V10' and the very exciting 'Saigon Super Direct V10'. For me thus far my favorite has been 'Xavier's Roof V11' which proved to be difficult and extremely, especially because it ends with an amazing jug latch! There hopefully will be more to come. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Argentina Files-Part 2-Piedra Parada

So after leaving El Chalten I started quite the long bus journey to meet up with an international team of bolters in the Province of Chubut. We ended up in the town of Esquel where we were supposed to get picked up but in the confusion of no cell phones a new plan was hatched and thus we took yet another bus along a dirt road for another 4 hours. My travel companion and recently successful alpine first ascensionist in El Chalten was a Brazilian ex-pat by the name of Marcos Costa. We finally got dropped off with all of our gear on a lonely desert road and then hiked into where we were supposed to have our Base Camp. We arrived to find that the rest of the bolting team had not yet materialized due to their own bus journey calamity, and so we hiked into the extensive and long canyon of the Piedra Parada. The area is made up of 2 main features the first and namesake feature is the 100 meter tall free standing 'Piedra' and the other is the 6 kilometer canyon of volcanic rock that is a sheer 200 meter height on both sides. When we first walked in to the canyon we were absolutely stunned and amazed by the size and potential of the canyon and immediately began scoping lines (multi-pitch) that we were interest in bolting. The next day we found a crag that we wanted to bolt and we quickly learned the nature of the rock which is bi-polar to put mildly. The rock is volcanic and of similar nature to the Tablelands areas of Bishop, CA. So that means you can have some really appealing rock immediately next to the most unconsolidated mud rock that will never clean up. After 6 hours of bolting and cleaning and getting absolutely obliterated by the unrelenting Patagonian desert sun we were stumped. How are we going to make a climbing area out of this stone??? After this attempt I went to try some of the already established routes and climbed a couple 7a's and 7a+'s to see what the others had made of the area. Unsatisfied with my findings of the day and unwilling to waste another day on marginal rock I figured that I and we were better off looking for new quality rock. The canyon is just so big with so many little off shoots that it just had to be there so I grabbed my canteen and headlamp and went upon a vision quest. I spent hours and hours hiking up in slot canyons and bouncing from one side of the canyon to the other. I spent another 5 hours scouring the canyon for potential. By the end I felt much much better because I found 2 different canyons/crags that I was genuinely psyched on bolting and climbing. One was a black wall that never sees the sun(very important for me) that has very very iron saturated rock that grabs you as much as you grab it. For those rock specialists think of 'Black Mamba V10' in Hueco Tanks. The second place of interest was a beautiful ballooning cave of very huecoed, pocketed and highly streaked rock. The first wall is what I got started on right away the next day and after significantly less cleaning than the previous day I had bolted to amazing and independent lines 'There and Back Again 7a+/5.12a' and 'The Blacksmith 7c/5.12d'. The later of which was named because when I hammered at the rock I was shooting sparks everywhere as though I was striking an anvil. The climbing on the Blacksmith is so good that I had renewed faith and psyche in developing the sector. The Cueva(which is cave in Spanish)also yielded high quality routes and in such a wildly different style. I bolted the original line with my friend and bone crusher Jon Cardwell. Jon is super light and smaller guy so we decided to put him on the bottom of the route to aid it and add bolts and I went to the top and after a lot of hiking and bolting rappel stations I found where I wanted the two routes to end and got to work on bolting them. I took a bunch of work and finally I finished bolting an amazing 8b/5.13d and very difficult 8c/5.14b to start La Cueva with. After about a week of work in the Cueva I had bolted another couple routes 'Pan Blanco 8b+/5.14a' and 'Salty Peanuts 7c/5.12d'. I was also psyched because I was able to get some climbing in-between bolting sessions and as well as sending climbs that I had bolted I sent the amazing 'Dulce Duro 8a+/5.13c' which was bolted by Jon Cardwell and Marcos Costa. I had such an absolute blast with the bolting team. Most of them were from the south of France and made up of Petzl athletes and employees. 2 people I absolutely loved and really enjoyed working and laughing with was Nina Caprez and Michael Fuselier. They make a great team on there own and to be able to share routes with them and extensively make fun of each others cultures at night around the diner table will be and already is missed. I look so forward to climbing with these great people in the future. AR-staying psyched for the next adventure

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Kill On-Sight V12 Video

Kill On-Sight V12 from Ander Rockstad on Vimeo.

Agrentina Files-Part 1

So the first objective upon arriving in Buenos Aires was to catch up on some much delayed connecting I had to do with some very special people. I also was hoping to rest but a very lively city and the previously mentioned back log of connecting took some energy away from pure recovery.
The first climbing related trip I took was to El Chalten which is of course the Mythic, Mega, and Amazing Arena for all the alpine climbers out there. I took the opportunity to show my lovely life partner about some facets of the climbing life such as waiting out weather, hiding under boulder problems to wait out weather, complain about skin issues on hard boulder problems and of course belaying.
The next stop for me was a bolting trip for the upcoming Petzl RocTrip in November here in Argentina so I thought it best to only boulder a little bit and instead put my attention towards sports climbing.
There is some nice sports climbing around Chalten but I found my interest was held most by the out of town crag known as El Calamar. This is a really special and strange crag because it is mostly rain protected and thus an extremely valuable asset for the weather temperamental region of Patagonia. The stone was kind of fractured and broken looking igneous rock with a thin layer of limestone running over it. It was very Rifle-esque in its climbing and choss level. But just as Rifle there were some very nice climbs to be done. I came agonizingly close to sending an amazing 8a+ called Crisis but broke a fairly crucial hold and had to settle for one hanging it several times, such is the existence of the very short climbing trip. But I was able to send some nice 7c+'s and 7c's in a couple tries so actually mission accomplished because I was able to get into the route climbing groove and get psyched for the climbing and more importantly bolting to come of Piedra Pirada.

The end of states-side time for a while at least

Bishop in just another beautiful sunset
Psyched for the project to be finished
Just as psyched as ever to working on my birthday at the trade show, this one is a little forced
The die hards packing up at the end of a day of baltic conditions

So after some brief climbing time in California that was revolving around work at the 2012 Outdoor Retailer trade show I traveled down to Argentina.
But before heading south I was able to manage a couple nice climbs that I was very psyched on. I climbed the 'Sharma Traverse V10' and the super beautiful 'Saigon Direct V9' in ground up style. I am very inspired by the beauty and the movement of the super direct version of the latter line and in the future will give it some effort. Meanwhile at the lower Bishop volcanic areas I got really psyched on a line that was in my style and blew me away. I say 'blew me away' because despite figuring out all of the moves (in my typical unique signature beta style) the first session on it, to falling from the last move around 20 times. Ironically for something that seemed easy enough I surely tested and built some power endurance for the future. Finally I was able to send 'Kill On-Sight V12' and wow did that feel good to see something through to the end and under a real time crunch. It was a funny journey because some people dont find it to be the hardest of problems but I had to step away from that side of the climbing experience and just finish a great rock climb accepting that the climb was a challenge for me and like I said it felt great to finally have the endurance and climb it in control.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Pure Bliss V9: My first online video

Pure Bliss V9 from Ander Rockstad on Vimeo.

Let me know what you all think


Europa Files: Part V Fontainebleau

Me, Making the front page of the Tahoe Paper while sending the amazing 'Welcome to the Future V12'

A photo of small amazing area in Switzerland from a great friend and fellow bone crusher Gu Jorg

So after leaving Switzerland we made the drive to Font. We passed through the border in Basel which is where a place that sounds interesting. The overall area is called the Baseljura. This is just one of those amazing thing s about Europe and the depth and richness of their climbing heritage as it holds some of the earliest 8b & 8b+ routes in the world.
We continued on into the French high way system, which is quite expensive until we made it to Font. I seem to have a gravitational pull to this amazing place. I feel a real affinity to this place a real thirst that leads me to devise ways in which to live there instead of just mere trips. I am sure you have a heard the reasons for its excellence. It holds the amazing stone, the most developed concentration of Font grade 7 & 8 in the world(read V6 to V15) and a beautiful French cultural experience to boot.
We were able to find a nice country gite close to one of the older areas of the vast forest called Buthiers. This was a great place to get some climbing in because since Font rains a lot it's one of the quicker drying areas. This turned out to be quite the gift as we were able to climb on a couple of amazing boulders even when most of the forest was wet. I was able to send my first 8A in the forest, which translates roughly to V11.
This particular trip to Font was quite bi-polar in the way of weather, in that it was particularly rainy and we had to deal! But this made for some very interesting rainy day missions to Paris where many conflicting situations arose that have only become terribly hilarious upon the respite of blogging.
The end of the trip was a mix of good and frustrating as well. The other travel mates, Noah and Ryan took off ten days earlier than I and I stayed the duration with my beautiful French Family within the forest. This experience is a happy beautiful one but the weather that accompanied was less beautiful in that the projects that had become so near and dear myself were perpetually wet. Ce La Vie dans la Foret. But I love it all, the family, the friends, the rock and of course the immersion into speaking french again.
AR-I will add some photos from the recent past.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Switerland wrap up and attemp at objective evaluation

So I am with the group now in Fontainebleau. Yes that of course means that we left Switzerland and Austria. I feel like it is a good time to share my personal reaction and my attempt at an objective critical point of view on these climbing areas instead of just adding to the climbing interweb-o-spheres ravings of 'Switzerland is sick brah' and 'Best rock ever' and 'I am gonna climb 8B here for sure'(optional brah to be added to last statement). While these previous statements are rooted in truth and surely passed out of my mouth over my stay I will try to add a little depth and understanding for all the armchar climbers out there(read; said armchair climber is me when not on occasional trip).
Magic Wood-For sure a must visit. It is far and away the best in sense of density. Also coming from america where granite bouldering means the like of Yosemite and the up and coming Leavenworth, it is really amazing to find pure granite climbing ON HOLDS and STEEP FACES. Yes yes these last statements are true and not blown out of proportion. One feature of MW is that I have never seen hard(read 8A to 8C) boulders so greasy and polished and when you add this to the condition dependent nature of the moisture in the valley can make for some very psyched and yet frustrating days.
The range and diversity of texture held within one climbing area is amazing as well because you have river polished all the way to gritty crimps.
Cresciano- This area is interesting in that we all have come to know it for the one very steep famous boulder that hold Dreamtime and The Story of 2 Worlds, you may call the later 'the story' if you feel cool enough to act burdened by saying the full name. But the truth is that although there are some steep boulders in this area, that are incredible of course, this area is truly a granite area reminiscent of Yosemite and needs appropriate conditions. Because of the hillside nature and completely southern facing feature of Cresciano the winter time is best and we were unable to see its full glory. The amount of climbing wasn’t as staggering as other areas. The rock ranged from much more crystalie in nature than one would ever expect all the way to immaculate.
Chironico- This climbing was by far the biggest of the Ticino areas and this is one of the most impressive features. Just the sheer quantity is enough to dedicate large amounts of time. The rock on the other hand is by far the most bi-polar I have seen in a major area. Climbs like Freak Brothers, Confessions of a Crap Artist and Conquistador are second to none but in most areas you could find truly junky lines close by. The setting is a little more urbanized than I expected in such an immaculate climbing area. There are so many lines and thus the number of ones amazing and crappy are both very high.
Brione- Yes, it is true, this is actually not only the coolest but for sure the best rock I have ever seen. This is granite with the texture of sandstone and the diversity of river sectors to grassy pastures of boulder gardens. This is surly the most amazing climbing sector I have ever seen, ever. The truth is that in my attempt to be critical the area is small and spread out with no topo. If one doesn't want to session on 8A's and harder there os little reason to commit a lot of time other than the fact that it hold the single best 7C in the world known as Molunk. The setting unsurpassed by any and the ambiance is pure Swiss magic.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Europa Files: Part III

The Amazing Local Water of Andeer (All Photos provided graciously by Noah Rayburn)

The namesake

Send the classic 'Jack the Chipper V9/7C' in a couple tries

WOW, so there is a simple truth when dealing with Switzerland and its 'best granite in the world'. #1 the aforementioned statement is 100% true #2 The prices on everything range from uncomfortably high all the way to outrageous #3 The weather can make or break your trip seemingly without any rhythm, in fact I would describe the weather as arrhythmic.
The weather booted from the Averstal area(ie Magic Wood) before the projects were finished and for me that really caused me to reevaluate the whole trip and timing to be much more focused on a sampling attitude instead of anything in the multiple day project range. Because of this switch the weather has been less stressful because I usually dont feel the need to return to anyone boulder. That being said I have done all the moves to several boulders that are in the V11 and V12 range so we will see what the timing, group, and rain have to say about it.
Given the extremely short windows of climbable weather in Ticino and Switzerland in general I haven't not felt like I have explored real maximum movement for me but I still have managed some absolutely world class bloks with sending, The Komilator V11/8A, Molunk V9/7C, Höhenrausch V8/7B+ and onsighting the incredable and scary Black Mirror slab V?.
I have added some pictures and I believe that the internet will be much more consistent so I plan on sharing much more.
As the weather has not been cooperating in Ticino we have bailed to a friends place in Austria and have hoping to explore the amazing areas that are not covered in snow yet.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Europa Files: Part II-Media for a little grill time

The Clio, which like her amazing fortune telling skills also has an amazing ability to fit everything inside of her

A nice link on the amazing Occtupussy 8A in the sun before jet lag set in any more

Just plain Psyched
All photos taken by Noah 'Ranger' Rayburn

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Europa Files: Part I

So here we are, Switzerland. The trip one dreams about. But there are so many dissecting realities at work when you deal in the business of chasing dreams. Starting with the amount of freedom that one gives up in order to make enough money in order to travel to this most expensive of destinations. In true fashion to my past I figured how to take a half cargo and half passenger flight over the north pole from Alaska to Germany for US$375 one way. This flight left from the biggest city in AK which means at the last minute I had to scramble to get a ride the 500 mile distance and of course I work up until the last day so it was a stressful experience to say the least. I arrived in Frankfurt and immediately started to seek out the buses that go south that I was told about but these buses in fact do not exist so I was left with a very expensive train option. Now here I thought that trains were the transport of the people and a method move the proletariat but perhaps to no longer as they are even more expensive than flight within Europa. After a few canceled trains and a few missed trains due to states of delirium, I finally made it Zurich to meet up with the car(Clio) that is to be the chariot for the trip!
We stayed a night with friends in Zurich and cruised the streets lamenting on each others experiences getting this trip together. In the morning we woke up and chomped up on the Raw Cacoa and were off to the races(metaphorically that is). WHAT A BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY SWITZERLAND IS! It was dangerous to drive and keep your eyes on the road. After not to long we made it the Avers Valley home to the very Famous Magic Wood.
We immediately stopped at the hostel we were to stay at but the proprietor changed his mind about the price he would offer us and this we have decided to camp for a while until we figure it out a little bit. This sounds fine but as this was to be my break out trip in the sense of class in the transport and accommodations I didn't bring a sleeping bag. We went out for a long warm up that afternoon to limber up and did a nice moderate, 'Blown Away 7B+' second try. I decided to top it out despite the wetness and the fact that most people do not. Afterwords we walked around in the night and just realized that all of these dream boulder do in fact exist!! What a funny but honest realization that was. I mean it not like these boulders never existed but in my own mental landscape they were just pieces of media until you actually get to touch them and see that they are real!
That first night was a real disaster on the other hand, turns out slipping in a puff jacket alone in the alps is not enough insulation and I spent the whole night shaking and awake. But enough about that. I decided enough at about 4AM and just started walking in the woods to keep warm until 11AM when my friends woke up and then we headed into the woods for our intended purpose, bouldering. It was extremely hot as there is a heatwave happening in Switz right now so I got myself up a very tall and scary 7A+ for a warm up and then we headed to Octupussy 8A? to see what the program was. Noah and myself did all the moves in the blazing heat and some links as well. By the time we were spent the temps started to cool and we wondered why we so poorly strategical on the temps and schedule. Lesson learned and we are very excited to get back. Now we are resting and I am not yet feeling myself physically and mentally I am also sort out some blockages so I am very excited to see whats in store for me/us when a beautiful rhythm is established. Until the next interweb post here is some media for you! Psyched and getting more psyched AR

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

There, back, and there again

The Return, it is a central theme in the literary catalog of emotional composition. The main character always seems to have evaded some sort of reality and this brings on the Return. Although in our lives we find many returns and I guess that we can hope for is that we great about the time once spent as we reflect in the time we are spending currently. All this to say a lot has been incoming and outgoing. Lets break it down.
-In the last couple weeks I have climbed my hardest and most amazing boulder
-Evaded death in a freak snow storm in the Sierra's on May 15th(WTF right)
-I worked on the house that I lived in through highschool(crazy old energy). Didn't get to sleep bc always work all the time work. --Met my mothers new husband to be
-Climbed V8 soaking wet in the rain on the one day I had to climb in the last three weeks
-Experienced very unpleasant angry family members(LAME)
-Flew down to Argentina to have a reunion with my brother and have been having some of the most amazing & incredible days and of course nights but unfortunately there is still little sleep going around.
The return to my old emotional landscapes such as highschool neighborhood or South America, which is where I went to separate timelines in my life has been wild and amazing. So much to say and there will be more pictures and words to post soon.
Be happy, be psyched

Friday, March 4, 2011

Progressively Upward Cycles of Life & Performance

So as the title may omit, there has been some ups and down of late but what is perhaps the most inspiring thing of all is that the bottom of each cycle seems to be higher than the last. To me this seems the most exciting news of all because it shows progression and allows me to accept time off or a 'down-cycle', with greater ease and hopefully grace.
The last post I had was of time in Bishop. That leg of the trip was amazing with sending, great friends, and just super high psyche. But alas, finances intruded and I needed to go to Salt Lake City for work and no climbing for two weeks. Needless to say this was a forced down-cycle but a necessary one to make money and travel to more spots.
After the hurricane of work, that was up to 18 hours a day ended it was time to explore some climbing in the Las Vegas area, namely Red Rocks. After two weeks of no sleep, lots of work, birthday celebrations compounded by spending all day in a convention center with thousands of people from all over the world my immune system was haggard and when I got to Red Rocks I could barely climb V9 without vomiting and getting dizzy so I guess it was time for another down-cycle and some more rest. Then after about two weeks of that I tried climbing again and felt really good, I did some V7's to warm up and then I took a big fall and missed my pad from about 20 feet. A silly mistake really, just a foot pic and a problem that should really be climbed with some friends and not a solo endeavor. The pain was truly excruciating and even surprisingly so, since the heel bone is so far from the brain and the central nervous system the pain was distant but also at the same time horrendous and debilitating. I figured I would take an hour and try and call it day but after the wait. I tried to walk only to immediately collapse. A bad sign. I ended up getting carried out by a couple of elderly sport climbers that luckily(for me) were just walking by. It was actually quite hilarious how debilitated I was and the logistics of moving a six foot plus individual proved quite daunting, as I am sure any Search and Rescue worker can tell you.
So the sad realization hit, that I had just ended two consecutive down-cycles and it appeared that there would be yet another. sigh. So this one took another two weeks which was primarily occupied by reading and researching health topics and existential philosophy pursuits. Not a total wash plus MEGA soul brother Zack Rubin AKA Zaych Money came out from LA for some bro time and to climb as well. I was determined to hang with my buddie and provide him some release from the city time, so within the two days of climbing we shared I crutched a distance no less than 5 miles and actually climbed a V9? called Drunken Monkey. It was pretty surprising but is the essence of this post's title and an inspiration in itself that amidst weeks of bed rest and injury I could still climb this level in a couple tries. The down-cycles are natural part of anyones path and when you can see the elevation of your bottom point rise it's as exciting as the peaks!
I have now migrated to the St. George area and have been exploring while getting back into it now that my foot can fit inside a FiveTen Dragon again. YES!! In the last couple of days of climbing I have sent "Gription V9', 'Linder's Roof V9', 'Bazooka Tooth V10' with a dice direct method. All of the climbs in the V8 and under range have been going in one or two tries which has been great to build up a nice base again. I am very excited now that I am feeling better and excited to see what manifests next. Learning the cycles and loving them. More to Come.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Rocket Parties, the Big Chill, and Boulder Scampering

The story starts with the impending doom and gloom of raining hitting the camper shell that I live in. The reports said that this rain would cover the entire western US for a whole week. So if you read this blog with any consistency you have noticed that I have a friend named Zack and he designs rockets, yes, rockets that go to space. Zack gave me a call and tole me that his company had launched a successful rocket and that they were gonna throw a giant party for the occasion, they also decided to couple this with a company wide Christmas party. The party was to be outrageous including the $200K price tag. Zack told me over the phone that he had a ticket for me in, the only problem is that it was in LA and after a budget crushing vehicle maintenance set back I had I could not afford to drive down, so what does that means a hitchhiking adventure, in the rain no less.ha. This scenario had the making for adventure and as the climbing was off the table regardless I figured, 'might as well party with rocket scientists in the city of angels' and it was off for me. I was able to catch a ride with a good friend Mason Daly out of Bishop and then caught a couple other rides and found how distraught the public transport in LA really is. Plus, even though the city sits on the pacific ocean it has no idea how to deal with rain and thus the whole scene was flooded, just adding to the hilarity of the situation. I also got to walk through Compton in the rain with a soaked puff jacket, that was interesting. But alas I made it to the rocket party and it was MEGA to say the least and I raged face on the scene of highly paid number crunching rocket types.
I will write more about this adventure later because I assume you want to hear about the really fun boulders that I have been climbing recently.
First off bc the Buttermilks have proven to be just epic to climb at this trip I have developed a matured eye for the tablelands, which has led me to enjoy some really amazing movement on everything from bullet hard to marginal rock quality. I have also been climbing at couple of the tablelands areas that are not so well known but contain amazing climbing none the less. The theme of late is been to climb thing fast and not project, just enjoy the climbing and mix in lots of rest days where I have been juggling the soccer ball a lot. I sent 'Standing Kill Order V11' in a couple tries which was really fun and amazing bc the movement is outrageous that same day while supporting a friend on 'Acid Wash' I was able to whip off the 'Acid Wash Right V9' first try. I was also able to flash the most amazing climb, 'The Wave V7', arguably the best 7 in the Bishop area. And yesterday I was able to finish 'March of the Pigs V11' first try of the the third session and its neighbor 'Nine Inch Nails V9' in a couple tries and the movement master piece 'The Rose V8' as it was getting dark. It has been so much fun climbing all these amazing movement based problems. The coffee shop in which I am typing is closing so this will have to wait but there is more to come. Love and enjoy 2011 my friends.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Road...the revelation of being and the quintessential state of floating

Photo by Axel
I have spent a great deal of time in the great white north. I was able to reflect and analyze on the experience of living and have gracefully not reached a conclusion but instead working theories about being, cycles and a non-linear trajectory about life/time.
It has been my great pleasure to touch rock and in a meaningful way again. I arrived in SLC a few weeks ago and was able to get in a few session before the impending winter season arrived. In the two sessions I had I was able to climb some great problems including, BarFly V8, Butt Trumpet V8, Bear Hug SDS V8, Surprise V8, Lance's Dihedral V6, all of which are excellent problems and the latter four being among the best of the grade anywhere. It was an amazing experience to occupy the canyon with the temperatures not in the nineties as all my other forays had involved. LCC or 'little' as it is known to the locals is truly an amazing climbing playground full of kinesthetic beauty that can rival some of the great destinations of the sport. The tragic flaw seems to be the temperamental conditions that not only guard sending but also can close windows of climbing for months on end.
I made a break for it to Bishop when the storms were seeming to piggie back each other and there was no hope for dry rock.
Bishop ironically enough has been quite warm. The time I spent recently in AK stands as my longest hiatus from the sport and although my mind is fresh and excited for the opportunity my body and bio rhythm is seemingly in a disconnect but perhaps that is one of the necessary learning curves to climbing with life long longevity.
I have really only been able to climb one day on and then occur several rest days. I was able to send 'Acid Wash V10' very fast and have tried the 'Xavier's Roof V11' which has gone quite well and holds lots of excitement.
The temperatures only seem to be climbing so I will take advantage of this beautiful vitamin D producing circle that seems to occupy the sky and explore with some extended hiking. Hopefully more soon. Ander.

Friday, August 6, 2010

AK Bouldering Adventure Photo Dump

Sending Bryan on his first hitch hiking mission
Zack eyeing down the first move of 'Darth Mal V7' in the Tatlanika Boulders
Tom going up the perfect angle of 'School Yard Crush V4' in the Coming of Age Sector
A view of the valley from the Coming of Age Sector, lots more work to do

Thursday, August 5, 2010

AK Bouldering Adventure Photo Dump

I call this picture 'Patience'
this the mega radness that I FA'ed and called 'Carnal Knowledge V9'
Me completing the compression goodness of 'King Louie SDS V10'
Tom sending the amazing 'Captain Kaboom V6'
A shot of independence Mine

AK Bouldering Adventure Part III

At about the mid point on trip we decided that Hatchers Pass that was worth a visit regardless of the weather. We just had to know so we drove into the night and had an amazing 2am twilight approach and were very impressed with the beauty and climbing potential.
We had an amazing first day where we checked out a very short and stout boulder called the Crucifix Bloc bc it was one of the only boulders that we had the beat on and thought it would be nice to see what the locals were visioning on the amazing granite that abounds in those passes. I have to admit that I thought the area was absolutely beautiful but when I climbed on that boulder was a little bummed and so I went for a hike and kept having the shrinking boulder syndrome and was starting to think Hatchers was not to be the Shangri La that I had envisioned. So after a couple of hours at that bloc where the guys crushed all the bunchy crimper problems we decied to really get into scouring for boulders mode. As chance has it we happened upon where all the locals have been recently developing and is basically the fresh and new new. The rock for the most part was exceptionally sharp but some very classic lines were around. We were lucky enough to run into some locals, Todd, Drew and Will give us some direction onto the classics to be had and we spent the last couple hours Climbing the amazing 'Captain Caboom V6', flashing 'Premature V7', and finishing it off with a second ascent of 'King Louie' from the stand which is V8 in the total rain with most of the pads being held over the holds to keep them only moist instead of soaking, pretty reminiscent of my time in Fontainebleau.
I spent the whole next day exploring for new bloks and hopefully a whole new sector while the others had a moderate session. I was very excited because I found an amazing sector that appeared to be not developed at all with some real promising lines and this is what I was super psyched to get back to.
The next day was very dreary and I rallied everybody up by 8 so we could drive down the hill and desperately find a TV that was showing the World Cup Finals. This proved to be very difficult in the rural farming communities of the Matsu Valley of Alaska. But with only missing the very begining of the match we found the diner in town that would tune in for us. The match was amazing and it was a tone of fun to watch powerfully defensive futbal teams go head to head and war it out in extremely physical and political style, I am of course speaking of the referee here.
We used the opportunity to re-stock on supplies. I had exchanged numbers with a local named Drew and e gave us a call to let it be known that the whether was actually quite nice up the hill so we scrambled to get up there and get a half day in. We set Brian out to hitch hike to the airport and push his adventure levels and we were off.
We went back to Independence Mine and made sure that Tom dispatched with 'Captain Caboom v6' which he did and it was in good style no less. Then we head to the Fantasia boulder as Zack was psyched to use his crimp bone and try the 2 V8's on the blok. I also decided to pull on and nearly flashed both the 8's using inpromtu Ander beta and believe they are in the v7 range but of good quality. After a couple of minutes drying the lip in which I blew the flash on I static-ed both climbs second try each. On a personal note I have been training very hard while at home and exclusively climbing on a 65 degree was and thus have no real idea of where my ability is at but I have truly enjoyed feeling more control and strength on the rock, it is genuinely a connected feeling with the geo-puzzle in front of me that motivates this.
After I convinced Tom and Zack to use some gangle beta as I belived the concepts would still apply to them they dispatched and moved on to the King Louie blok so that Tome could try the stand and I could try the sit down start. Long story short after battling with some more rain we were both able to complete our goals in a session. I made the second ascent of both the stand up and the sitdown which is believed to be 'King Louie SDS v10'. It was a really complex problem revolving around compression and tension. I really love this style and was very exited to be able to interact with such amazing climbing in my home state of AK, needless to say it was beautiful raining hike out.
The next day we set out to develop the sector that I had found a couple days previous. AFter mostly brushing for the day we left the area about 15 new climbs that ranged from good to absolutely amazing. I will keep it short as I am sure that all of you have heard about the excitement that comes from developing a thousand times over. But I will say that the area is called the Coming of Age sector and I established a new majestic boulder 'Carnal Knowledge V9'. I am very proud of seeing this line and being able to actualize it in the same session as it was cleaned. Rising to remote and beautiful natural challenges is really becoming the most powerful inspiration in bouldering for me. Enjoy some pictures and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

AK Bouldering Adventure Part II

So after we checked out the Tatlanika boulder we needed to head back to Fairbanks and pick up new friend Brian Bosac. Perhaps this driving back to Fairbanks was a good thing because for the next couple of days all of AK was raining and we just prepped the car for the adventure to come.
Once we got back on the road we stopped and tracked down the Rock Creek boulders which was far more of a logistical challenge than we were expecting. After a longish approach up a river bed we found the first of the boulders and climbed all of the lines, they were surprisingly quality.
Up the creek we found the main boulder of the area. We all climbed the area classic 'High Water Hippie Pant V5'. Brian earned the Employee of the day award with climbing tis line for his first V5, radical work buddy.
I then spent the rest of the session working on the project that goes of the area on some incredibly marginal pinches and crystal crimps. I believe this arete does go and most likely at a finicky V11 or V12. But with all ultra thin climbing the temps mean everything and perhaps I will try it come the fall and get a better idea of what secrets it holds.
The following day we headed back to Tatlanika boulders so Zack could work on Darth Mal and while were there I tried V9 until I found that it has a manufactured hold. Has chipping really hit the interior of AK?, a funny notion in of itself. We spent the rest of the day looking and trying the rest of the established climbs.
The plan for the next day was to head south and keep our eyes peeled for rock and end up in Byers Lake. During the drive we had several stops and scoured the hill side but nothing yielded hiking the pads up.
I saw some really plentiful and good looking rock just north of Byer Lake but the team decided it was worth it to keep heading to Byers Lake. Long story short we were not blown away with the Byer Lake boulder and decided that against the weather adviseries to make a bid for the mildly established Hatchers Pass.

Monday, July 19, 2010

1st leg of AK Boulder Mission

Hear no evil, think no evil, Tom on spaz patrol

A V9 at Tatlanika
The view from the Tatlanika boulder
I have been in Alaska recently in an effort to get healthy in many ways. I am finally having the oppertunity to train again which has been a blast and is a part of climbing that I truly enjoy. It has been 2 months since I have climbed and this has been my longest hiatus ever since I started this sometimes silly obsession. With all of the steep board climbing I have been doing in my garage I have made dramatic gains but there is just no way of actually knowing in reference to true rock climbing other than to get out and use it, so when dear friends and road tripper veterans Tom Donze and Zaych Rubin expressed interest in vacationing in the wilds of AK and helping me find boulders I thought, 'this is it, lets grab rock again!'.
The first stop was to check out the Tatlanika boulders which were largely developed by friend Tom Ellis. I climbed a really good V7 called Darth Mal while warming up. But what was really a the highlight was establishing a new V5 Slab problem I called the The Sneeze for its dramatic and reflexive climbing. This problem was hidden beneath a few fallen trees and took some major rearranging but what is left is radical and would be at home in the great slabs of Yosemite or Fontainebleau. This is only the first day so stay tuned as I keep the photos running.