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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Ophir Cave fungus collection

Lucas, Trevor, Trace and I drove up to the Ophir Cave for for a little fungi roundup! This is the 3rd cave Lucas has been into hunting and collecting fungus. This little cave has two rappels (one ~50ft freehanging) and is full value.  
This one isnt really a secret.

Literally looks like the 'mouth' of the cave.
Cave formations are so out-of-this-world that I feel like I'm on an alien planet somewhere!
The second rappel.
Down goes Trace. Trace and Trevor had never needed to ascend a fixed rope before; lets just say Im really really glad I didnt have to learn in a pitch black cave with a super old bolt anchor. 
Yup, thats an old mounted deer head! I guess the story goes that a mutual friend of Lucas' and my parents, Trent Syness, hauled this thing down about the time we were born, if not earlier. I have absolutely no idea how the heck they managed to get that thing down there! There were some extremely claustrophobic sections to get to the bottom/main chamber. Most of the hair probably was scraped off on the descent but whatever was left has since fallen off. Creepy?
It made for some great fungi collection though!
This passageway probably used to 'go' but it has filled up with mud and we didnt feel like belly crawling into a dead end. This IS the true bottom.
This beautiful formation had an opening that you could squirm through into a cool room.
Those are little bones. Its either a really old dead bat or an owl pellet. Seriously, we cant figure out what it is. 
A WNS FREE(!!!!!!!) bat!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Tobacco Roots: Village: Ol' Two Tier got a 31 bolt-o-plasty

Lucas and I knew we could escape the valley's awesome weather by heading West, so we did. Come to think of it, when we get a drill on loan, no matter what the weather, we'll be out at the Village. Thanks for the drill Adam! We went straight to this monster chunk of rock; one of the tallest and widest in the Village. We scrambled up to the ledge that bisects the rock horizontally and installed two sets of anchors. I bolted a really cool facey slab full of rails and crystals:  'Schwabby' 3 pieces of gear off the ground to 12 bolts that finishes on a bolted anchor ~45 meters. Lucas bolted a super featured crystally face to the right (S) using 9 bolts that finishes on a bolted anchor: 'Up and Adam' ~45 meters. Then we moved to the top of the formation, installed a bolt anchor, and worked on linking up our lower pitches with an upper one. Project. We went home because 31 bolts later were ran out. 
Lucas installing anchors and deciding whether he likes fresh or compressed air better.
Dust is bad mmmmmkay?
Route development is fun no matter what the weather is doing!

'Up and Adam' goes up the obvious right slab with the bolts proximal to the right arete to keep things exciting. 'Schwabby' goes up the obvious left slab with the bolts an arms width from the arete. The first 20ft of these routes is not in the photo. 

Lucas working on the second pitch project.
It might not look fine to you but I promise its worse in the valley!

Lucas working on 'Up and Adam'

Monday, September 16, 2013

Tobacco Roots: The Village: HeavenView Rock

Wow what a weekend! I was lucky enough to procure a legendary hammer drill from a friend from work for some bolting out at the Village. We have been hunting pure trad lines for a couple years now but we knew the Village has more mixed and sport potential than pure trad. We went right up to a chunk Lucas scoped a year ago called HeavenView. Initially, we threw 3 ropes off trad anchors over the rock in all directions to 'feel it out' and I was the only one that 'felt' anything. The W or NW face is very tall, full of intermittent cracks, and has tons of crystal nubbins. The natty anchors on top were way too sketchy to establish anything from so we put in some chain anchors ~30 meters from the ground. From these anchors we were able to establish 3 stellar routes (so far). Well, the 3rd one still needs some bolts but it has been top roped. 
Thats Travis weighting the brand new chains.
Looking up from gross gully.

We each rehearsed the route I rapped right over to identify good bolt locations. This route, "Less is More" was inspired by Conrad's drill which is tattooed with those exact words.  1 piton off the ground to multiple gear placements to the bolted face back to cracks and on to the top. 

Lucas up on the face for the routes first lead.
Here I am removing my watch again. 
"Trust the crystals!"

The second route I bolted, "More or Less" finishes in the crack to the left of me in this photo. It parallels "Less is More" climbers left about 8-10 feet. Two pitons off the ground to a bolt then cracks until you hit the bolted face (3 bolts) back to cracks and on to the top
Lucas above the 3rd project with the Madison valley in all its glory behind.

A little weight training
Lucas post first roof on 3rd project.
This roof is full of holds and looks super fun. I haven't climbed it yet.
Its not raining anymore Travis, you can come out!

Travis going up the face above two roofs on the 3rd project.
Manfred thinks we're weird.
Really weird.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Hyalite: scouting, bouldering, and figure 4s

Hyalite and I were best buds this week. I was up there T,W,R, and F. Tuesday I was scouting a chunk of rock I thought was virgin to climbers but several bolted routes later I realized this virgin rock is actually called the Head Wall. Its a two sided rock for sure; one side is very difficult and requires bolts (for the most part) and the other side is easy unclimbed (as far as I can tell) trad lines. Kudos to Mr. Carpenter for putting up some 'heady' routes. Undiscouraged, I crossed the creek again and spotted a gem of a giant boulder I hadnt ever taken notice of before. Its right off the road so I quickly and easily scaled it and traversed it. The thing is huge and pretty tall on its up-hill side. Zero signs of climbing but its Hyalite, Im not the first one to see this thing. Sam and I came back Wednesday to do some cleaning, platform building, and sending. We climbed just about every variation you can do on the uphill arete. Lucas and I came back Thursday with a shovel and really did some boulder pad-form (platform) building to create a safer climbing scenario. I dont know where the line is drawn for high ball bouldering but I certainly got high enough to really not want to fall. Lucas and I climbed the route and were very excited about how solid it actually is. I think V2 is the hardest grade we have hit yet (which I did with Sam). Today, Lucas and I wanted to go to Practice Rock but there were already cars there at 9am so we went farther up the canyon to a chunk of rock called the Swamp. Apparently you have to be a superhuman to climb anything there. We ended up busting out Lucas' ice tools to do some dry tooling and getting super pumped. 
Steep N face.

The lower chunk.
The uncleaned, (unclimbed?) globular S face. 

The Head Wall from the street.
Big Foot Boulder
Looking down it from the top.
Sam sending, Manfred sniffing.

This was the next day when I came back with Lucas. I sent the sit start and decided to take my watch off before topping out since I had two free hands. 

This is a tall V1 called Interstellar Space. This day human kind sent a man made object outside of our galaxy!
This is a great way to sharpen your axes. J/k. Im tilling up rocks, working on a padform. 

The Swamp in all its impossibility (except for superhumans). Its hard to tell but its overhanging for the first half. 
Dont worry Kevin and Jeff, we didnt break any hold dry tooling around.