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Sunday, June 29, 2014

4 new routes in Revenue Village

It was supposed to rain all day Saturday so naturally Manfred and I decided to go rock climbing. Geographically speaking, if you drive an hour in any direction away from the Gallatin Valley, you'll find good (better) weather. And I did. Manfred and I marched into the Village right to where Sam and I cached gear last time we were out there. I installed a 2 bolt anchor, fixed my static line to it and proceeded to work out the routes. This face has the largest crystals I have seen in the Village to date! 20 bolts later I had four 5-star routes waiting to be climbed. Sam, Manfred and I came back on Sunday to climb 'em. We were ear-to-ear smiles all day. Some of the funnest sport/mixed climbing I have ever done! Sam concurs as well. Moose Rock (left to right): Deaf Moose (5.8; 7 bolts to a bomber 0.4 cam followed by a bomber 0.5 cam), Dumb Moose (5.8; 6 bolts), Blind Moose (5.9; 7 bolts) and Bull Moose (5.9; clip the first 3 bolts of Blind Moose, step right into alcove and 3 bomber cam placements [0.3 or 0.4 to #1 to a clever #3] with a final run-out get you to the anchors). We found another chunk of rock right next to Moose Rock that I cant wait to get out and climb. I think it has a few more 5-star routes on it.

Some of those crystals are sticking out over 2"!
FA Deaf Moose 5.8 7 bolts to 2 cams.
~25 meters later Im on top.

Sam following Dumb Moose (5.8 6 bolts) which pretty much follows the rope line. 
Sam following Blind Moose (5.9 7 bolts)
Sam following Bull Moose (5.9 3 bolts to 3 cams)
Sam cleaning a cam on Bull moose.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Humbug Spires: The Wedge

Lucas, Travis and I wanted some granite multi-pitch climbing practice so where better to go than the Humbugs? Travis and I had been to the Wedge before but Lucas had not. A short hike Saturday morning got us to the rock by 9:30am. I wanted to get 3 routes done that day; a pretty ambitious goal for a climbing trio. We started with the super classic 5.8+ Mutt and Jeff route and sent it with no hang-ups. Lucas was able to link two of the short pitches together so 4 pitches later we were on top. We rapped off and ate some lunch. For route #2 we decided on the 5.8 SouthWest Chimney. Lucas again linked two of the pitches and 5 pitches later, we were on top. The book says we climbed 11 pitches, I say we climbed 9. It was our half-rope system that reduced the rope drag enough to link those pitches together. Lucas and I had been swapping leads all day but when we got to the last friction sport pitch of the day, I wasnt feeling it so he climbed it and earned the VIP of the day. Travis lead the crux pitch on the Mutt and Jeff but had an injury that prevented him from doing any more of the leading. We didnt have the time or enthusiasm to go for another route so we walked back to camp and started the celebrating.

The 600' Wedge
The Mutt and Jeff goes climber's left of the obvious arcing roof in the middle of the rock. You can see the first 3 pitches of the SouthWest Chimney on the climber's right side of the rock. 
Gearin' up
Top of 2nd pitch of Mutt and Jeff. I got to lead this epic pitch.
Travis working on the crux offwidth 3rd pitch.
Lucas sending the offwidth.

Two 70m ropes allows for some huge rappels. 2 rappels to get off the front side.
Travis following the second pitch of the ButterKnife/SouthWest Chimney.
Lucas linking pitches in the chimney.
The term 'knife-edge ridge' is thrown around loosely. I always say a knife-edge ride you have to straddle; clearly we are straddling the rock on the top of the climb.

A dutch oven and cold beer waiting for us at the trailhead. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Rise and Fall of Darth Maul

Darth Maul made it up to the Dearborn River for Lucas and Jennie's graduation party where he proceeded to be the life of the party. His life may have been short, but it was sweet. See following.
Getting ready to cook a pig.
Who knew behind that big tough-guy face was a gourmet chef! There is an entire pig inside that custom convection oven.
Hay maan I slappa da base.
In Walks Bud put on a great show for us.
I wonder if he knows that I took this photo...
3 of the original 4 members: Suga Schwabb on the drums, Aaron with the guitar and vocals and THE Casey George on the base.
Bubble wands truly bring out the kid in everyone... especially Neil.
I had never heard of Tannerite but apparently you can buy it a lot of places. Its explosive for explosive target shooting. I think you are only supposed to mix 0.5Lb at a time... we put 2.5 pounds in a coffee can in his chest! Slow motion kaboom.
Here is the close-up video. Skip to the end if you can.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

New routes in lower Bear Canyon

A few years ago I walked around the lower Bear Canyon climbing area looking for climbs that were not in the guide book. I didnt know if there were routes or not, but I could see a bunch of rock in the immediate vicinity. I wasnt looking to develop new routes because at the time, I didnt know how or have the equipment to do so. But I did find a bunch of rock. Thats all I really remember. So now that I have a little more experience and a lot more gear, I went back up there looking to develop some of the low hanging fruit. And I found some. I have dragged Lucas up there twice now and we found some/are developing some great sport routes. Another inspiration for Bear Canyon was the necessity to bolt on lead. Im not sure why there is an ethic or a discussion about what is better, bolting on lead verse bolting on rappel, but there is. If you can get to the top of the rock and install anchors, absolutely bolt on rappel. But obviously you cant always get to the top of the rock so you bolt it as you climb it. Bolting on rappel is a million times safer and easier. Thats all I have to say about that. I think our routes are atleast twice as long as the rest of the lower area, granted we are on limestone and not sandstone. 'That one deserves a cigarette' is 8 bolts to bolted anchors and 'Out of state plates' is looking like it might be 10 bolts to bolted anchors; stand by for updates. No photos of Lucas bolting on lead or of 'That one deserves a cigarette.'
Putting in the first bolt on 'Out of state plates'
I bought these etriers a while ago and had never needed to use them so I thought I would test them out while bolting on lead. Pretty much Hard Aid climbing. The route will eventually top out where the rock disappears on the upper left of the photo. 
Hammering in the next bolt.
Spacin' em out as far as possible. 

Climbing a ladder
Notice the upper slab just to my left? Thats were we started and 'That one deserves a cigarette' kind of hugs the left side of it. 'Out of state plates' is going to run straight up the middle, maybe climber's right of center a little. Im working on bolt #4 in the photo. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Bear Trap Canyon Boulders

Sam and I had big plans to climb the standard route up Neat rock, but we were getting signs to do something else. The first sign that climbing multipitch trad might be a bad idea came from mother nature's rain storm. That one is fairly obvious. However, we picked up a hitch-hiking fly fisherman from Blacks Fjord who needed to go to the Warm Springs launch. The Warm Springs boat launch is also the trailhead to some of the coolest boulders on the Maddy that I had never been to so voila! There we went. And a bouldering we did go! These boulders have seen traffic before, but we did muscle some old dead trees and large rocks around which may have opened up some virgin routes. This is a very pretty place to hike to and hang out at the very least. And go figure, Im climbing with Sam and the weather turned sour. Whats the deal Sam!
A sweet crack right off the ground.
The main patch (3 boulders)

My favorite boulder.
Gneiss boulder on the left and Slate(?) on the right. Clearly two different types of rock.

Bringing the floaties next time so we can float back to the car.