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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Bear Canyon with Fermi

A new guy to the climbing world, Fermin (Fermi for short), was a pleasant addition to the Sam-Manfred-and-I climbing team in Bear Canyon the other day. We went right to the BOLs (bolted on lead) wall because I had some hardware that needed to be installed on one of my 3 anchor sets. I lead Lime Juice 5.8 without a hitch and added the needed quick links to the anchor. Fermin TRd it and Sam lead it before we moved to the main Sandstone crag. There, Sam put the rope up over Ignition 5.11a, almost cleanly. I tried to send it without a break but got stuck at the same spot Sam did. Fermin figured it out eventually. Sam then lead it cleanly and we moved over to the Under the Sea wall. The UtSW has got a few new bolts since last time I was up there so Im not exactly sure what routes we did. I think we started on Sea Bucket 5.9, followed by Under the Tree 5.10a, then Under the Sea 5.10a. Fermin, on only his second day of climbing outside, confidently lead Sea Bucket! 5 routes for three people after work is a good outing. It helps when it stays light until 10pm!
Fermin on Lime Juice.
Sam belaying Fermin up Ignition.

Ignition is steep!
Thats me(?) somewhere on the far right side of the Under the Sea Wall.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Village Development: 7 Seasons Rock got its first 2 routes

Manfred and I got to spend a couple of long days out in the Village last week. I began work on a new buttress called 7 Seasons because one of Lucas and I's original routes (maybe season 1) was climbed here; I think we called the route Texas Flake. The first day was as much trail work as it was route development. It took me a long time and several different horrendous bushwhacks to figure out how to get to the top of the rock so I could install chain anchors. Well I found a way and spent a couple of hours cutting and clearing shrubbery to create a nice trail to the top. By the end of the day I was still able to clean many feet of cracks and drill 6 bolts (on top of the two already used for anchors) finishing one route; Yoga in a Toga (mixed 25m). During the next visit, I was able to finish one more route, Titillating (9 bolt sport 25m). These are going to be 5.Fun climbs!
Both routes are climber's right of bushy crack. Work has begun on the left pointy tower thing.
There is a huge roof right at knee level which makes for a perfect shady spot for a hot dog.
Yoga in a Toga
This heinous offwidth is another route that Lucas and climbed back in the early days. Its on the backside of the Shoulder Blade.
A good look at the Rolling Ramp and Heaven View.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Gallatin Tower: right side single pitch routes

I made my first trip to the Tower in maybe 5 years with Sam and Manfred after work. I remembered top roping a few single pitch routes on the lower right side that were memorable fun and I wanted to re-familiarize myself. We started on Orange Crack and worked our way left. I lead Orange Crack all gear 5.9 30m. I thought the lower 5.7 section was harder than the upper 5.9 section! Then, from those bolted anchors, we top roped Tigger 5.10a and Thing in Between 5.9 before it got dark on us. These routes were all as good as I remembered.
Sam starting up Orange Crack (thanks for the orange helmet)
If you look closely, you can see both ends of the rope and a textbook situation showing why you ALWAYS knot the end of your ropes. If those knots were not there, it would be easy to drop your partner or rappel of the ends. In this case, you wouldnt fall very fall but it is the most frequent accident in climbing.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Village climb day: FAs on the Diamond and Ol' Two Tier (upper pitches)

Sam, Manfred and I got to spend the day climbing new routes in the Village, again! We went straight to the freshly bolted Diamond first. I lead Cheese Grader 5.8 25m 5 bolts to 2 or 3 (.5,.75,1) cams depending on your comfort. Sam took the lead on Hometown Heroes but was unable to get to the top with out sitting at the crux. I also had to sit and figure out the crux; Hometown Heroes 5.10d 9 bolts 25m. Next, we moved over to Ol' Two Tier to climb the unclimbed second pitches we put in a couple of seasons ago. Sam got the sharp end for both of the 60m first pitches, Up and Adam 5.7 as well as Schwabby's Access 5.8. I have climbed them both a couple of times. Sam lead the short second pitch he bolted and I lead the second pitch I put anchors on but no bolts. I thought I was going to bolt it but its really easy, protectable-but-run-out climbing. 6 pitch day, 4 of them unclimbed. Not bad.
Sam on Hometown Heroes (above crux)
You can barely see Sam way up on Up and Adam.
Sam on Up and Adam. Schwabby's Access goes up the ramp ~15' to the left.
Sam cleaning the anchor on top of P2 of Up and Adam.
Sometimes its easy to flake your rope when you are not 300' off the ground.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Splitboarding the Beartooth Highway

Never had I ever skied the infamous Beartooth Highway headwalls until now. The highway opened last weekend but since I was in the Tetons and elsewhere, I couldnt get there until weekend 2. My friends Luke and Evan joined me for the skiing and urban camping part while Manfred stayed in 'camp' sun bathing. I say urban camping because we got to stay with my in-law's parents a little ways south of Red Lodge. We stopped in Roscoe for dinner before we got to Red Lodge where we closed down the Snow Creek bar. Needless to say we didnt head up the pass very early on Saturday. We spent the day getting 3 laps on the Gardner Headwall. The longest line is probably about 1k' vertical. This ski requires hitchiking to the top, (obviously) skiing down, then a short uphill walk or skin (depending on your gear) from the bottom. We ended up at the Snow Creek bar again Saturday night but meandered away before it was too late. Sunday was even warmer and our goal was the Rock Creek headwall. We parked at the base of the snowfield/headwall and hitchhiked to the top. You have to walk a short flat ways across the plateau before you can strap in and go. The Rock Creek headwall is a lot longer and gets a lot more steep. According to my phone (Ski Tracks app) I hit a 57* slope at some point. Thats not super steep but its a lot steeper than most skiing you do in the backcountry or on a resort. We managed two laps before we succumbed to the heat and began the long journey home. I cant believe I have never spent a weekend up there skiing like we did. This is definitely going to become a tradition!
Saturday. Gardner Headwall.

Bongwater Ale goes everywhere with me these days. This is the bottom of the Gardner headwall looking up at the walk out.

We skied skiers left of the dotted line for run one. Then the dotted line for round 2. Luke and I tried to get in to the Showtime(?) couloir for our last lap but missed the entrance and skied skiers right of the bluffs.
The Don made an appearance.

I flew a micro kite behind me during our first run (it actually worked!). Here you can see the tails blowing in the wind.

I swear in not peeing. Snow Creek Saloon: Dance to the beat of your own drum!
The Rock Creek Headwall.
You can barely make out the cars in the parking lot at the base of the snow. ~1500'

Some serious parking lot loitering going on. L-R Me, Luke, Evan
Looking over at the highway we just hitchiked up.

Look out below! Evans dropping!
About a 25 minute walk across the flat to the top of the Rock Creek headwall.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Village climb day: The Rolling Ramp

Memorial Day found Jeff, Manfred and I hiking out to the village for some on-sight trad multipitch climbing. Jeff wanted something easy so I finally had a partner excited to go climb the easy looking Rolling Ramps that I have been walking by long enough. We climbed an excellent, easy 5.5 line right to the top in 2 pitches. A 70m rope might make it by a c-hair in one pitch. A hummingbird tried to find some nectar in my nose or something because I got dive bombed by one while I was belaying Jeff up the first pitch. It scared the crap out of me! I named the route Hummingbird Heart Attack.
Sitting down at the belay where the Hummingbird confrontation took place.

Such a pretty place to climb.

Climbing is supposed to be fun. Smiles are better than curse words, fear and anger.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Found this season's development zone in the Village

Manfred and I had an incredibly successful scouting mission in to a new zone in the Village. The buttress I am going to start on has one of the original trad lines from season 1 on it that I instantly recognized. I think we called the route Texas Flake. This chunk should provide 6-10 quality routes. The buttress right next to it Im calling the Crack House for obvious reasons; there must be atleast 20 beautiful looking cracks side by side. If they are all as good as the rest of the cracks I have cleaned and climbed in the Village then holy s!@#. The climbing community is in for a treat!

The Crack House. OMG.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Tetons: Mt.St John; Holly(?) Canyon splitboarding

Memorial day weekend snuck up on me this year and as of Friday, I still dint know what I was going to do. My friends Lucas and Bailey were going to spend the weekend in the Tetons and their first objective was to ski Mt.St John. Backcountry skiing sounded like a ton of fun so after work I made the long haul down to Antelope Flats for a quick sleep. We didnt get up very early, 5am, which is a late start for skiing in the Tetons. Luckily for us, Holly Canyon must have the shortest approach of any ski route that I am aware of in the Tetons. We hiked up to Laurel Lake(?) in no time where I put my boots on and began skinning. Lucas and Bailey both had snowboards, neither of which were splitboards. Shortly after skinning, a super thick white out fog overtook us and I had to stop next to a boulder so I wouldnt lose my mind and go in to complete vertigo (the dark rock gave my eyes some depth and something not white to look at. After a few minutes the fog began to lift so we chased it up and off the mountain. We didnt reach the East summit, but we could have. We got to a point maybe an hour from the summit where the snow began to go to deep mashed potatoes which is not much fun to ski down. We could either get a summit, or a ski descent, but not both. We opted for the ski descent. We were able to safely trigger small wet slides the entire way down. We got to ski about 1600' from our high point to Laurel Lake. We were deemed 'crazy' by all the tourists down at the trailhead.
Foggy morn before the sun came up.
Here comes the sun

The Cathedral Group
Mt.St John has the serrated ridge top with many summits. We skied on the backside that can not be seen.
The hanging valley/canyon was our line.

Walking up in to the soup.

Our high point. The top is not far off.
Forget the name or the label, this beer is delicious!