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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Whiskey Gulch Bouldering

Finding good climbing weather has proven difficult lately. Bozeman is experiencing a very early winter unlike the normal Indian summer we usually get. Luckily, we have a rain shadow desert in Montana known as the Boulder Batholith. The continental divide squeezes all of the moisture out on the windward side while the leeward side remains dry. East of Butte in the Pipestone area is a great place to escape bad weather. Sam, Manfred and I gambled on the weather being at least tolerable so off to Whiskey Gulch we went. We drove through a couple of rain showers and snow flurries but arrived at a dry, albeit cold, trail head. Our first stop was at the Entryway (?) boulders. There is a somewhat highball V1 (sandbag!) that I have been walking by for years but decided to give it a try this day. I got at least half way up it before I got flash pumped and had to jump off. Its not quite what I was hoping for. Not sure I really want to try it again. I climbed another V1 on the same boulder immediately to the right and flashed it. Next we found The Force area and climbed a classic V0 dihedral and the V1 arete right next to it. Sam then took us to an area I had never been to and we climbed a V1 crack then spent some time figuring out the V4 (Zombies and Gummy Bears?) just to the left. It was good enough to climb twice. We finished the day on the Seamstress, a tall heady V1. It spat snow on us a couple of times but only for a minute. Upon driving back in to Whitehall it was very apparent we dodged a fairly major ran shower.
The Force Area: V0 right above my head and a V1 a little ways over my right shoulder.

The curvy crack is the V4 and the straight one is a V1.
Seamstress climbs the right crack.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Gally Rally: The Waltz, White Streak, Spare Rib

Sam is always on my case about climbing in 'the canyon' so we turned South at Four Corners instead of staying West to the Village and spent a gorgeous day in the canyon. We started off with the ever classic and much frequented Waltz. I lead the first 5.7r pitch and made Sam lead the second 5.6 pitch for his first time. Then, as we walked up the hill towards Spare Rib, we spied a beautiful quartz dike crack that had to be climbed. It turns out the the route I/we onsighted is called the White Streak 5.8 for obvious reasons. Next, Sam lead the first pitch of Spare Rib 5.8 and I lead the long, exposed, money second pitch. Had we not run out of water, we may have finished on Skyline. Who knows. We were, however, hoping to jump in to the Gallatin River for a quick swim but when we hiked down from the rocks, the river had turned a nasty, dirty, chocolate milkshake color! It was crystal clear when we hiked in. I wonder if another shit pond in Big Sky broke or if there was some kind of catastrophic landslide somewhere upstream from let say an old burn area. I really hope its something closer to the latter.
Gallatin Tower from across the canyon
White Streak is the left white dike in the sun
The Fish Face area
Spare Rib route climbs the skyline
Mr. Dr. Professor Trad

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

2017 Solar Ecplise from Teewinot, Teton Mountains

No longer can I say "never have I ever seen a Solar Eclipse." When the line of totality crosses a place like Grand Teton National Park, you go. Along with the rest of the world (foreshadowing). I cruised to the Lupine Meadows trail head Sunday night in 4 hours. It took me 9.5 hours to get back. Luckily for me the experience of my first solar eclipse was so phenomenal, the long return trip will quickly be forgotten. I knew hiking Teewinot (for me) would not take very long and was hoping to sleep in a bit but people continuously flowed through the parking lot only to find it was full and leave. So, sleeping in the bed of my truck, I got to hear every person show up and then drive away. All night. ALL night. Needless to say not much sleeping was happening so I got up early and started hiking. I reached the summit, casually, in about 4 hours. 1.5 hours ahead of the eclipse. There was a crew from Bozeman already up there and I passed a large party from Utah on their way up. Seeing how I was supposed to be at work, I started the downclimb. I got to treeline where I stopped to watch the solar eclipse. If you were not in the line of totality, Im sorry, but you did not see a true solar eclipse. God flipped a light switch from on to off. It wasnt kind of dark, it was dark. The stars came out! I could see light way off in the distance in all directions and it seemed like a circumferential sunrise or sunset. I could look directly at the sun without sunglasses and see a tiny bit of orange surrounding the moon. I didnt really know what to expect but, to me, it was weird. It did not feel right. You shouldnt be able to go from a bluebird day to night in the matter of seconds. It shouldnt be dark in the middle of the day. It felt like a bad omen. Just saying how I felt. It was beautiful, mesmerizing, inspiring but dark. Evil. I dont know why. I do know I am definitely traveling to see the next one!
Well, my truck is down there somewhere.
A climber from Bozeman on Teewinot, the Grand Teton just to his left.

If you had your special glasses on, you would be seeing more moon than sun.

Im pretty sure Google Maps has never ever ever had red traffic jams in Montana but..... 1 hour to do 19 miles..... it took me two hours to go from the park to Jackson (WY)!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Revenue Village: The Shoulder Blade

I scoped this particular chunk of rock out a few years ago and didnt think it was route worthy, but Im not sure what I was thinking. It is so big and prominent and easily identified from the road that I had to revisit it. Im glad I did! Having one of the most pure, continuous, consistent and true faces in the Village, 3 routes were born. 3 very similar routes were born. Might as well be triplets. Larry, Curly and Moe are the first names I think of in triplicate so boom, there you have it. They will all require some simple small to medium cam placements, all about 30m tall.
Moe (pre bolts)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Revenue Village: 7 Seasons rock done

Pretty darn excited about this chunk of rock. At least one more 5 star route was born. Finding 7 Seasons rock is going to prove tricky but once you find it, you'll happily be there all day. There are 4 routes on the main buttress and one immediately adjacent climber's right.
The Main Slab
The adjacent slab, 'Butt Crack' is wide but bomber gear to 3 run out bolts up the lower back.
Some trad gear to 4 bolts will get you up 'Jolly Green Black Bean'
Some trad gear and 3 bolts will get you up 'Deviled Eggs'
9! bolts will get you up 'Titillating'

'Yoga in a Toga' uses trad gear to reach the 6 bolts that take you to the top.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Purple Chimney Arete, Bridgers

I read about this climb on a blog a while ago and have always wanted to go and investigate. Its a L.Rausch free solo up a purple chimney to a wavy ridge/arete. Its pretty much just a 5th class scramble with a couple of 'climbing' moves. Manfred and I got to the Fairy Lake parking lot about 6:30pm and I was done with the climb, drinking a beer at the base, by 7:30pm. Its really close but still has an alpine feel to it. It would probably be 3-4 pitches if you pitched it out, maybe 300' of gain. I noticed a buttress on Pomp Peak to the North that I scrambled over to and will definitely be revisiting with gear and a rope.
From LR's blog
Spiny Ridge thing

The highest you ever get off the ground is about 80-90' on one side but only 20 or so on the uphill side.
A bullet proof buttress that might be unclimbed on Pomp Peak.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Spearfish Canyon with Kyler P

Spearfish Canyon is kind of a mecca of Limestone sport climbing and it lies directly on the path to and fro Okoboji Iowa. This year I was able to stay a few days and climb. A friend of mine was going to be climbing in Ten Sleep Wyoming already so we arranged to meet in Spearfish and climb for 3 days. Neither of us had been there before and neither of us left disappointed. We spent day 1 climbing in the Darkside area. I climbed 5 routes. We spent the next climbing in Big Picture Gully where I climbed four more routes. The last day was spent at the Shadowlands where I climbed four more routes. No matter where you went, you could not escape the pockets (not that you want to).  To sum up the area in one sentence: Steep pocketed limestone. This place is a 5.12 climber's paradise. Ill bet about 75% of the routes at all areas lie in the 5.12 range. I am not a 5.12 climber. Even though it reached 100* everyday, we were still able to find shade and climb all day.
A sport climbing day pack. Love it. Compared to my trad pack this was gravy! Wine, music, sandals, harness and draws.
The bridge to the Darkside.
Hole in the Wall section of the Darkside. I climbed two easy short 5.10s here.

There are actually two ropes in this pic. Kyler climbed a route to the left of the rope you can see but its so steep the rope is hanging away from the rock at tree level.
Kyler jumped on this bad boy once this guy left.
I climbed this supposedly 'best for the grade in the canyon' route.

Necessity is the seed of invention.

Great pay camping.
Why wine? Because its good at room temp duh!
Started off our BPG day here on the Bradyism wall.

My favorite route of the trip. Its a route of mono pocket after mono pocket after mono pocket! Its only 5.11a because the pockets are deeper than your finger with a perfect positive lip. If there were ever 'mono pocket jugs' then these were them. I was smiling and laughing the whole way up. I couldn't believe it.
Beggars Banquet might be the only 5.8 in the canyon.
Shadowlands: The Green Mile wall has a couple of moderates for non-superhumans like myself. Kyler spent his time on the Courthouse (?) wall.