Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Circle of Life

In an uncanny turn of events, two members of the squamish climbing community brought in a new member to their families yesterday. Rhea and Israel had a beautiful baby girl named Winter Isla Cruces and Pat and Elaine Chung had a healthy baby boy named Cameron (Matthew?) Chung. Congratulations everyone!!! It's a baby making factory out there people!

Video Review: A week in Yosemite

Another week goes by, the weather changes, and we find ourselves back in the gym wondering why we have jobs and are not on the road full time at this time of the year. Trying to get psyched back into training mode today I was looking around the internet for a video that might try to inspire me to try harder. On the blog KearneyJourney, I came across a rad video by Walker Kearney with footage from this November in Yosemite. What a cool video! I met Walker and his sister Prarrie on my very first trip to Bishop seven years ago. At the time, Walker and I bonded over our hatred for the problem Iron Man Traverse, as both of us tried it for two days without prevail. Since that time, Walker's climbing has grown by epic proportions, with his eyes on big prizes all over the states and Europe.

So what makes this video so rad? The first 4 minutes of the movie begins with a montage of clips from hard problems and people falling off the top outs of a number of classic problems in Yosemite. It reminded me of the old slam sections in skateboarding videos years back and it really got me psyched to go out and try harder on the rock. Walker did a great job of editing these clips to get the maximum exposure of the variety of the problems in Yosemite, not to mention the music track chosen to keep you on the edge of your seat. The video finishes off with showing some start to finish climbing on a number of fine highballs, skipping through the boring top outs with some fast forward and keeping the viewer interested.

So where are climbing videos going in the future? Years back ,when I was in high school my friends and I were piecing together skateboard videos in our parents basements, with single sections on each riders, slam sections, and intros that would make you laugh your ass off. It was all a huge movement towards where skateboarding videos have gone now. However, the formatting of skate videos has not changed that much since then. So will climbing go the same way? Will we stick with the same formatt for climbing videos as we have seen time and time again? Will I continue to sit through long self absorbed interviews and even longer top outs? or the homemade video that only captures one angle? or are people going to start mixing it up already?

On a side note, if you have not been to the BIG UP site in while, you should check out their new video Tis the Season. These guys are getting really technical with their shots and the quality of their videos and it is paying off big time.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Second Time a Charm

Round two in the boulders today. Surprisingly, more people were out despite colder temps and a bone chilling wind that was ripping through the forest. After yesterdays efforts on more difficult climbs, Rich and I decided we would stick circuiting problems we know and love. We soon found ourselves in the Titanic area of the forest to begin our trek down memory lane. For those of you who need a better picture of the conditions in the forest, every problem we came to was dry and free from snow. Despite our best efforts to make it from one end of the forest to the other, Rich and I were left standing in front of the Animal Magnetism boulder by 3 pm with our tips shredded and our muscles complaining of the cold. All in all, a beautiful two days in January. Here are couple photos of today and yesterday, courtesy of the talented Mike Chapman and my own terrible camera skills.

Matt giving me the best spot a guy could ask for on Northridge Mini (Courtesy of Mike Chapman).

Rich basking in the sun while weezing through Airtight Garage.

Rich feeling the friction of winter on Mosquito Incubator.

Return to the Forest

This weekend brought back the sunny weather to squamish bouldering and let me tell you, it was off the hook. The forest was glimmering with hope when Matt, Rich, and I arrived with no one to greet us but our own enthusiasm. Mike Chapman turned up quickly to document our sends as the early afternoon light shone on our backs. Starting in the Easy area, we were quick to jump on a sweet sweet warm up circuit and hit up some old problems that are often ignored. As the day progressed, our journey found us back at the Black Hole area, where we lost most of our skin crimping in the winter sun. Save of the day goes to Matt Lucas who placed his own body as a pad when I fell off the last moves of Northridge Mini. Here is a picture of Matt escaping from the boredom of gym climbing. Wait a that a new spotting technique where you don't use your hands?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

From the Horses Mouth

This post is for everyone who is psyched to climb outside this weekend. I wrote Chapman for a detailed analysis of the situation in the boulders and here is what he wrote back:

"its really good. crisp, but not too cold. problems with snow on top have some seepage, but there is tons to do. warm up areas are in good shape. weasel, no troblems, defenders and even black hole are all in perfect shape. rest of the talus is a bit worse because of snow on top. "

So there you have it folks. Outside bouldering is on for this weekend and I, for one, am pretty psyched to get back to the forest. See you Saturday!

Weather Update

A week of wonderful weather goes by and I have yet to hear a positive report back on bouldering in the forest or in the talus. However, I did get a report that the smoke bluffs are dry enough to climb. The weather network shows sunny skies for the rest of the week. Lets hope this fog eats up all the snow and precipitation by the weekend!

UPDATE:  According to a secondary source, Mike Chapman has reported that the boulders are 'mostly dry' and ready to climb.   Get ready for the weekend.  Should be awesome!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sean McColl

Recently, Sonnie Trotter was writing about those climbers who are blessed with the biology to be strong climbers at a very young age. My opinion on this subject is that biology can only take you so far with factors such as an early introduction into climbing, strict training regimes, and self-motivation playing a vital role in the success of these young climbers.

One of the climbers mentioned Trotter's blog was Sean McColl. Sean is a local Vancouver climber who began climbing at the age of 10 and completed his first 14a at the age of 12. Last week, Matt Lucas brought to my attention a YouTube video featuring Sean climbing at the North American Climbing Championships in Montreal two weeks ago. It is clear in the video that Sean's climbing abilities continue to be a step above the rest. I think Sean is more than capable of dreaming big. Perhaps the second accent of Dreamcatcher? or Singularity? Maybe another trip to Europe? Buy a van, make a list, and show us what you can do!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Weather Update

For those of you who thought the sun we had this week would bring us back to the boulders this weekend, you will be sadly dissappointed. Reports for Mike Chapman indicate that the forest boulders are completely soaked and the talus is covered in snow. Don't give up hope, perhaps February will bring back a week or two of sunny weather like last year. To keep up your psych, here is a picture of Brent Mickelson on an unknown boulder in Hope, BC.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Kevin Jorgenson

Since there is absolutely nothing going on in Squamish due to the inclement weather we are having, I thought I would write about a new line scoped out by Kevin Jorgenson in the Buttermilks. During my last trip to Bishop, I was walking around the boulders with Georg, looking at some of the new super highballs that had yet to be completed. Georg led me to the south face of the Grandpa Peobody boulder where Kevin had hung a top rope to work the moves on what I would call a 'climb of death'. When looking at the route itself, the holds make sense but it certainly doesn't make sense to climb up them. This thing is a monster.

I was just checking the Momentum VM website and Kevin just recently completed this line. This is absolutely nuts! In the write up, Kevin stated that he wanted as many pads as possible but no spotters. One, who is crazy enough to spot on this kind of thing, and two, I think a human falling from 45 feet would pretty much break you arms off. If you get a chance, also check out Kevins website I have never met Kevin nor have I ever seen him climb but climbing huge lines like this are pretty inspiring in a 'I am still going to stay ten feet off the ground' kind of way. Here is a picture of the climb I took looking way way up.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Skateboarding Cross Over

Not too many people know this, but back before I got into climbing I was heavy into skateboarding. Every once in a while I still get on my board and try to rip it up whcih ussually ends with me falling on my ass but I can still pull off a kickflip or two and have a lot of fun crusing around.

Recently, a series of videos from the shoe company DVS have surfaced on YouTube showing professional skateboarders battle it out in a game of SKATE or what is commonly referred to as HORSE. Featured in one of these battles was an old professional skater that I used to be psyched on named Steve Berra. He was one of the original members of the Birdhosue Projects team (led by Tony Hawk) and also tried to break into the movie scene around the same time Jason Lee was doing the Mallrat movies. He ended up starring in two episodes of Felicity until his acting career came to a sudden halt when his character was hit by a bus.

I couldnt get this one to embed so here is the link

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Search

Like surfing, those who are on the cutting edge of climbing are always looking for the next best boulder or the next best line to catch their very own first ascent. I would have to say that I am the worst searcher of new boulders around. Sometimes I think it would be awesome to find a rad new line, but after looking at two or three boulders that are blank, I just feel like going back to the car.

On my last day in Bishop, however, I decided to check out this new boulder that I had heard about through gibberish and here say. It is situated upstream where Pleasant Valley Dam road meets Chalk Bluff road and I would have to say that it is one of the best boulders I have seen in the tablelands. According to some website, it is between V7 and V9 but the moves and sequence are classic with one of the best natural holds I have felt in a long time. I will definitely come back for this one.

Here are a couple pictures to keep you going (Thanks Doug and Matt). The first is a picture of the boulder I described above, the second is a photo of myself doing the first move of Acid Wash, and the last photo is a shot of a new area in the tablelands called County Line.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Beginnings

My trip to Bishop is coming to an end tomorrow night where I will venture back to the snowy streets of Vancouver with visions of California sun dancing in my head. This is the shortest trip I have done to Bishop and I have to say one week is never enough. Prior to getting here, I was severely unmotivated and had just come off the bench from a number of injuries. The first couple of nights in the truck were uncomfortablely cold and I missed the luxuries of home living. However, mid-week my outlook changed dramatically. The sun came out from its clouds, old problems were revisted with fresh eyes, and my fingers began to enjoy the rock again.

Ussually on last days, I try to go around and repeat problems that I have already done to avoid failure on the last day. However, this year I have decided to go for it on a problem that has been haunting me for years. I am excited for the challenge. I may not do the problem tomorrow but nonetheless, I am looking forward to the process rather than the send. Either way, this trip has left me hungry for climbing again and I am excited to get back to training for the next trip in March.

As for local climbing news, Tim Clifford sent The Swarm today on the last day of his trip after dodging the flu all week. I will leave you with a picture of George Jost, Tim Clifford, and Matt Birch eyeing a new line next to Evilution. As old projects finish, new ones are always waiting around the corner.