After 9 months of technical climbing and training, crossing miles of glaciated terrain, climbing thousands of vertical feet, this is what I’ve put together to share with everyone. Take a gander. Cheers
Another excellent month of excitement for the rouge adventurer. A fantastic cragging trip to the infamous Red Rocks of Nevada. Towers of burgundy sandstone crowd the empty desert, choking the arid breathe from the rolling landscape. The sky, illuminated by the casino twilight, clouds your vision with Vegas smog, cigarette smoke and regret. It travels both high and low for 30 miles over the breathless desert to obscure the natural starlight above. The question of whether the sun is on the rise or about to set is constantly of question as you peak your curious nose out of your sleeping bag to the silhouette of the emerging cliff bands.
~ 11.b rebel without a pause (redpoint)
~ 11.d pockets full of dirt (redpoint)
~ 2 pitch 5.7
As I returned from the wild blood rocks, my alpine partner called me for a last minute objective of an alpine ice couloir in the Sierras. We would make a late night approach to basecamp after I made the 5 hour journey home. However, the severe drought, later than late season and bad timing made the plan suspect. He called me about an hour before my arrival to mammoth saying that the gullies are dry and not worth the effort and danger. He did say, however, that roadside ice in June Lake was in thick and had accessible top rope anchors. I rushed inside my apartment, scrambled about gathering gear and slammed north toward June. The ice was thick with a beautiful blue tone, but the top rope was not as accessible as we thought. It was either a WI3 lead on secure ice, or a 5.8 iced over scramble up loose choss. Neither of us being waterfall leaders made us desperate for a low consequence top rope anchor. I soon realize that the loose, unprotected rock climb had much more potential for a bad situation than a low angle ice lead. I looked at my partner and said, “fuck it I’ll lead it.” Before I even contemplated the situation, I roped up and began placing pro. I got up to a thick section of the waterfall and built a 3 point anchor comprised of black diamond 20cm express screws. The day ended great with my first waterfall lead, a safe return and plenty of laps on top rope.
I have now embarked on my next mini adventure in the bbq loving, y’all using, southern state of texas as a rope access technician. Cheers from the lone star state
Another really great trip to the training ground of bishop. Sent a long time nemesis, camped and dirt bagged it in my car for 3 days, and solo’d the incredible and iconic 50ft arete via the Southwest 5.9 on the Grandma P-Body boulder. Looking up at such an enormous boulder that shouts “God no” to the normal human being, just appeals so highly to the adventure climber.
Oh, and my 600 Black Diamond order has arrived. Pine creek and little egypt here i come:)
My quest for mountainous life, adventure and bliss has landed me in the mecca of the Eastern Sierras. An endless plateau of desert, extending far past the realms of possibility, spied upon by enormous ridge tops, rock faces, gullies and couloirs of the Sierras. The vastness has no curtains, no privacy, drawing your eyes to gaze toward the horizon, and challenge your reality. The greatness of these skylines brings you through metamorphosis, turning your once significant self into a single celled microbial in the shadow of the world. It’s a wonder how humbling and soul enriching a 40 min drive twice a week on the 395 is,
My place of residence and refuge from cities has landed me in Mammoth Lakes, CA. A beautiful oasis of hot springs, big mountains, climbing and easy living. I moved up here as a ski instructor, as ironic as that seems with almost no snow pack, the resort empty and an already broken wallet. I’ve made due, thanks to much help from a very supportive and rad family and great collection of close friends. But hell, I never came to the mountains to strike oil or find a buried chest of jewels. However, the treasure hunt for life experience, brilliant days of climbing and getting high up in the sierras is perfectly in order.
I’ve made some great progress with my personal climbing development since my last blog post. Finally after much diet and training, my strength on the rock has reappeared. When I first returned from Patagonia, I struggled my way up routes, flailed on low to moderate grades, and possessed almost no confidence. I’ve changed myself back to the climber I once was. Strong, confident and clean. Onsighting a couple v4’s, redpointing v5’s and working through v6’s, my body is feeling lean and fit. My confidence as traditional leader as well as improved since the start of my course. Recently I accomplished my first big lead climb of the Yosemite Valley on its most famous rock formations, half dome. My partner Pete and I set out the day after thanksgiving to climb one of the classic moderates of the valley on half dome, Snake Dike. A 5.7 rated R beaut. A year ago, I never could’ve imagined dealing with the first 40 feet of soloing with no pro, 80 foot run outs and featureless and exposed friction climbing where one bad foot placements is all that is in order to take a really bad fall and potential injury. A great stepping stone to more adventurous leads in my life.
The next objective for this month is the North Couloir of North peak. About 4 to 5 pitches of low angle alpine ice up a narrow chute of the 12,242ft peak, this will certainly be a great intro to Sierra alpine mountaineering and future climbs.
Home sweet home on the west coast. It’s been difficult, yet very easy coming back to my roots. After almost a year of traveling and climbing the world, it’s a nice feeling to return and take a fresh breath of Sierra air. I’ve been back almost 4 weeks on Californian soil. A short time compared to my previous nomadic life of 9 months, the four weeks have still felt like an eternity. Thank god for how beautiful and amazing California is for a hungry 20 year old climber. I don’t want to brag anymore than I already have, but did I mention its mid October and I get to rock climb shirtless. Hello Californian sunshine!
Besides the small day trips to the local crags in tahoe, I’ve made two awesome climbing adventures in the Sierras so far. Not a bad start to the time I’m off course.
I attempted to climb Mt. Sill (14,154’ feet (4,314 m) with two partners that I met online on climbfind. We struggled through waist deep snow on the glacier and moraine. The simple 2 hour approach took us a terrible 5 hours. We reached the base of the climb with snow falling on us, the route being whited out and possible avalanche conditions on the couloir of ascent. We decided better luck next time. Mt. Sill 1 Us 0. Still a wonderful hike, adventure and view. Not to mention a gain of two solid partners and friends for the next visit. Thanks Kris and Pete for being rad.
Bouldering, Hotsprings, car camping, Hantavirus, Whaaaaa? back to bishop boyz. Getting shut down on V3’s, beautiful alpine glow, beer and bouldering. My 2nd trip to bishop to boulder. Wow am I out of shape or what?? Still an awesome experience, with plenty of motivation to go get strong before Spain. thanks to the touchstone route setters for a great time, some beer, Josh for the ride and Ryan Galliger for making me google Hantavirus for like 2 days after I got back. Note to self, do not boulder in mice ridden caves.
"Nobody eats last years backstrap after a fresh kill" "DO YOU KNOW WHERE THE OOH LA LA CAFE IS??" "Do you happen to have any smokables by chance?"
After 9 amazing months of traveling, beer drinking, shit talking, learning, hiking, climbing and shenanigans, i’m once again returning to the city of trees. Tucked between the Pacific and Sierras, I will soon land on the soil of the golden state once again. I’m returning home. A strange concept to me now… home for me over the last year has varied from a damp, saturated sleeping bag squished between four smelly dirtbags hoarding every square millimeter of tent space in the snow covered hillieberg to a rock bivvy hidden underneath the enormous towers illuminated by the cascading moonlight.
The strangest of all my thoughts is simply where i’ve been, where i’ve come and and where i’m going. 10 months ago, my meandering thoughts of work, school and the future were completely aimless. The ambition and motivation were existent, yet dormant. Hibernating in a fatal cycle of inconclusive plans and goals which would only attain a means to an end. One of my biggest fears in life was to wake up one day with the beautiful sunshine gleaming over my grey hair while i thought to myself, “what the fuck happened?” Throwing on my white collared shirt and black tie, as i glare into the mirror with hopeless eyes, murmuring to myself about my shitty job and life. It’s funny how it all turned out.
About 2 months before i headed off to my first course of mountain guide training, i had signed up for college classes at a local junior college. I attended one class session and immediately rushed for the financial aid office to drop all of my classes and collect my paid tuition. At this time i had no idea what the future had in store for me. I returned home and my mom sat me down politely and curiously asked, “what do you want to do with your life?” It wasn’t in a condescending tone or in insinuating context, but said with genuine curiosity and slight uneasiness. I looked up and replied, “I really don’t know,.” I said. I knew what i wanted out of life, which was simply happiness, but to go about it was completely beyond me at the time. She asked me what my passion in life was. I said climbing. When i wasn’t climbing i was thinking about climbing. When i couldn’t climb i was thinking of way to climb. She responded sincerely with hopeful enthusiasm, “Do you think you could be like a professional rock climber or something?” I kind of chuckled and said, maybe when i’m asleep and dreaming. A couple months later, i was on a plane to Patagonia to start my career as a guide. A teacher of the mountains. A professional in that sense. Not some super-star sport climber. But hell, I wouldn’t want that starlight even if i could have it. it was a unique twist that has propelled my life into something greater than i had ever imagined.
The end is only the beginning. I’ve heard this many times and wondered almost each time how full of shit the speaker of this over used statement was. But right now, it fits perfectly. The end of my course as a student at the Mountain Training School has come. Although sad, it’s the beginning of a lifetime of adventure.
Thank you to all my instructors, friends that i’ve made, people that I have met, and everyone back “home” who supported me.
Farewell Patagonia, I will see you again someday. Probably sooner than i expect…
After the final day of the education module, an 8 hour period during which 7 decidedly outdoorsy individuals gave lessons in a classroom environment, Hans and I packed the Subaru to within 3 cubic centimetres of its absolute capacity and returned to the road, Destination: Canada. And so began an…
My good buddy ryan siacci, telling his epic road trip from Palmer, Alaska to Whistler BC. Fuckin’ brilliantly written my friend. I’ll see you on the rocks in spain.