Monday, April 13, 2015

Springtime In The Buttermilks

The crew rallied from Los Angeles to Bishop for what might be the last trip before fall. Eden, Jovanna and I met up with Marina, Jake and Emily in town for a coffee Saturday morning before heading up the bumpy Buttermilk Road. 

Jovanna taking on Hero Roof, (V0)
The thin cloud coverage and breeze made climbing bearable despite the hot weekend forecast. After a quick warm-up, we took turns jumping on some of the area classics.

Emily, nearing the end of the mega-classic Iron Man, (V4) 
Itai catching the lip on Iron Fly, (V9)
Itai enjoying some sunny slab climbing on Pope's Problem, (V4)
We awoke Sunday morning sore and sunburnt, but more than ready for another day of bouldering. (After a healthy dose of coffee, that is.) Sunday turned out to be hot as hell, which must have discouraged most climbers because we nearly had the Buttermilks to ourselves. A rarity nowadays!

Marina, on a surprisingly fun Unnamed, (V7) 
Jake, on the same climb.
Danny sending the burly Cave Route, (V6)
Eden piecing together The Buttermilker Stand, (V12)  
We managed to escape the noontime sun by playing around in what little shade we could find before struggling up some sun-soaked slabs to end the trip. A great weekend with a great crew! Eden and I even opened up a few new projects that are sure to keep us motivated through the summer (Bishopless) months.

Farewell, Bishop.
I'll see you next fall.

- Itai

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Las Vegas

My brother and I arrived in Red Rock Canyon mid-day, excited and ready to climb, but as we hiked the short approach into Pine Creek Canyon, our enthusiasm was dampened by the heat. We had our eyes set on a short and powerful problem called Siren's Call, but unfortunately couldn't manage a send before the 7 o'clock Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area closing time.

The beautiful Pine Creek Canyon
Eden on Siren's Call, (V11/12)
We awoke the next morning and ventured out into the Kraft Boulders in search of a shady climb. We played around on the Monkey Bars boulder before it got too crowded.

Eden on the dynamic climb The Redirect, (V12)
Eden, warming down on the shady Perfect Poser, (V1)
By mid-day the heat was unbearable and we decided to toss in the towel and head to the Las Vegas strip to join a group of friends by a pool. It looks like the end of the season is upon us.

- Itai

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Buttermilks & Druid Stones

Cody, Itai and I drove out to Bishop on Friday afternoon for a weekend adventure. We got into the Buttermilks around 7:30 and decided to have a night session before turning in. 

Itai taking a lap on some beautiful Bishop patina
Eden running a lap on the local secret and rarely climbed Iron Man
A long exposure of the night sky
The next day we got up early and ran out to Dale's Camp. We had a long morning session on the immaculate Xavier's Roof and then got on Green Hornet and Solitaire on the way out. By the time we got back to camp the sun was oppressive and we decided to take a long siesta. 

Cody working the top moves of Xavier's Roof (V11)
Eden on the classic Solitaire (V8)
Later that day we felt wiped and opted to kill a few hours by running up some easier classics. We also spent a lot of time up on highballs enjoying the view and beautiful, but not climbing friendly, weather. 

Cody on the Green Wall (V2)
Itai on the left arete of the Green Wall
Itai and Cody taking in some sunshine
We woke up on Sunday morning feeling incredibly sore and sunburnt - yet, for some odd reason we decided to brave the Druid Stone hike. I have to say, we were pretty eager to check out this outlying area for the first time, despite what we'd heard about the approach. The Druid boulders are scattered over a mountain ridge that overlooks the valley and the town of Bishop. The approach takes about 45 minutes, and by the end you gain 1,200 feet of elevation. On the way up I was stopping every few minutes in order to avoid keeling over take photos of our progress. Below is a photo I took from about 3/4 of the way up the hike. The arrow should help you find our starting point (my car). 

The arrow is pointing at a black pixel which happens to be my car
The hike was definitely heinous, but worth the quality of climbs out at the Druids. We spent hours climbing exclusively area classics and enjoying the view.

Itai warming up on Fear of the Unknown (V3)
Cody topping out on Prostrate to the Higher Mind (V5)
Itai on Suspenders (V5)
Cody on Suspenders (V5)
Eden on Suspenders (V5)
Eden on You Can Cry If You Want To (V1)
Eden on the burly Cayla (V7) 
Although we managed to put a significant dent in our Druid Stones tick list, we vowed to return and finish off the list in cooler temps.

Till next time,


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Bishop or Bust

Ok. Let’s go.

I took Cody up on the offer I had earlier refused, and by the morning we were in the Volvo yelling along to 80’s power ballads on the familiar Hwy 395.

Although my finger was sore and the foreboding weather forecast had me feeling skeptical about the amount of climbing I’d get in, Alex and Jason were Bishop bound and I found it hard to miss out on a reunion.

The crew taking a lunch break with a marvelous backdrop.
As Cody and I pulled up to the Buttermilks main area the wind began to pick up and the temperature began to drop. The blue skies were disappearing. We ran laps on some slab before heading over to Fly Boy, where both Cody and Shawn made first go sends of the classic.

Cody, gaining the upper crimps.
Shawn, throwing for the lip.
Afterwards, we walked over to the Peabody’s to support Alex on his project. He was chasing his life goal of climbing the bold and beautiful Anthony Lamiche line up the face of the monstrous Grandpa Peabody boulder.

In the guidebook description of the problem, Wills Young suggests to bring all the crashpads in Bishop, and a wheelchair. We managed to gather about 15 pads, which seems like the bare-bones protection for the line.

As the temperature continued to drop, an impressive gathering of strong climbers including Alex, Carlo, Giovanni, Vitaly and team Japan, traded attempts committing high off the deck. 

Giovanni Traversi, pulling past the lip on Evilution Direct (V11).
I climbed Evilution to the lip and dropped off. My hands were numb from the cold and I could barely tell whether or not I was on the holds. I resorted to spotting and taking photos rather than trying to finish off the direct line.

Carlo Traversi, sending one of the proudest lines around.
Carlo made a commendable send before the 50-mile an hour gusts of wind, which carried little specks of snow down from Mount Tom, made it nearly impossible to climb.

Alex Biale, on the last committing move of his project.
After some valiant efforts and unnerving drops, Alex and the rest of the crew had to call it a night.

Meanwhile, just to the left of Evilution, Toru Nakajima was making some of the hardest moves in America look like no big deal. After silently sipping some tea, he nearly sent Lucid Dreaming, wearing socks and capris pants. I scraped my jaw off the ground.

What a truly humbling and inspiring climbing session.


The next day we climbed some new slabs in the birthday area to warm up before heading over to Solitaire. I sent the classic but had my eyes set on the sit start, which Alex mentioned had broken since he last did it. The consensus is that it now goes at about a grade harder. I figured out the micro-beta, rested and sent.

Itai, climbing on the granite campus board Solitaire (V8). Photo by Alex Biale.
But I know what you're thinking, uncut video or it didn't happen. Well, here it is:

We returned to the main area and climbed a bit more before heading into town for a much deserved burger and beer. The next morning we woke up to a couple inches of snow on the ground and more coming down. It was time to go home.

“I think someone knocked over their chalk bag.”
Alex, with his snow capped project in the background.
We all left Bishop with unfinished business, but obviously the trip was still a success.

Cody, demonstrating the benefits of a weekend in the mountains with good friends and good climbing.
As always, I can’t wait to go back.

 - Itai

Monday, February 9, 2015

Back To Black

This past weekend Itai and I headed out to Black Mountain for the first time in a while. We met up with Isaac and a few of his friends, and had a fun day exploring the OK Corral. Isaac was a solid tour guide, and managed to get us all excited about the area even though temperatures were far from ideal.

Mike Doyle on The Dan Osman Arete (V6)
Not long after we climbed the classic Dan Osman Arete I found a short crimp line that hadn't been done before. It added two hard moves to an existing stand start. The first move is the crux, and it involves a dead-point to a small edge. From the edge you throw to a jug rail, hold the swing, and top out. After a relatively quick, but hard fought session I managed to piece it together for a first ascent! I speculate that it's in the V10/11 range, but a sandbagging downgrade second opinion would be very welcomed. I decided to name the climb Transitory State, because this winter season has been so absurdly fleeting.

Working the moves on Transitory State (V10/11?)

A GIF of the first two moves of Transitory State (V10/11?)

After the session on the project, we headed down to the lower OK Corral area to scope out more blocs. Isaac's tour only got better when he showed us the Hueco Wall (V3) and Loh Roof (V8), which were both crowd favorites. Here are some photos from the afternoon session.

Me heading up the immaculate Hueco Wall (V3)
Isaac eyeing the jug hold on Loh Bo?? (V9)

Itai holding the swing on Loh Roof (V8)
It's been a while since I've been back to Black, but I'm sure I'll be up there again very soon.
See you guys out there!

- Eden

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

¡ B I S H O P !

This past weekend I headed up to Bishop with my brother. We had the pleasure of meeting up and climbing with a solid crew, including Dan, Isaac, Marina and Jake. The weather was nice (?) and the psych was high. (If you need visual proof, here's a pic of the group posing in front of the Peabody boulders --> 

This trip I was on a mission to dispatch my old nemesis, Direction (V13), so naturally, it was the first thing I stepped up to. After a few warm up goes, and some beta advice from my brother, I finally managed to put the project down! But since I find it hard to express myself without emojis, here's something that will help convey what it feels like to send a long standing project (*play your favorite jam in the background for an enhanced effect): 

Seriously though, thanks for the support everybody!
Here are a few photos from the send...

After the send I took some time off to relax, take photos, and cheer the guys on. Here are Marina and Isaac getting close on their respective projects. 

Marina holding the swing on High Plain Drifter (V7)
Isaac reaching for it on The Mystery (V12)
Itai running a lap on The Knobs (V5)
Later that day we headed out to the Pollen Grains. I hadn't been out to this area in years and I was excited to jump on some fresh classics. Itai and I managed quick sends of Return of the Jedi (V10), and later joined Dan to work out the moves on Spectre (V13). 

Me, high-steppin' on the immaculate Jedi Mind Tricks (V4)
Jake working the same problem
Me, on Return of the Jedi (V10)
Dan, on the beautiful Spectre (V13)
On Sunday, Itai and I hiked out to the Secrets of the Beehive area to check out The Swarm (V14). We gave the problem a few goes each, and then decided to check out other climbs in the area. I really can't wait to come back to it with more skin and better crimp strength. The next project? 

Itai on the opening move of The Swarm (V14)
Me, sending Queen's Sweet Nectar (V9)
After our adventure in this outlying area we went back to the main Buttermilks to meet up with the rest of the crew. We ended the day by laying out in the sun and contemplating life's great mysteries. 

I can't wait to get back out there. Let's keep 2015 rollin'! 

- Eden