There is, or maybe I should say was.. an abnormal heat wave in California. For pretty much the last month we have been here it has felt like April instead of January and February.. What that means is that sending hard projects has been, well, hard… Waking up early has been the strategy.
Most.. actually all of my projects have small and sharp holds. When it is hotter your fingers sweat and slip on holds more, and when the holds are sharp your finger tips pay the price.. The process involved in the lines I have been trying to do (and probably anyone with hard projects at the buttermilks..) has been painful and no doubt memorable.. You find yourself falling very frequently on spots where it feels like you would never fall if it were just a bit colder.. You also find yourself exploding off holds more often. Who knew the life of a boulderer could be so complicated right?!
The cold has come.. Finally. Yesterday it started snowing and the Buttermilks now have a nice layer of white stuff. I’m confident it will be climbable up there in the very near future and I’m psyched! This whole next week looks to be about 15 degrees colder than it has been. We have been waiting for this!
Erin is still picking off classics. She has done many, and there are many more to go. She’s loving it. She’s also very close to sending a couple hard projects of her own as well.. I’ll keep you posted on that.
We are now camping, at least for the moment. Our living situation fell through, we’ll just leave it at that. It is not a bad thing actually. You never get to fully appreciate the bright stars out here until you start sleeping under them. This is also one of the most camping friendly areas I have ever been. The hot weather does have it’s perks too.. Instead of shivering at night you can comfortably hang out and chat with your friends.
To further complicate the living situation, Erin got into a car accident. She got kicked of the road by a curb on the way to the Buttermilks and the van we stay in has been in the shop. Erin was thankfully uninjured, which is by far the most important thing. It appears the van will live to drive another day even. So what can we learn from this? I guess keep your eyes on the road and pay attention. The slightest mistake in our everyday lives doing things we normally do without a second thought could have devastating consequences. She went off the road at the perfect spot. If it had been 30 feet sooner or later the outcome could have been drastically different. I think the thing I take away from this is to live life cautiously and enjoy every moment while you have it.
My good friends Isaac Caldiero and Laura Kisana stopped through town for a week and it was a blast hanging out with them. These guys are entertaining people.. Isaac put down one of my projects, Maze of Death which was sweet (I fortunately sent a few days later too..) and almost sent the Buttermilker. The heat did not aid in his efforts! Laura looked stronger than ever too. We’re looking forward to hanging out with these guys again..
More good friends, Ryan Held and Kelsey Fair also came through for a few days. It was awesome talking smack and climbing on boulders. Need I say more? Once again I’m looking forward to the next time..
Our Wisconsin contingent of friends we have been hanging with sporadically are leaving town today. Another couple of good friends of ours from Wisco are coming out on thursday. The constant in and out-flow of people in Bishop is a pretty unique thing.
The climbing scene here is really positive and there’s a ton of great people and energy around.. It’s really hard to complain. Rumor has it the legendary Charlie Barret may start climbing again soon for real.. I tried a project with him one day and in typical Charlie fashion he could easily do a move on it that I didn’t stick once.
I’ve been going up to Rock Creek fairly frequently to escape the heat. This area is at 9,000? feet or so and generally isn’t climbable until late spring.. It’s perfect right now and I’ve been enjoying trying to tick the whole area off. I managed to send the Osama Eliminate (V10) and Overzealous (V9), which leaves me with just one more problem I have to do in the main cluster of boulders.. Tony’s Dyno.. Tony’s Dyno is a V11 or 12 vertical face and I have probably put 50 days of goes into it over the years.. Hopefully it will click soon. There’s also a few other straggler problems in the talus I still need to clean up… Charlie even put up and unrepeated V13 a few years back, Lessons.. The thing is way hard! I wonder when it’ll see a repeat…
I also managed to do a sweet problem in the talus that was put up by Jeff Silcox a number of years back, Large Talons. It’s probably a V9 or 10 and has a really funky top out that feels nails until you crack the sequence. I would definitely recommend this thing, just have a few pads and a spotter.
Besides that here are a couple of videos. The first is one of me doing the Iron Fly (V9) and Evolution to the lip (V10) at the Buttermilks, along with Blue Ribbon (V11) at Rock Creek. The second is some old footage I had laying around of Erin and I climbing a couple of classics on the Yosemite Slab Boulder at Jackson Falls, Illinois.
Enjoy and I hope winter is treating you well!