29 January 2011

The Wild Wild West

Ladies and gentlemen... It's award season! If you own a TV you know what I'm talking about; the Oscars, Golden Globes, Grammys, the Academy Awards, etc. Watching the Golden Globes in our hotel room one evening we got the idea to create our own prize, given to the day's MVP. The MVP is voted on by the group, and is the climber who has the best personal day on the rocks. Behold, the coveted Silver Stone!

Since constructing the Silver Stone, the competition has really heated up. With the battle for the trophy hanging on the line, we devoted a few days to racking up some Buttermilk classics.
Erik exiting the womb on A Birthing Experience


The Checkerboard

A "Lion King" Moment


Warming up on the photogenic highball Grandma Peabody Arete

Snagging the lip on the incredible Seven Spanish Angels

Erik sending Seven Spanish Angels

Rest day activities around Bishop are lacking. We usually spend our non-climbing days lounging in the Black Sheep coffee shop using the internet and drinking delicious hot cocoas, but recently we decided to start making our own fun.

 It turns out all you need is a Glock and a couple coke cans and you end up with "Bishop's Angels!!"

I managed to hit near the target every time, but I never ended up nailing it, and Lisa pulled off a direct hit! I'm going to continue working on my aim on our rest days.

26 January 2011

Exciting NEWS

I wouldn't ordinarily write about a media appearance, but I am extremely honored to announce a few exciting recent publications:

In the January 2011 issue of Urban Climber magazine there is an article called "The Young Guns," written about today's upcoming youth climbers. Flipping through the article, I was unbelievably flattered when I came across my name under some of these kids' "favorite climber." I was so shocked and pleased! It's humbling to be considered inspirational by anybody, and I feel proud that I could make a positive impact on someone's passion for climbing. The future of our sport lies in the youth, and they need role models. Rock climbing is a great sport to be a part of, and luckily our community is filled with so many awesome athletes capable of being role models for tomorrow's Chris Sharmas and Lynn Hills. To check out this article, look for the magazine with Daniel's mug on the cover! :)

My first mini article has been published in the form of a book review in the March 2011 issue of Rock and Ice magazine! Executive Editor of Rock and Ice Alison Osius gave me a wonderful opportunity to participate in "My Favorite Book"; an excerpt where climbers are able to submit a review of a book that has had an inspirational impact on their life. Other recent authors of this segment include Alli Rainey, Carlo Traversi and Sonnie Trotter. I chose to critique Jerry Moffatt's personal biography, "Revelations." I'm very excited about the opportunity I had to write for such a prestigious climbing magazine and I hope there are more to follow!

16 January 2011

Haroun: The Best Boulder in Bishop... and other recent happenings

The number one boulder problem on my ever-extending project list out here has been the *five star* Haroun and the Sea of Stories. I had put a few days work into this unique line in January 2009 when I climbed the stand start, The Fall Guy, and was again inspired by it when I witnessed bouldering legend Lisa Rands top it out in March 2009.
With all the new problems I've been trying lately, Haroun has still always been on my mind. It's truly a beautiful and special problem; long and sustained, with playful original movement. It is easy to stay motivated working on such an unbelievable climb! An average number of pads generally used to protect this problem is around a dozen, and I've even heard of sixteen being beneath the boulder at one time! We did the best we could tromping through the snow hauling as many pads as we could up from the road and ended up with six. There's motivation in that alone; you'll be totally safe if you stay on... :)
Photos by Cory French
I was finally able to work my way through the powerful bottom section, and with the boulder being as large as it is, the pump quickly intensified near the end, making the usually casual top-out feel just as strenuous as the opening moves. But the exuberance I felt standing on top of one of the most amazing climbs I'd ever done was well worth the throbbing forearms. It's no wonder it's considered one of the best in Bishop.
My blissful mood only soared when I reached the ground again. My two good friends Cory and Erik had bought me a singing congratulatory greeting card, and had carried it around with them waiting for this moment to arrive. I opened the card and the music blared out, "I'm so excited...And I just can't hide it!" I felt like a rock star! It was surely a wonderful day.
The next day was a day of rest. In a sad turn of events, at a stop at the Giggle Springs gas station I sat horrified my trusty Subaru as a giant Toyota Tundra backed into me. All the frantic honking and hollering didn't stop the truck from continuing to crunch a basketball-sized dent in the back of my car, leaving pieces of tail light scattered around the ground.
After the morning’s rough start, Erik bounced us back with a great pick-me-up when he powered through a Peabody classic, Center Direct (V10). Erik has been recieving the "Bishop MVP of the Day" award lately, as it seems like he never runs out of drive or energy. He has tried every problem we've come to, and he's always the last one on the rock at the end of the day. We applaud his efforts as we try to keep up.
Things seemed to be looking up since our minor auto wreck! We returned to the immaculate Haroun bloc the following day so Cory could finish it up. At around sixty degrees it was a scorching day to try to climb in the sun, but Cory fought and pulled through the grease and sweat and came out on top.
Afterwards we fled to the shade and I jumped on Stained Glass again to see if I could get a few good attempts in before my fingers began to bleed. I surprised myself when I soon found my hand latched to the finish jug. What a cool move! It felt so awesome to stick. Matt Birch caught the effort on film, to check it out click here!

Haroun and Stained Glass were both high on my wish list. I'm taking a couple days off now in hopes of growing some tough skin back before I continue to hammer away at more projects. Motivation continues to soar as my only trouble now is deciding what to focus my efforts on.

11 January 2011

Back to Bishop!!

That's right! I'm back in one of the places I love the most!
I took about three weeks off from climbing to skip out of the country on a lovely Carribean cruise with my family for Christmas, but immediately after we got home I had the itch to move again.
I had to make a quick tough decision between spending my winter in either Bishop or Hueco, but seeing as Bishop is significantly more dog friendly, the choice was made.
I bought fresh new snow tires for my Subaru, and Fritz and I loaded up and hit the road.
It's been two years since my last trip out here, and my aspiring list is long and stacked. I'm excited to hopefully tie up some of the lose-end projects that I have, but I'm also just as motivated to get on boulders that are new to me.
The first step in broadening my bouldering horizon is to get out of my comfort zone: The Buttermilks. I ventured to the Table Lands for the first time ever, and my to-do list only grew. In proper send train style, my two amigos Cory and Erik and myself were able to punch out Cholos (V9). We had a great time exploring the Happy Boulders!
Along with my first delightful adventure in the Happys, I finally faced my fear of pain and hopped on a problem I've been avoiding like a spider-filled pit: the famously elusive dihedral Stained Glass.
To my grateful surprise it wasn't that sharp after all! And it climbs wonderfully, with fluid technical movement into a low percentage jump. Very fun, indeed!
Looks like I've added another impeccable line to my list.
That seems to be a problem I've been encountering lately.  For me, trying new problems is like opening a can of worms.
Imagine you're at work, sitting at your desk playing on facebook, simply minding your own business... (HA!) Your boss comes in, tosses half a dozen piles of paperwork in front of you and says, "Sort."
You're feeling pretty exasperated right? Like you don't even know where to begin?
That's how I feel in Bishop!! Maybe considerably less stressed with a slightly smaller income, although the overwhelming sensations are similar. Hopefully you get the point. There are so many great boulders I'd like to try I don't even know where to start.
So far I've been having a great time trying fresh climbs, but I have unfinished business constantly lurking in my mind, haunting me to the point of recurring dreams.
There's just so much that I want to do and life is so short!
I heard it explained perfectly today at breakfast.
There was a very old woman sitting in a booth near us, and after she had finished her meal the waitress asked her if she needed anything else. The old woman responded with, "Time." I found the answer to be deeply appropriate. Hearing the old woman's honest wish got my motivation flowing again as we set off for the Buttermilks. One of the climbs I've always been inspired by for its obvious stunning beauty is The Mandala. I had tried it fleetingly two years earlier, and my interest in it has since increased. The Mandala will definitely be one of the priorities of my trip.
A bunch of snow has recently been dumped on the Buttermilks, making almost everything nearly impossible to top out. In the past week, the weather has been incredible, and much of the snow has been melting away.
Fritz has been loving the temperature here, it's quite a change from Wisconsin. I predict that after the warm weekend most of the snow will be gone!
I'm going to be hanging around the Eastern Sierras until the end of February. The climbing here is world class, and with so many friends constantly stopping in and out it's going to be a great couple of months in Bishop! Stay tuned for updates to come!