October 31, 2010

Fall Weekend

Jesse taping his foot due to his new shoes not treating him right. On a side note. Jesse hikes really fast and its tough to keep up with his long piz : )

October 28, 2010

Desert Tower Book

Mike B and I in Sweden 2007. But to the real point of this entry, The new and only Desert Tower Book by Crusher Bartlett.
Last night "Crusher" came to Grand Junction to share his 30 years of climbing and his love of first ascents and desert towers. In his slide show, we learned how he earned his nickname and why he became passionate about scrappy, loose, and dangerous sandstone towers. It was wonderful to hear if his successes and failures. It brought everyone in the audience closer to what climbing is for us climbers. Sometimes you complete your goal and often you head home empty handed with a little less gas money!
For Crusher, standing on top of a tower embodies everything that is good in climbing. It is the journey, the adventure, the problem solving, the companionship and the moment.
As I bought the book last night, I knew that this modern timepiece, that begins from the first tower ascents to myself free climbing those towers, was a great artifact with its huge color photos and insightful tales of all the historic greats who spent their lives playing in the sand.
This book is a must have if you have ever spent time in the desert either climbing or gazing at those oddities reaching for the sky.
piz : )

October 26, 2010

October 25, 2010

Wet Weekend

Well, this weekend we spent trying to shoot some video in the poor weather. It seemed like it was a bad idea from the iffy forecast, but we tried anyway. So Nelson came out from Chuck Fryberger Films in Golden and we tried to shoot some climbing and non climbing footage for the new action sports film. It was the first time that I had worked with Chuck's baby, The Red. This is a video camera and it takes a bit longer to set up because it is so advanced. Shooting climbing or not The Red takes amazing footage, but requires a bit more time to set up. Trying to get a shot in between rain storms was a challenge every time!
I am interested to see how Chuck's latest brainchild shapes up and am happy to be invited to be a part of the film. However, the weather was so poor all weekend, we will be shooting again soon. Have a great week and get outside!
piz : )

October 23, 2010

Gear Picks, Arcteryx, Sterling, CAMP, Scarpa


So, what are you to do when it's raining all day and you still want to work outside. I had this problem this weekend and the solution is all in the backpack. First I get my Arcteryx rain gear, the Alpha LT top and Alpha SL pant. These two never let me down in a good rain! Then, I pull out my NAOS backpack, my big dog, my workhorse, my get r done pack. This thing is huge and handle the big loads and I can actually carry them comfortably. The best part is that the Naos is fully waterproof! Seam sealed zippers and a super tough construction makes this puppy take on the all the challenges that you can through at it in any kind of weather.
I start by filling it with 2 70 meter Sterling static lines, my Arcteryx R-320 harness a single or double set of cams, 10-14 CAMP quick draws including nano's, my 36 volt hammer drill by Hilti with the rebuilt battery from Voltman and my drill kit and plenty of bolts and hangers. I can barely life the pack off the ground and I stumble as I put it on. After fine tuning the pack I am ready to bushwack up the steep and loose hillside to my next project. Even after hours of hiking the pack rides perfectly. My feet are psyched, because I have my waterproof and super comfy Scarpa Nangpa-La boots.
Once I finally get there I change from the sweaty clothes to the dry stuff that I will staying warm with on the wall and Arcteryx fills the void again with the Tau Pullover. This is one of my all time favorite tops that is for sure!
Then it's finally time to get to the looking around and scoping from the end of a rope.
At the end of the day, I hope to have found what I was looking for on the wall. If not there is always tomorrow!
Get out there, play and use the best gear on the planet!
piz : )

October 18, 2010

24 Hours of Boulder

Kicking it at our tent city. Jane, Matt and Mark
Jane starting off the race. This was the first leg of each of our 7 mile loops. Each member of the team had to run at least one 7 mile loop and then we challenged ourselves to do as many as we could to rack up the team total miles!

Mark and Jane so cold that night! On a side note, a lantern and a new fuel bottle will last all night long if you let it burn on medium.
Jane stretching out those legs and hamstrings.
Our motley crew. from left to right, Matt. Eric, me, Mark, and Jane. We went as the Village People.

So, we had the chance to enter a team relay competition this last weekend. We didn't win the race but we did win the costume contest.
piz : )

October 14, 2010

First Ascent (the series)

If you have a moment and a few bucks to spend, make sure to purchase the newest video series by Peter Mortimer called First Ascent!

I was lucky enough to be a part of the lost episode "Desert Rats".
Thanks to Sender Films for wanted to include me in their top notch series.

The episodes are easy to watch, include great stories, and take you around the world. It is not a gamble to buy this collection of videos, it will be a wonderful purchase.


piz : )

October 11, 2010

Zion Weekend

Looking up at hundreds of feet of loose, scary and dangerous rock above in the Zion Narrows!
Looking down the narrows from 200+ feet up in the narrows. I ended the second pitch on top of a ledge with no cracks and loose sand at a 45degree angle and was crippled with fear as I hauled up the hand drill to get an anchor in. In the meantime there were touroids standing in the rockfall zone directly below. If I didn't kill myself or Mike with loose rock, I thought that one of those folks in the river below were going to get it! Luckily we didn't harm ourselves or others and got to climb an amazing line (and add our own last pitch) called the Omen the next day
Hauling the pig on the wall. This was by far one of the chossiest adventures that I had been on. I was knocking off loose rock with every move and even if my shoulders bumped the rock something came flying off. We finished 230 feet of this thing, hand drill a rap anchor and were out of there. It was way to crappy to spend the time on when there is so much good rock to climb on in the park!
I got stuck in some quicksand on the way to try a new route in the Zion Narrows. When we got there and were ready to hike, the river was still closed due to all the rain that they had in the park the previous week! We were totally bummed but asked the ranger if it was going to open and we lucked out because the water level was low enough for us to get into the route safely. Mike was contemplating the fine if the narrows had remained closed.
This is what it looked like when I left home on Thursday after work! I was driving through pounding hail and rain and stopped to get this cool photo.

Kolob Morning

This was last Sunday in Kolob Canyon of Zion National Park.
We went to climb Sunshine Dihedral and it was so scary and chossy that I wasn't having any fun.
We made it up half way and decided to head down. The bummer of it was that I had wanted to climb that route for years and finally when we were actually on it, I didn't think it was worth the hype. I loved being in the park and the views but other than the first pitch, the route is a pile. This coming from someone who normally likes a little fear with my cereal!

October 7, 2010

brokeback 2005

Location: Left of the Court of the Patriarchs.
Up the Sand Bench Trail and off to your right you will see this feature.
Enjoy the OW and the roof through the blocks!
Good hands a bit overhanging and some chimney to the top.
The rap line is off to the left. I think you need two ropes for rappel (it's been a while)
Enjoy the short approach and afternoon shade and of course some solitude in the park!
Mike B and I put this one up years ago and I always forgot to post it.
One day in a blizzard and another with perfect weather.
Pitch one is physical with some OW, Pitch 2 is OW and mellow, Pitch 3 is behind the giant block, and Pitch 4 is fun and a bit sandy. Each one is an adventure.
piz : )

October 4, 2010

New Unaweep Climb (unnamed so far)

Mike B at the top of the second 12+ pitch
The wall with a little tiny gregg p hanging at the second belay.
The pitch three crack traverse.
Gregg coming up the beginning of pitch 3.
Gregg at the end of pitch 2.
piz : )

October 1, 2010

New Camera... New Route in Unaweep!

Jesse taking it to the top on a neighboring route. We climbed this route (I don't know the name) to then traverse over to what we thought would be the top of the climb that we wanted to check out. Here Jesse is taking on the challenging roof crux. What was cool through the roof is that there was a really nice hand jam for your left way up high and plenty of big holds out right to pull on. It was a bit awkward but climbed really well.
After I traversed to the top of the new route, I built a top rope anchor and we rapped down on two ropes and examined the possibility of free climbing the line. It looked great with really nice rock and very few loose sections. Jesse and I were both optimistic that the route would be climbable and pretty straight forward and well protectable at that!
Jesse has just climbed through the bottom of the route where we added two protection bolts where there was no natural protection available.
Our new route ascends the right crack/corner that is just to the right of the tree at the bottom of the page. Begin with some face and crack climbing up the white/yellow pegmatite until you then head into the dihedral/chimney. Follow that up through a roof (easy) and then choose your own adventure to the two bolt anchor at the top! 140 ft gear to 5 inches double set.

Late evening light in Unaweep. Looking at the north facing walls from the Mothers Buttress.

Thanks to my mom and dad for getting Jane and I a new camera. I have gone through at least one a year for the past 8 years. It's the same ole story with these camera's, take them climbing on sandstone routes in the desert and they fill up with crud and stop working.
Take them caving in wet and dusty limestone caverns and they stop working.
Take them on backpacking trips and they get crushed.
Either way you look at it they take a beating and I always have to get another in 12 months or less.
This time there is a new camera by Olymipus (The StylusTough) that doesn't have a extended lens on the outside (just a slider). I am hoping that by having the lens internal that the gears won't get all kinds of crud in them and prevent the camera from opening. This one is supposed to be good underwater, in the dust, and even OK in changing temperatures (I doubt that). Anyway, I am optimistic about the new lens and will certainly share how this one is working. I will say that compared to the Canon Elf's that I have loved over the years that the computer is slower on this camera and that it does handle a bit differently. It takes longer between photos but has better video and more options for taking pictures. It's a better camera overall, but I think just a bit slower than the others that I have had.

I took some pictures of some a new route that Jesse Z of Grand Junction and I established last night after work. A great 140 foot pitch of 5.10- that has all the types of crack climbing on it. Face moves, a small roof, jugs, some chimney, and hand crack. We lucked out and and I am glad that Jesse had his eye on this line and that he invited me to come along and help establish it! ahhh yeah to rock climbing and new partners!!!

piz : )