August 28, 2010

Tehipite Climbing

Ari figuring out how to beat the sunburn on the back of his neck. He also has a Halloween costume for this year too!
Ari heading up pitch 4. Its about 150+ ft of 3 and 4 inch crack with three roofs at the start. Each roof is square cut and pretty casual for this monster 5.11 pitch. After the last roof, the pitch is 3.5 inches for close to 80ft up dead vertical granite that is so good you don't think that it is possible! I am jugging on a fixed line and shooting photos of mike b and ari on this day.

Mike B heading up pitch 3. This is a cool dihedral with plenty of good holds and gear placements. There is one bolt and a pin through the blank sections and it climbs nicely with all the rests at 5.10+/11-. If you want to climb this route, you should be able to climb pitches 1-4 or 5 by the time the sun hits you and then get into the shade above pitch 6 for almost the rest of the climb!
Ari smiling because he is so happy to be on Tehipite Dome. Another amazing pitch of Sierra granite all to ourselves!!
Ari leading out the only pitch with trees on it! Pitch one ascends this corner and isn't as bad as it looks. Begin from a 1 bolt belay on a ledge after some scrambling up ledges and the base of the wall for a few hundred feet. This pitch ends at a bolt and the first and only 5.12 pitch on the route. Pitch 1 chimes in at 5.9ish with some adventure and is the only pitch with bushes on it in about 1300ft. The rock is safe and you get to climb on/through the trees to get to the belay.
Stay tuned for the entire topo and more photos and stories.
Hope to see you out there getting it done!
piz : )

August 23, 2010

Tehipite (some more)

First off, you haven't seen any climbing yet because it took about 6 days before we got to do any. So, I am making you wait and giving you the details. Here is mike b sitting in the cold water washing off on our first rest day. Hiking and cleaning and jugging up and down the wall three days in a row crushed us. We could have gone to 4 and 5 days in a row but it wouldn't have been good for our bodies and we wouldn't have been able to climb the harder pitches first or second go. Mike, loves the cold water and sat there for a long long time enjoying the high sierra summer temps.
Each walk was through a burned out forest and every step was like walking through ash from a fire. We were very very dirty. Every part of our bodies were covered with ash and the only way to get rid of it was to wash in the creek at our camp.
We did pass by some beautiful wildflowers on our trail everyday and it was a nice contrast to the the burned trees and ash on the forest floor.
Yes my legs are that white and yes my feet were that dirty. I made the mistake of only bringing two pairs of socks and I made that first pair suffer until they died in the fire on the last night!
Ari passing one of the creek crossings on our hike to the wall. This water was clean enough to drink without purifying it but we did anyway. Most of the time we just filled our bottles and added a drop of bleach to it and called it good. Tasted just like home.

piz : )

August 17, 2010

Tehipite trip (contd)

The Kings Canyon drains to the west and the valley has about 3000-4000ft of elevation change. The native americans used to winter at the bottom due to the warmer temperatures and good fishing.
From camp we had to hike to the wall and this is just a piece of the 1300ft top half of the wall. As far as I know, no one has climbed the dihedral in this photo.
Mike and Ari setting up our line to hang the food. We had two haul bags of food for our ten days of camping. One was filled with meals and the other with breakfast and snacks. We saw bear tracks and scat while on the trip but no bears and pretty much nothing but birds. The area was burned by fire two years ago and there is very little food for anything to eat. Plus the fire must have killed many of the animals. At the beginning of the trip it took all three of us to hang the food (because it was so heavy) and by the last day or two it could be done by just one.
Our first recon on the first day to get to the wall. You can see the upper part of the dome (Tehipite Dome) that is over 1000ft of rock you are looking at. Plus notice the burn damage and the grasses coming back into the environment very slowly. We needed to use surveying tape (bright orange) to mark our path from camp to the wall because it took over an hour to get there hiking in the mornings and at night. It was too easy to get lost (as we did once) with out marking the trail. In the end, we removed all the tape and found the path of least resistance. The hike wasn't too bad, it was the mosquitoes that were no fun and the 1000ft gulley that we had to descend and hike out everyday.
Me at the last major river crossing. I chose to wear that long sleeved hoody on the horse because the bugs were so bad on the ride in and out of the base camp.
Have a great day!
piz : )

August 13, 2010

Tehipite Dome Part 1

Mike B on his horse at the biggest creek crossing of the trip. Little did we know that our camp was just a few miles away. At this point of the ride, all of our butts were getting a bit sore and we were definitely ready to finish the ride. It was nice though to have a few minutes of walking around and stretching the legs by the crystal clear river.
Ari, taking it easy in the woods of tall trees and ferns on the forest floor. The outfitter (Clyde Pack Outfitter), put the littlest guy on our trip on the biggest horse. It was funny watching Ari trying to get on and off the horse during the ride in and ride out of Tehipite Dome. He wore is only blue jeans and a hand me down western shirt and a fisherman's hat the whole time!
This here is Allen Clyde and he knows these trails and his horses really well. He has been a horse packer in these mountains for over 30 years, he is a doctor of the feet, has a ranch near Fresno and is the man that you want to take you into the wilderness for any of your needs!
When we got to camp the evening before the ride into Tehipite Dome we had to explode the truck to repack all the gear in the horse pack bags. So we had to make sure that we had everything, ropes, harnesses, shoes, cams, nuts, toilet paper, stoves and cook sets, food, tents, backpacks, the whole works. It took over three hours to figure everything out and get the 6 pack bags equally loaded and all strapped down. As we did this the Pack station dogs joined us and sniffed our gear and we had a nice campfire going to keep away the bugs. It is always tough to pack the final amount of gear for a trip like this because you never really know what you need and it is always too late when you find out! We quickly realized that we forgot the bug spray!
Mike B and Ari just outside the Fresno airport where they picked me up. I was flying in from Canada and the Squamish Mountain Festival and they drove in from Colorado and Utah in my truck. Ari was wearing my warm weather gear to keep the 100 degree heat at bay while we walked to the truck. Notice the wind block hat and the woolen Arcteryx neck gaiter. I don't think that there is an outfit that Ari doesn't look good in.

piz : )

August 9, 2010

It turned out that on July 10th I was interviewed on Climbtalk radio in Boulder, Colorado
the transcript can be found on
It was interesting and fun to be interviewed even though I don't feel that I am of the caliber of the other athletes that have been on the show over the past 2 years. That being said it was an honor to be invited and I did have a good time experiencing the radio talk show first hand.
Those that are interested can listen every other week, on Friday night at 11pm to Boulders own KVCU 1190am to Climb Talk (Mike Brooks and company as they interview another person who lives and breathes rock climbing).
I can say that when you are on the radio that you always want to say more, but end up saying less because of the way that folks want you to answer questions; be specific and to the point, don't go on and on, no rambling. Those are all of the finer points of talk radio and interviews in general and some folks are better at complying than others. I did my best.
Enjoy the read on pumpfactoryroad and keep climbing.

piz : )

August 5, 2010

Back in Town

The view from downtown Squamish, the Canadian Rockies are way cool when compared to the Colorado Rockies. They stay snow covered most/all of the year are rugged and difficult to get to. They are real adventures for those who enjoy it. I think the closest range is called the Tantalus (but don't quote me on that). I didn't have the time to do much when I was in town because I was squeezing my presentation in before a bigwall expedition in California three days later. I wanted to get into the backcountry but knew that a silly injury at this time would be a real bad thing.
So I enjoyed the climbing closer to home and watched the tug a way and other events that Arcteryx planned for the festival goers.
I also participated (as a model) in the climbing photography clinic. We had about 9 folks who learned some things about shooting outdoor sports and climbing. They all had a chance to jumar (ascend a rope) to practice top down photo taking. I had to climb and reclimb a wonderful 5.7 that the name escapes me in the Smoke Bluffs just in town. It was great fun seeing the participants learn how to jug and take some fabulous photos while hanging on a rope. Thanks for not beating me up too badly during the all day pose down!
A view that never gets old. All the great climbing at Squamish and its all just a few minutes hike from the side of the highway. I took this one from the middle school parking lot where I gave a slide show on climbing and new routing in Norway. We had a sold out show, saw two presenters and a couple of climbing videos that rocked!
Well, I am sure that the two people that actually read my blog gave up hope for new material this year. I am here to say that I am back online from my Canada trip and from my California trip and from my relocation to Grand Junction, Colorado.

I have some stories, photos and of course more plans for the next few months so stay tuned as I play catch up with material for you all to take in.

First off will be a summary of the Squamish Mountain Festival in Squamish, British Columbia just outside Vancouver.

piz : )