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Sunday, December 14, 2008

a weekend at the house

Well, we've done a bit more bouldering since the last time we've posted. Cassie sent a crazy hard v4 in joe's valley. i told her it was only a V1 , then she went and sent it (i can't send it). Last weekend I bouldered in joe's in a t-shirt, then flew to Montreal for work for a week. It was cold and snowy and it also freezing rained. needless to say I would
have preferred to be in utah. btw, a shout out to hank n marla in fairbanks, stay warm, keep your spirits high, and you'll make it through the long december.

This weekend we just hung out at the house. Climbed with the club in the gym on saturday then went for a walk on sunday. very relaxing. I've been playing around with my new camera and have found the joy of neutral density filters (check out the pics of the river). also took some photos of mojo, our house, and the walk up the street. it has finally snowed here so the canyon has become covered in powder and it's really beautiful.

This Thursday we leave for costa rica! We'll be down there for two weeks. I'm sure we'll have lots of pics when we get back in January. We probably won't post down there, so we'll wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Triassic and Thanksgiving

Well it's the holiday time of the year again. That means hanging out with friends and eating lots of food. It also means it's bouldering time! Each year I look forward the end of fall and begin looking to the south for rocks to climb.

Triassic is a bit of a drive to get to, but the sandstone bouldering there is worth it every time. Triassic was discovered by accident in a wash next to a dinosaur quarry which is how the place got its name. I think we've bouldered a lot in the last three few weekends. Last Sunday the 30th we went by ourselves to Triassic. It was so warm we were climbing in t-shirts (this sentence inserted for our friends residing in the chillier climates. stay warm!!) We had a great time doing problems we've overlooked and are constantly amazed at the number of fun climbs in Land of a Thousand Boulders, and Mojo is amazed by the lizards that love running around on the rocks. I swear I saw a lizard doing a V23. :) Cassie and I enjoyed sending a few hard problems. Cassie sent "Bacardi Silver" V4, a super fun pumpy traverse that heads up while it heads to the side. It's a lot more difficult than it looks when you approach it. I think her new climbing shoes "la sportiva Testarossa" are so wicked curved that they helped with all that heel and toe hookin. I'm getting into trying to capture those sending moments and managed to get a video of her ascent. check it out. I also sent a tricky V5 called "Some get two fingers" named because of the two tiny pockets. I did manage to get two fingers into each of the pockets and got over the pain of this super sharp crimper. Anywho we were both stoked to get some problems we've worked. In other news we're getting ready for our trip to Costa Rica over Christmas. (sorry Cassie's video not yet posted, it will be soon).

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Ancient Art

I've named this blog post after the climb we did this weekend. Sometimes there are moments in your life that truly affect how you see things and change you forever. This weekend was one of those times.

Cassie and I went with the Utah Climbing Club to an area near Moab, Utah called Fisher Towers. It's near the Colorado River and is a unique formation of rock that is absolutely unbelievable when you see it in person. Eight Hundred foot vertical towers of mud and rock have formed near a cliff band. These towers are some of the most peculiar formations we've ever seen. It's amazing to see a tower holding a capstone on it when the base of the rock is completely rotten and crumbles in your hands. Possibly more amazing is that rock climbers consider climbing these towers to be a testament to your skill, coolness in the face of danger, and just plain fun. Cassie and I agree with this assessment, though we may add "crazy" to that description of those we climb these towers.

On Friday after work we drove to Moab and stayed in a hotel since we hadn't seen each other in over a week. I had spent a week of work in Cour D'Alene Idaho and Cassie was in Phoenix for a night. We were very happy to see each other and I was totally excited to get my birthday present, a new ultra-light ultra-warm synthetic jacket!!! On the below freezing Saturday morning we woke up and headed to the towers. As we began the thirty minute hike to the towers I recognized the formation that we would be climbing and it was HUGE! Almost as crazy was the tiny summit that we would both ascend shortly. See the tiny little corkscrew on the top of the tower? That's the summit.

The club was well setup when we arrived. Though it's not a guide service (read club) the organizers had setup three topropes to facilitate us climbing. The first pitch was something like 170 ft of chimney climbing. You gain a large ledge, tie into another rope, gain a second much smaller ledge, and then being the terrifying walk across a tiny walkway before starting up the final pitch to the summit.

Let's talk for a minute about the exposure. It's really quite easy in the chimney and since there is a lot to look at in front of you it's pretty much not scary. But, when you get to the final ledge and look across this tiny walkway to the corkscrew finish it's enough to make you start praying to a higher power that if you ever get off this thing alive you will become a monk or nun for the rest of your life. Imaging walking across a two foot ledge where the drop off on each side is over five hundred feet straight down. Then imagine having to just/belly flop or "jump and hump" as everyone would cheer when you got there onto a diving board piece of rock (or crawl under for us short folks which was easier, but even more exposed and scary as you are searching for footholds with 500 feet of nothingness below you), climb around the corkscrew (while trying not to look down) and finally attain the summit. I said to Cassie beforehand that this would probably be the scariest thing I've ever done, and, even on toprope I was right. I can't say at the time that I was scared, because I must have just blocked it out and kept moving in order to keep myself from stopping. I believe Cassie was the same as she said to me that when she got to the final belay she was considering saying "that's far enough for me, I'm good." But, her motivation prevailed and she summited with much elation. After Cassie I followed suit and got in a few "YEEEAAAAHHH"s before coming back down. It was truly an amazing experience that the both of us will cherish.

We were pretty much mentally exhausted afterwards and attempted a small (30ft) tower before deciding to just go for a hike and explore. We just didn't have the energy to climb after such an fantastic experience. But, the hike was also mind-blowing. I thought, before this weekend, that we might have seen everything in Utah that could just take my breath away and inspire total awe, but I was completely proved wrong by these towers. Saturday evening we were treated to an amazing sunset / moonrise over the towers and then enjoyed relaxing around the campfire with friends.

I highly highly highly encourage you to click on the link in this post http://www.flickr.com/photos/matthewandcassie/sets/72157608814727879/ and look at the rest of our flickr account to see more pics from this trip. Looking back at these pictures, I still get butterflies in my stomach thinking about the climb and if it weren't for the pictures proving that I did it, I'm not sure I would believe I actually did it, because that's just crazy!

On Sunday we spent the morning bouldering at big bend, and though we didn't send anything (we were trying a V7 and a extremely stout V4) we were happy to get a good pump in and head home. Now we're just relaxing on the couch and looking at pictures.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

capitol reef

We're still catching up from the last two weeks of driving off to the desert and climbing. Last weekend we went on a club trip to Capitol Reef National Park. This is one of the lesser known parks in Utah, but has amazing rock formations, canyons, petroglyphs and crack climbing. While Capitol Reef is sandstone crack climbing, it is very different than Indian Creek. I should learn my Utah geology a bit better, but the rock is lighter colored, a bit coarser grained and while there's nothing easy at Indian Creek, the cracks at CR seemed much friendlier. Matthew fixed his goals on the first crack we came to. A really beautiful splitter line with a pod 3/4 of the way up. He practiced placing gear a few times on TR. You have to be pretty precise with your gear in the desert since sandstone is not as strong or forgiving of rock as granite or some other types of rock are. After a few tries, he was confident enough to lead it which he did flawlessly. This was his hardest trad lead, so he was quite excited about it. I set my goals on trying as many different types of climbs as possible. Taking advantage of the club setting up ropes on things we wouldn't climb on our own. so, everything from a really hard thin layback crack to a chimney that I had to wedge myself into and push my way up it. This was the first time I've ever enjoyed a chimney, I think it was the exact right size for me.

Sunday we did a few short hikes in the park. One to a big natural bridge and another down a gorge to some cool natural water tanks. We had to leave mojo with friends since dogs aren't allowed in the National Parks. Hiking isn't quite the same without him though, but was probably for the best since it was a bit of a loose scramble with rattlesnakes hiding in the rocks to get to the base of the climb. I learned from my coworkers that these are midget faded rattlesnakes we thought they were juveniles and while they may be small, they have very potent venom. Fortunately they were content to just curl up in the sun and weren't too concerned about us.

This weekend, we are happily going nowhere!! We will be winterizing the house and cleaning up from our last couple trips. Sometimes you just need a weekend at home to appreciate all the other fun things.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Indian Creek (a weekend of crack climbing)

Last weekend we met up with our friends Paul and Mike from Bishop. Unfortunately Pauline had to work and was stuck in Santa Cruz (not a bad place to be stuck though). We took Friday off and had a great 3 days hanging out with all the climbing crew.

Indian Creek is about an hour south of Moab, Utah. It's in the desert and is a really scenic spot on the way to Canyonlands National Park. A small little stream has cut it's way through huge sandstone cliffs and the resulting sandstone walls have been polished to perfection. On each of these walls are very interesting cracks. They can go all the way to the top of the cliff in some places, others just stop after a few feet. These walls go on for miles and miles. It's safe to say that even with hundreds or probably thousands of routes there are still unclimbed cracks. The camping is free which is great and the cottonwoods along the creek are beautiful now that they are starting to turn with the fall colors.

It's a funny thing to go to the Creek, because normally Cassie and I are the ones leading and setting up topropes for the newbies, but with Indian Creek and super crack climbing we aren't quite there yet. We just need more experience on hard crack since Indian Creek pretty much starts at 5.10 and some of the 10s can even have off-widths which really throw us for a loop. Crack climbing seems to be very technique specific. We can't just muscle our way through a hard move, it requires more understanding of exactly what technique works for what size crack. For example sometimes you'll go from a handcrack that feels super bomber, then the crack opens up an inch or two and all of a sudden you're flailing on a fist jam or an off-width. It's all hand size dependent and it's some of the hardest climbing we've done. It did turn out to be a beautiful weekend though and we enjoyed camping and climbing. We went out on Saturday with the crew and started on a hard handcrack. After that was a finger crack with some liebacking and the final one was a long hand crack that had a cool roof with stemming and some interesting face moves before a final lieback to the anchors (if you don't understand what I'm saying I'll explain it to you with body language the next time we see each other:)

Sunday the crew wasn't feeling super energetic so we did a climb and then headed to Big Bend just outside of Moab to go bouldering before we had to head back to Sundance. Our new friend Simone (spelling?) who has bouldered V8 highballs came with us and we sent some fun bouldering problems.

It was a beautiful fall weekend and was well worth the 5 hour drive. Thanks much to the Bishop crew for putting up with us newbies and showing us such a good time! Congrats also to Mike on his first tower! As always, you can click on the photos to see larger versions of the images, and see a lot more photos from the trip on our flickr page.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

fall fun

It was a beautiful fall weekend and we made the most of it. Saturday we spent the morning cleaning up the house. Cassie made yummy (maybe a little too healthy tasting) Zucchini bread from the great Moosewood cookbook that my mom bought us a while back. As a reward for our hard work we decided to hop on the motorcycle and go for a nice long ride to see all the fall colors. Now you might think we would bring a camera on such a sightseeing trip, but alas it didn't occur to us until we were already out of town. The loop we used was a road that we've not been on before and it didn't disappoint with the colors. The best part was that we avoided the crazy saturday fall color drivers by keeping off the alpine loop which is an extremely popular drive. We stopped and had some tasty milkshakes and onion rings then headed up the Mt Nebo road which climbs to about 9,500 ft. It has great views and we really enjoyed it. 

On sunday we headed to Maple Canyon for a day of climbing. Cassie got a project that she'd tried a few times before on her first try. We then worked a hard 11ish problem that was super overhanging and pumpy (again sorry, but we took no pictures). Cassie was super close to sending, while I got it on my last go. It was really a perfect weekend of fun and with the warm temps staying around I think we'll be able to keep climbing for a good bit before winter sets it. Coming up in October we have a weekend in Indian Creek for some crack climbing with our friends from Bishop, then the following weekend we'll head to Capitol Reef for more crack climbing with the Utah Climbing Club. We might even try leading a splitter! 

Hope everyone out there is having a nice Fall!


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Curse Wall at American Fork

HEY THERE'S BEEN 3 NEW POSTS so don't forget to read the two posts below this one that have exciting news and great pictures!!!

This Saturday the climbing club headed to a little known wall in American Fork canyon called The Curse Wall. The name must be given since it's such a hard place to get to. A 4-wheel drive truck with good clearance is mandatory so we caught a ride with some friends. Curse Wall is indeed the best quartzite i've seen in my limited climbing experience, but if the experts are to be believed it's the best in America. 

The weather was terrible when we showed up in the parking lot to catch our ride and hail didn't exactly make us excited to go climbing, but positive attitudes prevailed over our skepticism and we headed up the terrible rocky road to the cliff. 

We did a couple of easy warm ups and then set our sights on a 5.12a that we believed we could climb with some work. Cassie dispatched the climb first and then I followed suit shortly thereafter. This climb is the hardest either of us have done and we were both super stoked to get our first 12. Sorry, no pictures (we were to focused on the route to even think about capturing it on film). Suffice to say that it was an almost near vertical smooth face with small crimpers for hands and smooth nubbins for the feet. It was definitely a technical face climb and was a super fun problem. It's called Gold Dust according to Darren.

Well i'm tired and am heading to bed. Three posts to catch everyone up on the last month of our lives and it's time to call it a night. 

Naturalist Basin

A weekend or two ago Cassie's parent's came down from Oregon to visit and go on a backpacking trip with us. It was also perfect timing since we had just gotten engaged. On Thursday night they arrived and spent all day with Cassie on Friday while I was at work. 

Saturday morning we took off for the High Uintas. This is a pretty unique mountain range since it runs east-west and has elevations above 13,000 ft. There was much research on which backpack would be the most fun and it was decided that a place called Naturalist Basin offered the best opportunities for fun and scenery. Mojo came with us on this trip and had to pack in his own food and gear. It worked well since it slowed him down. I was able to attach a leash to his pack and connect it to my backpack which resulted in what we call "Mojo assisted walking" meaning he is pulling so hard he makes walking less effort or at least that's the idea. It doesn't really pan out so well when he's pulling you over a rocky trail faster th
an you want to go, but then it's still better than leaving the poor guy with friends. The hike in was about 5 miles with 400 ft of total elevation gain at around 10,000ft (though the 
trail went up and down a bit and everyone agreed it was hard enough for the day). We arrived at a little known lake called Everman Lake which is off a little hard to find side trail. It was fantastic with a great campspot in a grove of Pine trees. That evening we had beef stroganof and were not suprised that it started getting cold quite fast after the sun set. We climbed into our sleeping bags before 9pm and spent the evening snuggled up in our warm bags. 

The next morning we awoke to frost and everyone ran for the little bit of sunlight that poked over the mountains. eventually we ate and got our day packs on for a hike to a bunch of lakes that were at about 11,000 ft. Mojo was super excited about the rivers on this trip since they 
have introduced trout in them. The water was so clear he could see them swimming and he spent most of the trip barking,splashing and generally causing a racous in those streams and lakes. The hike was spectacular with over 5 lakes and great vistas of scree mountain peaks. We even saw some goats on a ridge. We ate a leasurly lunch by a lake and goofed off taking pictures before we started following a stream that would us back to camp. 

This little stream was no bore as it cascaded down multiple quatzite waterfalls and meandered through grassy fields. We were all in awe that a little stream could be so amazing. That night we 
went back to 
camp and had a yummy meal of salmon and veggies. Again the cold set in fast and we all ran for the comfort of our sleeping bags. The next morning we broke camp and began the hike back to the car. After three miles Mojo decided that he'd been robbed of his light pack because even though he'd eaten all his food we packed lots of trash into his pack to make ours lighter. Well I took his pack for the last two miles so I guess I carried the weight anyway. (Mojo might be stubborn sometimes but unfortunately he's not a very good mule). 

Well we eventually made it back to the car and celebrated being back in civilization with some smoked trout and smoked cheddar. Then, Cassie's parents took us out to a great celebratory dinner at Sundance which was much enjoyed by all. Thanks Leo and Dottie!!! 

The Enchantments aka (we're getting hitched!)

Wow it's been a crazy month since our last post. We went to the City of Rocks for climbing and then all heck broke loose with traveling. This post is a recount of our trip over the last week of August. We went to Oregon to visit Cassie's parent's and her grandmother. Had a fantastic time with them for a few days. Went to the coast for a beautiful day walking down the beach and trying to check out some tidepools.  Had clam chowder which is becoming a tradition when we visit Oregon. Went to Tulley and Frank's  ( friends of Cassie's from college) wedding. While we were in Oregon I asked Cassie's parents for permission to marry their daughter! They said yes and we were all quite excited, but I asked them to keep it a secret for a few days until I asked her on our upcoming backpacking trip to the Enchantments in Washington state. 

So a few days later we left and headed to Washington. We went climbing for a couple of days in 
Leavenworth but the weather was uncooperative between the wind and the rain so we only did a few routes. Most noteworthy was a fun 5.9 handcrack that we didn't finish but placed gear on and intentionally took lead falls onto cams since that kind of thing scares us. We need to get over our fear and that's the only way to do it. 

On Friday we headed into the Echantments with our friend Paul (who organized the trip) and his friend Elaina. It was a beautiful hike uphill for 10.5 miles and over 5000 ft of elevation gain. Needless to say we were all tired by the time we arrived at our first campsite. It was totally worth the hike though because we saw exquisite mountain lakes and scenic vistas that we all agreed were some of the best we've ever seen.

Saturday (Cassie's birthday) we moved camp further in and took an afternoon nap. When we had recovered from the hike we decided to take a short walk to look around. I seized the opportunity and grabbed the ring which was in a box inside of a dog bootie. Paul Cassie and I hiked to a 
nearby lake and as we single filed down to the lake I turned around and gave Paul the Shhhhh sign and showed him the box. Being the astute character
 that he is Paul stay back and gave me my chance to pretend to tie my shoe. I then told Cassie how much she meant to me and asked her to marry me. She said yes and we both were really excited and moved by the moment. I took a few pictures to capture the moment and Paul got one or two of Cassie and I as well. Now I'll let Cassie talk about the proposal and finish out describing our trip.

That's pretty much the story, I was completely surprised even though we had been talking about it for a while now. It was a beautiful place and a beautiful moment. Matt and his sister did a great job of picking out a ring I really like. Amazing since I'm not a big fan of rings typically. I was also quite surprised and impressed that Matt asked my parents and they showed no signs of anything being up the 3 days we spent with them.

One thing Matt did't mention about the trip was the goats. 
Where we were camping is high alpine, close to tree line. There are very little minerals for the goats and it's a popular hiking area, so the goats have learned that they can get minerals from people's pee. They warn you a head of time that the goats do this and to pee on rocks so they 
don't tear up the vegetation. At our first campsite, we quickly had a family of goats hanging out with us. We thought they were all cute until Matt left the group to try to hang our food. The goats quickly surrounded him and he tried to climb a tree to get away. We quickly learned they meant no harm, they just thought he was going to pee and were quite excited about that. Every time one person left the group, they knew it meant something good and you'd hear the sound of hooves trotting after you. This is a little unnerving as you're trying to stand or squat to do your thing having wild animals with sharp horns that close to you. In the morning, the goats would be licking the rocks all around camp and everyone could point out the places they had gone in the night.

The enchantments is one of the most beautiful places I know, this was my third trip. I was excited to spend my birthday there, and show Matt one of my favorite places. It now is an even more special and memorable place for me.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The City substitutes Vedauwoo

Well we were all set to hop in the car and head to Wyoming to see how we fare at the off-width capitol of the world, but at the last minute we got the call that it was canceled. Apparently 46 and raining doesn't make for very good climbing. Oh well, since we had the car totally packed we checked the weather in the City (the city of rocks that is). It was 85 and sunny without a cloud in the sky for the forecast all weekend. So before you can say granite we were on the road to Idaho. The City is one of the coolest areas we've ever climbed. It's not built for the sporty climbers (which we typically are) but is rather an area that climbs well with traditional protection such as nuts, and cams. We haven't climbed a lot of trad or granite so we were both excited to get more experience. We've agreed to just do easy climbs until we're more confident and precise with gear.

The City was only 50% full when we got there so finding a campsite was easy. We camped up by "The Finger" which, if you happen to go there, is a place you should check out if you like solitude. Not a single person was camped in either of the 4 sites so we had a few square miles to ourselves. Mojo got to run and play so he was happy as well. Since we had the Mojo we opted to just do climbs that we can rappel off of (severely limiting our options) because last time we climbed at the City he guarded the base of a multi-pitch we were doing and we felt pretty awful that other climbers couldn't get on it. So this time we just did a few easy climbs and hiked around to get to know the area better.

All in all we had a great weekend with fun easy climbs and great meals.

I guess we'll just have to reschedule our off-width experience for some other time.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Cedar City part deux

Last weekend we headed back to Cedar City for more climbing. Our previous trip were super stoked on the volcanic tuff climbing. We enjoyed the routes a lot, and we left with some climbs we still wanted to complete. So, this most weekend we headed back to finish up our projects and makes some cool sends. This time we went with our friend Paul, Mojo and a dog named Aeschylus (pronounced eskalas). We had a weekend of perfect weather at 11,000 feet. It only rained a tiny bit and the climbing was nice and cool. We warmed up on Saturday with some climbs to get us ready for Sunday since Aeschylus kept us up most of the night Friday while camping. You can't really blame the dog though, who wants to sleep when there's so much nature to sniff and pee on? Saturday night we cooked over a campfire and burned basically everything except the corn. Maybe I need some more practice cooking campfire food.

On Sunday we awoke after a good night's sleep to perfect temps. Climbing quickly ensued and everyone sent something they were stoked about. Paul onsighted his first 10a. It's a fun climb called "Willie the Pimp". Cassie redpointed her first 11a named "Pumping out of Gas" and I got my first 11c called Howard Hughes.

Check out these fun pics

For the next week I'll (matthew) be in Ohio visiting family. After that we head to Vedauwoo to get our bums kicked on some offwidths! So check back soon for more fun pics. Also, as always, there are more pics of the trip on our Flickr account.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The overlook

Last weekend we headed out on a climbing club trip to the overlook near Cedar City. Normally I wouldn't think of southern Utah as a good place to go in the middle of July, but this place was up in the mountains above Brian Head Ski area at about 11,000 feet, cool temperatures and beautiful!

We arrived mid-afternoon on Friday since I'd already worked too much last week (floating down the Green River so I can't really complain) and had Friday off and Matthew was able to leave early. We got on a few fun climbs right away then tried to scramble over a few rocks to another climb around the corner when we had a good scare. We heard a strange noise behind us and turned around to see Mojo tumbling down the hillside and falling over a small cliff. We were pretty sure he was going to be pretty seriously hurt or worse and ran down the hill to get to him. We found him standing up, a little dazed looking, a small cut on his eye and paw, but otherwise, amazingly okay. He's still a little tired and sore from the adventure, but I don't think I could have walked away from that fall as easily as he did.

We camped in this beautiful meadow above the cliffs which you can see is called the overlook for a good reason. Amazing sunsets and views of Cedar Breaks National Monument and the valley below. The rock there reminds me a little bit of climbing at home at Smith Rocks, it's fairly different than anything else in Utah we've climbed on with all these little pockets and edges that make for really fun climbing. Matthew proved he was the master of stemming by flying up this corner / crack with ease while the rest of us flailed. Overall a great weekend in a beautiful place.

This week we have the strange Utah holiday of Pioneer Day or pie and beer day which I think I like better. July 24th when the Mormon pioneers came upon the Salt Lake valley and decided this would be their new home. It's a day off work and as big of a deal here as the 4th of July if not bigger. So, for us it's a good excuse to get out of town again, probably down to Maple Canyon.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Independence Day Weekend

Well we're almost at the end of our three day weekend. We made the most of it and got out quite a bit, but I've almost forgotten to catch everyone up on our previous weekends excursion as well.

Last weekend we headed out to Strawberry Reservoir (saw no strawberries) to a Division of Wildlife cabin (read House). A cabin doesn't have 3 bedrooms, a living room, and a full kitchen. Strawberry is a reservoir about 30 minutes east of Heber City and is at about 7-8000 feet. It's a nice cool place to get away from the heat of the valley. It was quite the party when everyone finally showed up. Much meat was thrown on the grill and copious amounts of alcohol were quickly consumed (including some boones and a 40, but not by those who know better than to drink that type of spirit). The amount of food was quite outstanding and the setting was beautiful. Cards came out around 9pm and two groups began competing for the mandatory $5 buy in. Cassie and I played well, but had terrible cards for most of the night until Cassie was dealt (by me) the best hand ever (a Royal Straight Flush). Unfortunately that wasn't enough to make up for the rest of her cards. By the end of 3 hours everyone in our game was pretty much even so we called it a night. The other table however was in for a much longer game. I stayed up and watched them play till about 2 am and finally went to bed. Somehow those crazy kids managed to keep playing and drinking till the sun came up and their desire for sleep finally outweighed their drunken fun. We all awoke around 10am made some breakfast to ward off the evil hangovers we were all sporting and headed to Strawberry to do some fishing. Well, our luck with the fishies was about as good as our luck with the cards and we caught basically nothing, (I caught a few crawdads). Mojo did enjoy swimming after some birds for an hour or two though. We called it a day, headed back to town, had some greasy local ice cream shop food and crashed at the house.
The next day we went with our new friends (whom we had met at Strawberry) Paul and Katherine (and Chad) to Maple to do some climbing. Each of them had some experience with climbing and we put them on some 5.6-5-10b routes until everyone's forearms were shot. A good weekend was had by all.

This weekend (Independence Day) we went to Maple on Friday with Paul and Katherine again. Paul led his first route ever (a 5.6) and Katherine was improving as well. We started off on a two 5.8s, did a 5.9, a super long juggy overhanging 5.10a (a fun flash) and ended on a 5.9 which was sparsely bolted. I swung over to a 5.7 and put myself on rappel to try and get some cool pics. I think they turned out quite well. (Hank and Marla how do you always get such cool climbing shots?) The weather was perfect with temps in the high 70s or so (the valley was in the 90s) and we felt lucky to have escaped the heat.
The following day I organized a float trip down the Provo river on tubes (leaky tubes). Chad, Jackie, Paul, and Katherine joined us for one of the coldest floats I've ever done. Imagine having your feet and hands go numb in a few seconds while the air is a scorching 95 degrees. Some opted to walk the last half of the float while other (possibly less intelligent people) decided to give it one more go. I won't say that those of us who continued floating made the right decision as that water was still ice cold. We think maybe the extra snow in the mountains and the late summer may have contributed because we did the same float last year and it was a good bit warmer (still freezing, but not quite as bad). The desired outcome was achieved however as everyone forgot how hot it was outside. Afterwards we had everyone up to our cabin for another summer bbq. I baked an apple pie and we all stuffed ourselves to the brim and maybe a bit beyond.

This morning Cassie and I groggily awoke and headed to American Fork to do some more climbing. Strangely enough there was no one else at a fairly popular crag called Hard Rock (see previous posts) We did a 5.9 and I sent this fun 5.10b called Treehugger which I had not gotten on our previous trip to AF. We decided to call it a day after that and headed back to the cabin. Now we are going to just chill for the rest of the weekend.

We hope everyone out there is enjoying their fourth of july weekend!!!
To see more pics from Maple Canyon Climbing click here