A blog about climbing full time on the road.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Timpooneke Hike and Ferguson canyon

We had a terrific weekend climbing and hiking and hanging out with friends. First Cassie's aunt and uncle came to visit on Friday on their way to Ogden to visit family. We really enjoyed spending time with them and swapping stories. They live in a beautiful part of Arizona and are very cool people. I made some homemade sweet biscuits and Cassie made some whipped cream and we topped it all off with raspberries and strawberries. Yum!

On Saturday we went with the club to Ferguson canyon.
It's a nice canyon tucked away between little and big cottonwood. Considering the close proximity of such great climbing on either side one might expect Ferguson to have become a forgotten canyon, but its shady walls and cool creek make it a great way to escape the hot weather on a summer day. We found the granite climbing there to be lots of fun, but rather uncondusive to leading as the area we were at was very very stout for the grades and protection was few and far between (i think i understand where that saying came from now). It had some super fun routes on the granite with a great climb called Extreme Unction and a fun5.7 called Inner Light which contained two variations but was unfortunately devoid of gear for the first bit (unless you trust extremely shallow C4s). So, we did a bunch of topropes, got some good burns on a 10d that was tough, and a 10c that was the hardest 10c I think I've ever attempted. It felt to me like a desperately crimpy 11d. Granite is tons of fun and a style of climbing that we aren't all that used to yet.

Sunday we decided to go hike the Timpooneke Trail toward the summit of Timpanogos. We found out that there was snow only 3miles up the trail, but that was kinda like icing on the cake since it was pretty hot out. The hike was a lot of fun, but I'd rather let the pictures do the talking on this one. Click on any of the pictures to see more pics from the hike.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

summertime and climbing

It's finally summer here in Utah. Temps in the high 80's to low 90's and not a cloud in the sky. We've been doing a lot of climbing outside lately and haven't been in the gym in probably about a month. Two weekends ago we went to Maple canyon for the second time this year. It was a super cold day and we both froze for the first climb. Luckily it warmed up a bit and was just cool enough to be perfect sending weather. I'm feeling a bit more confident leading and was able to redpoint two routes that I struggled on last year. One was a tricky 10c that just needed some style to get through a techy and pumpy section, the other was my first 11 and was an 11b. I was really excited about it as you can see.

Last Saturday night we went for a hike to the falls behind the cabin. It was beautiful weather that evening and a raging waterfall greeted us. It's a perfect hike to take when you're out of time to drive somewhere and it's great that it's within walking distance of the cabin. Mojo enjoys drinking and laying down in the ice cold water and generally running amuck.

On Sunday we woke up as early as we could for a Sunday (about 8am) and headed to American Fork. It's getting hot enough that we either need to climb at elevation, in the shade, wake up early or some combination of those options because otherwise it's just miserable getting baked by the sun. We went to a wall in the shade called Hard Rock that we had climbed a route on last year. There are three routes on the face we climbed, a 10b,9,8. We climbed "Treehugger" a 10b (thinking it was the 9) to warm up and found it to be quite tricky at the crux. It's weird going from one climbing area to another. We get used to the particular style needed on one type of rock and then have to adjust to something else. For example, Maple is cobblestone jugs, slopers and big feet. American Fork is limestone with pockets and polished edges. It feels completely different to climb on and takes a bit to get used to (not to mention the bolting in AF is more old school 80s style so the spaces between the bolts are always a bit farther than you would like) The 5.9 that I climbed was super jug pockets, was steep for the beginning, and also had a mini-roof on it. Really fun route and one I recommend trying if you're in the area. My first try I got pumped going over the roof. Second try it was pretty easy. Here's a pic from the top. Yeah, it's pretty runout on 5.5 terrain to the anchors. You probably wouldn't deck but you would take one wild whipper. It's the kind of climb where you keep repeating the "don't fall here" mantra as you head to the anchors.

After climbing in AF we got in the car and drove to the Uintas with our cross-country skis hoping to find some snow. The Uintas are the highest mountain range in Utah and one of the few in the US (maybe the only) that run E-W instead of N-S. They are a great place to go when it's hot in the valley (which it was this weekend). Sorry, no pics because I forgot the camera on my climbing harness. It was a beautiful hike though. We stopped at a ridge and hiked down to a mountain lake that was being fed by snowmelt. There was snow all around, but not enough to ski on. We hiked, watched mojo swim, and then I decided to take a dip in the water. It was freakin cold, but not as cold as you would expect from a lake being fed by snowmelt. I suspect the shallowness of it allows it to warm more quickly. Kinda strange to be swimming in a lake surrounded by snow. Speaking of the Uintas; this September Cassie's parents and I are planning on doing a backpack in the Uintas. It'll be super sweet since the hiking will be nice and cool, and by then the bugs should be gone. It's high enough (above 10,000ft) that you get an alpine feel and it really reminds me of Alaska which we both miss a lot. Hope all of you northerners are getting your Copper River reds!

This weekend we head to Ferguson canyon to climb with the club. Sounds like there's trad, sport, and shade so it should be a lot fun.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Well, I thought I'd try my hand at this blogging thing as it is supposed to be Matthew and Cassie and if you hadn't noticed, it's just been Matthew so far. Last week the NABS conference was in Salt Lake, which is where all the nerdy stream, river, bug, fish people like myself get together and talk about their work. You can tell how big of nerds we all are by how excited we all got at the NABS deck of cards everyone got which have a different picture of an aquatic invertebrate on each one. I'm looking forward to using them at our next poker night. It was great to see old friends and catch up with folks.

My friend Shannon stayed with us for the conference Rafael Swell. She hadn't been out there beforece and afterwards we went out to the San and as you can tell, it's one of our favorite places and there's tons to explore there. It was perfect time of year for flowers in the desert. We saw a few pictograph and petroglyph panels and went for a great hike. We had a couple cool lizard pose for us as well. The colorful one is an Eastern collard lizard and I think the other guy is a Western whiptail.

We were planning on hiking Devil's canyon and scrambling up San Rafael Knob, but we learned the Subaru doesn't qualify as a medium duty vehicle or the roads have gotten much worse since our guide book was published. I scraped bottom a couple times on the "light duty" section of the road then since it turned to "medium duty" we decided to walk to check out the road first and it was definitely not a trip the Suby would make. We found another hike we could do on the rim and then down through Coal wash which was pretty spectacular! It followed a OHV trail for a few miles along the rim we got a little lost on where we were supposed to drop into a side canyon, but after a bit of back tracking and guessing, we found a canyon to drop into which required a bit of scrambling around some big dry falls then out to the main wash scramble up to the rim then try to avoid stepping on all the cryptobiotic soil back to the car.

Today was the Utah Lake festival which is where we try to show people that Utah Lake really is a cool place; boating, fishing, birding, free food, face painting and fish hats. What more can you want? It's amazing the number of people who've lived here their whole lives and have never been out to a lake that is 5 minutes away from them and have no idea there is an endemic and endangered fish that lives there. For me it means taking Mojo out to a place where he can swim and stalk yellow headed blackbirds. He never tires of chasing them and watching him is always entertaining.

a little more snow

Yup, it snowed for a bit this morning at the cabin. Looking up at the hills it looks like some actually stuck. I bet Alta got a bunch.

This week we climbed twice in Rock Canyon (our local canyon). There are some really excellent quartzite climbs limestone climbs in the canyon. We opted for a wall called the AC/DC wall and the kitchen. Both of these areas were really great. The Kitchen has some 5.8-5.9 trad leads that can also be done on toprope. Since we were sans gear we just toproped some really fun crack climbs. I thought they were great, though Cassie was a bit less impressed. On Thursday we climbed at AC/DC wall and only had time for two climbs, so we climbed a 5.7 and a 5.9+ sport. Both of them were easy and fun. Plus the weather was outstanding and the views are beautiful. Gotta love having a local crag with this many climbs and yet so few people. Most states would be quite jealous of rock canyon, but having this much climbing on this many different kinds of rock is really amazing. Let me go over the list so you can appreciate whats around.

Rock Canyon: Quartzite and Limestone trad and sport. Hundreds of routes
American Fork Canyon: Mostly limestone with a little quartzite. A mecca of sport climbing probably with thousands of routes.
Little Cottonwood Canyon: Worldclass Granite Bouldering and trad multipitch climbs.
Big Cottonwood Canyon: Great Quartzite trad and sport climbing.
Maple Canyon: Cobblestone climbing. Probably some of the most unique climbing in the world.
Ibex: World renowned quartzite bouldering and great multipitch sport and trad climbs.
Joes Valley: world famous sandstone bouldering
Triassic: less well known but fantastic sandstone bouldering
St. George: sport limestone and sandstone
Indian Creek: world famous splitter cracks in the desert. People talk of this place in with awe in their voices.

So, that isn't all of the climbing, but it's a brief synopsis of some of the best. So, we're headed back to maple tomorrow to try some more climbs. Hope everyone out there is enjoying themselves.

Monday, June 2, 2008

maple canyon

Well it's been a bit quiet around here for the last week or so. The weekend of the 23rd we looked for a VW bus to take on the trip and had the check engine light looked at on the Honda. We found an awesome VW eurovan camper for the pricey tag of 18k, but man was it sweet. Totally decked out on the inside with great storage, water, two burner stove. This thing had it all and we're both pretty excited about getting one. We're not going to buy it anytime soon, but it does look like we could travel in style if we opted for it.

On sunday we went fishing with out friend Chris at Deer Creek. We all had a nice time fishing, but we just couldn't get anything to bite. The view of Mt Timpanogos was really nice. We're definitely better climbers that fishermen, and I think I was spoiled by the salmon in alaska. Salmon were always biting my lures, but here I think the fish get caught so much they are much more wary. And my lack of skill doesn't help either.

This sunday we headed to Maple Canyon to climb. It's such a nice area, and it's only an hour away. The climbing in Maple is probably some of the most unique in the world. It's cobblestone climbing and lots of it is vertical or slighty to extremely overhanging. Pump is the name of the game and Cassie and I found ourselves wrestling with a climb that she onsighted and I flashed a year ago. Apparently our endurance is not what it used to be thanks to all the bouldering. Oh well, there's always next weekend, and we are definitely headed back. We both are totally capable of redpoint (climbing without hanging or falling) climbing in the 11 range, we just haven't tried enough yet. I think with a little persistence we'll both climb one soon.

Hope everyone out there is enjoying summer. Take care. We'll probably take pictures of our excursions one of these times ;)