A blog about climbing full time on the road.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Going Tiny


I got a loan from Doc on what is known as an extension tube. It's a very cool little device which does nothing more than extend the distance between your camera lens and your camera. One cool result is that your lens looks much more impressive since it's an extra 3 inches long. The other effect is that it allows your lens to focus much closer than it could before. For example, with my 200mm lens the minimum focus distance is a little over 3 feet, anything closer will be blurry. Just add an extension tube and you get a focus distance of about 2 inches. That means you can get super close to your subject. In this case it was a poor little bee who was dying from the cold, or possibly from using it's stinger since I couldn't see it. Anyway it's loss of mobility was my gain. The downside of these tubes is that they make your depth of field TINY (or rather tiny) so you have to stop down your aperture which increases your exposure time. Long story short it means that you can't take pictures of things that are moving when using one of these tubes. Luckily the bee kept moving slowly and stopped occasionally allowing me to get some pictures.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Price Boulders

When the temperatures get too hot everywhere else the price boulders start to look really good. The area is fairly small but has a good variety of problems ranging from V0-V8. Last weekend it was over 80 degrees everywhere else which makes for miserable climbing conditions due to sweaty hands and general fatigue. Mark, Suzi, Cassie, Pace and I opted to climb in the shade at Price. It ended up being a good choice. Surprisingly cool temps in the shade allowed us to dispatch some sloper problems that we weren't entirely sure would go. Cassie climbed a V5 called Barker's Beauties and is getting in super good shape for bouldering. She did it in only a few tries. This is the climb Cassie and Mark both do in the video at the start. Mark quickly followed suit and I completed it as well. I then set my sights on a cool short V6 called The Spider. It took me a few tries to figure out the beginning, but I came up with a sequence that worked. Mark then provided some beta for the end and it all came together after about ten tries. We didn't get video of me doing either of those problems but there is video of me trying the The Spider just before I sent it.

Turtle Head V8

After that we moved on to try Infestation V3 which is a great sloper problem. Also attempted were Turtle Head V8 which is a super sick compression problem ( a compression problem is when you are bear hugging a piece of rock and trying to push your arms together to stay on ). For some reason I seem to really enjoy slopers and compression problems but I just don't like sharp holds that always tweak my hands. Go figure. Turtle Head is a fantastic problem with really neat moves. I was very excited to find out that I can do pretty much all the moves on it. That's especially great since the weather isn't optimum. In theory another try on a cooler day could be even better. I have high hopes that I might be able to climb it this year. My goal for this year was to climb a V7 and I'm so close I can taste it. It would be even more sick to climb a V8 which is a grade I didn't know if I was capable of but now I'm thinking that it could be done.

Finally we ended on a beautiful line called "The Wave" V4. It's a big move to a good hold, then a heel hook and a mantle to top it out. It looks super cool in the video. 

Friday, June 4, 2010

Joe's Valley over Memorial Day

Who says bouldering can't be dangerous?
Joe's Valley has to be one of the best places in the world to boulder. Now I understand that with my limited exposure to boulders outside of Utah I might be a bit biased, but you gotta love the variety of climbs and the completely ridiculous amount of problem (for those of you not hip on the climbing lingo a problem is a boulder specific path to get to the top of a boulder. a given boulder may have only one problem/climb on it, it might have many. sometimes a boulder will have all easy climbs or all hard etc. so a problem in this case is a good thing. the more problems an area has the more climbs total. yeah I know it's a bit counterintuitive. just rest assured that if I say "this area has a ton of problems" it's probably a GOOD thing.. 

One apology to make about this post. You might notice I'd doing a lot more writing then posting pictures, well that's because I spent most of the weekend actually climbing. It seems that when I'm climbing I spend a lot less time taking video and shooting pictures. I'll try to be more aware of that on our next trip this weekend to the Price Boulders.

Lately we've been making some new friends. A super cool couple named Mark and Suzi have been getting us psyched to go bouldering. We've been doing Wednesday night sessions in Little Cottonwood after work and climbing till it gets dark. Mark has to be one of the most energetic and excited boulderers I've ever met. I bet if I tried to talk him into a 4 am session so that we could climb when the temps were perfect he'd be up for it. Mark and Suzi have a 2 year old son named Pace who is extremely cute and seems to have inherited Mark's boundless energy. We've also been climbing more with our friends Sarra and Jason who have been getting into bouldering more, Another addition to the team are Jesse and Nicole. This was the crew for last weekend's sendfest at Joes. The day started off right with people sending well thanks to cool temps in the mid-50s. This time of the year that's pretty unheard of around here so we lucked out. Mark quickly dispatched one of his goals for the weekend, a high V8 named Dirty Harry, Mark agreed that the problem probably should have been downgraded, but we were all totally impressed with his third attempt send of such a huge problem. It got everyone psyched for more climbing. Next we headed to Maxipad which is a V6 dyno. Absolutely beautiful line but we just couldn't stick the lip. Ah more projects for next time as always. 

We ended the day at the Boysize area working on some some short but burly climbs. Everyone gave it their best shots but we just couldn't finish them. We all vowed to take a rest day on Sunday and come back on Monday to send.

Well more friends (Sarra and Jason) showed up that night so it was pretty clear that we were going to be doing a good bit more climbing on Sunday instead of having a rest day. I stayed off the climbs for as long as I could while everyone tried climbs at the Riverside area. Sarra crushed some hard slab climbs at Riverside and some difficult lines started going down. Some of the guys tried a high climb which tops out over the river. Very cool V1 and probably one of the most beautiful lines in Utah. Next we headed to Area 51 to try some climbs that Mark and Suzi were excited about. We did Pimpin Jeans and Bad Jeans and finished Reading Rainbow before we had exhausted the area. We moved on to another spot and people set their sights on Super Sloper V3. The super slopers were not as super as people were hoping as everyone just couldn't seem to keep their hands from sliding off. Many a hand stayed for a second or two only to slowly slip off as the climber struggled to stay on. After everyone's hands were completely destroyed we called it a day. Now I was supposed to be taking a rest day, but I don't think climbing 5 routes counts as a rest day unfortunately. 




On Monday we headed back to Boysize to try and finish our projects. Cassie made good progress on her V6 (boysize right). She didn't send but came much closer than last time she had tried it. I kept slipping off my project. The temps on monday were a lot warmer than they had been for the last two days. The friction on the rock just didn't feel as good. So, I gave up on my sloper project and headed to Runt. Things didn't go much better there either. I kept coming off on the last hard move of the problem. I sacrificed much skin and blood without a send to show for it. Oh well, it'll be there next time I come back. 

Next on the tic list was Wills A Fire a higher problem with some very good hard moves. Nobody from our crew sent and we all left agreeing we needed to come back and try it again. It is definitely one of the best lines I've seen at Joes. Perfect rock and hard moves throughout the climb. 

The weekend ended with us all feeling as though we'd done battle with the rock. Everyone was tired and needed a good long rest, but that didn't stop us from bouldering again on Wednesday at Little Cottonwood. I think addicts would be a good word to describe us...