Friday, April 30, 2010

I'm So Good At Punting I Shoulda Been A Kicker

Well, no go on Mister Sandstone Violence. It felt good to get on the problem again but that last move to the jug still horrifies me. Every time I get up there the silhouetted image of Jason flying off of the problem with the block flying right next to him flashes in my head and I come off.

I think I need to go up there with a bunch of pads and a bunch of spotters that'll yell and scream at me to do the damn move. It's stupid and there's no reason I shouldn't have done this four years ago. No reason.

As for the climbing, it was a pretty calm day. Kinda humid and buggy but the occasional gust of wind kept it decent. With a bit of grit I made it up to the last move without a real problem. Then I chickened out.

On with the weekend though! Sounds like West Bluff on Saturday and Greatest Show cleaning party on Sunday. It'd be nice to have a bunch of people up on Sunday as long as the weather holds out. Who wants in??

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Katie and I are leaving in an hour or so to go back to Governor Dodge for the afternoon. I'm actually pretty excited. First time in a pretty long time that I'm truly excited to go up to Dodge.

Goal for the day is Sandstone Violence. We've got all our pads and I want to finish it off. We'll see how it goes.....I've got that good nervous going on right now. Cannot wait.

Monday, April 26, 2010

That's Better

Thanks Chris. This is much less mind numbing to look at.

Hopefully we have some good weather coming up so we can get this thing nice and clean. I'm still amazed at how good this boulder looks in the picture.

At this point it looks more and more like Nic's left exit might be a FA. Currently it looks like we've got 4-5 distinct lines on the boulder.

1 - Greatest Show Arete - No one really knows how hard this thing might be.

2 - Greatest Show Face - There very well might be three exits on this puppy. Right, Direct and Left. It'll be interesting to see the topout when it's clean.

3 - Left Arete - Years ago Steve Day and I spied this line but never put the work into it. Nic also looked at it and this could be rather cool.

4 - PJ's Seam - Talking with Paul Jones a while back he said he did a line up the seam in the damp, dark cave on the right face of this boulder. He didn't seem super keen on the line and said that it wasn't his best work.

5 - Left Face - There should be an easier slabby problem up the sunny face around the corner from the direct.


I'm psyched. Motivation is growing...

Friday, April 23, 2010

And The Mystery Grows...

Eric Zschiesche climbing "The Greatest Show On Earth"

Huh. So no one actually knows what the true "Greatest Show" is. This should only fan the flames of utter confusion I suppose.

After a bit of prodding Eric Zschiesche sent me the above picture with some of his thoughts:

"Steve, good to hear the stones at the Lake are getting some human touch. Jeez,... it's been ten years or more, since I played on the Greatest Show boulder, it is slightly fuzzy. Cool chunk of sandstone, attached a photo of the boulder ( the photo lab botched the image configuration / so it is a mirrored remembrance. ), enjoy the DLSP spring."

First off, do you see how CLEAN that boulder is???!!! Holy hell! I need to get back out there with some more brushes and do that thing some justice! It's immaculate!!

Secondly, and remember it's a mirrored pic, Eric is topping out on the right side of the overhang. Far different than where Nic and I feel the direct would go, and even more different than Nic's left exit. On top of that, there is some pretty major chalk on the arete.

I guess it's time to go scrub! Seems like there might be three different Greatest Shows!!! HAH!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Motivation is waning right now. Seriously waning. There are a couple reasons why but the ship needs to get righted.

Rocks need to be smote down on.

The talk lately has been of getting my focus back. I came into this season wanting to take shit down. I haven't. I took a look at my goals list the other day and I'm revising it a bit.

Here's the original:

Alpine Club
Sex and Chocolate
The Zipper
Black Sheep
Half Dome Project
Sandstone Violence
Corner Project
Seam Project
The Prow

I've been a failure so far. I need to get into attack mode and take shit down. I need to FOCUS.

So. Spring. It's still on and we still have good temps. Here's what I want to do this Spring.

1 - Greatest Show
2 - The Seam Project
3 - Sandstone Violence

I'd be happy with that. Very happy. Baby steps, right? There are so many things going on in my head right now I just need to pick out a couple things and go to town. Steinke is going onto the backburner. There are things I want to do but they can wait till summer.

Then there are other things I'd love to be able to do by year end but you guys already know what those are.

Aside from Remo doing Sex and Chocolate with a Cherry On Top and Nic doing the Greatest Show it's been a pretty slow season so far. Let's get on it people....

Monday, April 19, 2010

I Feel Oldish

Good weekend. Good one. By the way I'm not sure if I posted this little tidbit up or not. Katie has a partially collapsed right lung so any bitching and moaning on my part is to be taken with a grain of salt as I'm weaksauce compared to her.

First we went to Steinke on Saturday. Radness ensued. RV and I did a couple of warmups and a cool V4. Called it "Dodge the Choss". We figure V3/4.


Honestly it's probably V4 and actually cool and fun to do. It may have been done before. Chances are it has but oh well, the name fits and it was fun. Plus we got to see RV get all scared on the topout and mutter "I'm not done yet Steve". Always ALWAYS fun.

After that we tried in vain to move the big boulder under the project before moving on to another new face.

Just left of Good Grief is a cool looking slabby face. It's full on pitiful looking features and we hopped on it. You start on a big break and go up to a good sidepull before making an interesting move up to a crimp that is just far too small. Full on dime edge.

It took us a bit of time to commit to the move but pretty soon I'd hiked my left foot and rocked onto the scary looking jug. I sat there for a couple minutes before eventually hopping down. The next few moves didn't look super hard, just insecure and I wasn't really feeling the mojo that day. Will come back for you sir.

On Sunday RV and I made a quick trip up to the Greatest Show to throw a rope down. I rapped off first and recleaned everything. It looks great right now. Like really great. People should get on it. It's the best its been in years.

I hopped off and as I was pulling my shoes on I felt a slight twinge in my back. Fuck. Knowing I'd be crippled in a couple hours we started sussing out the bottom moves. I had one great go where everything felt great. It was awesome. Sadly I hopped off somewhat elated and then couldn't get it together again. Oh well.

RV did well though and made it to the crux before jumping off. Fun.

I got back on the rope which ended up really pissing off my back, and went about sussing out the upper moves.

After a few minutes I was getting closer to the loaf of a hold in the upper hueco. Getting up into the position, while a bit gut wrenching, wasn't too horrible. Eventually I figured out just how hard to squeeze and stuck the throw. The next couple moves weren't too bad and a sagged onto the rope once more.

The first crux isn't horrible. It's hard and VERY physical, but not horrible. The topout will be HORRIFYING!!

There was some murmuring on the interwebz that Nic didn't do the true Greatest Show. Who fucking cares. He did the line that made the most sense to him and I don't blame him. While I was up on the rope I was able to get two fingers into the upper pod marking the second crux. Once you get that you get a bit locked in and I didn't play around on that too much. I'll do that next time.

I really don't think people understand just how serious that upper crux is. It's insecure, tall and the fall would be kinda awkward. Climb safe out there peeps and don't be fucking dumb.

There's my piece.

RV got on after me and after 10-15 minutes was able to stick the first crux as well. Eventually the pain and embarrassment of being back in a harness got to him and he came down.

Here are some pictures.

After we packed up we went over to Beautiful Soup where I dropped a rope on Keymaker and quickly realized how tired I was when the holds felt horribly small. Oh well.

I did end up getting some cool pics of RV on Beautiful Soup. Check em.

Not sure what's up with the last pic but it's being difficult. Oh well.

As of last night my back was f-ing destroyed! Sucks!! Feels a little better today but still damn rough.

I'm pretty embarrassed that I threw out my back putting my shoes on. Damn.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Steinke Pics

Just a forewarning that I didn't get any pictures of the actual problems/projects. The sun was high and shadows were brutal. Plus I had my big lens on and didn't want to take it off. Hah!

I want to really encourage people to head out to this place. The two areas I saw were incredibly cool looking and there seems to be much more in the area. It's kind of a unique setting for DL and makes for a fun day. More traffic will only make the place better and it should clean up nicely.

Turn left at this broken tree to go to Triple Tower wall.  It's only a couple minutes further into the woods.  Just past this is the Steinke Wall turnoff with the Jack Backwards project.

It's absolutely beautiful out right now and the weather for the next couple weeks looks like more 60 and sunny. Can it get any better??? Looking forward to the weekend!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Well my weekend went much the way I planned. Here you go.

Friday - Leave work at noon, stop and get Burrito on the way to the gymnasium, arrive at the gym to find it dark and locked, use secret squirrel beta to get in, almost get knocked out by Phil and his metal water bottle, laugh nervously about how he thought I was an intruder, eat said burrito, set totally rad sicky gnar gnar opening sequence for finals number one, get stumped on the middle move and work on it for 5 hours straight trying it over and over, finally figure it out 60 plus tries later, wait for Gunther von Punt to arrive to forerun said finals, tweak problem and go home happy, no drinking tonight.

Saturday - Wake up tired and sore from too much try hard the night before, drive to the lake, do two warmups, sit on crash pads till Chris and Sarah show their faces, watch them climb a bit, talk about how tired we are, try Show Me The Kind, punt with Chris a lot, get rained on, watch Chris finish in the rain, drop Katie off at home, find a flask at Hy-Vee, sleep, get mad at pup for poopin' in the bathroom, fill flask with some tasty scotch, watch everyone get rad at the gymnasium, drink, watch people punt at the gymnasium, give away free shit as the keg gets tapped, scotch ale is so good, drink more, spot finals, drink sum more, watch Katie shake her head at me and my flask, comp ends and watch everyone in the audience try finals, watch everyone get demoralized when they see that they didn't make finals for a reason, go home, sleep. Lots

Sunday - Wake up surprised that I'm not more hungover, drive to DL and hike out to Steinke (Very cool stuff), take lots of peecturs, drive to the North shore and try to hike along railroad tracks to find more sicky rad gnar boulders, get turned back by swarms of black flys, drive home, wait for katie as she books her tickets to Hueco, grill out, get mad at pup for poopin again, sleep.

Alright, enough foolishness. Steinke is way cool and has and absolute ton of potential I think. I know Rhoads, Vinny and Remo spent some time out there last year but it's got the potential to be a fairly major area. I saw the Steinke Wall and the Triple Tower Wall. I got lucky and found the Steinke Wall first by accident. Pretty cool looking stuff very reminiscent of the North Shore bouldering.

I had the GPS for the Triple Tower Wall and found that pretty easily. It's only about 5 minutes from the first area and both areas are less than five minutes off the main trail. Seems like there is just a shitload of potential for this area. Feels fairly remote for DL and the trees actually felt rather open.

Triple Tower is a cool little area as well. It's got some shorter stuff along with some taller things mixed in. Definitely want to go back.

The project at Triple Tower is moderately cool. I was hoping for something a little better but it's good enough to spend some time on it. One boulder will have to be moved but it shouldn't be an issue.

Who's in???

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Weekend

Alright ya'll, what's up for this weekend?? Sounds like we might have a busy one here.

Here's what my weekend might look like.

Friday - Ride to work slightly hungover from scotch/bourbon the night before, work a half day, ride to Burrito Drive, ride to Boulders, eat said burrito, try and warm up my broken fingers, set finals, forerun, scam a ride home with Katie, Bourbon, eat, Scotch, Bourbon, sleep.

Saturday - Wake up again slightly hungover, pack car for bouldering extravaganza to D Lake, eat two bacon egg and cheese bagels, ride ferry, bitch about hiking too much, confirm that yes the thing on my back is in fact a suitcase, bitch about my legs being too tired from riding bikes too much, get rad on something, punt, get rad on something else, punt even harder, stop at the "boat" and get ice cream even though i didn't send anything, watch people get rad on the fake rocks, drink, eat, drink, spot, drink, watch finals, pass out.

Sunday - Wake up possibly hungover again, realize that i'm a lightweight (though not as bad as iRVine), possibly get rad with dobbe and remo, hope that dobbe has more bday cake, send shit, get totally sicky gnar gnar on shit, eat more ice cream, go home and vow not to drink that night, grill out, drink bourbon, pass out.

So, what is everyone doing??? Who wants in for the lake? Anyone coming to the comp?? Should be a good one. Sweaty? Runnells?

Do it.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Highball Healing

I was gonna do a normal weekend recap but instead I want to share a story I don't think I've shared before. Enjoy.

Back in 2003 or 2004 Jason Huston invited me up to the lake to boulder. At that time my knowledge of bouldering at the lake was rather limited to the North Shore and Monolith. On the way up Jason said we should go to Burma Road and The Reserve. I was ecstatic. I'd heard of both areas before but had never been. I couldn't wait.

We walked in to Burma and I was running around like a kid, not quite able to contain myself. He showed me around and we started out on the classic warmup at Burma. Anyone who's been to the boulders knows the problem. Jugs down low turn to sloping crimps up high right before a massive topout jug. It's a perfectly constructed problem.

Even ignoring the fact that I'd never done a problem above 15 feet at the most, at 20 feet tall this problem would classify as a nice highball almost anywhere.

After he made it look so easy I tried my best to not be nervous. Jason was a strong climber and I looked up to him back then (I know better now). Add that to the height of the problem and I had some sweaty hands.

Looking back on it now I smile.

I made it up the problem fine on the outside, nervous as all get out on the inside. I'm sure I botched the upper sequence, everyone does. I'm sure it made me pucker a little bit. I don't really remember the details that well. What I do remember is how satisfying it was to hit the topout jug and take my first breath in about a minute.

Coming back down I was smiling the whole way.

The smile stopped when I saw him pull the pads over to the slab. Just to the right of the warmup is one of the coolest slabs in the park. In total opposition to the problem we'd just stepped off of, the slab has a low crux and an even taller topout over a low angled slab.

Often times it's soaking wet and green but that day it was crisp and perfect. Probably the best condition I've ever seen it in. Jason waltzed up the slab and I shuddered.

I tried hard that day. Real hard. Jason made everything look so easy and I was trying to do the same, and failing. It may have taken a couple of goes for me to get past the crux, I don't really recall. I do remember the feeling of dread as I finally rolled over the bulge and committed myself. I took a breath and kept going.

About halfway up the slab there's a huge chockstone sticking out. I remember looking deeply at it as I passed by. It'd be so easy to grab it and roll over to safety, I thought. So easy. I passed the chockstone and continued to the top hoping for jugs along the way.

As I rolled over the topout I smiled once more. And I took that first breath again.

We moved everything over to Pinball Arete. I hate that problem now. Hate. Back then though I had no idea what I was getting into.

We both worked out the moves and Jason made some good headway. Eventually he was making his way up to the slopers and then on one go he started fidgeting a bit. I shuffled the pads a bit and did my best impression of an effective spotter. He spent a minute or so up there chalking up and trying to find the good holds. Eventually he committed to the move and stood up on the awful sloping feet. Without hesitation he ran up the slab to finish it up.

I declined to try it anymore.

On the hike out to The Reserve he showed me the cement slabs and the spray painted trees. I just kept on laughing and smiling. Pretty soon we were walking into the area and my mind was blown. It seemed so funny to me that someone actually found this place. Even funnier that it existed at all.

Obviously Huston dropped his pad below Tall Boy. It runs up the beautiful face just as you walk in. The landing is close to perfect and the holds are amazing. It's tall though.

Huston ran up it first and then urged me to follow. I'm sure he said something like "The holds are HUGE!! And plus, we have TWO pads!!!! What can go wrong???". Seems like something he'd say.

I stepped on and without hesitation grabbed the undercling and started standing up. I grabbed the edge feeling really good and strong. My experiences earlier in the day boosted my confidence and I relaxed, took a breath and looked for feet. Then it hit me. I was horrified! What was I doing???

I immediately stopped breathing, hiked my feet and threw to the bulge above me, no clue if it was actually good or not. I got lucky and hit the jug. Once more I hiked my feet in total fear and grabbed my first true "thank god" jug.

I started breathing again at once and stumbled up the remaining 5 feet or so of scrambling to the top.

It's funny looking back on the days that are special to you as a climber. Simple days like this have formed me and give me little memories to look back on. I'm continually reminded of this day each time I do a new highball. Whether it's sketching around on some random warmup with a shitty landing at the North Shore or making "The Crawl" on Slope of Dadaism, I'm always reminded of my first highballs.

Here are some pics of this past weekend.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Don't Hate, Celebrate!

Man, sometimes I'm blown away by how much anonymous hatred the climbing community can churn out. It's pretty impressive how awesome the interwebz can be.

Between Sharma/Nalle v. Anonymous Interwebz Dooshbags, Paul R. v. Grade Hating Dooshbags, and the little 8 year old girl v. Even Bigger Dooshbags there is some serious hatred going around right now. And not RV style fun hatred, but rather stupid pointless hatred.

It makes me like our little local community that much more.

Katie and I were planning on going down to So Ill this weekend but we're feeling particularly worked right now so we're gonna take it easy and stay at home. Maybe camp up at the lake a night or two. One day we're gonna head up to the reserve and the ejaculator. Should be good. I'm also interested in trying Half Dome again. It'll be interesting to see how it goes.

Right now RV is up at the lake with Remo. I think Remo wanted to try Beautiful Soup and RV is dead set on Moj right now. He stuck the crux move twice on Tuesday and is beyond psyched about it. Hopefully he does it today! Hopefully they both send today!!

I think that's all I've got. Let me know if you're gonna be out!!