Tuesday, September 30, 2008

THE GOOD NEWS: I just returned from a mini-epic adventure in the Southern Sierra Nevada. Jeff Dunbar and I traipsed around Dome Rock and The Needles, climbing some very classic lines, including Igor Unchained (perhaps the best 5.9+ for 45 light years in all directions), Just Barely (stupidly creative 5.11b), the perfect Anti-Jello Crack (5.10), and Tree Route (the most sustained jamming possible for a 5.6). Basically, the weekend was tradtastic.

THE BAD NEWS: I am sick as a dog right now.

I'm planning on getting better tonight after downing the rest of my Nyquil bottle. Hopefully, I'll crank on something this weekend at the Tor, but I'm not making any promises. This sickness seems to be hanging on.

By the way, that's not me in the photo of Igor Unchained (3rd pitch). I'll post some pics when I have them.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Buena Vista Project: Day 1

Andre and I trucked up the trail with her two pooches (Bahini and Schatzi) to start cleaning the project and, hopefully, climb a little. I set a top-rope then rapped in with some scrub brushes. The rock quality ranged from excellent, Skofield Park quality, to choss. The crux moves are all on pretty good rock, however. Speaking of crux moves, Andre and I attempted the bottom ten feet of the route, and quickly found that we were in way, way over our heads. The route is all there, but strangely NOT there at the same time. Leading this route is going to be like pulling a 40 foot V9. Or something like that.

So far, here's the breakdown from what I can see on rappell:

-- first ten feet start waaay steep on pockets and huecos.
-- Several desperate slaps, then you gain a "ledge" of awkward gastons. Probably clip here.
-- Enter the real crux. Burl thyself into a rad undercling, set up feet, then throw (huck, hurl, chuck...?) for a sloping crimp.
-- Begin a back-muscle race against exhaustion as you deadpoint sloping crimps to pull the huge bulge, and top out.

All in all, it looks like 35 or 40 feet of climbing. Good stuff, indeed.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Vomitus Recurus

I almost threw up running. Again.

Rather than a shin-pounding 10 miler today, I went to City College to run a sprint workout on the track. I hate running on the track, but it's the only way to accurately time my splits, so I decided what the heck. After running a 6ish minute mile at 80%, I charged up the bleachers for what I hoped would be a splendid lung busting climb workout. It was everything I hoped it would be except for splendid.

Still, I learned that I need to get QUICKER on my feet.

In other news, I had the best Pinot Noir of my life today. I tasted a barrel sample of Clone 31 from the western end of the Santa Maria Valley today, courtesy of Justin at Tyler Winery. Justin warned me that I might weep. He was right. I did. Truly, Justin is crafting the nectar of the Gods at Tyler. I wish I was in the employ of Zeus.

Monday, September 15, 2008

This just in: The Buena Vista Project

Paul Dusatko, Marcela, and I hiked up Buena Vista trail today to check out the Buena Vista Project, an open project I initiated a few years ago, but gave up due to my then flaccid forearms. These few years later, I needed some new eyes and new enthusiasm, hence Mr. Dusatko. Confirming that no, I am not TOTALLY crazy, Paul matched my stoke and was super psyched about the overhanging arete. And yes, he too thinks it will be fierce.

I'm jittery while I write this. The route looks so, so good! It will likely be four bolts long, start low to the ground, crank through some very steep pockets and gastons, then enter into what appears to be the true definition of techie. Think super-burly underclings forcing you into positions of utter pain and confusion, then consumately desperate sloping crimps, then... well, I guess I'll soon see. I'm TR'ing it this next week to get the holds chalked and cleaned. What's it rated? Who knows. Usually, that kind of info comes AFTER the first ascent. I will say, however, it looks harder than anything I've ever seen in Santa Barbara proper.

Paul and I also found some quality looking boulder problems scattered around the Buena Vista Project. First ascents will be had, and will be had soon...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Feeling Tor-ific?

Today was my best Tor day to date. I hit a new highpoint on Chips Ahoy (5.12d)—literally throwing for the jugs near the top—and redpointed four other routes. Heres the list: Power of Eating (5.11d), Auto Magic (5.12a), Anchor Punch (5.12a), and When the Sea Doesn't Want You (5.12a). While I didn't accomplish redpointing Chips, my burns felt super strong and I was climbing fast, which isn't usually my pace. My slow-and-steady trad heritage hangs on indeed.

On the way home, I had the best potato chip I've tasted in the last month. The brand was "California Chips" and the flavor was "Earthquake". Try them, and weep for joy.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Question: how was my run today?

In a word, DESPERATION. Intending to take a nice 4.5 mile recovery run, I began my route in good spirits and in good bowel-constitution. The problems began around mile 4. A brief footnote: a few hours before my run, I stopped by Adam and Jasmine's house for some homemade guacamole—a possible mistake, I'll admit. Anyways, right on Cliff Drive, one of the busiest cross streets in SB, I tanked, my stomach bellowed, and the game was on. Either crap my pants or crap in a bush. I chose the latter, but the bush hardly hid my bent form, cowering in mortification.

Faucet poo galore...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Did you hang out in 102 degree heat this Saturday? I did.

Setting a new record for hot weather climbing (for me at least), the crew and I pulled down at the Tor in 102 degree heat. It was the variety of heat that sears your nostril hairs when you inhale. Still, the rock felt great, energy was high, and I had a good redpoint burn on Chips. Here's the vid if you're interested:


On another proverbial note, Andre Areno came to the Tor for the first time. Per the newbie routine, she and Elhanon threw themselves at Power, only to realize that in a battle of muscle, the Tor always wins. Good show, nevertheless.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

How DID Rocky feel so great on morning runs?

Taking advantage of the ubiquitous marine layer, I got up early to run in the cool morning temps. Usually, morning runs sound vigorous and refreshing the night before, but the actuality of 6:45 a.m. hits me pretty hard. This morning was not par for course. For some reason, I felt great for my entire run (8 miles), and kept up a nice 8.5 minute mile pace. Go figure.

I was tired at work, though. I had to move lots of steel because Dan and I are rearranging our shop. It's good to have Dan back from dodging bullets and imbibing Jumex in Honduras.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Andy Goes Tradly!

No Tor this weekend for me. I was busy installing my metal handiwork on Chris Broomell's new winery in Valley Center. Truly an idyllic place, to be sure. I was fortunate to witness the "first crush" of Menghini Winery's Syrah crop. Last year's was sumptuous; I think things bode well for this year as well. When I got back, I was keening to rope up, and since Bret was amenable, I packed the rack and headed up to Gibraltar. Sure, Gibraltar doesn't inject the forearms with lactic-death, but it's bold traditional leads do hone the "head". I'm glad I went. After leading T-Crack three times in a row, just to work the butterflies out of my chest during the run-out mantle, I led Self Reflection, Kevin Brown's BRILLIANT nubbin-fest. If you haven't climbed it, take my advice and break out your stiff lace-ups because it gets thin as dimes up there.

All in all, it felt liberating to place gear and climb free.