Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's Slab-Awareness Weekend

After a successful Saturday of climbing at Gibraltar, where Bernd and I nabbed the first free ascent of Broken Mirror, we opted for icing on our proverbial cake: a Sunday afternoon Lizard's Mouth session. What could be better? With everything from challenges for the nascent boulderer, to yet-undone projects, LM has a vast array of untouched climbing fare. However, that last claim might draw laughter from the sidelines of the Santa Barbara climbing community. The main areas of LM have chalk in all the obvious places, and at first (and second, and third) glance, the true cherries appear plucked.

Enter Bernd Zeugswetter.

His eye for creative, complex, and truly hard lines is second to none around these parts. Bernd was the first to muster the pluck and power to consider climbing one of LM's most auspicious features, the now-named Egret Arete (V10 R/X), a sunny corner of stone that, since time immemorial, simply looked too high, too hard, and too terrifying. A mere stone's-throw away from Egret Arete sits Lord of the Flies, another highball boulder problem—albeit a much less challenging line at V0+. Lord of the Flies probably has chalk from 1977 caked on its well-traveled holds. Imagine my surprise when Bernd claimed to be working a heinous (and very high) slab problem a mere arm's-span away from LOTF. I had to see it. Thus, with multiple pads in tow, we set about the task of climbing—after lots of falling off of—what will surely become one of Santa Barbara's coolest thin climbs. I snagged the first ascent. Bernd second ascent followed quickly thereafter.

Unless someone can think of a better name, I'm calling it The Conch Problem, V8 (R).

(Thank you Bob Banks for the images, and for entertaining my dog with your dog)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Broken Mirror, 5.12a R (FA: Zeugswetter, Patterson)

Windy day, hazy clouds, perfect temps, immaculate climb. Just when you though Gibraltar was climbed out...

Thank you Bernd and Hjordis for an amazing day of climbing!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What would Rutger Hauer do?

A triumvirate of good things: my wife; my husky; and my portaledge.

A rather enlightened client (We'll call him Mr. Galt) asked SB Forge to make a medieval entry gate to his front yard. In the interest of full disclosure, a deep, hidden fiber of my being resonated with boyish excitement. Medieval means knights. And castles. And dungeons, where one could languish in shackles, or, if you're Matthew Broderick, escape to assist Rutger Hauer in medieval adventures. Either way, I totally dug the client's requests. Dan designed the gate, I pulled it off. Below are some shots. The entire gate is fastened together by rivets, banding, and some unique forms of punching and drifting. Totally rad. I'm almost halfway done, so I'll keep posting photos. The finished product will be stunning. And, well, medieval.

Carefully strategizing the placement of the straps is a lot harder than it looks.

I settled on an intact rivet head for the front, but the back is flattened. This style of joinery is uber-strong.

Clamp, heat, hammer, cool, repeat.