Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sun, Fun, & Wild Donkeys

If there are climbing gods then they certainly have smiled upon Lindsay and I for our fall trip to Las Vegas and Red Rocks.  The weather for the past week has been absolutely gorgeous, sunny every day with good crisp temps, perfect for the little sandstone crimpers of the Calico Hills!  Thus far we've been able to enjoy a few meals out at "fancy" restaurants, playing dress up in the big city, and of course loads of climbing.  We've spent a good chunk of time in the Front Corridor and yesterday I was able to finish off the mega-classic Monster Skank 13b.  Let it be said that this route is definitely in the top three for best routes I've EVER done, I don't know if I've ever had so much fun climbing up a wall of rock!  I fell punching for the chains on my second go but that's not all bad since I got to go up it one more time in what Lindsay tells me was flawless style... such an amazing feeling!  

Speaking of Lindsay, she's making HUGE progress on Monster Skank as well.  If you've ever seen the route or climbed on it you know that's a big deal for a 5'4" climber.  Needless to say she's super psyched to see if she can't do it this trip, it'd definitely be a big milestone for her climbing.  We're headed to the Secret 13 today to try our hand at onsight/flashing a new classic called Ambushed 13a.  This is day four on out of five but we're too psyched to sit around and wait to feel "fresh".  Who needs fresh when you have psych!  Until the recap, enjoy the photos... oh yeah, I finally got a picture of a wild donkey, how exciting!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

San Miguel

It's been so crazy with work and seeing family lately I haven't had time to really play with the blog settings and post up the video here.  The link below is my first go at editing video footage together.  Shot by Lindsay's mom last weekend in American Fork, a little piece I whipped up one night.  Hope you enjoy:

Saturday, October 16, 2010

What's this business...

What's all this business about keeping a blog up to date?  We've scarcely got the time these days to stay in touch with folks... lame.  As most of you know I've taken on a job with Revolution and Pusher as a full time office manager and sales director.  As fun as it is to talk with people about climbing gear all day long, it doesn't leave a lot of time for other things.... like climbing!  Lindsay's folks are staying with us for about a week and we're climbing and camping today.  I think we're going to try and shoot some video of Lindsay and I climbing in Hell and if we turn up anything good, I'll post it up on here for everyone to peep.  In the meantime, check the new ink, half done with this piece, already working on the full half-sleeve design!

This cool little photo was taken by our good friend Johnny Adolphson, if you're in Heber and you hear the sound of someone crushing rock... it's him!  

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer is HERE!

So obviously I haven't kept this little blog piece up as well as I could and I'm sorry.... but we've been out CLIMBING!  The last few months have been sort of a battle with the weather (of course) but we have truly persevered and thusly, are climbing at a level we're both very happy with.  With regular trips down to The Front to keep the power level up, and stints between American Fork and the west Utah desert, we're really diversifying our "daily workout" to accommodate power climbing, resistance climbing, and power endurance workouts.  Mixing up our climbing styles has been an interesting change for both of us.  When we go out, climb, and are hiking out at the end of the day, we've noticed ourselves sort of saying, "gosh, I didn't really feel terribly strong today, I just felt okay."  I know right, not that exciting.  It wasn't until our last trip up to A.F. that we realized that all this variation is paying off.  We've come to realize that we aren't having bad days anymore, we're always progressing in some fashion.  Whether it's a level of extra power on a particular move or the ability to hang on for two more bolts, it's gains in strength and endurance, everything a climber wants almost every single time we leave the ground.  So as a test, we popped into Hell for a day, those of you in the climbing circle know that Hell is one of those old school areas with a high concentration of hard routes, few rests, and stiff grades.  Even though it's not the season for it, we hung draws on a national test piece known as Blow of Death or simply Dead Souls.

A gold standard for "hard as shit", this route is short, sweet, and to the point.  Weighing in at a hefty 5.13d, it is quite tough for that grade, in a lesser area it would most likely retain a 5.14 rating.  Though short, the climb packs a serious punch in little less than 30 feet.  Each move relentlessly hard, requiring long pulls off of very small holds (one of which is a mono, a pocket that only accepts one finger) the climb is truly merciless.  Enter team Gasch.  Upon hanging the draws, we set off to just feel out the holds, the moves, really just see if we could link any two holds together in an efficient fashion.  It was hot, it was sunny, and not a good day for projecting the route but we gave it our best and feel like we really made serious progress.  Lindsay figured out 80% of the climb including the first crux which for her, is a huge deadpoint to the mono.  I was able to link all the way up to the highest crux which we were eager to dive into, but the blinding sun did not allow.  Holy Crap Batman, where'd this 'try hard' come from?!  Needless to say we're super excited... Lindsay called me from work today to explain how psyched she was on climbing and how strong she's feeling, this is a good thing!

We've also been spending a fair amount of time at a new cave in the west Utah desert on the edge of the salt flats.  Now I know your thinking "did he just try and tell me there's climbing in the salt flats?"  The answer is yes.  At present there are some concerns with the volume of people at the crag, trash, and of course some climbing politics.  As much as I'd love to bring every one of my friends to this place and have the sickest climbing day ever, now isn't the time.  I'll leave it by saying it's not a bad little crag to have in the "backyard" and hopefully we can all take care of it and ensure all who want to check it out can.  Until then, don't ask, I can't tell.  Enjoy the pictures and then get off your ass and go CLIMB!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ahhhh Spring!

While the grill's warming and Lindsay's sinking into a deep glass of Pinot, thought I'd write to catch all four of you (that's how many people we think check this little bloggity blog) up on what's been going down on our recent trips to St. George.  The last trip was a six day tour, we hauled "Gwendolyn The Ivory Palace" (that's the name of the Scamp) down with us and set up shop in Moe's Valley.  For the most part the trip was a success, not a ton of sending going on but we each made some significant progress on new projects and saw some new climbing which is always exciting.  We split our time between the VRG and the Hurricave.  To be fair neither would be ranked in Americas top ten climbing destinations but we enjoyed the hell out of each area.  We've been forcing ourselves to climb in the VRG despite the less than desirable interstate not 200 yards below.  The setting is truly horrid but I challenge anyone to show me more bullet stone anywhere in the world.  Once you focus your mind on the moves at hand, forget the traffic, and really dig into the moment, it's some of the best climbing you'll ever do.

Unfortunately, the El Nino pattern leaves the mountains dry and desert wet.  I know the last two words are as much of an oxymoron as anything and I wish it weren't true; alas and alack, much of the St. George area is under the seemingly constant barrage of spring precipitation.  As a direct result, the porous nature of the sandstone and even the limestone holds the moisture in for days after the storms have passed.  The VRG is no exception to this rule.  I like to think that we would have single handedly destroyed that crag, sending every route that got in our path... luckily I can "think" this because we were both spat off our routes in places we shouldn't have been due to wet holds.  I fell within a couple of feet of the anchors on my route and Lindsay slipped (almost violently) out of the jug rest on her route.  Shit.

Luckily, the Hurricave isn't far away and it stays dry when all else is wet.  Crazy steep and chock full of hard routes, the couple of days spent there left us feeling worked and a little beat down... both good things.  I was able to squeak out a last ditch, hail mary ascent of a really fun .13a called Cliff Dweller.  Lindsay came heart breakingly close also, the fatigue of previous days and an abundance of bees thwarted her final attempt.  Damn.  Though the rock in the Hurricave is total choss garbage, the style of climbing it offers can't really be found many other places in the states.  Very steep, big feature climbing seems to be the name of the game there, with some tufa's and small edges thrown in for good measure.  While not a destination crag, it certainly serves it purpose and we were damn glad to have it as an option.

So we left draws on projects and with a sunnier forecast we head back down on Thursday to conquer the freeway, the bees, the rain and our routes.  Until the next update enjoy the pics!


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Spring Training

So it's been warm here in the SLC, like really warm, like oddly warm for February/March.  With the mercury rising above the 50 degree mark in the valley and the sun shining down it's been primo conditions at the lowest walls in American Fork Canyon.  For the last few weeks we've been donning gaiters and snow pants, packing up the black cat propane heater (so key in the cold temps!), and making the slog through the thigh deep snow to the base of the Red Corners.  Much like Sinks Canyon back in Lander, the Red Corners bakes in the sun.  The low trajectory of the "burning ball of doom" cooks the little open book feature and the heat is trapped, creating truly perfect conditions for hard climbing.  With the air temp not ever getting much above 40 (the Red Corners is 1500 feet higher than the rest of the valley) the rock stays crisp but comfy in the suns rays.

Like any early season endeavor though, we've had to endure some miserable days waiting, hoping the sun would burn through the alpine haze.  The shitty days paid off though once it started warming up.  The routes we've been trying (one in particular) have some of the smallest and sharpest holds I've ever pulled on.  The RC walls tend to overhang just past vertical and are bereft of most features.  What few edges exist tend to be small, rather sharp, and quite spaced in relation to one another; which makes for powerful, dynamic movement on holds that you really wish were three or four times bigger.  Climbing in the freezing cold and blowing snow forced us to learn the moves with stiff muscles and numb fingers.  Once we could feel our "little smokies" and move unencumbered (we've been climbing in down jackets) the moves felt easier, more fluid, confident.

Even though these routes aren't the hardest things we've ever done, or the most significant in any sort of fashion, it still feels good to be climbing at the level we are, this early in the year.  Historically we'd start training for route season now by bouldering and trying to rebuild our endurance base.  Having the two gyms here, coupled with a climbing community that is perpetually psyched and always ready to help you  "push it" to the next level has sped up the timetable by a few months and we're climbing at a level we normally might not reach until April/May.  With our semi-flexible schedule and loads of spring destination climbing areas within a few hours drive, it's shaping up to be a very strong year!  On top of that, we have so many friends traveling through the area all spring long to every crag on our radar.  If only there were enough time to go and crank with everyone, everywhere....(cue the dream bubble...)

With a week long trip starting tomorrow, and brilliant looking weather after that, we're ready to start pulling hard.  Though we won't be able to climb with each and every one of our friends in the coming weeks, we'll definitely make the most of the time we do get to spend by climbing, bantering, grimacing, and laughing with those around us.  Until then here's a few shots of some of the crew sending "X" 5.13a, one of the first routes in American Fork and a real gem.  Adios~

Sunday, January 17, 2010

It's a dreary day here in the SLC, truly a dreary day.  We've been sucking in the soupy haze for a month now from the ever-steady inversion that just won't seem to leave.  With the SCS Nationals coming up next weekend and hoards of climbers rolling into town for the comp and winter Outdoor Retailer market, it's been hard not to get psyched on climbing.  I've taken the last month off, resting a tweaked finger and trying to get 100% healthy for a killer 2010 climbing year.  My finger injury is a bit of a mystery, it's not a pulley, it's not the tendon, it's not the joint capsule, it's not my baby soft skin.  Frankly we have no idea what it is.  One Move Too Many couldn't describe it accurately and no online literature helps either.  It may be a cyst or it may be old age (big 3-0 coming up, yikes!) but it's not getting better and it's not getting worse so to hell with it, I'm climbing!

About a month ago I saw a picture online of an amazing looking new cave in southern Utah.  I didn't copy the image from the website, I figured I could go back and daydream while looking at it.  It has since been deleted and there are rumors floating around about this stellar new area that is going to be the next big thing.  "...the wheels on the bus go round and round..."  It's staying in the high forties and fifties in St. George these days, damn good temps for route climbing if you ask me.  We each received brand spankin new harnesses for Christmas and I'm super psyched to take it for a test flight.  It's tricky staying motivated when the weather is crappy and the gyms are crowded.  We're pretty lucky to have two of the finest facilities in the nation to train at, bouldering at the Front, and getting pumped at Momentum.  With all this talk of new limestone and the days getting longer/ temps getting warmer, it's starting to seem worth it to battle the gumbies and get into the gym regularly.

Now, if we can just get motivated to deal with the "urban haze"...
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