Monday, December 24, 2007

Technical Difficulties

My computer blew up about a week ago and I'm still waiting on the replacement part to get it going again. So why isn't Eric posting? Because he's lazy. He has some perfectly good footage of me falling off Thunderbird at the Buttermilks, but he's too busy hanging out on the wrong side of the country and training for some crazy half marathon. So instead of you getting to watch me pull a Nate (falling off the easy finishing moves of a problem), here are a few pictures from the last couple weeks:

Herm working on The Mystery (V12)

photo - Jeff Sillcox

Kelly McBride sending Center Direct (V10) with Daisy the miniature cow grazing in the background. Check out her blog (Kelly's, not Daisy's) for more photos of the Fort Collins crew crushing Bishop.

photo - Jeff Sillcox

Winter at the Buttermilks

photo - Jeff Sillcox

Wills wearing some boring clothes on Thunderbird (V11)

photo - Jeff Sillcox

Lisa sticking the crux on Center Direct (V10)

photo - Jeff Sillcox

Moonrise over the White Mountains

photo - Jeff Sillcox

Lisa topping out Pope's Prow (V6) after sunset

photo - Jeff Sillcox

So I'm finally starting to tick projects off my list, sending Beautiful Gecko (V11) and flashing Los Locos (V7) last weekend and finishing off Thunderbird (V11) this weekend after falling off after the crux several times. Of course, as soon as you start sending stuff, you get a bunch of other projects. So my list of problems I want to do in Bishop still sits at around fifty.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Tramway & Jupiter

Despite the weather looking crappy for most of the US, I finally made a trip down to Southern CA to check out the Tramway. Saturday was brutal. The temperature never made it into the 30's and it was snowing lightly for a lot of the day. Somehow I managed quick sends of Angus, Soul Caliber, and Left Hand of Darkness (all V9ish) without freezing to death. I think the perfect friction and Eric's beta may have had something to do with it. I had a couple close calls with flashing my first V9: I overshot the finishing crimp on Soul Caliber and then crushed it 2nd try. Then I fell off Left Hand of Darkness with the top in my hand.

Calling dab on myself and then sending Angus (V9)

video - Eric Lang

Left Hand of Darkness (V9)

video - Eric Lang

Sunday we drove back towards San Jacinto and bailed on Tramway because of a bunch of new snow, so we checked out the Jupiter Boulders. The rock is very good polished granite in a weird setting. There is an unofficial urban-redneck firing range a quarter mile from the boulders so there is constant gunfire to go along with the highway noise.

Click the photo for the weekend's gallery of the Tramway and a couple problems from the Jupiter Boulders.

Eric on Soul Caliber (V9)
photos - Jeff Sillcox

Dodging bullets on Air Flash Gordon (V8) @ the Jupiter Boulders (yes, the video says it's Unemployed Black Astronaut and I'm too lazy to fix it)

video - Eric Lang

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Fragile Peach

Nate on The Fall Guy (V9) at the Buttermilks (top picture, I'm not sure what's going on in the bottom one) - photos - Jeff Sillcox

Nate "Salt 'n' Pepper" Peach and his friend Nik were in a bad car accident on the way to Joe's Valley a couple weeks ago. Nate broke his neck and collar bone and will be in a neck brace for six weeks playing a lot of video games. Nik walked away and was climbing the next morning in Joe's (this was his sixth car accident this year so he's had a lot of practice).

If you're going to flip a car end over end five times, try it in a Forester... might keep you alive even if the airbags don't go off.

Nate training for the next time an old man comes at him on the wrong side of the highway...

And finally, before we move on to the climbing portion of the blog, here's some footage of a very similar accident...

One of the better problems we did in Joe's was The Wind Below (V8), a very tall steep face with big moves between big holds. I managed to flash up to the last hard move and jumped off because I got scared and pumped trying every move three different ways before committing. After botching a move on my second go, I looked at the top of the boulder and decided I wanted to be up there and sent. Ben and Jeff H. did it quickly also and Nik tried dynoing for the lip at 20+ feet a few times before realizing that his nine lives were running short.

Nik on The Wind Below (V8)
photo - Jeff Sillcox

Here's a little gallery with a few other shots from the trip (click the photo for the gallery):

photos - Jeff Sillcox

Eric showed up right when it got really cold and sent his nemesis from the spring, Resident Evil (V10) in an anticlimactic two tries.

Eric sticking the first move of Resident Evil (V10)
photo - Jeff Sillcox

Then it was a whirlwind trip back to the east coast for Thanksgiving and route setting for a comp at Vertical Extreme with Drew "DUI" Davis. I set a V8 version of Black Lung and got black lung from breathing shredded tire dust all week. I won't go into details of the comp, but I will say that Drew and I should probably retire from route setting after putting on such a perfect comp.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Other Buttermilks

How is it that I've lived here for six years and hadn't done Checkerboard until now? I fell off the last move two years ago and knew it was a great problem, but that five minute approach managed to keep me away for a long time. Anyway, here's a couple photo galleries from the weekend and one from last night at the Sads. Click the photos for the galleries.

Way Lake

Eric working Aftershave (V9) at Way Lake
photos - Jeff Sillcox


Andrew getting really close on Checkerboard (V8) at the Buttermilks
photos - Jeff Sillcox

Sad Boulders

Running a lap on Beefcake (V10) at the Sads
photos - Jeff Sillcox & Jeff Honeywell

Uncle Rico: Kip, I reckon... you know a lot about... cyberspace? You ever come across anything... like time travel?
Kip: Easy, I've already looked into it for myself.
Uncle Rico: Right on... right on.

Wills has a new website to augment his Bishop Bouldering guidebook. It lists news, FA's, and altered problems (broken holds, grade changes, etc). Check it out: He also has a blog that anyone can join and post relevant Bishop bouldering updates, info, or news to. Tony Lamiche posted a cool video of his FA of Xavier's Roof at Dale's Camp. Check it out on And finally, Tony posted more photos from his trip on his website from the Buttermilks and Druids.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Way Lake has a new hardest problem with Wills' FA of the seam project. It's solid V11 and Tony Lamiche nabbed the 2nd ascent right after Wills. I added a couple new problems next to Mike's Threshold of a Dream (V7). Aftershave (V9) and Taco Meat (V8) both start with a couple hard moves; Aftershave goes left on some small incuts while Taco Meat heads right into the end of a really fun V5.

We headed up to Tuolumne on Sunday to try Sharma'sThunderbird (Vhard). Tony did it in a couple tries and Wills sent quickly also despite pulling a muscle mid-problem. Noah, Lisa, and I came pretty close to doing the crux, but the real business is the scary V5 topout.

Tony setting up for the crux...
photo - Jeff Sillcox

...and eyeing up the mantle
photo - Jeff Sillcox

We stuck around for sunset to show the French how we do it in California...

Half Dome from Olmstead Point
photo - Jeff Sillcox

Stately Pleasure Dome (left) and half of Tenaya Peak over Tenaya Lake...stupid camera lens.
photo - Jeff Sillcox

Tony Lamiche has some really good shots from Sunday also. Check them out on his site: There's also some cool shots from Colorado on there. Good luck finding everything... it's in French.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Native American Summer

It used to be called "Indian Summer", but it still means the same thing: Southern CA is on fire and it's perfect conditions for some high altitude bouldering. Eric and I got our normal early start on Sunday despite the really cold temps and warmed up by battling out the second and third ascents of Tim Steele's Meadow Roof (V8). I added a few moves from the sit start to make it a little harder and I think both problems are worth a few stars. We finally met up with the lazy Bishop people in the afternoon and got shutdown by everything we tried. Here's some photos from Sunday...

Click the photo for the gallery

Eric cruising Meadow Roof (V8)
photos - Jeff Sillcox

I made it back up for a couple hours on Tuesday and put up three new problems. Pudge is a fun eight move V3 on perfect rock. Left El Plopper (V5) and Right El Plopper (V8) both climb a steep face and finish with the same topout. Wednesday afternoon was spent at Rock Creek and I finally managed to do Dude (V9) with a little beta from Wills. And finally, Thursday morning back at Way Lake. Tony Lamiche and Noah Kaufman got the 2nd and 3rd ascents of Wills' Wavecatcher (V10) and I came really close to doing it before I split a tip and had to sprint down the hill to get to work on time.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Boneyard

...and Eric

The weatherman still sucks. There's some kind of conspiracy involving Friday storms. Long story short... Saturday morning came with 40mph winds and a dusting of snow at Way Lake so we ended up at the stupid Buttermilks again (only stupid right now... it will be the best bouldering in the world again in a month).

Eric topping out Essential Peabody (V1)
When you can't climb hard, you climb high... don't do drugs.
photo - Jeff Sillcox

Eric doing intergalactic battle with a sun missile on top of the Grandma Peabody boulder.
photo - Jeff Sillcox

Then we ate a sandwich...yes, the same sandwich.

Team Fat Camp at it's finest

And then we were so fat, we got a flat tire on our way to the Boneyard...

We didn't actually have to yardsale all our gear on the highway...there's some kind of crazy tire chandelier lowering dealie that took several readings of the user manual to figure out. Tire changing tip #1: Read the captions under the pictures... don't just look at the pictures.

Look for this photo on the cover of your next 4WD Toyota Owner Magazine.

We finally made it to the Boneyard after navigating through a field of sheep...mmmm.... rack of lamb.

Eric negotiating the tricky creek crossing
photo - Jeff Sillcox

Some of the rock was a little less than solid... some would describe it as kitty litter. But we found some solid patina and finished our skin off so we won't be able to climb tomorrow.

Jeff crimping the "mouth" on Viking frame 35A72 (NASA)... still a project so feel free to name it something else related to the Red Planet if you do it first.
photos - Eric Lang

Friday, October 12, 2007

Bishop Preseason

It's almost Bishop bouldering season and I'm not excited yet. It's autumn and the temps are perfect for Way Lake, Rock Creek, Tuolumne, and numerous other summer bouldering areas. But since nature isn't cooperating right now, I've had to venture down to the Owen's Valley a little earlier than normal.

The weatherman said we weren't going to get much from this storm...

photo - Jeff Sillcox

He lied. Anyway, we ended up in Bishop where it's always nice.

photo - Jeff Sillcox

Except for the crowds

photo - Jeff Sillcox

Eric managed to finish off Acid Wash (V10) in the blazing heat and we both got pretty worked trying Goldfish Trombone (V13/14).

Eric Lang wearing the wrong pants on Acid Wash (V10)
photo - Jeff Sillcox

Sunday was pretty unproductive because of the heat but I did play around on the Buttermilker SDS (V12/13) to remember the moves. It felt pretty good and I'm excited to finish it off as soon as temps allow. Here's a photo from a couple seasons ago.

photo - Eric Lang

I was tricked into going back to the Buttermilks on Wednesday despite the crappy temps. It was too hot to pull on small holds so I ran a lap on Hero Roof (V0+) and set to work on the Wheel of Cheese project. For those of you who don't know about this amazing linkup in the cave, let me explain. You can see some of the line in the photo above. It begins on Shelter From the Storm (V6) (right side of photo under the hole) and traverses high into the end of Little Forgotten (V9) and finishes with the topout of the Buttermilker.

Jamie Kulju on Inner Sanctum (V2), part of the first third of Wheel of Cheese (V10)
photo - Eric Lang

Now, I'm not a sportclimber so I'm not exactly sure about the grade, but I'm guessing it's around V10 or maybe 5.13 something. It's 25 moves and I fell off the end a bunch (in between naps) because I have no endurance. Maybe it's only V8. Time will tell as I'm sure many people will be lining up for it this winter. I don't have any photos of the send because everyone gave up on me and left for the day, but here's a photo that sums it all up...

Some dude wearing a sweet tux and holding a giant
Wheel of Cheese (V10/5.13/18000 calories)

Here's an old video of Bubba Gump (V10) from when the temps were good.

video - Jim Sillcox

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Joe's aka Vahalla

Oh yea! You guessed it... oh wait, you weren't guessing yet? I guess I didn't really ask a question... Well... let's just start this over.
Drew would be apologetic about that poor start to this post, but please remember; be nice to retarded people.
Photo by Nate Peach

Where can you find tons of perfect sandstone, crisp conditions, and more Mormons than an Osmond Brothers concert? You guessed it this time right? Joe's Valley - I like to call it Valley of the Heavens... no wait, I already called it Vahalla... whatever, it is AWESOME!
Maybe not as awesome as a handful of bananas... but pretty awesome!
photo by Jeff

This year we were greeted by rain and snow... and did i mention rain??? But we managed to get some climbing in and it was pretty freakin' cool! After a few rousing verses of Boyz 2 Men by Drew and I, we were ready to climb!

We split up into teams: Drew and myself vs. Jeff and Jamie. We all got handicaps for our respective climbing abilities and scored points based on sends... due to a poor decision on the rules, Drew and I got utterly hosed! No big deal though the climbing was still fun!

Eric Lang wondering what will happen if he doesn't save the world on "Resident Evil" V10
Photo by Jeff

Drew Davis is about to show us his "Worst Case Scenario" V9
photo by Jeff

Jeff flashing "Wills A Fire" V6
photo by Eric

I would have gladly spotted Jeff on the above problem if I could have avoided spotting on Drew's send......*gags*.... i just threw up a little thinking about it! It was such an awesome trip, I don't understand why Drew tried to kill his entire team, but he failed (or succeeded depending how you look at it!)

Why can't there be a large city close to Joe's so I could convince Abbie to move there... that place is amazing - we shall return soon, Joe's!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Way Lake Update

It was a beautiful weekend at Way Lake. Highs were in the 50's and last week's snow had all melted.

Last week

This week

photos - Jeff Sillcox

Eric finally got up Two Dragons (V9). He did it in good style on his first go and said something about it probably only being V7. Wills got the third ascent on Sunday and thought it was definitely V9.

Eric sending Two Dragons (V9)
photos - Jeff Sillcox

We also got on a really nice looking face over a pit that I've been looking at for a while. Eric went for the FA flash and backed off the top after grabbing a pinch before a big move in the "no fall zone". I found a slightly better pinch below that one and pulled off the FA flash. Eric sent next try and we called it Secret Pinches (V5). Wills snagged a low left start to it the next day and I repeated it just after. It's probably V7 or 8 and almost as good as the original start which is one of the best problems at Way Lake.

Me on Secret Pinches (V5)
photos - Eric Lang

Jamie pulled off the FFA of Lazy Lima Bean (V1) on Saturday. Here she is repeating Candy Canes (V1) on the Food Groups boulder. Just right of this is Candy Corns (V2) and Syrup (V0).

photos - Jeff Sillcox

A big chunk of Sunday was spent on the Talladega Nights boulder. Wills got the second ascent of Prune Candy and thought it was harder than the V9 that I gave it.

Wills sending Prune Candy (V9 or 10)
photos - Jeff Sillcox

On the highball side of the face, Eric gave I'm Too Drunk to Taste this Chicken (V6) a few good attempts and came off on the last move of the crux. Hopefully he can sack up and get the second ascent without taking the big fall.

Eric trying I'm Too Drunk to Taste this Chicken (V6)
photos - Jamie Kulju

I tried the project to the left and got about halfway up before jumping off. It feels at least V8 and really scary.

Me trying the I'm So Paralyzed project
photos - Jamie Kulju

Wills did the FA of the wave project by throwing a crazy dyno for the top... scariest spot I've ever given. He said it was V10ish and we're still waiting for a name. I tried it a few times and it's definitely hard. I'm trying a different sequence that doesn't involve putting my foot right next to my hand and throwing 5ft to the top. It feels really hard but a lot less scary than the jump method.

Wills settled on Wavecatcher for his new problem.

And finally, we spent some time working another project that will be at least V11 and at least 15 stars (out of 5). Eric has dubbed it The Freight Train and it feels like the rock is tearing your body in half.

Looks like Bishop this weekend since it's snowing in Mammoth right now. It will be nice to try some established problems so I can get an idea of how hard all the new Way Lake problems are. Some people think I've been sandbagging a bit...