Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Eve Dawn Patrol

We have skied Freeman a couple of times and other than the brushy skin track down low, the upper section is great. There is some instability on the steeper angles, but we have had no problems on the ridge or lower angle glades.

We have also constructed an igloo to serve as a warming hut for all that tour up there. It is located on the main ridge at about 7200'. The entrance is on the North side and in line with a dead tree, in case it is snowed over. The first video is the construction of the igloo and the second is Christmas Eve's dawn patrol. Click on the video twice to open it up in YouTube.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hell's Canyon

I wanted to get out and do some climbing this last week and wanted to get out of town. So we went to Hell's Canyon to the limestone and solitude.

There are so many routes here on the beautiful limestone. You can show up with about 20 draws and a 60m rope, everything is bolted. We set up camp with a great view of the river and the limestone.

We went up and climbed on Glass Wall. It's a great place to start since it's close to camp. The weather was nice, but cold. If the weather would've been about 15 degrees warmer, we would have gotten in more climbing.

Glass Wall
Glass Wall has about 8 routes on it. They start at 5.9 and go to 10c. The arete on the right is a classic 10b, which we didn't get to do. The climbs are about 60 feet and are bolted and have great anchors.

On Sunday, we climbed on Big Bar Buttress. It was very cold and I knew we wouldn't be there long.

Big Bar Buttress

Climbing on Big Bar

Chillin' (literally!) while I set up the anchor

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Alex Lowe Duathlon

Steve House said that in remembrance of the passing of Alex Lowe on Oct 5th ten years ago, that we should do something difficult. So I planned a "duathlon" on Sunday. Then I recruited another glutton for suffering, Chris. I wanted to do Heinen and Kepros in the same day. Heinen is a 10 mile hike/run with 3,000' of gain and Kepros is almost 10 miles with a lot less gain. The plan was to hike/run Heinen and mountain bike Kepros. Everything went according to plan, since we had figured that we would have to "hike-a-bike" on Kepros.

Heinen has many false summits and a large headwall to start. Once you make it onto the ridge, the going is very pleasant.

We made it truck to truck in 5 hrs 15 min. Not a great time, but we knew that we would only be half done so we tried to pace ourselves. The downhill didn't do my knee any good, either. We fueled up on Chris' legendary turkey-tortilla wraps. Then we drove to Blacks Creek summit to start the biking leg.

Kepros in the distance

The start of Kepros was as expected with us taking the bikes for a hike. On the top of the ridge where it splits to Three Point, it became rideable. Well, somewhat rideable for me. Chris is really good on the bike and teaches me a lot. He was able to ride down some of the stuff I had to walk. He was giving me a good lesson and by the mid-point of the ride, I was doing a lot better on the downs.

Terrific single track!

The ridge turns into a road in a mile and a half. We met a jeep scouting for deer. The jeep drove all the way to the summit.

Trail meets road (me pointing back to start)

Looking at Heinen from Kepros

The ride back went even better because we found a trail that went around the ridges we had ridden over. We made it back to the truck in 3 hours 30 min. So the total time for our homemade duathlon was 8 hours, 45 min. The real purpose was to feel a little enlightenment through exertion...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Swan Falls Bouldering

Swan Falls has more bouldering than you could imagine! Even with the cold today, we went down in the canyon for some bouldering. The rock is bulletproof basalt and there is plenty of steep and overhung stuff. I stayed more on the vertical side due to my non-bouldering weakness!

There is even an abundance of cracks to boulder on. There was a boulder with a 20 foot tall splitter hand crack.

Too bad it is mostly a slab! If it were vertical, it would be a blast. It was still fun and the arete to the left was cool. Grab your shoes and head on down!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bouldering Gym...

There is a new bouldering gym in town and it's awesome! It's called The Boise Front. We went to the grand opening along with quite a few other people.

The walls have a lot of angles and transitions. There was always room to get on the wall and try a problem. I don't think that they will have a problem accommodating a large number of users. Which is very nice since with Winter coming on, I think we may join up. We have a home wall, but it's not even in the same stratosphere as this place!

The roof section is impressive. I didn't give it a go, but Kaden tried it and said it was hard! There were some animals there that cruised it.

The wall angles back to vertical and has problems that everyone can enjoy. I really liked how they were set. Not just crimpers and dynos. You had to have good balance and your footwork dialed in. I like to figure out sequences and this place didn't disappoint.

They have a separate area for kids and others. They have a nice top-rope rig set up in that area also if your kids don't like dropping from 20 feet up.

They even use the wall that divides the climbing area from the hallway for a traverse wall. I love a good burning traverse!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pocatello Pump

We enjoyed ourselves in Pocatello and at The Pump. I didn't compete this year, but the wife and kids did. Everyone did their best and Sierra was 2nd in her division.

The raffle was great! Rope rug, Acopa shoes, water filter and more! This was our second year going and I think it's going to be a tradition. I have gone before, but I was really young. Great event and great people!

Saturday, August 29, 2009


We were going to go up to Mores to check out some formations, but my shoulder has been jacked. I may have hurt it climbing last week, which sucks, since the Pocatello Pump is in about 2 weeks! I decided to make a plyobox. I have been doing box jumps on an irrigation box, but it's less than 20" tall and I have to put it up on something to get it to 24" (which is dangerous).

Ski season is coming up fast and I need to get my legs in better condition. A plyobox is a great tool for plyometric jumps and set-ups & weighted step-ups. They are not that hard to build. I used AC plywood, 3/4 inch. CDX is cheaper, but Lowe's had a pretty ragged selection. Lot's of great (more expensive) AC, though. I had Lowe's rip it in half lengthwise. Brought it home and got to doing some layout.

I got the plans off of the Crossfit website. I don't do Crossfit, but there are some pretty skilled equipment craftsman on the forums. I don't know what it would cost to buy a plyobox, but I doubt it's less than $15 (half a sheet of 3/4).

Then I cut out the components.

Next, I cut the ends to a 6 degree angle. I could have made one cut per end, but since only one side of AC is finished, I had to flip the piece over to have matching angles.

All parts done, now it's time for assembly.

All done except for the top. If you make two 24" boxes out of one sheet, you will need to have some scrap 3/4 or you can make one 24" and one 20" and the layout will leave just enough for the tops.

Kaden gave it the first go. He tried to pull off the jump many times. He got to where he would land on his knees. If he could nail the jump onto his feet, that would be the equivalent of me doing about a 50" jump! I have seen guys from Gym Jones hit a 42" jump, but they are at another level.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

City of Rocks & Castle Rocks

Anytime I get more than two days off, I think about climbing at The City. We made the trip over there this past weekend. I am about a pound lighter after shaving my beard. It feels nice now, but I may have to grow it back for skiing.

We set up a toprope on Practice Rock and the kids did some laps on a 5.7. Then we were mobbed by a gang of Utards with more children under the age of 2 than the law should allow. One kid had a diaper poking through a rip in her pants. It looked like the worlds largest hemorrhoid because it was so full that it just dangled out. We pulled our gear and let them have at it. Oh yeah, I also got to see my first public breast feeding!

We normally camp up near the Parking Lot Rock area since you can walk to a lot of cool climbs. This time we tried camping near Practice Rock. The site was pretty cool. It had lots of boulders for the kids to explore. The parking area wasn't level enough to just pop the top on the van, so I jacked her up and leveled her out with some 2x4's I keep in storage for such an occasion. We didn't need to cook since we had eaten at The Outpost in Almo. I have always steered clear of the place since it looked too clean and there was always a full lot of SUVs with shiny wheels. I thought that they may be expensive. But they weren't! $5.50 for an Angus cheeseburger with steak fries. We will still buy a pizza at Rock City when given the choice, but they were at the fair in Burley that weekend and the lady watching the store wasn't cooking pizza. We did stop in there and buy ice and a six pack of beer.

Humming Birds at Rock City

I woke up before the sun. Not because I was so excited about getting on the rock, but because my head hurt so bad. It felt like something was pushing my right eye out of it's socket. I stayed lying down and tried to use accupressure on my head, but it hurt to touch my eye socket so bad that I got sick to my stomach. I ended up seeing the cheeseburger and organic wheat beer a second time. I laid out in a T-shirt on a flat rock until my stomach was settled. I went back to the van a pounded water and asprin. I went back to sleep for awhile and then just laid in bed until about 2 p.m. I finally felt better, and we went down to a climb I have been wanting to do for awhile.

Micro Pillar (11a)

Now I could make excuses and say that I was weak from being sick, but this climb was hard! Bonnie climbed it first and fell quite a few times and finally made it to the first bolt! Then I gave it a shot to let her have a rest. The bottom is a powerful layback with a long throw to a good hold. I wish I had some more power. I fell quite a few times and made it to a rest above the first bolt. It let up on the way to the second bolt, but then there were some balancy moves above it and I fell a couple more times. I hung on the rope to rest, sorry. The upper section is only like 5.9, but this route targeted your left forearm so well that I had a hard time hanging on to the bigger holds. We finally lowered off after working on this thing for over an hour. We then hiked further down to the Humming Bird Corridor.

Get Over It (11a)

There is a long route in the Corridor called Get Over It (11a). It's a Kevin Pogue route so it's bolted very well. It has a large roof (crux) that leads to easier climbing without a death runout between the bolts. Kevin's routes catch flak from people that don't climb at my lower level, but I like them and the easier ones (sub 5.8) he has put up are very popular with people that only climb a couple times a year.

We hiked back up to the van and got some food and went for a hike. The kids enjoy all the weird geological phenomena that time and the elements has created.

Every cave that Kaden sees he MUST check it out. I could spend a lifetime here and still be in awe of the formations. We went back and went to sleep and I woke up early again. This time it was because I was excited to get on the rock. We packed up and drove to Castle Rocks SP. There was nobody in the parking lot and I decided to explore some of the less visited formations. We hiked to True Grit and The Duke. We spent some time finding a climb that the whole family could do and ended up on the NW ridge of The Duke. I think the climb was a 5.6 and had two bolts and then needed gear to the anchors. The rock was pretty bad since it probably hadn't been climbed in a long time. Quite a few holds broke in hand and under foot. The gear placements were less than stellar, as well. I love Metolius cams because they have a larger lobe and different geometry on the axle that make them more secure. We stayed in the cool corridor for awhile.

5.6 Mixed Bolt/Gear

Kaden going for it!

Sierra's good footwork

Easy money.

On the way back to the van we stopped at Lone Rock and Bonnie led Poking Holes in the Firmament (5.6). She did very well. I could get used to swapping leads!

Bonnie Leading.

At the Anchors.

Lone Rock.

Everyone was worn out.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mores Mountain

We tried to get out of the heat by going up to climb at Mores Mountain. It's a great spot to climb in the summer since it's over 6,000 feet in elevation. When we got there, two guys were already up on "Roadside Rock". I was actually surprised that there weren't more climbers up there.

Roadside (L) The Pincer (R)

We scrambled up a class 3 wash-out since the last time I was up there was years ago and there was a fixed line up an eroded path. The kids made it fine and we stopped to soak up the area. The two guys came over and we talked for awhile and then they packed up and headed down. They told us that there was a trail that is in really great shape. Later, on the way down, we took it and it was in great shape.

We went over to the backside of "Roadside" since it is eternally in the shade. It was still hot. Not as hot as town, but still too hot to climb in the sun. We climbed a route called "Life without Beer". It had evil little knobs and your footwork needed to be dialed in. We didn't have long, since the kids were starting to feud and complain about hunger or something. After I put up the route, Bonnie tied in and proceeded to climb her first 10b! It was amazing! She would start to think about weighting the rope and I would yell encouragement and then she would yell at herself and push on. I was very happy and proud.

Bonnie almost at the anchors!

After she climbed it I had to clean it because I left the draws as directionals (falling on toprope would swing you WAY left!) and rap down. I got to the 4th bolt and was stepping up on a micro Evil Knob and it snapped off! I don't think it will make a difference because it was pretty small and I was in a hurry. Plus, most of the other guys besides me that climb up here probably only need one foothold per 20 feet anyways!

Evil Little Knob

There are A LOT more formations that I would like to explore. The drive from town is only 25 miles and is well worth it.


Monday, July 13, 2009


We made it to the summit via the DC on Wednesday. It took us about 5 hours from Muir to get up and about 2.5 hours to get down. The conditions were very good and there was a full moon.

When we first arrived at Camp Muir, there was only one other climber there. We actually prepared to stay the night in the shelter. Soon the clouds parted on the Muir snowfield and "The ride of the Valkyries" cued up. There were LOTS of climbers making their way up. I mean LOTS. I didn't know what the hell happened. I planned on a nice relaxing mid-week summit with very few other climbers. After things settled out, the shelter was full. I mean like 30 people full. I left our stove in there and asked Chris if he wanted to stay out on the glacier. I think he was already down there and had the tent out by the time it left my mouth.

We pitched the tent and enjoyed the solitude of the glacier and our nice little piece of real estate. We went up and found a King 5 camera crew milling around the shelter. I talked to one of the guys and found out that there was the commissioner of the NFL and the head coach of the Seahawks doing a United Way charity climb. RMI was the guide company for the cause and we got to meet Ed Viesturs. Then we found out that Camp Patriot was there as well. Camp Patriot is an awesome organization that assists disabled Veterans in getting back into the outdoors. The NFL guys had a giant man-tourage and the Camp Patriot heroes had a couple of guides.

Needless to say, our solitude didn't last on the glacier as a Mountaineering club from the midwest moved in and a couple of other independent groups came down also. I felt like a Native Idahoan being overran by Californians.

I think some of the tents may have been made by Hubble or Corey Barton. On our summit night the tent below us kept yelling to the tent above about having a water bottle. Which is okay since when I went up to the shelter early in the morning to make coffee, it was a steady drone of snoring, coughing and farting.

The route was in really good shape. There was a nice bootpack all the way up. There were about four or five crevasses to cross. Only one required a jump.

I was concerned with rockfall since it was coming down off of the Cleaver and had injured a climber the day before we arrived. We roped in short and moved fast through the more hazardous areas.

There was some pretty good sized blocks coming down off of the Cathedral Gap. A refrigerator sized chunk missed a party by about ten feet.

I think that the summit crater is the longest 1/4 mile a person can walk...

There were about 10 independent parties including us and 5 summited and 5 turned back. Three of the 5 that summited were from Idaho!