My friend Urs Moosmuller near the top of the insecure highball Doughboy (V7) Carter Lake, CO last Sunday. Good thing my Ninja is under him, or he'd be really scared!
Well, sort of a lot and not much has been happening for the last few months. I’ve driven around some, visited family, climbed a little. The weather has been…unusual. Way drier and warmer than normal. One result of this was that as I drove through California I had a couple of fabulous days in Bishop.
Bishop hasn’t seen a dry winter with perfect temps in a few years. When I was a younger climber every winter, no matter how crappy the weather was up north by Lake Tahoe and Reno, and no matter how bad the weather report for Bishop said things would be, Bishop itself could always be counted on to be sunny and cool–perfect for climbing in a t-shirt yet sticking to the rock. Then came the bad years—the feet of snow that closed down the Buttermilks repeatedly and set every vagabond in the pit on the 17 hour drive to across four states to Hueco.
This winter--leaving the Pit for the Buttermilks and it's dry. Oh so dry.
Now things are back to normal, in Bishop at least. I got a chance to hang out with my good friend Israel and finish up some old projects on glorious afternoon at the Happy Boulders. A few weeks later I came back again for an afternoon at the Buttermilks with my good buddy Alex Johnson (who pretty much crushed her way through some highballs–read about it here: Bishop Bouldering Blog: Alex Johnson, Golden Age (2nd?) and More), watched an exciting 49ers game and had dinner with some friends,
…and then headed OVER TIOGA PASS to boulder for a few days in Yosemite!
AJ on ice. Lake Tenaya, Tioga Pass, Yosemite. January 2012.
For those of you who don’t know, this is crazy because Tioga Pass is never open in January. Never. It is always buried in snow. But this year? Open, dry and clear. Families were ice skating and picnicking on the ice. Alex and I stopped to slide around a bit, which was fun for the novelty if for no other reason. Then we packed back in and made our way to the Valley proper where we met up with good friends for some fun bouldering in the best temps I’ve ever seen in the Valley. It was crisp and cool but not too cold, and so very dry that the granite felt fantastic.
Good buddy Kyle O crushing the classic Bearhug Mantle (V4) in Camp 4. Photo by Kelly Sheridan.
After watching Alex crush her warm-up of Orion (V7 highball, last move is the most committing) and then do Drive On (V10) in 2 tries we headed down the trail to the classic Great White (V1?) which we climbed with our friend Sasha and her dad Tom, and old-school Valley climber who proved he’s still got it as he literally vaulted over the top outs of Great White and the V2 to its left.
The next day Alex, Sasha, and Tom headed off to do a long route somewhere and Kelly Sheridan, Kyle O’Meara and I had fun in Camp 4. The highlight of the day for me was the group send of Battle of the Bulge, a V6 that I don’t even know if I’ve tried before but did 1st go this trip after watching Kyle demonstrate the beta. Kelly, who is a strong climber but has feeling out of sorts due to his recent four-year bout of Law School, also managed to climb the problem in only a handful of tries.
Kyle O showing me how to do Battle of the Bulge | photo by Kelly Sheridan
Now I’m back in Colorado and the weather here is unusually dry. Last weekend we went out to local area Carter Lake to have some fun in what we hoped would be nice temps. The air temp was nice, as was the sun, but a few periods of gusting winds definitely made us tired by the end of the day. Now it’s time to check out the new bouldering by Rocky Mountain National Park as even Estes Park is unseasonably dry, meaning the best temps in years are available on some of the low lying boulders. I’m psyched, as the drier temps hopefully mean no more pressure splits like I got in Font last year:
Fat fingers mean blown tips. The 3rd of 3! Font 2011.
Hope everyone had a good holiday, and here’s to hoping for enough moisture to replenish the watersheds but enough dry days for sending!