Feb/March recap

Got out to Arch rock before the rain set in. Micah and I spent a day on Gripper, New Dimension (first pitch) and the UGSG wall. I think it gave me a sense of where I am (mid-5.10 climber) and where we need to be for A-Man. I arrived late the day before, mini-traxed on New Dimensions (thanks to whoever had the fixed lines up!).

In case folks are wondering - the first pitch of New Dimensions is a great 5.10, and can be set up easily for TR (or mini-trax). There's a ledge you can walk out on.

I need more days like this. Just lots of fun 5.10 climbing. 
USGS is also a great spot. Rather than walk around, I jugged up the mini-trax line, set up the TR for both of us.

The road to Astroman - Feb 3

I wrote this on Feb 3, publishing now...

"This year things will be different." How often do you start off with that? What'll be different? I'll not freak out at the first sign of a crux move on some 11a fingers move? Not let work get in the way of the gym? Lose some weight?

Well, those could be results. Here's the game plan:
Making time to train: a minimum, every 2/3-weeks trip to Yos/Tahoe - climbing 5.10/5.11 granite pitches.Weekly training on the PG SV cracks.Stick to a 3 month training cycle, then rest.  Where I'm at now:
Climbing 5.10d sport on-sight - lead Broken Arrow.Falling off 5.11 sport - fell off the Verdict.Climbing 5.11 gym stuff.Mediocre fitness - TODO: quantify.Riding bike to work 1x/week.3 weeks of ARC based trainingTue TR/Autobelay wall at work (ARC).Wed PG Belmont routes (not ARC, but leading a ton).Sat/Sun rec climbing at gym - trying to lead 5.11d, getting airborne. First granite training session of the year (Feb 3) - Arch Rock. 
Where I…

North Buttress of Middle Cathedral Rock

The weekend of July 9, 2016 was unseasonably cool. Micah and I decided it would be perfect conditions for a trip up to the Valley. I had been up the DNB several times, but never up the North Buttress. Micah had not been on trad lead in months so the North Buttress seemed like a logical choice. At 5.10a route looked like the DNB's mellower cousin...

In reality the Direct North is really the DNB's grouchy, older-school sibling (if such a thing is possible).

We got started climbing about 8AM. The route starts a good 15 min walk from the DNB start.

The two routes are quite a bit different in character. North Buttress is rarely climbed, crosses a number of sketchy/loose sections, and has very little of the lower-angle slab (except for the very last pitch).

Here's the base:

I recall us using both the Reid and Sloan topos. Those are a bit vague/incorrect in spots. I later found the following topos (source). They are really accurate.

Pitch 1 is an intro of what's to come: fun …

Liberty Cap - "Oh No"

In the summer/fall of 1993 Frank Rodgers and I tried to climb a new route on the West Face of the Liberty Cap. We completed 4 pitches. So far the route goes free at 5.10 A0 R.


If anyone ever goes up there, it would be great if they could knock in another bolt or two on the second pitch. No need for another 5.10 R that nobody will climb.

Bridal Veil - Groom's Variation - Retro Trip Report

This is a retro report of a scorching day in August 2007, when Thanh and I climbed what turned out to be parts of a new line just to the right of Bridal Veil East - The Groom's Variation 5.10- A1. The route is one and a half stars out of three for route quality, three stars for location/view, possibly only climbable in a drought year, about 11 pitches (partly due to us being clueless), if you have a decent topo - should be not too hard to find. The true Bridal Veil East chimney route goes up the obvious chimney to the left. The BV East chimneys didn't look like fun, so somehow we convinced ourselves that the route we were on was actually a route. It was 90 degrees out, we didn't have enough water (3 liters between 2 ppl), we climbed up a few new pitches between existing stuff, and drank out of Bridal Veil Creek... and didn't get sick.

Photos and a topo of sorts are available on my smugmug page.

If this variation gets enough traffic this year (drought conditions!), …

Ice Climbing in Cold Stream Canyon

January 17

5:15AM Wake Up, Breakfast

5:35AM In the car, driving from Oakland to Truckee

8:12AM Arrive in Truckee, meet Frank. We leave Frank's truck at the bottom of the trail head (we're going one way from Sugar Bowl down to the ice, and out Cold Stream Canyon.)

8:30AM Pack up in Sugar Bowl parking lot. Today's high is forecast for the low 50's. It's sunny out, not a cloud in the sky. We're going light. One pair of axes. Frank skied in and climbed the previous day - the ice was in, but too thin to lead without scaring the crap out of yourself. We ditch screws and draws in the car. The only gear needed to TR are slings, 'biners, and two draws. There are trees at the top of the cliffs to anchor off, no need for rock gear. It's only getting warmer - I take a soft shell top and gore-tex bottoms.

9:15AM Skis on, packs on back, we're on the Jerome Hill lift at Sugar Bowl. We bought One - Jerome Hill/Lincoln passes for $15 each.

9:30AM Top of Sug…

East Buttress of Lower Cathedral Rock

Saturday of Memorial Day in Yosemite. A fifteen minute approach to a 12-pitch 5.10 route - we didn't see another climber all day...

Lower Cathedral Rock doesn't get the attention that it's neighbors, Middle and Higher Cathedral Rocks, do. This is probably due to loose rock, harder climbing, past perigrine closures, and a lack of Supertopo coverage. This year, Lower Cathedral rock is not closed to allow Perigrine nesting ( according the NPS . The Access Fund's California Closures and Restrictions page incorrectly reports Lower Cathedral Rock as closed (as of this posting). Most climbers are probably not aware of this, hence an all day route with no crowds.

We camped outside the Valley on a USFS road. Left the car at 7:30. Twenty mintues to the base. Ten minutes of racking up and we were ready to to. Micah and I had attempted this route before. We got started in the loose/dirty 5.8 chimney down and right from the East Buttress Route two years earlier. That mis-a…