Showing posts from March, 2010

Spring Equinox

Spring equinox is a great time to be a climber in the Rockies. As the Earth’s northern hemisphere begins to tilt toward the Sun, south-facing crags in the Front Ranges offer a welcome relief from the long winter. But early spring, with its crisp mornings and long days, is also a good time to venture into the high, shady places near the Divide. On the first day of spring Eamonn Walsh and I headed up on Yamnuska. I cannot count the number of times I have hiked up the switchbacks to play on Yam's grey and yellow walls. There is something up there that keeps drawing me back: sometimes it is to push myself cerebrally on a rarely traveled, runout testpieces; sometimes it is to push myself physically on multi-route linkups; and sometime it is just to have fun. The most recent outing fit into the third category: well-protected climbing, not desperate but challenging enough to have to try at the cruxes. In spite of all the time I have spent up there, every spring it takes me a few routes

A day in the life of a weekend warrior

Being a weekend warrior means making the most of your days out. If Plan A does not pan out, it is not back to the coffee shop: it is on to Plan B, and if need be, even C. Last weekend Eamonn Walsh (not a weekend warrior, incidentally) and I were up by 2 a.m., on the road by 2:30, and at the base of the first pitch of our intended route before 6. We were a bit disturbed to find most of it had fallen off in the heat of the previous few days. We could have walked around it, but the fact that we were standing there in the predawn darkness without gloves or hats, listening to the rush of flowing water, with miles of avalanche slopes above us, did not inspire. Legend has it Bonatti would not even cross the ‘schrund unless it was minus ten or colder. Neither of us is Bonatti, but we have walked into enough stupid situations to recognize the potential for another one. We were back at the car still in the dark. Less than virgin ice on Polar Circus. We were psyched for a big day but the alpin

And now for something completely different

A couple of weeks ago I flew south for a few days, to the east side of the Sierra Nevada. There was some ice climbing involved (yes, there is decent ice in California), but the highlight of the trip was the few days I spent in Bishop. As everybody knows, the sport climbing in the Owens River Gorge is really good, but the bouldering at the Happy Boulders and the Buttermilks is simply phenomenal. I gawked a lot, climbed a bit, and left psyched on rock climbing. Below are a few photos from my all-too-brief stay in Bishop.