Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Climbing’ Category

Dates: Wednesday, November 26 – Sunday, November 30, 2014

Location: Joshua Tree National Park

Photos: As noted

Synopsis: Over Thanksgiving week, Sarah and I headed down to Joshua Tree National Park with Jon, Alex, Andrew and Judit. Joshua Tree is located in Southeastern California and encompasses the intersections of the Mojave and Colorado deserts. The park is nearly 800,000 acres large (roughly the side of Rhode Island) and is well known as a climbing haven. You could literally spend a year in Joshua Tree and likely not climb all of the routes.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Date: Sunday, January 26, 2014

Location: Yosemite National Park

Climbers: Jon & Nick

Photos: Jon & Nick (as noted)

Synopsis: It is no surprise that California is really struggling right now for water and in an official drought. Calendar 2013 ended up one of the driest years on record for the Sierra. Up until this writing (when we are finally forecast to have a multi-foot snow storm occurring in Tahoe), the “winter” this year has been dry and warm. With forecasts for highs in 60s in the Valley and mid-50s at 8,000 feet, Jon and I thought the last weekend in January would be a great time to head to Yosemite Valley for some climbing.

During the day on Saturday we simply cragged over at Five and Dime cliff, trying some nice hard 5.10 routes and practice off-width climbing. It was unbelievably hot for January, and I was climbing in a tee shirt and desperately wishing I had shorts on.

Jon and I decided that a trip up to Half Dome to climb Snake Dike was the call for Sunday. We were both really excited to head up to the climb in January (a rarity as there is generally too much wetness from snow-melt this time of year).

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Climbers: Jon & Nick

Dates: Friday, May 17 – Sunday, May 19, 2013

Photos: Jon & Nick (as noted)

Synopsis: We awoke Friday morning to clearing skies and what looked like a dusting of snow up on the high peaks. The clouds were still engulfed on the Sierra Crest, but weather forecasts called for a general clearing trend. Our plan was to hike in from Mosquito Flat trailhead towards the Rock Creek area to camp at a lake near the base of Bear Creek Spire, and get an early alpine start Saturday morning.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Climbers: Jon & Nick

Dates: Wednesday, May 15 – Thursday, May 16, 2013

Photos: Jon & Nick (as noted)

Synopsis: Upon returning to our camp at Third Lake after climbing Venusian Blind Arête, we settled in for yet another 4 AM wake-up to go climb Moon Goddess Arête the following day. That night the winds were picking up pretty strongly, clouds were increasing and the temperature dropped pretty significantly.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Climbers: Jon & Nick

Dates: Monday, May 13 – Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Photos: Jon & Nick (as noted)

Synopsis: After climbing the Direct South Face of Lone Pine Peak, Jon and I headed back the next morning to try and get permits for the North Fork of Big Pine Creek. Our initial soft plans going in were to hike in that Monday and set up a camp by Second or Third Lake, and climb Venusian Blind Arête on Tuesday, followed by Moon Goddess Arête on Wednesday (both of which we ended up doing). We then tentatively planned to move camp up beyond Sam Mack Meadows to the Palisade Glacier, with a potential objective of climbing Starlight Buttress on Starlight Peak. More on that later.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Climbers: Jon & Nick

Dates: Saturday, May 11 – Sunday, May 12, 2013

Photos: Jon & Nick (as noted)

Synopsis: Similar to the winter of 2012, this Winter was a pretty low snow-year throughout the Sierra Nevada. Throughout the Winter, Jon and I had been tentatively planning a week-long ski-tour in the Eastern Sierra. As the months passed along, days grew longer and the weather warmed, we realized that once again the Winter would not provide optimal Spring ski-touring conditions.

On the other hand, the low-snow year lent itself to great, early season alpine climbing opportunities throughout the High Sierra. With that in mind, Jon and I headed with a loaded car down Highway 395 to the high peaks of the Eastern Sierra to try and take advantage of a good weather forecast and climb some classic, big routes.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Date: Sunday, July 15, 2012

Location: Lover’s Leap

Climbers: Andrew & Nick

Photos: Andrew & Nick (as noted)

Synopsis: Andrew and I headed up to Lover’s Leap in the South Lake Tahoe area to climb East Wall (5.7) and Haystack (5.8) (both on the actual East Wall face). We were able to get on the route East Wall in the morning, and afterwards we headed to Bear’s Reach (as Haystack had some other groups on it). I had been wanting to climb East Wall for a while, as it is a wandering route with an exposed second pitch that travels almost horizontally across the face of the East Wall. Andrew had never climbed Bear’s Reach – so seeing it was open, we decided to jump on it.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Date: Saturday, May 12, 2012

Location: Middle Cathedral Rock, Yosemite Valley

Climbers: Cuauh, Jon & Nick

Photos: Jon & Nick (as noted)

Synopsis: With a great weather forecast and climbing season back in full swing, Cuauh, Jon and I headed to Yosemite Valley for a quick day trip to climb the East Buttress of Middle Cathedral Rock (5.10c) in Yosemite Valley. Included in Fifty Classic Climbs of North America by Steve Roper, the East Buttress is an extremely popular route and actually offers two variations with some chances to pass folks. The “50 Classic” Variation includes a 5.10a traverse that bypasses the 5.10c bolt ladder.

Cuauh had climbed this route before and wanted to try his land at leading the 5.10c bolt section and 5.9 roof above, so we went with that variation.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Date: Saturday, May 5, 2012

Location: Lover’s Leap

Climbers: Jon & Nick

Photos: Jon & Nick (as noted)

Synopsis: Since climbing the Northwest Ridge of Four Gables with Jon in January, I have not posted any trip reports as it has been a non-eventful winter in Tahoe. That is not to say I did not get any skiing in – in fact, I got a handful of great powder days in. However, all of the days I did ski were entirely spent at Alpine Meadows or Squaw Valley. I just never seemed to time it properly for any backcountry touring as the snowpack was either (i) non-existent or (ii) dangerous due to the persistent weak layer we had all winter. Meanwhile, the weather in the Bay Area all “winter” was nothing short of spectacular, and I mostly hung around and did a TON of road biking in the Coast Mountains (and have generally been training for a couple of triathlons this upcoming summer and fall).

The great thing about the lack of snowpack this Spring will be the climbing access it affords. As of this writing, both Tioga Pass and Sonora Pass are open to the Eastside and many High Sierra climbs will have very quick approaches that are otherwise inaccessible without skis/snowshoes for much later in the season. Further, I suspect the alpine ice season this year is going to be nothing short of phenomenal.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Dates: Saturday, January 14 – Sunday, January 15, 2012

Locations: Peak 12,542 and the Northwest Ridge of Four Gables

Climbers: Jon & Nick

Photos: As noted (with some processing edits on a couple of Jon’s shots from Nick)

Synopsis: With Tioga Pass continuing to remain open, the lack of snowfall this year continued offered a unique opportunity to those so inclined: access to long, granite alpine rock routes with minimal amounts of snow in otherwise “Winter” conditions. By “Winter” conditions I mean (i) very short days, (ii) very cold temperatures and (iii) very strong winds.

Jon and I were itching the entire week to undertake a true winter alpine route that would involve a bivy at a high altitude. We combed through the High Sierra Secor Guide looking for route descriptions. Our search had a couple of parameters. First, since we were coming from the Bay Area on Friday, altitude was a key factor. We were hesitant to bivy up around 13,000 ft. + on Saturday night for fear of getting absolutely worked by the altitude. Second, the weather report was not looking promising. While Saturday day and night called for great conditions, Sunday was anticipated to deteriorate rapidly with a very strong wind event moving in (with Sunday night expecting sustained 100+ mph winds along the High Sierra Crest).

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Date: Saturday, January 7, 2012

Location: North Couloir of North Peak

Climbers: Brandon & Nick

Photos: Nick (unless otherwise noted as Brandon, with some processing edits from Nick)

Synopsis: While the lack of snow in the Sierra has delayed the start of ski season, it has also offered a historical statistic of sorts – namely, Tioga Pass is currently open in January. According to data compiled by the Mono Lake Committee, since 1933 Tioga Pass has only been open six times post-December, with the former record being January 1 in 2000. Being an optimist of sorts, I was excited as this offers easy access to the High Sierra for one approaching from the West side of the range.

Brandon and I had our eyes set on the classic alpine climb of the North Couloir of North Peak (12,242 ft). With the lack of snow and constant cold temps at that elevation, we were hoping that the North Couloir would possibly continue to hold ice conditions – although we were actually expecting hard neve. In either case, the chance to climb the North Couloir in January with a mostly snowless approach in winter weather conditions (think (i) cold and (ii) very windy) sounded too good to be true.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

TR: Cascade Falls

Date: Saturday, December 24, 2011

Location: Cascade Falls

Climbers: Jon, Rachel, Tony & Nick

Photos: Nick (unless otherwise noted)

Synopsis: First, let me say that wanted to get this up much sooner to offer some good beta on current Tahoe ice conditions, but a hectic schedule around the holidays prevented that. So unfortunately I can’t attest to whether this is representative of the current conditions at Cascade Falls (e.g., there has been a rain event and general warming spell as of late).

Having said that, although Tahoe (and pretty much all of California, Utah, Wyoming and Colorado) has received little to no snow, December proved to be a very cold month. Consistent cold temperatures and lack of snow make for good ice conditions in Tahoe (as fickle as they can be).

While climbing up at 90-Foot Wall with Brandon the week prior, we spotted Cascade Falls from the road and it looked very thick. After some more research, I got some good beta on conditions, so Jon, Rachel, Tony and I decided to head and check it out.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Dates: Sunday, December 4, 2011 (Climbing) & Saturday, December 10, 2011 (Lunar Eclipse)

Locations: 90-Foot Cliff, South Lake Tahoe & San Francisco Bay

Climbers: Brandon & Nick

Photos: Nick (unless otherwise noted)

Synopsis: With the severe lack of snow in the Tahoe and High Sierra this early December due to (among other things) a high-pressure ridge sitting off the coast of California, Brandon and I decided to test the weather last Sunday for some winter-cragging in the Tahoe area.

Our original intention was to head to the Leap and test out how cold it really was, but we were quickly dissuaded by the shaded aspects, strong winds and below freezing temps. Therefore, we headed over to 90-Foot Wall in the Emerald Bay area for a good top-roping zone in the sun.

As a bonus, this past Saturday was a full lunar eclipse that was best viewed in the Western U.S., with the peak occurring at 6:30 A.M. PST. Given that the next full lunar eclipse will not occur until April 2014, I felt the need to get up and combat the light pollution of San Francisco and try and capture the event.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

““““““““““““““

Date: Sunday, October 23, 2011

Location: Lover’s Leap

Climbers: Alex & Nick

Photos: Alex & Nick (as noted)

Synopsis: With the snow of the early October 6th storm long faded into memory and recent warming temps, I knew Sunday would make for a good day trip to the Leap. After many suggestions by myself and others, Alex has recently taken up climbing, with his first foray into outdoor climbing at Indian Springs and Donner Summit earlier in August.

With the stable weather and Alex fired out to get out of the climbing gym and back outdoors, I knew a Leap trip was in order. And with Corrugation Corner (5.7) and Bear’s Reach (5.7) on the agenda, I would dare to say that is about as good as it gets for a first trip to the leap for Alex! A nice welcoming to the world of exposure…

(more…)

Read Full Post »

““““““““““

Date: Sunday, September 18, 2011

Location: Matthes Crest, Yosemite National Park

Climbers: Jon & Nick

Photos: Jon & Nick (as noted)

Synopsis: After a successful trip on the Northeast Couloir of Mount Gilbert the day prior, Jon and I headed on yet another early alpine start for some ultra-classic climbing on Matthes Crest. Matthes Crest is one of the most unique climbs I have ever done. Approaching from the Cathedral Lakes trailhead, Matthes Crest is a very unique granite knife-ridge that was glacially formed. Although it is only about 500 vertical feet from the ground, the knife-ridge itself runs for over a mile long. Similar to most parties, we climbed to the North Tower and rapped from the dedicated rap rings.

Ultimately, it rightly deserves its recognition for its classic status, offering awesome climbing, great exposure and unbelievable views.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

““““““““““

Date: Saturday, September 17, 2011

Location: Mt. Gilbert, Northeast Couloir

Climbers: Jon & Nick

Photos: Jon & Nick (as noted)

Synopsis: After arriving back from Europe the prior day (and Jon separately also arriving from Spain the prior day), Jon and I headed down to Bishop to once again give a go at the North Couloir on Mt. Gilbert (13,106 ft.). Last year we headed down much latter in the alpine ice season, and after a foot of snow fell, avalanche conditions were unsafe and lead to the Triple Skunk on each of the North Couloir on North Peak, the North Couloir on Mt. Gilbert and the Harrington Couloir on Mt. Thompson.

Fortunately, this year we headed back earlier in the season without snow on the approach and the weather was great. We ended up climbing the Northeast Couloir as it was more sustained without a burnt-out middle section, but now we both want to go back and climb the North Couloir proper. I guess we still have time this season!

Unlike the Triple Skunk , the approach was entirely dry well up onto the glacier just below Mt. Gilbert. Therefore, the approach was much faster (by several hours) and we made good time.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

““““““““““

Dates: Wednesday, September 7 – Thursday, September 15, 2011

Locations: Geneva, Chamonix & Annecy, including the Arête des Papillons – Aiguille du Peigne, Chamonix

Synopsis: Sarah and I headed over to the Swiss and French alps for an amazing trip, including first-time visits for each of us to Geneva, Chamonix and Annecy. I was extremely fired-up to visit Chamonix, THE Alpine Climbing and Skiing Mecca. While in Chamonix, I was able to link up with Tahoe-local Ben Mitchell for some climbing. Ben is an AMGA/IFMGA guide from Truckee that guides in Chamonix in the summer months (as well as for Alpine Skills International in Truckee in the winter and Points North Heli Skiing in Alaska, among other guiding pursuits). Ben and I climbed the classic Arête des Papillons on the Aiguille du Peigne in Chamonix.

Most importantly, the trip was a perfect combination of relaxation, sightseeing/photography and trilling adventure (including paragliding from the Plan Praz station heading towards the Plaques du Brévent) with the most amazing travel companion in the world!

While this TR does contain some amazing climbing and paragliding shots from Chamonix, I also just wanted to showcase some of the amazing sites and views presented during the entire trip in chronological order.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

““““““““

Dates: Saturday, August 27 – Sunday, August 28, 2011

Locations: Stately Pleasure Dome, Pywiack Dome & Dozier Dome, Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park

Climbers: Brandon & Nick

Photos: Nick (unless otherwise noted as Brandon)

Synopsis: Brandon and I headed up to Tuolumne Meadows for a great weekend of climbing on some classic multi-pitch dome routes: (i) Great White Book on Stately Pleasure Dome, (ii) Holdless Horror on Dozier Dome, (iii) Zee Tree on Pywiack Dome and (iv) Errett Out on Dozier Dome. The weather was great and the scenery spectacular.

I also got to try out my new camera for shots from the ground (as I would never climb with this thing): a Canon 60D with a Canon 15-85mm F/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens. All climbing shots (and shots from the summits) are with my much smaller Panasonic LX-3.

On the drive in Saturday morning, the skies were very overcast and there was some very sporadic rain (in quantity, location and time-lapse). We got a little worried, as rain + granite slab = no fun. However, the rain didn’t seem to impact the Tuolumne area (other than about 2 minutes of very light rain over Tenaya Lake) and the skies eventually cleared up during the day.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

““““““

Dates: Saturday, July 30 – Sunday, July 31, 2011

Locations: Indian Springs & Donner Summit

Climbers: Alex, Colin & Nick

Photos: Alex & Nick (as accredited) – although virtually 99.9% of the shots in this TR are Alex’s

Synopsis: Ultimately, this was a great weekend of moderate climbing with some good buddies. I honestly haven’t gotten out much this summer due to a pretty hectic schedule of work, travel, moving and other commitments. Everything always balances out, however – so I was just excited to be able to get out over this weekend. Other than a great day at the Leap climbing Surrealistic Pillar over Fourth of July weekend, this would only be by second climbing outing this summer.

I was really pumped as well given that (i) this was Alex’s first time outdoor rock climbing (as he only recently began climbing in the gym) and (ii) I had not climbed with Colin in over a year due to his skiing injury.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

““““

Dates: January 22-23, 2011

Climbers: Jon, Rachel, Tony & Nick

Locations: Lee Vining Caynon, Main Wall & June Lake, Horsetail Falls

Video & Photos: Nick (unless otherwise noted)

Synopsis: We headed down to the Eastside over the weekend to take in some Sierra ice climbing in Lee Vining Canyon and Horsetail falls. Lee Vining Canyon Main Wall was in good shape with thick ice and cold temperatures on Saturday. On Sunday, we headed down to Horsetail Falls in the June Lake area. Unfortunately, recent warm weather and sun exposure from the prior week had melted out many of the flows and the ice was fairly hollow. Alternatively, we hiked around to a North-aspect, mini-flow and worked on ice screw placements, anchoring, etc…

All in all, a great weekend of climbing with a good group!

This TR contains both a Video TR and Photo TR.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »