Dreaminvertical on Twitter

30 04 2009

Hey people,

For those of you who are interested in keeping up with Luke and I in the world of microblogging, these are our twitter accounts:

Lizzy (on twitter as lizzy_t)

Luke (on twitter as lstefurak)

We also now have a Vimeo Channel

Enjoy and stay tuned for more installments from Joe’s Valley!



Joe’s Valley – Day Two at New Joe’s

30 04 2009

We decided on New Joe’s for day two and slowly made our way out to this sector.  Everyone was weary from all the traveling on Wednesday and the ton of climbing we did on the day before. When we arrived at the dirt road at the stated mileage we were greeted by a large locked gate. The access road which leads to a shared oil company parking was CLOSED!?! We were a bit confused but evenutally found our way to another parking lot about 3/4 of a mile up the road.

After a bit of searching we saw a well carined trail and started to walk in. At some point we got a bit lost and were faced with a steep decent into a creek bed. Jackie, with a torn ACL, could not easily proceed so half the group went back to the parking lot and moved the car so they could walk in via the gated road. 

We all met up at Area 51 after a bit more hassle then was expected but excited for all of the bouldering. New Joe’s is nice because all of the boulders are located on a single hill side with an old switch backing road. It saved time not having to pack up and move the car between different areas like we had done the day before.

We had a fun day but were greeted by rain when we drove back to the campground at dusk.




Jackie on a hard V4/5 on the back of the Scotty boulder.



Luke sets up for a throw.


Lizzy tries her hand at V4



Rebecca goes for the Super Sloper!



Josh climbs Scary V3



Luke following Josh up Scary



Adam getting some air time on Pocket Rocket V6



Luke winds up for a Dyno!



Luke trying to fly on Pocket Rocket



Adam makes the distance!



Adam holding the swing!


Adam Sending Pocket Rocket v6



Luke gets close but no cigar.



Oh well, better luck next time. 



Adam starting off I’d Rather Be Climbing Her V6.


Adam on his send of ‘d Rather Be Climbing Her 


Lizzy trying to find the V5 move on a fun problem at the Tsunami Wall



Rebecca on Reading Rainbow V5?



Lizzy makes the throw on her send of Reading Rainbow.



Adam sorting out beta on Planet of the Apes V6


joes-valley-apr-09-314Luke enjoying a bit of kneebar trickery. 


joes-valley-apr-09-340Luke work through the beautiful slopers on Planet of the Apes


joes-valley-apr-09-360Luke trying some funky beta before figureing out the key right heel hook.


A very tired Luke on his send of Planet of the Apes V6



A tired but happy crew at the end of day two.


Joe’s Valley – Day One at the Right Fork

28 04 2009

Joe’s Valley is a beautiful place and the various areas are on the hillsides and nestled in the drainages above Orangeville, Utah.  The industrial coal mining operations  sit in harsh contrast to the green beauty of the trees and rivers.  On our drive out from LA I first pictured the area being similar to Moab with a barren desert like feel. However I was pleasantly surprised by the Pacific northwest style views around the Joe’s Valley reservoir and was  delighted by the plentifully foliage.  The scenery even reminded Lizzy of pictures she had seen of Banff. 

For this trip we had a large group of eight with four of my college friends flying into SLC from the east coast and two more, Julie and Josh, driving out from LA. We had a wonderful 2.5 days of climbing even though it rained a touch on Friday night and there were waves of rain by Saturday afternoon. Our last day was cut short since we did not want to harm the fragile sandstone. The delicate nature of these rocks was reinforced by the recent news that the The Knocking Room had broken due to climbing after a rain storm.  After a wonderful early dinner at Big Mama’s we parted was back to our “real” lives. It was great to see all the familiar faces and have a chill time climbing and hanging out.

The bouldering is world class and the rock reminds me of the sandstone of the southeast with more pockets and crimps.   We spent a day at each of the different sectors, Left Fork, Right Fork and New Joe’s and explored many different boulders.  All of the following photos are from our first day at the Right Fork. 




On the way down from the Reservoir



Luke plays photographer.



Kearah warms up on the Boy-Size boulder.



Luke struggles on Boy-Size V7



Lizzy gets psyched up for some highball action!



Lizzy on the perfect rock on the back side of the Man-Size boulder.



Lizzy commits to the crux of Michelangelo


joes-valley-apr-09-102Lizzy excited for her first V3 Flash! The crux was at 15 feet!


joes-valley-apr-09-112Luke goes for it on Michelangelo. 


100_4257Jackie making quick work of the Comedian  SDS V5


100_4255Luke on the 2nd crux of the Comedian.


Luke on his flash of the Comedian SDS 



Rebecca reaches on the Triangle Boulder.



Lizzy on some thin crimps and pockets on the Triangle Boulder.



Adam campusing a variation of  Scrawny V7


joes-valley-apr-09-166Adam goes big on Maxi Pad V6


joes-valley-apr-09-149Adam latching the edge on Maxi Pad



Josh on the start of No Additivies V11


Make sure to come back for more photos and video from the other days!!



Enjoying Variety, from Joshua Tree to Joe’s Valley

22 04 2009

I can’t help but laugh at the places climbing has taken me recently. From stress free pulling in Bishop to the no fall zones while headpointing  in Joshua Tree. Variety is the spice of life and I have been taking a full helping. My climbing bubble is doing well, full of adventure and my fingers are finally starting to get strong again!

A few of my college friends are flying out to Utah for  a long chill bouldering weekend in Joe’s Valley , a new area for all of us. It seems the weather should hold up and with the help of the web we have a full plate of things to do.

Back in the Seattle area the local trad climbing mecca has been threatened. Index holds a special places in my heart since it is where I lead my first multi-pitches and did my first 5.9 trad lead. Hopefully all will turn out well in the next couple months and I will make sure to post updates when I see them.

In other news it looks like Peter Mortimer and the Sender Films crew secured a new TV show backed by National Geographic.  In related news Alex Honnold pushing his limits with an all-star crew and getting on on some First Ascent Action in Borneo.

Lizzy and I will be back next week hopefully with a camera full of photos and videos! If you are going to Joe’s this weekend be on the lookout for a Silver Rav4 with Washington plates. Feel free to stop by and say hi if you see our orange Marmot tent.

Take Care,


Videos Come to Dreaminvertical!

21 04 2009

Hey people,

Our friend Ben requested that we get some more videos on the blog. Although sometimes we struggle to even get photos if it’s just the two of us, it’s not too hard to do video while bouldering. Excuse the non-professional quality of the videos – these are just from my sweet little point-and-shoot Canon. Also, Luke is the awesome cameraman for both videos 🙂

This first video is from a short little V0 at Big Bend, UT. I saw some tall dude just reach the start hold from the ground, but it took me several tries to latch that start hold like I do here. Enjoy:

And this one is me taking a casual lap on one of my favorite boulder problems in Bishop. It’s not too scary for me anymore, but I still like to do it to warm up my mental space a little.

Ok, hopefully we’ll get a few more vids from Joe’s!

Spring Bouldering In Bishop

20 04 2009

We had planned on a Limestone excursion to Saint George but the weather gods decided that was not in the cards. After some searching on NOAA.gov we thought Bishop would be a workable alternative. Bouldering is a good way for us to have a relaxing weekend with the hassle of ropes and Bishop is fairly close to Pasadena.  It was a rainy Friday (last week)  in both LA and San Diego and our drive up towards the sierras was much the same.  When it wasn’t raining on the 395 we could at see the clouds dumping snow in the mountains in the distance on either side of the road. The rain lessened as we approached the town of Bishop and when we pulled into the Pit, a local campground, the ground was completely dry.  

By chance on the drive up I had called Jamie and he was headed up to Bishop that night with two friends, Daniel and Megan, from Santa Barbara. We reserved them a site and were happy to share breakfast the following morning after their midnight arrival.  Jamie and crew spent Saturday at Dale’s Camp and the Buttermilks and we went to the Sads. Lizzy prefers Volcanic Tablelands and wanted to work on one of her projects from last trip, Sad Parrot. My fingers are still not in top shape so I focused on flashing easier problems and climbing on slopers. We were quite successful on Saturday since Lizzy sent her project and I flashed my first V5 and did another in three tries.  Daniel took a bad fall off Evilution and hurt his ankle so Jamie and Megan decided to join us on Sunday at the Happies. This left Daniel to spend Easter morning at the local Casino before the SB crew returned home.

Sunday started for me with a Flash of the super fun Slap Happy and Pirate Booty. Slap Happy is very simple and has fun moves on large slopers that requires commitment and body tension. Lizzy worked on Mr. Witty and Jamie and I both sent Will’s Arete, which I had tried on a previous trip.  Jamie sent first and I had a surprise send when I took Jamie’s advice and really pushed with my feet to stick the crux throw.  This problem is meaningful for me since I tried it on my first trip to Bishop in November of 2007 and it seemed impossible despite being V5. I appreciate each piece of progression as I am able to work through my weaknesses.

Lizzy ran a few laps on, Heavenly Path, and Megan, despite being fairly new to climbing, topped out this heady highball. Near the end of the day I got on my other main project, Every Color You Are V6. On the last three trips I had fallen off the second to last move before finally seeing an essential bit of beta. I had yet to try the  high right heel hook, but was convinced since I had seen it work. I fell off a few times trying to figure out how to throw up my heel before some other climbers stopped by. A strong dude from Portland sent Every Color first try using the heel hook and I was impressed.  On my next try I got up to the second to last hold and unable to figure out the proper technique threw my lower body to the right. My feet cut, legs making a big arc and all of a sudden my heel was in the right place! I bumped up my left hand, like I had just seen, but stalled not knowing if I should go left or right to the final jug. I was barely holding on using both hands and my spotters were encouraging me loudly to go for it, but how! I bumped my right hand and my fingers wrapped around the elusive jug. I was ecstatic but shaking from the extended effort and carefully moved my feet up through the final easy moves to top out! Sunday was one of my best climbing days in months with my fingers fairly pain free and  two projects sent. I carried my excitement and cooled down on a few more climbs before heading to The Loony Bean for a celebratory Chai.

It seems this will be our last trip to Bishop for the season and I was happy to put a few of my projects to rest. Next season I hope to recover my crimp strength and get on Los Locs and The Checkerboard which have been in my mind for the last year or so.  Lizzy has been doing awesome bouldering and is working her way up through the grades. She even has a few projects and is excited to get back on Mr. Witty and Action Figure.

Enjoy the photos!

– Luke


Lizzy sizes up the shady warmup.



Lizzy makes the warmup look good!



Lizzy works out some sweet mantel beta for a fun problem on the Reward and Treason Boulders. 



Lizzy enjoyes the stress free bouldering lifestyle.



Using Lizzy’s beta Luke flashes the  Space Suit.



Luke plays around on an fun unknown problem.



Lizzy sizes up the next move to the small chalked gaston on Sad Parrot



The crux finger pocket of Sad Parrot



Luke starts up Pirate Booty



Jamie makes quick work of Pirate Booty



Luke gets ready to throw for a sloper on Slap Happy. 



Lizzy pulls off the ground on Mr. Witty


bishop-april-09-146Lizzy pushes left into the tricky rockover start of Mr. Witty



Megan works her way up the fun V1 right of Solarium



Jamie figures out some beta for Solarium


bishop-april-09-176Jamie tops out the sandbagged Solarium



Cause for Celebration

15 04 2009

Things have seemed so busy recently… I think I may not have written anything on the blog since just after Indian Creek, which is probably a month ago at this point. I will hopefully have time to catch up on my backlog of activities, but here are the highlights:

I went to Hawaii with other graduating seniors and grad students during my official spring break. It was sweet to learn a bit about igneous rocks in the field – my classes tend to be heavy on theory and light on hands-on experience. Sadly, it rained almost the entire time we were there. I had been looking forward to some nice Hawaiian sun.


sunrise on the coast


a tongue of fresh (less than a day old – still warm!) lava


pretty orange flower in the botanical garden

The day after we came back, I went to JTree with Luke, Julie and Josh. I caught up on my suntanning that I’d missed out on in Hawaii while everyone climbed at Hemingway, then put my saved energy to good use on Gunsmoke in the afternoon. I made my furthest link yet and pumped out in the corner because I hadn’t gone over my complicated beta beforehand. Then I was just too tired and flash pumped to recover. Maybe next time. But it felt great! The “real” crux is way easier than my short person crux!

Then, I visited Stanford. I had a great time, loved the group that I would be working with and the research I would be doing, and was excited about the Palo Alto weather, which I think I would like better than Pasadena. After stressing out for 5 days, I got the good news that I was accepted to the PhD program in the Geology Department! I’ve officially accepted the offer now, so Luke and I will be headed up to Palo Alto for the fall! We’re really excited!

And last weekend, we went to Bishop. I had my best day of bouldering ever on Saturday, sending two V3s (my 2nd and 3rd ever) and flashing a V2. One of the V3s was steep and juggy, definitely not my style, so it was cool to have sent it anyways. The other one was a problem I’d tried and loved before – Sad Parrot. I’d figured out the crux beta before and this time I had the strength to pull the move. So I guess I’m somehow bouldering stronger than I ever have before, which bodes well for our upcoming Joe’s Valley trip. But I’m also hoping I can combine this newly found power with more endurance for the ultimate goal – Smith and Squamish in June/July.


I was stoked to be strong enough to pull off this micro pocket this time 🙂

I’m also attempting to train for a 22k trail race in Malibu on May 9th. I decided this could be a good substitute birthday challenge (1k for each year plus one bonus) and I’m hoping just to actually finish, run a good amount of uphill sections, and feel better than I did on the Montana de Oro 8k.

So now I’m busy finishing up my LAST TERM EVER at Caltech. Its crunch time now for writing my thesis, so I’m spending a lot of time working on my research (and loving it, which seems like a good sign for grad school).