Memorial Day Update

27 05 2009

Life has been going full steam ahead as Lizzy approaches graduation and the summer climbing season kicks into effect.

We spent last weekend clipping bolts at altitude outside of Las Vegas at Mount Charleston and celebrating our anniversary by going to see Phantom of the Opera.

After a successful beta request for free climbing  Sheer Lunacy we went to  Zion for Memorial day weekend.

Despite a day of rain we managed an ascent after taking a day trip to Bryce Canyon to let the rock dry.

It may be next week before we get our photos on line so in the mean time check out these killer shots of the route.

Hopefully we will have the contest results posted by the end of the week.




Malibu Creek Challenge 22k

12 05 2009

Last weekend, Luke and I ran the Malibu Creek 22k. This was my 2nd trail race ever, my 1st race of this length (half marathon plus a little extra), and my substitute birthday challenge, since my fitness was nowhere near what it needed to be to climb 21 routes in a day at Indian Creek.

The course took us along the “Crags Road” in Malibu Creek State Park to the base of Bulldog Mtn., which we proceeded to run up for a grueling 3 miles and almost 2000ft of elevation. After an initial descent, there were some rolling hills for another 3 miles, then a long, fairly steep descent and a final hill before the finish. The elevation profile is below:

I had gone a week and a half before to run/walk the whole course to check it out. It was rough since I didn’t end up having time to do much training, but I didn’t want to give up, so I just readied myself mentally to do it again and prepared with a couple extra GU’s. I was able to run more sections than I had the first time, which made the distance seem to go by faster. Also, having the aid stations was great because I was able to keep myself a lot more hydrated. I still had an issue with my calves getting really cramped up and my IT bands feeling tight, but I managed to finish, shaving about 30 minutes off the time I took on my preview run.


I was 123rd out of 178 women and finished 9th out of 10 in my age group. However, I think those 8 other women probably trained a lot more than I did, which was almost not at all. I was happy to be able to push myself harder the second time on the course and am already thinking about which race to do next and how to fit more running into my insanely busy schedule. To be honest, I am not one of those people who just naturally loves running, but I do appreciate being able to push myself more and be in better shape, along with the feeling of accomplishment of finishing a race like this.

Luke did awesome, finishing 3rd in his age group and 18th out of 252 men. And that’s pretty darn good considering some of those 17 other guys probably have coaches and lack full time jobs.

We were both tired, so we relaxed the rest of the weekend, grabbing some dinner with Julie and Josh and watching the new Star Trek movie on Sunday.

This coming weekend, we will be celebrating our 3rd anniversary with our first trip to Charleston for 2009 with a side trip to Vegas to see Phantom of the Opera. Have a great week!

Pie and Slide Night – Australia 2005

11 05 2009

Along the lines of Kate’s Post about the past I thought it would be fun to put some old photos online from my semester abroad in Australia.

While I was studying at the University of Melbourne I was a member of the Melbourne Uni Mountaineering Club and through this club I was able to find climbing partners, arrange rides, and get outside the majority of the weekends I was in Australia. One of the annual events was a Pie and Slide night at a local pub and thinking highly of my self I entered photos in many categories.

Looking back these are not top notch photos but at the time with my Sony point and shoot I was happy to be recording memories. There are so many beautiful places in Australia and the rock is absolutely stunning. As I dig through old photos I hope to get some more posts about my travels down under.


– Luke




Matty on Cricket Bats in a Box at Mt Araplies



Simon clips on the holdless Elephant Slide at the Grampians.



Mattie enjoys some killer sandstone at the Elephant’s Hide.


Australian Flora and Fauna
Daintree Strangler Fig

A strangler fig in the Daintree Forest north of Cairns



A creek on the all sand Fraser Island, Queensland



A pretty waterfall in the Grampians, Victoria


Australian Landscape


The “seven” apostles from the Great Ocean Road


Norman Island

A dissapearing spit of beach in the beautiful Whitsunday Islands.



A cozy inlet along the Great Ocean Road.

“Abroad” Scenery


A fuzzy Capitan from my frist trip to the valley.



In 2005  Hartley and I climb the Prow on the Washington Column seen on right side above.



Looking down at the valley from the top of Half Dome.


People In Wilderness

Simon and Shawn getting lost in the lichen at Teneriffe, Victoria



Scott on Flight of a Gumby, New River Gorge, WV



Having a great time group multipitching on the Watchtower faces , Mt Arapiles 


Dreaminvertical Contest!

8 05 2009

So! We are having a little contest. The prize is an XL black Super Topo T-Shirt that says “Climb more, epic less”.

If you’re like me and an XL t-shirt is WAY too big, I’m sure you could find a use for it – give it to a friend as a gift, make an awesome climbing-related t-shirt quilt (which seems like a cool idea, but I never have time to do it…), or something else.

It’s easy to enter the contest! Just comment on this post with your home state and favorite climbing area (anywhere).

We’ll give you until Friday, May 15th to enter, so don’t delay!

Joe’s Valley – Wills a Fire Videos

6 05 2009


Josh on Lumberjack Low

After watching a video Jamie Emerson posted I was reminded that I had some how failed to post the above picture of Josh trying the same problem. I love this shot and it really shows the crazy sandstone texture of Joe’s Valley.


Luke sets up the drop knee with his eye on the pocket.


Almost there on this low percentage throw.


Adam reaches for the next incut on Wills A Fire – V6

One of the most interesting things about Wills A Fire is the variety of beta. The problem is fairly simple with a number of well spaced incut holds.  However the location of these holds requires one to cross or bump between the pockets to setup for the topout. As you saw in the videos I crossed to the crack and matched it while Adam crossed between the pockets so he could get a right gaston in the crack. Both of these methods were different than my initial idea shown above which involved a left hand bump/throw between the two pockets.  After we got home I watched a video Matt Wilder had posted showing yet another sequence using a somewhat hidden hold.  I was happy to send this classic on our final day and it provided closure to the trip.



Weekend Result – J-Tree 2, Luke and Lizzy 0

4 05 2009

Lizzy and I had a short and fairly fun weekend a J-Tree. The main result was a lot of soreness on Lizzy and my part. 

I wanted to climb More Monkey than Funky in addition to a bunch of other classics on my ticklist.  It seemed best to work from the hardest down and so after Lizzy gave Gunsmoke some valiant tries we went to find the Monkey. 

More Monkey than Funky is a 15 foot horizontal hand crack (#2 camalots) to a thin hands crux .75’s thinning to .5’s. You have to get your jams in and then swing your feet up into the crack. We decided to have lizzy belay on the ramp/ledge right below the crack so that I would have less rope drag and spaghetti once I got out the roof.  However when I first pulled on and stuck my right foot into the crack my left foot swung around to find balance and smacked Lizzy in the face. OOPS!

After taking, falling, placing some more gear, lowering and repeating this whole process about 4 times I had figured out all the moves and came back to the ground. The horizontal nature of the climb made cleaning all the gear a real pain so I decided to leave all the cam’s in each time to save energy for a pinkpoint.  On my 5th go I yelled my way to the top barely managing not to slip off the warm holds.  In the effort I strained my right bicep and did a number on both my shoulders… OOPS #2! 

The day had cooled down a bit and we went over to Hot Rocks which I had done while Lizzy was away in the fall. She tried it twice on TR and managed to get it in one fall on here 2nd attempt! This is a gem for sure and we will have to come back in the future so she can lead it. 

We have no photos so you can watch John Bachar doing a much better job than I on More Monkey than Funky which is the first of two solos in the following video.

In other news Lizzy and I will be taking a much needed weekend off to compete in the Xterra Malibu Creek Challenge Trail Run.  We have both been doing a bit of training and it should be fun to do another race!



Joe’s Valley – Day Three at the Left Fork

1 05 2009

We had a bit of rain on Friday night that sent everyone to be early and luckily we awoke to clear skies in the morning. It had not rained much during the night and we hoped to get some climbing in. Our inital plan was to drive to Ibex if we had woken up to rain or possibly a short detour to Triassic.

The Riverside area seemed ideal start of our last day and was near the Right Sign area with the classic Wills A Fire. After doing many fun slab problems attention turned to the technical Feels Like Grit. More time and better temps were necessary and we moved on the Angler and eventually went up the road to Wills A Fire.  It was starting to drizzle and after Adam and I sent the group moved to the right fork which was still dry.  

Energy was running low and after a few attempted climbs we bailed to a wonderful Lunch/Dinner at Big Mammas. We left just in time and were greeted by an intense hail storm as we drove into town. 

Lizzy and I will be writing a bit more on our impressions on Joe’s Valley later on. For now enjoy the photos from our last day!


Luke joes-valley-apr-09-145

If the weather was warmer it would be nice to take a dip in the river!


Julie tests her skills on a nice slab problem.


joes-valley-apr-09-126 Luke tries his best not to crimp on the small holds.



Josh and Julie enjoy the relaxaing views at the Riverside Area.



A pretty looking line across the river!



Lizzy has her eye on the jug.



Adam  reaches on the same problem.



Kearah shows that you don’t need your feet to mantel. 



Lizzy getting her slab on.




Luke happily flashing the super classic Angler



Rebecca working her way up The Angler V2



Heel hook and go!



Adam quickly moves through the crux.



Adam getting high above the river. 

(The left blue pad was sticking out about a foot over the water!)



Adam playing on the  nice slopers. 



Luke getting ready to top out.



Luke making the final moves up the rail.



Adam reaches for the top!


Luke on The Angler (aka the Rail) V2



Lizzy working her way up Feels Like Grit V8



Lizzy applies her balance the subtle features of the rock.



Adam tries his hand at Feels Like Grit.


joes-valley-apr-09-416Julie figuring out some beta on Feels Like Grit.


Make sure to come back for videos of Adam and Luke sending Wills A Fire.