Technical Trickery, A Pine Creek Photo Essay

26 08 2009

I like granite and I like bolts so this past weekend at Pine Creek was a blast. We clipped a ton of bolts on the long well protected routes of the Mustache and Ministry walls before heading to Gotham City at the Owens River Gorge for the final half-day.

The following photo from was the first time I saw or heard  anything about Pine Creek.  I had either just moved to California or was in the process of doing so and was psyched to see a pretty shot of a “local” area  and it stuck in my mind. During my two years here I have met the climber, Leah, who you have perhaps seen photos of in earlier blogs, the photographer, her husband, and the route developer Louie Andersen.  All of these things secured Pine Creek, in my head, as a possible destination.

Leah on Atomic Gecko (photo by Andre via

I read Pine Creek was great in the late summer,  since the walls go into the shade at 10,  and ended up getting some useful beta from friends, John and Shannon prior to our trip. Lizzy and I drove up from Pasadena to meet our friends Jamie and Nikki from Santa Barbara who had arrived the night before.

The weekend was great and I focused on onsighting routes and trying hard. My determination was rewarded with a 5.12 onsight which confirms that my fitness is returning. My other highlight of the weekend was climbing The Megaplex, a sustained three pitch 5.11c. Each pitch had a memorable section and I happily onsighted the 1st and 3rd, with my friend Jamie onsighting the 2nd. It was very cool to do a team free ascent since neither of us fell on our way to the top.

Jamie and I ended the second day with back to back ascents of Flamethrower which featured a techy slab up to a crazy steep roof, very wild for granite. Earlier in the day Lizzy had redpointed Window Shopper for her 6th 11c!  It was very cool to have everyone in the party send this climb and both of the ladies really did well with the technical crimping.

I found the routes on the Mustache wall to be very fun and the granite was nice and sticky. The two routes we did on the Ministry Wall were totally different than the Mustache wall and the hold and rock type dictated a different set of moves. I thought Never Believe was an awful warm-up and  just wasn’t very fun.  Burning Inside, on the other hand, was quite excellent  and featured very cool movement on a variety of holds that always seemed to face the wrong direction.

Enjoy the photos!

– Luke

Pine Creek - Aug 09 - 009

Jamie takes a warm-up lap on The Becky Route, 10a

Pine Creek - Aug 09 - 021

Jamie figuring out the no hands standup sequence on a fun 11a, Mr. Ridiculous

Pine Creek - Aug 09 - 027

Jamie figures out a technical sequence on Window Shopper

Pine Creek - Aug 09 - 053

Lizzy starting up Window Shopper on her 1st lead go.

Pine Creek - Aug 09 - 079

Lizzy works her way though small crimps and tricky foot sequences.

Pine Creek - Aug 09 - 091

Lizzy pulls through one of several fun mantles on the upper part of Window Shopper.

Pine Creek - Aug 09 - 102

Nicole on the way to her first 5.11 redpoint!

Pine Creek - Aug 09 - 107

Nicole tries not to get too excited about crushing small crimps.


Luke on his way to to a 12a onsight!


Luke manages not to fall off the crux of Stone Cold Fusion.

Day 2:


Lizzy starts up Never Believe the on the Ministry wall.


Jamie enjoying his flash of Burning Inside at the Ministry Wall.


Jamie sets off on the second pitch of The Megaplex

Pine Creek - Aug 09 - 135

Jamie works his way up the fun slab of Flame Thrower


Luke checks out the intimidating roof on Flame Thrower.


Luke pulls the lip on his onsight of Flame Thrower.



3 responses

27 08 2009

looks like you guys had a sick trip. 😀

27 08 2009

Totally. I’m pretty psyched to go back and try some of the harder routes on the Gecko wall in addition to Pratt’s CRACK!. I also missed a few of the 11’s on the Mustache wall that Jamie and Nikki climbed.

27 08 2009

that place looks bad ass!

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