This season has been different for us in a few ways. Primarily because we aren’t sitting in front of the same cliff day after day projecting the same routes we have tried in the past and banging out heads on them. This season, we have been exploring, visiting new spots, developing (as usual and way too much), and doing things we don’t usually do. It feels great to mix things up with Ely involved. So far we have been there three times and it’s been a once a week deal. My van is getting a TON of miles put on it, the gas funds are sky high… And I don’t care. When we head back to St. G from Ely I am over it and ready for a nice bed, civilization, and a roof over my head (in terms of a house!). The drive is starting to feel longer too and the scenic parts are a little less scenic. But then… It takes about two-three days until I am jonesing again for another Ely dose and feinding to go back. I honestly don’t get it, but I think I am in love with the place. The amount of rock that I don’t even know about is another thing that keeps the place so mysterious and interesting. AND… the Mondo Cave has got me sprung to the point of shrugging with a huge question mark over my head. How can anyone conquer this thing? The cave is so massive I cannot even understand it myself. I think the only time I can really get how enormous it is, is when Colette clocks a photo of me on the wall…. then it makes a little sense. I guess…
I have been getting numerous emails and messages from folks eager to “help”,and want to know beta on the place. It’s kinda funny because it is totally fair game and I am fine with ANYONE coming to help bolt, climb or do whatever you want. Honestly I don’t care. We are doing our thing. I am not a secretive person about what I do (obviously, I have a blog), but yo… you don’t need my approval or thumbs up. Just go man! Go and start something… it’s a little overwhelming, I will warn you. I am most interested in Rose Cave, but there is Cave Lake and all of the other spots I don’t even know about. Basically all of the info is in the Islands In The Sky book… I am thinking of doing up a new version… Hmmm….. might be too much work however… but damn… if anyone knows about this stuff, it’s me… it’s ALL I DO!!!! So in the end… anyone interested in checking out the climbing in Ely just go… you don’t need me. I will likely be there climbing and bolting and doing the same thing you will be doing. You will love it.
This past week we spent a few days at Poptire, which is a low-key/secretive crag that only a select few know about. I can’t give beta out of respect and also should flex on the fact it is WAY too delicate of an environment for “people” to know about. Regardless it was a great little stint of just climbing and not bolting, fixing holds, cleaning, and all the other bullshit… just climbing and trying hard routes. Colette hooked up a nice 7c+ rig day one and I tried some of the newer routes. James Litz is a beast and has put up some awesome FA’s that I have tried in the past. James is a cool cat that I have always had a great respect for. He isn’t trying to prove anything he just wants to climb rad stuff and leaves it at that. Maybe it is my older age that I have more respect for the humble approach? Either way it was cool to hang out with James, Erik, Leif, Lindsey, Ellen, Tom, Jed, Terris… there was a great crew that I enjoyed. People make the place man… well sorta… this cave is sick as fu** too! A perfect power-endurance style mixed with a Spanish flavor. Now this is just another batch of projects to throw into my pot…. We gotta go back stat.
The Mondo Cave is still haunting me too… I ventured up one of Pedersen’s routes with the stick clip to clean and prep it up. Jeff did in fact do a bit, but I need to finalize. After cleaning for 3 hours I still haven’t made it to the top… STILL!!!! The routes are gigantic and remind me of a three pitch route you do in one pitch. There is so much air, wind, and all of the elements up there it’s terrifying. To climb the route I’ll use a 100 meter Nano 9.2 and to get off the wall I will have to fix a giant rope that my boys at Sterling Rope just sent out… It’s wicked involved, but WAY worth it. I would say it is larger than the third tier of Mount Clark… I might have to revisit to say for sure, but DAMN its massive. As well… I gave Colette a little tutorial on bolting and she/we bolted her first line!!!! I am very proud of her… bolting on lead can be gripping and she is a gangster for sure. There are a lot of cliffs in the Ely region, but this one has my interest… this one is for me and I am more than obsessed about it. It’s a TON of work and energy, but this is special… not for media, not for attention, not for any petty bullshit. This is something beyond just climbing… it’s development. New territory to embark on and a place that is TOTALLY worth it. We camp there all alone, we are at the cliff all alone, and do it all… solo. I like that part. There is no scene, no trash, no one to judge you or any stress in any way… I love it.
LOT’s more to come… thanks for reading everyone… I live a pretty bad-ass life and it is a joy to share some of it with you all. Till next time.