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Granite Game

I rallied to Colorado to shoot Lynn Hill for Petzl, finalize on some routes I bolted (and they clean and open to anyone), shoot some more with Goodtimes Tattoo, and get my van.  And now… I am back in Cali.

                                 It’s been super cool switching modes on my climbing and even all of this rest from being injured has had its’ cool times. I am an optimist and always try to see the good in any situation no matter how hard. I mean… my life AIN’T BAD doods!  The other day my buddy Charlie Barrett suggested we go and try the historical Grand Illusion 5.13b/c.  I figured it was too steep for my bicep and might not be the best idea, but decided I would at least go and belay Charlie who has fallen off the ending in the past.  Grand Illusion is an old Tony Yaniro route that was done in 1978 in a red-point style.  Red-point/hang-dogging was completely taboo, un-ethical, and frowned upon at that point in time as our sport climbing era had not dawned yet.  This route as well as Phoenix 5.13a, in Yosemite were the first 5.13’s in the world (arguably of course).  Charlie’s emotions about the route are deep as he respects the history and the story of the route immensely.  He educated me about the line and what it stands for throughout the day and I love this as well.  The relevance or reason for why things are the way they are is so important and with routes like G.I. it deserves a little paying of homage.  In terms of technology and tactics of climbing and even route development there are a lot of changes.  We use kneepads, chalk, toe-rubber.  We dog up routes, aid them, top-rope sections.  We utilize every aspect of tools to get up a wall the hardest way possible.  Sometimes it just sounds goofy, but damn is it fun!  Grand Illusion was ahead of its’ time when it was freed back in the day and to this day still has not had that many repeats (8?).California has TONS to offer a climber in my situation.  The granite here is so bad-ass and comes in all the flavors.  You get the gnarly-big-grain stuff, the smooth and compact-grey-and-black-speckled kind, the orange-polished-kind-with-rialite-blobs…. so many different textures that make this place so special for climbing.  Put it this way… after so many years climbing on limestone and projecting hard routes it really does feel good to change mediums (temporarily?).  After climbing 4 warm-ups up to 5.11b we started our session.  Charlie has had 6 days on the rig so was pretty honed in on what was going on and how to climb it.  We both dogged up it and sorted moves and gear.  Charlie’s redpoint burn saw him get pumped and fall off 2 holds from the exit.  CLOSE!!  I sorted moves and thought about the gear minimally.  After three burns each we were destroyed.  I felt out of shape and felt like I was pushing it a little too hard… I knew that would happen and am happy my body took it well.  Next day will be another session of serious progress and Charlie will likely send.  Wednesday it is ON!Last week we checked out Shuteye Ridge and was blown away.  My friend Beth Rodden kept telling me how beautiful it is up there and how it’s one of the most expansive climbing spots in the Sierra Nevadas.  The air is fresh, the rock is so pretty with streaks of black and yellow and patina badges.  The pine trees are covered in green moss and it’s a lot cooler than down low considering it is nearly 8000′ up there.  It’s a little piece of heaven for sure and I cannot wait to get back.  Primarily I have been climbing 5.12s and lots of good filler-style 5.11’s that are just satisfying.  I did one that the guidebook said “Project” which felt around 13a or b to me and was STOKED!  When we got back to town and cell service I then found out later it had been done and was being called 12+!!!???? HAHAHA!!!  UUUGH!  I guess being out the game is a head-game too!?  Hehehe… I SUCK!Good things in the future too… I am finally going to check out Smith Rock. I have gotten so much static about never visiting this place for YEARS and it’s time I go!  This is the birthplace of American Sport climbing and well… I figured I was always turned off with how old-school and vertical it is..  Vertical terrain is the optimal angle for me right now so why not?  Chris Sharma keeps making fun of me saying I will finally become a decent “Face-climber”! HAHAH!!  Perhaps, but either way this is gonna RULE!  Agro-Gully, Scarface, shit… perhaps Just Do It?  I will freak out when I see this place and two weeks should do me proper.Early November I am meeting up with Dave Graham and we will go and try some of my projects in good ol’ Southern Utah… I have one in mind that is a REASON to get stronger and heal… Maquina Muerte.  YES!  My baby.

Thanks for checking in ya’ll… being on the bench SUCKS!  But plan B can be pretty damn fun too!  Good times chillin in Cali.

  • etienne - At Smith, try “Bad man” it’s bad ass too!

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