Heavenly, California

It certainly was.

Just this Sunday I returned from six days at Heavenly, which straddles California and Nevada on the southern tip of Lake Tahoe. It dumped over a foot a day after we arrived and was sunny for the rest of the trip, so we got a couple of poofy powder days in as well as some sunny groomer days.

The highlight of the trip though was a trek into the Desolation Wilderness on snowshoes. It was my first time on them as well as some of the other guys I think, and I think I've found a new hobby. The great thing about snowshoeing, at least with some decent snow coverage, is that you can tromp around anywhere you'd like... there's really no trail to follow.

This is starting to become an annual thing. I think next year may be Jackson Hole. Find the pictures here.

January 24, 2006 01:45 PM

2nd Fall Gunks trip

We got up later than usual so it was late when we got up to the crag and didn't find an open route until about 11.30. We settled on a two-star (on a 3-star "classic" rating scale) 5.6 route: Son Of A Bitchy Virgin.

I scraped and scrambled my way over the overhang right off the ground, but the rest was pretty much smooth face climbing. There was one point towards the top of the second pitch where I'd run out about 25 feet from my last piece of protection, at which point I was spooked but nothing a bit of harsh muttering to myself didn't fix . Maybe I should record my muttering sessions... they're very motivational.

Once down, we headed over to Sixish which is a great exposed 5.4+. It's 3 pitches but in the interest of time I lead the first two pitches in one go (about 140 ft. I think) but we didn't have time to put up the last "airy" pitch, so we rappelled down to cries of "You know your rope's 50 feet short of the ground right?!" Not to worry, our fellow climbers didn't see the rappel rings 20 feet to their left. Still, got my heart rate up which is what we're really after anyway.

October 3, 2005 04:11 PM | 2 comments

Citizenship Interview

Went for my citizenship interview this morning. Just like on the application they still ask if I am or have ever been a member of the Communist party. If I was, which I don't think I am, would that preclude me from entry?

I had to write the sentence, "He is going to his brother's house where his sister will be too." Luckily I did well on the rest of the test and passed overall. Too bad though, as a security check is still being run on my big scary name.

September 20, 2005 06:19 PM | 2 comments

Fellow climbers to the rescue

Jordan and I finally got our act together and, with the help of Adam's gear, headed up to the Gunks to do some climbing on Sunday. It was a gorgeous day and we decided to hit up Shockley's Ceiling, a 5.6 with an amazing third pitch part of which is a nice little ceiling, overcome in either an elegant high step or slithering knee jam.

I lead this pitch last year with Adam using the knee jam - you basically swim up the damn thing. Well this time I didn't make out so well, probably because I haven't been to the climbing wall in months. In fact, I think the last time I climbed was in May.

So anyway, I made two grunting attempts at the ceiling resulting in my first two lead falls ever which despite my yelping wasn't so bad. I was more annoyed than anything as I'd gotten over with no real issue last time.

After two attempts I was pretty drained which put us in a bit of predicament as Jordan doesn't lead trad routes yet. Luckily some two nice gents had come up right behind us and were happy to trail our rope up and belay us as we simul-climbed the last pitch. I snapped a few pictures of their ascent.

Once back down we top-roped Hurdie Gurdie which was fun and sapped the last of our energies leaving me with forearms that are still sore two days later.

September 20, 2005 04:50 PM | comment

An update and some new galleries

I've reworked some of the internals of the site recently as well as adding two new galleries, the first from a trip to Brazil in June for a percussion workshop and the second from a trip to England and Scotland for a wedding.

I haven't finished updating the site fully yet so some of the older galleries won't look so hot... ah but who looks at 'em anyway?

September 12, 2005 01:35 PM | 4 comments