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CaliforniaClimber

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DESTINATIONS 22/PROMONTORY 38/BURST ROCK 54/BAY AREA


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CaliforniaClimber

CALIFORNIACLIMBERMAGAZINE.COM

NO. 14 FALL 2015

DEPARTMENTS 08/EDITOR’S NOTE 12/ROUTE OF THE SEASON 14/STAND BY YOUR VAN 16/PRODUCTS

FEATURES 22/PROMONTORY 38/BURST ROCK 54/BAY AREA

4 | FALL 2015

ON THE COVER

Kyle Queener tackles the second pitch of Sunburst (5.10d). IMAGE + DEAN FLEMING THIS PAGE

Nic Sabo works the second pitch (5.13c) of Blackbeard’s Tears, Promontory. IMAGE + DEAN FLEMING


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CaliforniaClimber

Meg Gallagher on the Gerstle Cove Roof (V4), Salt Point.

CALIFORNIACLIMBERMAGAZINE.COM

PUBLISHER Dean Fleming ART DIRECTOR Alton Richardson SENIOR CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Jerry Dodrill, Jim Thornburg SENIOR CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Fitz Cahall, James Lucas CONTRIBUTORS Charlie Barrett, Jim Thornburg, Ken Etzel, Matthias Holliday, Dean Fleming, Matt Delheimer, Dennis Baumsteiger CALIFORNIA CLIMBER 22502 Colorado River Dr. Sonora, Ca 93570 Phone: (209) 768-0110 Email: climb108@yahoo.com

JIM THORNBURG

MOST, IF NOT ALL OF THE ACTIVITIES DEPICTED HEREIN CARRY AND PRESENT SIGNIFICANT RISKS OF PERSNAL INJURY OR DEATH. Rock climbing, bouldering, ice climbing, moutaineering, alpine climbing and any other outdoor activity are inherently dangerous. The owners, staff and managment of California Climber do not recomend that anyone partcipate in these activities unless they are an expert or accompanied by an expert. Please seek qualified professional instruction and/or guidance. Understanding the risks involved are necesassary and be prepared to assume all responisbilty associated with those risks.

w i n p r i z e s !!!

show us your rack!

win prizesjet pack rope bag web-o-lette urban haul bag california roll one night stand (to name a few)

post a portrait to our facebook page, like us & share (ask your friends to do the same). Each month the photo with the most “likes” (votes) will be awarded a prize - from the Mountain Tools Collection! It’s easy and fun... join in - be a winner! www.MountainTools.com 800 5.10 -2- 5.14


EDITOR’S NOTE AFTER WADING ACROSS a small perennial stream that bisects a black-sand beach in the far northeast county of Del Norte, we rock-hopped and splashed our flip-flops through tide pools as we made our way closer to the crag. Just a few hundred yards from the road, a massive wave of Tafoni sandstone was barely visible through a thick bank of North Coast fog. I had been living in the small town of Arcata for about two years at this point, and although we’d visited nearly every other major crag in the region by that time, Promontory was still on our tick list. I’d heard stories from trusted friends like Charlie Barrett and Chris Summit that this hunk of pocketed sandstone held some of the best sport climbing in California, but I’d also heard a few stories about loose rock, sandy holds and bolts that seemed dangerously rusted in the late 1990s and were yet to be replaced. But we were bored. The kind of bored you succumb to after sweeping 100 miles of coastline for solid boulders. So we moved through the tide pools, flipping over small stones to uncover starfish and crabs, on our way to the mythical cliff called Promontory. On my first visit to Promontory I climbed one route. The warm-up. On toprope. I pulled off a hunk of rock the size of a softball that smashed into my face so hard it broke my glasses and then fell to the ground in two

pieces. As I hung from the rope, one thought ran through my mind: Are these anchors going to hold my body weight? Luckily, a few years prior, longtime local climber and route developer Tom Ogden had come to Promontory and replaced some of the anchors on the popular routes with glue-in bolts. I spent the rest of the day exploring the three massive boulders below the Main Wall and photographed friends as they lapped the warm-ups and bravely ventured up a balancey slab past bolts with mushrooms of rust so large the hangers were barely clippable. On the drive home we chatted about the dangerous nature of the bolts and a bit about the loose rock, but mostly we were psyched to return. Promontory pulled us in that day; something only a crag with obvious, soaring lines of perfect holds can accomplish. A winter passed, then a year, and we still hadn’t braved a second visit to Promontory. Once in a while we’d talk about how amazing a few of the lines looked and how if the crag got a bit of a facelift we’d be psyched to project a few of the harder routes. Then I received an email from local climber and route developer Matt Delheimer who had recently torn a ligament in his wrist and was unable to climb for the next eight months. Delheimer was eager to organize a rebolting effort out at Promontory. Needless to say, everyone was on board for the project. A short letter to Greg Barnes at the American Safe Climbing Association (ASCA) was quickly answered with a large box of titanium glue-in bolts, drill bits, glue-guns and patching material. <~~~> OVER THE NEXT SIX MONTHS local climbers Taylor Morrow, Dennis Baumsteiger, Tom Ogden and Matt Delheimer replaced all of the rusting five-piece bolts at Promontory with fat titanium glue-ins. A handful of the routes at Promontory had originally been established using removable bolts, so the crew went to work retrofitting these climbs with brand-new hardware. After cleaning up the established lines at Promontory, these local climbers were so psyched on the location that they purchased a large number of bolts with their own hard-earned cash to establish more than a handful of first ascents. “The motivation to do the work came pretty easy,” said Delheimer, “especially after getting the hardware donated from the ASCA. Most of the established routes were pretty scary in their current condition, so every route we rebolted just meant that we had another route to climb. Plus,


EDITOR’S NOTE

the setting at Promontory is pretty spectacular. On some of the routes, the waves are breaking just a few feet away, and on any given day you might see whales, dolphins, seals or otters. Just having the opportunity to climb in such an amazing place was motivation in itself. Seeing how stoked other people were to be able to climb there again didn’t hurt either. Everyone that we’ve run into out there, including locals and travelers, has been really appreciative of the effort.” Today, Promontory hosts more than 30 routes from 5.7 to 5.13+ with safe lead and anchor bolts. On most weekends, groups of climbers from North Coast towns like Crescent City, Arcata and Eureka can be found enjoying the routes, a process that has cleaned much of the loose rock and swept the holds clean of the fine-grained sand that covers the pockets and edges when the climbs sit dormant. <~~~> THE SMALL TOWNS THAT LIE in the northern reaches of the California coast have always fostered tight-knit climbing communities that welcome new faces to join

DENNIS BAUMSTEIGER

LEFT TO RIGHT Dennis Baumsteiger, Matt Delheimer and Taylor Morrow; the driving force behind the recent Promontory rebolting effort.

in on the adventures of exploring this region’s small but incredible crags. What this group lacks in numbers it has easily compensated for with hard work and unprecedented perseverance. To see what California’s smallest communities can restore and create will hopefully bring a new level of enthusiasm for restoration, preservation and environmental protection projects at crags across the Golden State. This season we are proud to honor the efforts of these individuals and the adventurous spirits that came before them, and to celebrate the fantastic climbs that this longstanding community has pioneered and restored. For more images and information on Promontory, check out “History in the Making” on page 22. You can also find a wealth of information about replacing bolts in your neck of the woods by visiting the American Safe Climbing Association’s website: safeclimbing.org. —DEAN FLEMING


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Brian Russell climbing Candyland (5.10c), Phantom Spires.

12 | FALL 2015


ROUTE OF THE SEASON WORDS + CHARLIE BARRETT / IMAGE + KEN ETZEL

FIRST ASCENT Eric Barrett, R. Orevitz and John Bowlin – 1977

BETA ROUTE

GRADE

Candyland

LENGTH

5.10c

80 feet

ROCK TYPE

STYLE

RACK

Granite

Traditional

Gear to 2”, long slings for knob tie-offs

LOCATION

APPROACH

DESCENT

Phantom Spires, Lake Tahoe

15 min.

Bolted anchor, lower or rappel

SEASON

Fall to spring

GUIDEBOOK Rock Climbing Lake Tahoe, by Mike Carville, & South Lake Tahoe Climbing, by Chris McNamara

DESCRIPTION

t

DRIVING THE SCENIC, PINE TREE–COVERED U.S. Highway 50 just west of Lake Tahoe, any climber will notice the cluster of tall, striking granite spires sitting on the hill north of the road. This area is known as Phantom Spires, a crag made famous by the incredible route Candyland (5.10c). Candyland is a traditional testpiece that soars up the west face of Middle Spire and is hailed as one of the best lines in the Tahoe region. The first half of the route involves 5.10 climbing on huge basketball-size knobs that lead to a cruxy, 5.10c thin finger crack on an impressive headwall. When you walk up to the wall, your first thought might be along the lines of: “Where are the bolts on

the first half of the climb?” The first 45 feet of the route is a clean wall with humongous diorite knobs that you sling for protection. Although this might seem a bit scary and unfamiliar, this style of protection is very unique and can be very safe; just don’t forget a few double-length runners to sling the giant knobs and a few micro-cams and stoppers for the headwall crack. Also not to be missed on Middle Spire is a really fun 5.7 called Over Easy which can serve as a great warm-up for Candyland. On Over Easy, you will encounter a wild roof about halfway up that is also climbed on the ubiquitous huge knobs that makes the climbing at Phantom Spires ridiculously fun and truly one of a kind.

CALIFORNIACLIMBERMAGAZINE.COM | 13


STAND BY YOUR VAN

IMAGE + JERRY DODRILL

“GLADYS”

Jerry and Arienne Dodrill and their 1995 Chevy G20 Gladiator Conversion CC: Where did you find Gladys and how much did she cost you? JD: Gladys’ first owner was Elmer Kelln, my wife Arienne’s grandfather. He bought her for $19,995 in 1995 and took her on many road trips with various grandchildren from Southern California across the country, up to Canada and all over Alaska. Arienne and I borrowed Gladys for several anniversary road trips around the Southwest before Elmer turned 85 and felt like he was too old to keep driving her. He wanted to give the van to us but didn’t think it would be fair to the other grandkids. “I’ll sell it to you for a dollar. Now, we don’t have to tell anyone how much you paid for it,” he told us with a smile. What modifications have you done? The van was converted to a family traveler by the company Glaval. It came all pimped out with blue velour fabric, oak trim, reading lights and running boards. Elmer had built a portable kitchen pantry kit inside the back doors, and it was pretty much ready to go. We haven’t gotten around to ripping out the couch/bed and putting in a bigger one, but that and adding solar power are on top of the list. I travel a lot for my photography work and need to be able to run power for my laptop. How’s the gas mileage? The gas mileage isn’t too terrible for a heavy V8. She runs about 12 to 15 miles per gallon on road trips. This is always a consideration for us though, as we have a couple other cars that get much better mileage. It’s tempting to take the econo car on trips, but it’s just not the same as bringing your home with you. And our dog thinks Gladys is her own super-deluxe mobile dog house. How does she do off-road? She’s not really made for four-wheeling but

14 | FALL 2015

has spent a lot of time on dirt roads that were a bit questionable. Washboard is her bane, but so far the worst thing we’ve encountered is thick red mud near Arizona’s Buckskin Gulch. We drove out there after a snowstorm a few years ago and nearly slid off a cliff when the tires caked with clay and became useless. We waited on the edge of an abyss for about five hours until the sun dried out the road enough for us to continue. You’re the first people we’ve met that live in your van, inside of a house... How did that happen? It wasn’t exactly planned. In January our previous landlord gave us a letter asking us to move out of our home of 7.5 years within 60 days. We started looking but realized that most of the small rural cottages here in Sonoma County had turned into Airbnb Wine Country cash cows. Just when we thought we would give up and move to Reno, we found this really rough but huge space that we could live in and work. The rent was reasonable, but we’d have to do a ton of work before it was livable. We planned to drive the van into the studio and live inside it while we fixed up the rest of the house. The bathroom was completely ripped out so we hooked up a hose to the water heater and built a porch shower. The neighbor lady let us use her toilet, and we set to work fixing the place up. It felt pretty deluxe to us to have power, Wifi and a place to park. The renovations started in April just before I took off on a whole string of photo workshops across the West. I’d come home between trips and have like two to three days to fill print orders and do runs to Home Depot before setting off again. Arienne managed the whole project and worked her ass off while I was traveling. She and Poppy, our dog, had a great attitude about the whole thing, even though it took months longer than expected. It’s only just now that we have gotten the whole place dialed, and the van is still right here in the studio. What was the longest road trip you’ve been on with Gladys? Gladys has been all over the West, back and forth across Canada, to British Columbia several times, crisscrossed the Southwest and Rocky Mountain states. The longest continuous van trip we’ve done is about a month as we photographed all over the Southwest and explored remote limestone locations in Nevada last winter. On that trip Gladys was serviced at a local shop just before we left. Unbeknownst to us, they messed up the wiring and she was going dead if we left her parked for a few days or left the lights on for very long at night. We were camping at a remote spot outside Zion and had my motorcycle along on a hitch-mount rack. It was a beautiful evening under the stars, but in the morning the van was completely dead. We didn’t have a power pack to jump her with, and there was no one around for miles. I took the motorcycle off the back and thought I’d ride off to get cell service and call AAA. Just before I left I thought, “I wonder if I could jump-start it with the bike?” It took a little while, but sure enough the van turned over and we were off to Nevada! Whew. What are a few things you’ve done or added to Gladys to make life a little easier? There are a few little things we’ve enjoyed that make van life sweet. You have to have a good wet bar, funky sunglasses and a couple sets of solar Christmas lights for an awesome lounge vibe on stormy nights. We’ve looked at all kinds of vans and sweet rides as we’ve traveled. It’s easy to get van envy when you see decked-out Sprinter vans and Sportsmobiles. I’m happy for the folks who have those, but we’re pretty happy to keep Gladys in the family.


top: S d n o c e S

Sacramento

s k r o w e p Pi

Inspiring your next California Road Trip. # touchstoneclimbing


REVIEW FALL PRODUCTS

ASANA POSSE PACK { $65 }

O

ur testers sure know how to beat the crap out of a backpack, and last season we had the distinct honor of trying to destroy the new Asana Posse Pack, a bag custom designed by Asana to handle all the rigors of climbing team activities, including traveling, training and serious outdoor bouldering. To our pleasure, the 1,000-denier nylon and super-durable zippers of the Posse Pack held up to a lot of abuse. In fact, the new design sports a larger cubic volume and a unique zipper and buckle closure system for easy packing and carrying, and our testers noted that the dual closure system of the bag helped to relieve almost all of the pressure that would normally occur in high stress areas created by traditional zipper closures. When stuffed full to the brim with a rack, draws and a 12-pack of Miller (yes, this bag can carry that much crap), there is still almost no pressure applied to the zipper portion of the closure system. Although the Posse Pack is not specifically designed for really technical outdoor use and long approaches with heavy loads, we felt that the bag could easily handle this task if it included a small additional chest strap to help distribute some weight. As a bag to dump clothes, shoes, chalk and a million other knickknacks, the bag performed like a champion. The Posse Pack’s tuck-away shoulder straps, interior zip pockets and heavy-duty side carry handle make it the perfect bag to drag onto an airplane or pack clothes or personal items for a quick overnight trip, but the bag also performs exceptionally well as an outdoor workhorse to haul shoes, chalk, food, a jacket and some beer for a long day at the boulders.

TRANGO ANTIDOTE { $34 }

T

here’s not much to a rope bag. It’s a sack with a tarp attached to it. At least that’s what a good rope bag should trick you into believing. If it’s really that simple, why do so many rope bags feel like they weigh more than your rope? And they don’t fit into your backpack? And they take an engineering degree to pack and close? Maybe it’s because in the eyes of many manufacturing companies, rope bags in general are an afterthought. The bottom line: For the most part, rope bags suck. But they do save your rope from collecting tons of dust and debris, and if the product is designed correctly, a rope bag can also reduce rope tangling and eliminate the time-consuming process of flaking and coiling over and over. Thankfully, Trango’s new Antidote Rope Bag solves all these problems and then some. The Antidote Rope Bag sports some novel features, like a tarp window that shows you what rope you’ve stored in the bag, green and red tie-off loops that indicate the top and bottom of the rope and two padded, removable shoulder straps that allow the bag to be carried as a backpack or over the shoulder. While those features are great, our testers really fell in love with this bag’s ease of use and slim packing size. With an oversized tarp that provides ample room for rope management and a clean place to throw your rack, it was truly surprising to find that the Antidote can be packed down quickly and simply and seems to take up very little room in a standard-size crag pack. When a rope bag functions this well, you start to forget that it’s even a part of your daily cragging kit. The Antidote performed this truly subtle task perfectly, and for that, all of our testers gave it a strong stamp of approval.

16 | FALL 2015


Ethan Pringle on Jumbo Love, 5.15b, CA. P: Spenser Tang-Smith

ethan pringle Jumbo Love, 5.15b

Tarifa

The Tarifa is a powerhouse of performance thanks to the new RB Range X technology (Maximum Range of Response and Balance). The RB Range X system creates a dynamic response and provides unparalleled balance in the shoe, making climbing feel both easier and more intuitive. As with all Tenaya shoes, the comfort and quality are unrivaled.

Distributed by Trango | info@trango.com | www.trango.com


REVIEW FALL PRODUCTS

METOLIUS HALF DOME { $219 }

T

he contributors to this review have been using the Metolius Half Dome Haul Bag for more than 10 years. After a half-dozen seasons of guiding, new-routing and countless big wall ascents, it’s fair to say that the Half Dome has stood the test of time. Metolius constructed this durable sack with super-burly materials and double-stitched, webbing-reinforced seams, and the closure system (similar to a river bag) includes incredibly strong, custom aluminum buckles. Although the Half Dome is arguably the most durable haulbag on the market, it is this bag’s size and shape that continue to make it a favorite among wall rats and guides throughout the country. Checking in at 7,600 cubic inches (125 liters), the Half Dome is the perfect size bag for a party of two to complete a smaller wall like the bag’s namesake Half Dome, Mount Watkins or a few of the more difficult routes on Washington Column. For larger walls like El Cap, the Half Dome performs really nicely as a personal haulbag or as the main team bag when a smaller secondary bag is included in the haul. The Half Dome also functions well for huge missions into the backcountry, or as an “everything bag” for road trips, and it works especially well as an oversized carry system for guiding. At the end of a long day, the Half Dome stands upright and allows you to shove everything in sight into the bag so you can boogie home before the sun goes down. This bag is a little on the pricey side, but if you only plan to purchase one haulbag for the rest of your climbing career, the Half Dome should be high on bucket list.

BLACK DIAMOND BULLET 16 { $54.95 }

L

eading a hard pitch with a backpack on is usually about as fun as swimming laps wearing a wool sweater. Yet from time to time you do need to drag some junk up big routes. And you don’t want to be that person with a rain jacket, water bottle and shoes for the descent clanging around all over your harness and getting stuck in your rack. And what about those little knickknacks like headlamps, bars and topos that, when stuffed into your pants pockets, restrict mobility and feel like Chinese torture devices on your thighs when you’re wiggling up a chimney? If you’re planning on doing some long routes in the Sierra, or a few grade IV routes in the Valley, it might be time to think about picking up a backpack that is actually designed for climbing. If you’ve heard that the Black Diamond Bullet 16 is the best bag for the job, you’ve heard correctly. The Black Diamond Bullet was designed and released in the mid-1990s with a slightly larger carrying capacity than we see today with the BD Bullet 16. Intended specifically as a climbing bag that can be comfortably worn by the leader on technical terrain, the Bullet has undergone years of improvements to reach the ergonomically designed bag available today. One of the Bullet’s best features is the easy access system to small items like snacks, sunscreen, headlamps and topos on the outside, with a zippered mesh pouch on the inside so when you try to reach in for larger items the smaller things don’t fly out of the bag. This bag also includes an easy-to-remove webbing waistbelt, a hydration system, a removable foam backpanel and tuck-away shoulder straps. The Bullet 16 is really awesome for carrying extras, but let us remember that the main goal is always to be safe and have fun while actually climbing. Thankfully, this pack’s streamlined shell and low profile make sure you won’t be cursing the manufacturer if you find yourself squeezing through a chimney or balancing up a delicate slab.

18 | FALL 2015


METEOR

Photo Š www.kalice.fr

Artfully engineered to take (and make) an impact.

Lightweight, breathable climbing and mountaineering helmet Light on the head and very airy thanks to generous ventilation, the new METEOR helmet offers exceptional comfort and protection for rock, ice, and alpine use. The simple adjustment system and magnetic chinstrap buckle offer unparalleled ease of use. Available in two sizes, to fit a wide array of users.


Austin Schuler makes the second ascent of Doggy Style (5.13b) at Promontory.


HISTORY IN THE MAKING REVITALIZING THE NORTH COAST’S BEST SPORT CLIMBS WORDS & IMAGES + DEAN FLEMING

DISCOVERY IN 1986 we had been up in the Trinity’s climbing new routes on terrific granite, but we’d gotten way too much sun and were seeking out cliffs that were bathed in the cool foggy mist of the coast. Richard Ludwig, Dan Hatfield, Doug LaFarge and Tim Wilhelmi were all psyched on the new route potential at Patrick’s Point, but I was never too thrilled with Greenstone, and I had my fill of fear of falling after leading California Coast (A2+). So I drove farther north and had some nice solo time bouldering a couple days at Lost Rocks, which back then was a super-coveted secret bouldering paradise for locals only. I ended up passing the Trees of Mystery, and when Highway 101 reached the coast, I pulled into the parking lot and there it was. Of course, as I got ready and changed into my reconnaissance outfit inside my 1968 Chevy Sport Van 108 (aka home), I was very hopeful it’d be Greywacke worthy, but I wasn’t sure. I started off up the beach to the cliff in the distance, and when I forded Wilson Creek to get closer, my heart rate quickened. It was bigger than it looked

from the road. And then I stepped out of the drifting mist into the shelter of the Main Wall’s overhang. I ran back and forth, encircling the big boulders at the base of the cliff, craning my neck to identify features, squinting at the brightening halo in the wet sky and scoping potential lines. Because of the variety of climbable features of pockets, edges, accompanying boulders and most notably, a prominent black, wet, overhanging crack, I knew it was a special spot, deciding then and there that this would be where I would focus my first ascent energies. The following day when I rounded the edge of the cliff, dropped my pack at the base of the crack, scrambled up the Puff Boulder and again saw the huge potential of the Main Wall, I looked out over the sparkling sea and reveled in the scream of the seagulls and the thud of the percussion of water against the land… Farther up loomed the North and South Steps of Footsteps, and again, I felt this stretch of coastline was the place. Because of its protrusion into the Pacific, I called it The Promontory. – MATTHIAS HOLLADAY


SUMMER 20152015 24 | FALL


BLACKBEARD’S TEARS (P1 5.11, P2 5.13c, P3 A3) ABOUT THE ROUTE

Using ground-up solo aid climbing tactics, Matthias Holladay managed the first ascent of Blackbeard’s Tears (5.11- A3) in 1986. The 150-foot-tall laser-cut crack splits an overhanging black streak to the top of Promontory’s main formation. Free climbing the link-up of the second and third pitches to top out the cliff remains an open project. This monster pitch of hard, technical cracks and edges is likely among the most striking and difficult unclimbed, naturally protected routes on the West Coast. “I attempted to enlist help in climbing the crack I’d seen, but again everyone was either too busy or interested in cliffs they’d already seen,” said Holladay. “All except Marc ‘Petch’ Petrolingo who said he’d go, but was busy for a few days. Since I’d found the place and spilled the beans about how incredible it was—and wanted the first ascent of that crack—I drove up there the next day, a lovely foggy morning, and prepared my aid gear for the stroll back up the beach to the awaiting crack.” “While sitting atop the Puff Boulder, getting in the right frame of mind to solo the crack opposite me, I scoped the crack to determine which pins, wires, hexes and cams to bring; I was happy to see great protection at the start of the crack for my anchor,” said Holladay. “Once I got

BOTH IMAGES Local climber Nic Sabo takes a redpoint burn on the second pitch (5.13c) of Blackbeard’s Tears.

started that first day, I don’t recall anything too sketchy. Good wires, perhaps an angle or two, and then I got to a chockstone below the roof. I girth-hitched it, backed it up and rapped off. That night I slept in my van in the parking lot.” “The next day I jugged up the line I’d left and soloed the rest of the route,” said Holladay. “Negotiating the breaking waves was wild! I was, and still am, astounded at the position on this section of the route. Above this difficult section, I recall thin wires, knifeblades, maybe a couple moves past stacked knifeblades, a bigger piece here and there and then topping out to poison oak. I pulled my way up branches of bushes. I thrashed my way back to the ground, reclined against my empty pack under the route and with satisfaction gazed at the line. That night, I drove back to Arcata to exuberantly announce the route to my peers.”

CALIFORNIACLIMBERMAGAZINE.COM | 25


HUMBOLDT CURRENT (5.10a)

ABOUT THE ROUTE

Shortly after the first ascent of Blackbeard’s Tears, Matthias Holladay added a handful of bolt-protected face climbs like Humboldt Current (5.10a), Ride the Woody (5.10c), Exploding Energy Shard (5.7), Clicking Barnacles (5.8) and the Holladay-Ludwig (5.4) to Promontory’s Main Wall and the surrounding sandstone blocks closer to the Pacific. With good holds, big moves and steep, clean falls, Humboldt Current remains the most popular warm-up at the crag. “Once they saw my developed pictures of Blackbeard’s Tears, Tim Wilhelmi and Richard Ludwig wanted to go do new routes as well,” said Holladay. “When the three of us got there, they went ape-crazy, running around, exclaiming in amazement. Once we all calmed down a bit, I offered to lead a route that seemed manageable for my gymnastic abilities: a triangle-shaped line of pockets at the left end of the Main Wall. Since I had experience hooking in the Valley, I felt fine figuring out the moves, finding good hook placements and stances to clip bolts and hauling up the drill for the first ascent.”

26| FALL 2015

THIS PAGE Matt Delheimer warming up on Humboldt Current (5.10a). Delheimer has been a huge force in the organization and execution of the Promontory rebolting effort. Delheimer also added a number of high-quality new routes to the area, including Scurvy (5.11b), Shipwreck (5.10a), Blowhole (5.7), Poop Deck (5.9), Walk the Plank (5.11a), Man the Cannons (5.10d) and Gnarwhal (5.11c). OPPOSITE PAGE Dennis Baumsteiger takes a lap on Humboldt Current (5.10a). After putting in countless hours to replace Promontory’s aging anchor bolts, Baumsteiger established the first ascent of Batten the Hatches (5.11b).


CALIFORNIACLIMBERMAGAZINE.COM | 27


SUMMER 20152015 28| FALL


REALITY CHECK (5.12b/c)

ABOUT THE ROUTE

Soon after Promontoryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s initial visits, Humboldt route developers and soon-to-be guidebook authors Eric Chemello and Paul Humphrey began to visit the area in search of new sport climbing potential. On the Main Wall, the duo bolted and redpointed the thin seam of Redwood Burl (5.13a) (which was originally established by Matthias Holladay and Marc Petrolingo using a mix of ground-up free and aid techniques) and then added other classic sport climbs like Scared Straight (5.12d), Pulling Teeth (5.12a) and Reality Check (5.12b/c). By the mid-1990s these climbers had established a stack of new climbs on the Main Wall and at Promontoryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s three adjacent sandstone boulders. Reality Check (5.12b/c) was originally established using removable bolts, but with new technology and help from the American Safe Climbing Association, Taylor Morrow and Matt Delheimer recently filled these removable bolt holes with titanium glue-in bolts. Today Reality Check is among the most popular climbs of its grade at Promontory, featuring a great warm-up section of 5.10 climbing past the first three bolts into a cryptic crux sequence with good clipping stances.

BOTH IMAGES Local climber Taylor Morrow is an area route developer and a huge contributor to the Promontory rebolting effort. Pictured on both pages, Morrow fights the crux moves of Reality Check (5.12b/c).

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GREAT WHITE (5.12b/c)

THIS PAGE Austin Schuler onsighting Great White (5.12b/c). OPPOSITE PAGE Heidi Wirtz onsighting Great White (5.12b/c).

ABOUT THE ROUTE

Richard Ludwig, Tim Wilhelmi and Matthias Holladay continued to explore the vast potential for bolted free climbing on Promontory’s Main Wall. “Tim Wilhelmi was inspired by my style on Humboldt Current (5.10a) and wanted to do the same on a nice line of pockets left of a ramp [Redwood Burl (5.13a)],” said Holladay. “I didn’t see much to hang on, but regardless, he went up some really thin moves, got a hook on something, hung for a bit and popped off, landing awkwardly but uninjured. He was a volatile climber back then, cursing and pounding the rock.” “We were using Tim’s drill, so when things were calmer, I offered to go to the top and set an anchor above our selected line, whereupon I’d rap down, hang in space across from a ledge above the line of pockets and they,

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with their combined strength, would swing me into the ledge, where I would toss out my daisy chain festooned with a variety of hooks and different sling lengths,” said Holladay. “This proposal was met with agreement, and so again I thrashed through vegetation and through yells— ’Farther left!’ and ‘Right 10 feet!’—until I found the spot. It worked! After three swings in and then back out, I had reached the perfect arc and was able to toss a hook onto a mini-jug just out of reach. It stuck, and I pulled myself in. After drilling an anchor, setting up a toprope and rapping off, we worked the moves, wire-brushing off holds and snapping friable pinches and chips.”


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PLAGUE OF FLIES (5.7)

THIS PAGE Haley McSweeney on Plague of Flies (5.7). OPPOSITE PAGE Megan Riley on Plague of Flies (5.7).

ABOUT THE ROUTE

Paul Humphrey was one of the most prolific route developers and route documentarians in North Coast climbing history. With Eric Chemello, Humphrey released Bigfoot Country Climbing, a self-published, comprehensive guidebook to Humboldt and Del Norte counties. Another Paul Humphrey classic, Plague of Flies (5.7) climbs a 60-foot-tall slightly under-vertical sheet of excellent sandstone that features perfectly sculpted in-cut crimps, pockets, dime edges and jugs in a spectacular position. The belay for the route is situated on a few boulders just a few feet from the Pacific Ocean, making the climb particularly tide-dependent as ocean spray can reach past the first two bolts at high tide. Although the route still retains an adventurous feel, the removable bolt holes this climb originally used for protection have been filled with titanium glue-in bolts, making Plague of Flies a safe lead for novice climbers and a great outing for anyone seeking unparalleled solitary and scenic climbing.

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DOGGY STYLE (5.13b)

ABOUT THE ROUTE

Longtime Humboldt County climber and route developer Eric Chemello established a handful of classic sport climbs on Promontoryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Main Wall, including Scared Straight (5.12d) and Pulling Teeth (5.12a), but Chemello also established a project he called Doggy Style on the Puff Boulder: an enormous block of featured sandstone with an incredibly steep, west-facing wall that hangs over the Pacific Ocean. Chemello used removable bolt placements to work the moves on Doggy Style and redpointed the route up to a large undercling just below the anchors. After the removable bolt holes were filled with glue-in bolts by Taylor Morrow and Matt Delheimer, these climbers also relocated the anchor bolts to a more logical position so they could be clipped from the large undercling that Chemello stopped at years before. After the bolt replacement and anchor relocation, local crusher Austin Schuler redpointed the route for its second ascent.

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Local climber Austin Schuler making the second ascent of Doggy Style (5.13b).


THE BETA GETTING THERE Promontory is located on the northern banks of False Klamath Cove on Californiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Highway 101 in Del Norte County. From the town of Arcata, drive north on Highway 101 for 62 miles. Just north of Wilson Creek Road and before a small bridge, turn left into a large paved parking lot that abuts the Pacific Ocean. From here, hike north across the beach (wading across Wilson Creek may be necessary) until you reach the obvious bluff of sandstone rocks. WHERE TO STAY Free camping in this region is tough, but there are really nice established sites at Klamath River RV Park for $20 per night. A small store that sells some basic food and firewood adds a convenient touch. GUIDEBOOK Bigfoot Country Climbing, by Eric Chemello and Paul Humphrey, is the most current guidebook to the region. Additional route information can be found online at mountainproject.com. The recently renovated Arcata climbing gym Far North is a great place to spend a rest day or meet some local climbing partners.

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Julia MacKenzie climbing Shrapnel (5.11d).

5-STAR ROUTES Plague of Flies (5.7) Humboldt Current (5.10a) Blackbeardâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Tears (5.11, 5.13c, A2) Great White (5.12b/c) Redwood Burl (5.13a)


Far North climbing Gym

Humboldt Countyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Premiere indoor climbing center

1065 K St, Arcata, CA 707-826-9558

Images + Dean Fleming


A

BURST OF

BRILLIANCE WORDS & IMAGES + DEAN FLEMING


Austin Schuler on the Southwest Arete (V2R) of the Tom Boulder.


THIS PAGE Micha Miller on Mousetrap Arete (5.10b). OPPOSITE PAGE Kyle Queener heads up Dreadnought (5.10b), an incredibly clean arête with safe clipping stances.

T

he sun dipped behind a large buttress to the west as I kept an attentive belay on James, who had just surmounted a steep bulge of black rock covered in large feldspar knobs. Earlier in the day we leapfrogged or “yo-yoed” up the featured face climbing below, taking turns on the sharp end. Along the way we snuck a few tiny cams and knife blade pitons into small seams and horizontal cracks between the good bolting stances. James appeared to be in a comfortable position when he yelled down to terra firma his usual “I’m good;” a simple way of communicating that he was ready for me to attach the bolting kit to our 7mm haul line. I pushed three feet of slack through the belay device so I could reach the bolt kit. I was fumbling with drill bits and wrenches when I heard the tale-tale jingle of climbing gear and the sound of shoes sliding down the rock. As I braced to catch the fall I heard a loud “ping!” and watched as a knife blade pin ripped out of the crack. The rope slacked once again and James cart wheeled down the slab. <~~~> High in the Central Sierra we toed the line of Tuolumne County’s Emigrant Wilderness as we hiked heavy loads across the top of a scenic ridgeline. Below us, a band of wonderfully featured and colorful alpine granite buttresses stood sentinel to

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a vast expanse of domes and river valleys stretching far to the northwest. When we reached the base of the wall we scattered our rack and bolting gear across a huge smooth slab and then played a quick game of rock-paper-scissors for the first lead. James belayed as I carefully negotiated an easy 20 foot traverse across a black-streaked ramp covered in sizable feldspar knobs. At the end of the traverse I reached the bolt we had placed in spring from the comfort of a large snow slope. The base of Burst Rock’s many north-facing walls hold snow into early June, and with proper scouting these snow banks create convenient forms of aid for placing the first bolts on new projects. By mid July the snow recedes and the long summer days are perfect for exploring the new route potential at Burst Rock’s most remote cliffs; including an aptly named sheet of granite on the far eastern rim called Green Lichen Slabs. I looked above the first bolt toward the obvious line of bright green lichen. The rock shone with golden knobs and large black diorite blobs; an amazing stretch of clean face climbing that continued unbroken for 30 meters. The wall appeared to host ample stances for drilling so we decided to continue the route in ground-up style. Drilling an abundance of 3/8” holes with our rudimentary hand drill would be time consuming, but we hoped to reach the large belay ledge before dusk. I climbed beyond the first bolt and found a small stance to drill the second bolt. As I began the painstaking process, I recalled my first trip to the slabs, and how much simpler it had been. I thought about that long, sunny, summer afternoon two years prior, when local Tuolumne County climber Daniel Forbes and I walked past Burst Rock’s popular North Face to reach the summit of Green Lichen Slabs; a 400 foot tall block of granite that had been previously ignored by area route developers. We dropped our bags at the summit and quickly skirted a large buttress to reach the base of the wall. Without the use of bolts or pitons, we climbed in ground-up style and onsighted the first ascent of a three pitch plumb line that ascends the steepest headwall above the 30 meter green streaked slab. After a wild last pitch with three small roofs split by a perfect hand crack, we topped out directly at the backpacks we had stashed on the summit. Now, two years later and with nearly 30 routes redpointed at the new cliff, James and I were set on finishing the last few pitches; a series of large black water streaks at the steepest part of the slab.


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THIS PAGE LEFT Jessica Strickland climbing Jemstone (intentional spelling) (5.9), at Green Lichen Slabs.

A

fter establishing the first climbing routes at Burst Rock’s Green Lichen Slabs in 2008, our very small group of local climbers spent the following three summer seasons ticking off the area’s obvious cracks and featured faces. A larger group could have easily climbed-out this small crag in one season, but the community in Tuolumne County has always been small, and with the only access to Burst Rock available in summer and fall, we were forced to compensate with psyche, experience, creativity and hard work. The Tuolumne County region fosters a very small climbing community, yet for some unknown reason, the few climbers who call the Sonora Pass Highway home have a wealth of experience and knowledge that could easily match or exceed that of the crotchety silverbacks that live in North America’s more populated outdoor hubs. Many of the earliest known technical climbing routes at Burst Rock were established at the North Face, Green Acres and Baffin Island areas in the early to mid 1990s by Tuolumne County residents Grant Hiskes, Phil Bone, David Clay, David Yerian, Craig Comstock, John Williams, Ken Yager, Ed Noerdinger, Hope Wolf, Brad Young and Jim Lundeen. In the early 2000s prominent California climber Royal Robbins discovered the Gianelli Edges area at the western end of Burst Rock. Robbins, Tom Frost and many others applied their knowledge and skills to the development of some wonderful pitches on the scattered

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ABOVE Paul Barraza climbing Orange Julius (V8), one of the best problems in the Burst Rock talus field. OPPOSITE PAGE Kyle Queener and Luke Mast keep their eyes on the sky while rappelling from the second pitch of Sunburst (5.10d), at Burst Rock’s Northwest Face

bluffs at the Edges. Robbins even hosted a few American Alpine Club events at Burst Rock, where after a long day of cragging he would graciously invite the participants to a party at his cabin on nearby Pinecrest Lake. With a wealth of quality stone that is known for being incredibly solid, clean, varied in nature and heavily featured, route development at Burst Rock has continued well into the 2000s – especially at the Gianelli Edges, Mousetrap and Green Lichen Slabs areas. The style of climbing and ethics for route development at Burst range from bold ground-up ascents to rappel bolted sport climbs, but with the implementation of federal law in wilderness areas that bans the use of power drills, all of the established climbs in this area must be equipped with a hand drill. This regulation, and the fact that the face climbing at Burst lends itself to hook placements, excellent stances and interspersed natural protection, has allowed for many of the routes at the area to be established in ground-up style.


I

tapped in the bolt, tightened the nut to spec, gave the hanger three taps with the wrench for good luck, clipped it and lowered back to our messy base camp below Green Lichen Slabs. James shoed up quickly, slung the rack over his shoulder and clipped the tag line into his haul loop. The next stretch of climbing looked promising and included a delicate traverse into a thin seam in bullet hard green rock. The small crack eventually petered out below an intimidating black headwall covered in large knobs. At the end of the thin crack James made a few face moves before he pounded a short knife blade piton into another diagonal seam. The rock at Burst often yields perfect clean climbing protection, but even blank-looking face climbing sections are often fractured by microscopic splitters which allow for the smallest pitons to be placed. A trick used famously for ground up first ascents at Burst Rock, these pins can be used for immediate protection, then later removed and replaced with

bolts. After clipping the pin, James climbed steadily for 10 feet before hooking an in-cut feldspar knob. When he shifted his weight to relax his feet, the knob exploded.

face climbing at Burst lends itself to hook placements â&#x20AC;&#x201D; which has allowed for many of the routes at the area to be established in ground-up style The 30 foot-long cart wheeling slab fall that ensued probably should have shook James more than it did. He had some blood on his right hand from where he accidentally punched a knobby part of the rock, a pretty good sized gash on his left knee, and some decent road rash on his hip, but was otherwise unscathed. After a few minutes on the ground, he climbed through the section where the knob blew and placed the final protection bolt at the base of a bright golden headwall just below the large belay ledge that separates the cliff. CALIFORNIACLIMBERMAGAZINE.COM | 43


Luke Mast climbing Mousetrap Arete (5.10b), a three-star line that follows a striking finger crack to a heavily featured arĂŞte.


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OPPOSITE PAGE Kyle Queener on Claymation (5.10c), an absolutely stunning arching thin crack on Burst Rock’s North Face established by local climber David Clay. ABOVE Ryan Moon warms up in the Burst Rock talus field. THIS PAGE RIGHT Joshua Cripps launches into the steep face climbing section of The Wedding Gift (5.10a).

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rom nearly every elevated position high on Burst Rock’s steepest facets, one gains an incredible view of the massive talus field below the granite buttresses. This talus field is littered with house-sized boulders, and after a long day of toiling with ropes and gear, it’s hard not to daydream about drinking cold beer and wondering through the meadows with a crashpad. Climbers have been eyeing the enormous talus field below Burst Rock for decades, and many have explored the area’s most obvious lines, but it was local boulderer Anthony Allopenna who established the highest concentration of modern boulder problems in the late 2000s. Soon after Allopenna’s discovery of a world class 45 degree overhanging crimp problem he named Orange Julius (V8), he quickly recruited local climbers Lance Kimball, Daniel Forbes and Paul Behee to explore the farthest reaches of the Burst Rock talus field. This small local crew quickly established about 100 problems in the area. By the next season word spread to

the Bay Area and the majority of the classic lines at many different sectors were thoroughly scoured, scrubbed and sent. Because the talus field below Burst Rock is somewhat difficult to access and many of the boulders can be deceiving in stature and quality, psyche for climbing in the talus field has waned since Allopenna’s first discoveries. Never-the-less, it is obvious upon one’s first glance at this massive boulder field that there remains nearly a lifetime’s worth of potential ascents. <~~~> Under the watchful eye of Tuolumne County’s most experienced route developers, I placed my first protection bolts at Burst Rock at the age of 12. My initial experiences with rock climbing almost always involved the painstaking, boring or otherwise frightening process of equipping and cleaning first ascents with far more experienced partners. By the time I graduated high school I had helped established about 50 new climbs along the many crags that dot the Sonora Pass Highway. Eventually I went off on my own to explore new cliffs at the outskirts of the expansive bluff that makes up the Burst Rock area. CALIFORNIACLIMBERMAGAZINE.COM | 47


Ryan Curry seeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the light on The Vision (5.10c).

Sometimes I wonder how much more I might have achieved if I had been born in a town with a climbing gym. I think about the hard redpoints I might have completed at a young age if pure difficulty was my focus. But far more often, I think about what a privilege it was to rope-up at an early age with a group of individuals who value adventure, style, conservation and exploration above all else. And I think about how lucky I have been to have a resource like Burst Rock right here in my backyard; a place to explore upward at my own pace without a line of bolts or chalked-up holds guiding my path.

standing on friends shoulders. I know what a loose block looks like, and I know when to climb around it, or when to safely huck it into the void. I know how to find new routes and get to the top of them, because at Burst Rock, thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all we did. But with this freedom to explore comes great responsibility. The Sonora Pass region has taught me how to truly love a place; to value the intimate relationship that can develop between a location and its visitors. The rock at Burst is solid and clean and it suits creativity and a low impact style. The vegetation that grows here and the wildlife that lives among it demand a conservative demeanor. It was here that I learned the most valuable lesson; to climb smart, hike softly, and to leave as little trace as possible. Whether exploring new terrain from the ground up, or establishing new climbs from rappel, I learned that respect for the wilderness, beyond that of a climbing resource, is the most important part of the game. And if someday I complete the transformation from that young punk kid who asks too many questions into the mentor who reluctantly answers, I hope the ethics and respect I gathered from my predecessors shines through me as brightly as it shone through them.

Sometimes I wonder how much more I might have achieved if I had been born in a town with a climbing gym For the first ten years of my climbing carrier I climbed nothing harder than 5.10. For the first three years I did not know that guidebooks existed, or even that climbs had names and grades. But I have known how to saw-off the end of a knife blade piton and pound it into a grassy seam since the age of 13. I learned how to use hooks and tied-off knobs and sling the ends of half-sunk drill bits to ease the weight of stance drilling. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve placed bolts from tied-off shrubs, snow banks and while

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5 STAR ROUTES SUNBURST (5.10D) Although both pitches on this route are short, excellent belay ledges and a wondering first pitch entice most climbers to break the climb into two sections. The first pitch takes one of two variations (both 5.9) up short crack systems to reach an amazing belay ledge. The second pitch is the money pitch, with a striking thin hands crack that slowly pinches down to perfect fingers before the belay. If you have thin hands, this pitch is a giveaway for the grade. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE (5.10D) The 11 perfectly spaced bolts on this climb will lead up an incredibly varied granite face. The nature of this route changes from large, ivory white jugs, to delicate crimps through a short bulge, to pockets in a huge black-streak, to a steep layback up flakes, and finally ends with Tuolumne Meadows-quality knob-pinching and a hero jug to pull onto the belay ledge. This climb is easily one of the best routes of its style and grade on the Sonora Pass Highway. CLAYMATION (5.10C) First established by David Clay in the late 1990s, this amazing arching thin crack is not to be missed. Excellentbut-tricky protection down low gets you through the crux moves, but the steadily arching and unrelenting crack above provides a great pump and an equally challenging endurance crux to reach the chains. VANGUARD (5.10A) This short route looks impossible to protect with natural gear at first glance, yet after placing one protection bolt to access an inobvious crack system, fist ascentionist Brad Young was able to get “belay quality cams” for the rest of his impressive groundup first ascent. An absolute classic line and a testament to the creative and low impact style of first ascents common a Burst Rock. MOUSETRAP ARETE (5.10B) This intimidating climb appears about 5.13 from the ground, but once you make it through the perfect thinhands corner and the crux thin finger crack that splits the golden face above, huge jugs and perfect crimps on an exposed arête appear in all the right places. Excellent protection can be placed on the first two thirds of the climb and three bolts protect the face climbing above.

THE BETA GETTING THERE From the town of Sonora, take Highway 108 east for 30 miles until you reach the right-hand (south) turn off for Crabtree Road. Take Crabtree Road past the Gianelli Horse Packing Station until you reach the end of the dirt road. The end of Crabtree Road marks the start of the Gianelli Cabin Trailhead into the Emigrant Wilderness. From this point, hike along the main backpacking trail for about 1.5 miles until Burst Rock’s Northwest Face becomes obvious. WHERE TO STAY There is excellent free camping near the trailhead. The nearest established sites are at Pinecrest Lake and may require a fat wallet and advanced reservations. GUIDEBOOK A Climber’s Guide to the Sonora Pass Highway 2nd Edition by Brad Young and Steve Dawson

Keenan Pope leading Vanguard (5.10a), a deceptively wellprotected sheet of perfect granite at Stanage Edges.

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O

www.organicclimbing.com

a. payne, first female v13, automator, rmnp; j. dickey photo


Steven Roth on the recently rebolted Mickey’s Beach Arête (5.13b). Roth, a Florida transplant currently attending UC Berkeley’s engineering school, has been quietly ticking off many of the Bay Area’s classic unclimbed projects.

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LOST & FOUND WORDS & IMAGES + JIM THORNBURG

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hen I turned 17, I became a climber and have identified as one ever since. Over the years, I’ve tried to leave the Bay to live in towns better tailored to a more “serious” climbing lifestyle: Boulder, Bishop, La Palud, Kalymnos. Each spot had a strong pull and loads of world-class climbing, but something always kept me coming back to the Bay. Maybe it’s a need to be near my roots—I like the weird people here and all that comes with them, including the amazing food and culture from all over the world. I like the mild year-round climate. I really don’t get it when transplants say they “miss the seasons.” We have seasons! Want some summer? Go to the beach in January or east over the hills in June. Want some winter? Go to the coast in August or the mountains in March. And the rock? Well it’s... uhhh...hmm. Honestly, it’s not always that great. And there’s not that much of it. And the best of it is often pounded wet by big California surf, or sadly not as solid as you might want. But like with the hooptie people, I’ve found plenty to love. Over the last 25 years, I’ve put all our local rocks and boulders into a slowly growing guidebook. The first book, assembled in 1988, was 30 pages long, hand-collated and bound with green yarn. This fall, the 8th edition comes out. It’s 416 pages—way, WAY bigger than a guidebook about climbing in the Bay Area should be. But try as I did, I couldn’t trim a single page or photo. Each area, once embraced, has quirks that become dear and fascinating. The rocks never stop revealing: a new crag here, a sandy, neglected route there. If you brush off the grit and cobwebs and chalk it up, more often than not you’ll discover a climb with unique Bay Area character. Over the past year, at the coastal areas of Fisk Mill Cove, Dry Creek and Mickey’s Beach, concerned locals have

made huge strides in replacing old, rusted and stressed bolts— three bolts have failed in the past several years. The new bolts, supplied by the American Safe Climbing Association, are titanium and should be good to whip on for the next 100 years. Replacing hundreds of bolts with labor-intensive glue-ins was a daunting task, but what initially seemed like a summer of service turned into a labor of love as our crew rediscovered a slew of excellent climbs situated in some of California’s wildest and most beautiful spots. At crags like the Treasure Chest at Fisk Mill Cove (originally developed by Marcos Nunez and Jordy Morgan), it’s easy to get scared off—rusted bolts, sandy holds, tough grades and the occasional sleeper wave that can sweep untethered backpacks (and almost climbers!) out to sea. This is a crag that needs to be coaxed into revealing its charms. Like a surfer, you’ll need to spend a few minutes learning about the tides and swells of the area you want to climb at. Check the Internet; a big winter swell means you’ll need to head elsewhere, but summer swells are generally mild, and while the rest of the state swelters in summer heat, the seaside breezes create nice conditions. Furthermore, a bit of climbing traffic gives the routes a much tamer feel due to chalked holds that become less sandy with each ascent. Other Bay Area crags have received similar facelifts: The newly formed Bay Area Climber’s Coalition has been busy with clean-ups and trail building at the more heavily used areas like Glen Park, Summit Rock and Indian Rock. Eric Berghorn and Jerry Dodrill continue to find new crags and climbs on the farther reaches of Mount St. Helena. On Mount Diablo, the remote Wanna Get Away crag is home to almost a dozen new slab climbs ranging from 5.7 to 5.11c. So next time the drive to the Sierra seems like a bit much, keep it local and visit (or revisit) one of our local crags. CALIFORNIACLIMBERMAGAZINE.COM | 55


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LEFT PAGE Steven Roth on The Emperor’s New Clothes, a steep 5.12d on the Emperor Boulder. This boulder saw some toprope activity back in the ‘80s, but no discernible routes. Roth rediscovered the rock in 2014 and, along with Jim Thornburg, established three bolted lines.

ABOVE Christine Zalecki on the link-up of Shtick Your Sum (5.13a) and The Emperor’s New Clothes (5.12d), called The Empress (5.12c).

RIGHT Carolyn Wegner on Kenny’s Arête (V5), South Mickey’s Boulders. This boulder had a sandy landing back in the ‘80s and may have been bouldered back in those pre-crashpad days. Ken Arriza rediscovered the highball several years ago and sent the line for its first known ascent.


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LEFT PAGE TOP Gabrielle Nobrega enjoys the new titanium bolts on Mr. Salty, a 5.12a/b at the Treasure Chest. It was first climbed by Marcos Nunez and Jordy Morgan back in the late ‘90s.

LEFT PAGE BOTTOM A new glue-in bolt next to an old marine-grade stainless steel bolt on Squid Vicious (5.13a), Mickey’s Beach. Higher on the route a bolt of the same type broke under body weight.

THIS PAGE Steven Roth on the crux of the desperately bouldery El Sabroso (5.13c/d) at Fisk Mill Cove.

CALIFORNIACLIMBERMAGAZINE.COM |

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THIS PAGE Steven “The Sandman” Roth takes down the first ascent of an old Jim Thornburg toprope project, Dueling Banjos (5.13b) at the Deliverance Crag at Mount Diablo. This crag was entirely rebolted in 2014. OPPOSITE PAGE, LEFT Rachel Hope Fowler and Samuel Crossley enjoy wild exposure on pitch three (5.10d) of The Moderator, a neglected but very fun route at Mount St. Helena’s Table Rock.

OPPOSITE PAGE, RIGHT Hannah Donnelly swoops for the finishing jug on Ultramega, an excellent new 100-foot-long 5.12d pitch at Table Rock, Mount St. Helena.

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CALIFORNIACLIMBERMAGAZINE.COM | 61


LEFT Meg Gallagher on the Gerstle Cove Roof (V4), an epic line first climbed by Jordy Morgan more than a decade ago and recently rediscovered by local Travis Lombardo.

RIGHT Vikki Glinskii on The Tufatafoni Traverse (V4), a forgotten Marcos Nunez problem near the famous highball Stoney Whiteboots. Nunez, along with Ritchie Esquibel, Chris Summit and Jordy Morgan, developed most of the problems around Salt Point back in the late â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;90s.

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> 4. Sanctuary Rock

CA (408) 991-9090 > 8. Hanger 18 South Bay L.A. Hawthorne, CA (310) 973-3388 > 9. Hanger 18

Climbing Center Flagstaff, AZ (928) 556-9909 > 2. Phoenix Rock Gym Tempe, AZ

Gym Sand City, CA (831) 899-2595 > 5. Planet Granite San Francisco San Francisco, CA

Riverside Riverside, CA (951) 359-5040 > 10. Hanger 18 Upland Upland, CA (909) 931-5991

Poway Poway, CA (858) 748-9011 > 15. Vertical Heaven Indoor Rock Climbing Gym Ventura, CA

> 33. Craggin’ Classic Fall Highball, Bishop, CA—Nov. 7-9, 2015

(480) 921-8322 > 3 Boulderdash Indoor Rock Climbing Thousand Oaks, CA (805) 557-1300

(415) 692-3434 > 6. Planet Granite Belmont Belmont, CA (650) 591-3030 > 7. Planet Granite

> 11. Threshold Climbing Gym Riverside, CA (951) 742-8479 > 12. Solid Rock San

(805) 339-9022 > 16. Vital Climbing: Murrieta Murrieta, CA (951) 251-4814 > 17. Vital Climbing:

IFMGA trained/certified guides offers all-terrain backcountry ski mountaineering, avalanche education and climbing program Truckee, CA. alpineskills.com. (530) 582-9170 (June– November) and (530) 582-9170 (December–May).

Discounts vary. Call, check americanalpineclub.org/ discounts, or head to your local gym with your AAC member card for the latest details.

Guide Services > 34. Alpine Skills International with its AMGA/

AAC member Truc Allen Media


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Michael Meisl

Athlete: Shauna Coxsey

LIVE

WITHOUT LIMITS

with the protective warmth of the terrex skyclimb top and the endless energy of the terrex BOOST GTX®.

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California Climber Fall 2015  

In this issue, Promontory, Burst Rock, Bay Area

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