Saturday, September 24, 2011

Bodyboarding at Half Moon Bay, Sept 24

Tyson got me to come down to Half Moon really early, but it was worth it.  The waves were chest-head with some overhead sets, with some rights and lefts and relatively glassy conditions.  It had been many many years since I had been out in overhead surf, so I was cautious, especially after getting tumbled trying to get back out.  I caught a few nice waves, but let lots go because I was too chicken to commit to the drop.  They were breaking hard in fairly shallow water, so at least my fears were somewhat justified.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

JPMorgan Corporate Challenge, Sept 21

There is something I really like about road running that just isn't satisfied by any of my other athletic pursuits.  It is the perfect venue to push oneself to the utmost limit while maintain a certain level of safety.  Sure, you can hurt yourself running, but going balls to the wall while climbing can be a dangerous endeavor.  I leave it all on the asphalt when I run a race.

I left work early and ran home only to beat all my coworkers to the race.  We chatted and waited around of a while while the other 9000 or so people poured in from various parts of the city.  Kyle (my running partner and cubemate) and I lined up in the "Red" group, which than we run.  We humbly inched our way back from the front.  After a brief and hilariously non-sequitur techno filled workout routine from a sponsor gym, we were off.

The race started at a blistering pace, but I was far too amped to realize it.  I was generally keeping up with the people in my group, with the occasional incredibly fast running blowing by me.  Luckily, my knee wasn't bothering me as it was wrapped up in a brace after several weeks of intermittent pain.  Thus, the stage was set to burn out hard with the limiting factor squarely on my ability to endure typical running pain, and not tendonitis.

The course looped all over around ATT Park, about as much as my mind jumped from subject to subject as I fought for each mile.  After about 17 minutes, the first runners finished in blazingly fast time.  Yep, college runners...real runners, and certainly not me.  I knew I had roughly 10 minutes left, but my body was starting to succumb and I noticed more people passing me every minute.  I kept pushing thinking my pace was lacking, but the 3 mile marker read 23 minutes, which for me, is astonishingly fast and by far my PR.

The last half mile was painful, partially after the fact that I knew I had a great time in the bag.  I clenched my teeth, thought about running, thought about thinking about running, thought about painful things, and generally tried to keep running.  When I finally saw the finish line, I was lucky that our team captain, Max, saw me and cheered me on.  It was the drive I needed, and I crossed the finish line, nauseous and sucking down air.  The pain past, and I realized that I had a great time, 26:53, which puts me at around 7:40/mile!

I met up with coworkers, then Kyle, Sharada, and I walked to Source, which is a fun and eclectic vegetarian (almost vegan) place nearby.  My knee was hurting,but I was feeling great, and it was exciting to eat great food with two fellow vegetarians.  After a great meal, we disbanded and I walked with a slight hobble to MUNI.

I need to do more races!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The new camera is here!

And I'm digging this iPhone blogging app!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Some random stuff

I enabled anonymous comments.  I'm not sure if anyone actually wanted to comment on my posts, but now you can rather easily!

I'm not going on any trips this weekend, not for the next few weeks, most likely.  I have what is ostensibly the most important work related presentation of my life to give in a few weeks, and preparation is going to eat up a lot of time.  I might post some gear-related things, or some fun old pictures, I dunno.  Frankly, I'm looking to expand the blog in general to encompass things other than just my trips.

In addition, I'm thinking about new ways to write about my trips.  Narratives can be tedious to write, and I never know how much detail to go into since a lot of it is probably boring.  I find myself really excited about fleshing out little vignettes from trips, but not all the filler between.  After I fight through the filler, I'm too lazy and disinterested to proofread what I've written, so I post away.  I've been finding that the quality of my writing has gone down as a result, so I'm thinking about doing much more brief narratives, or photo-centric stories of my trips.  That way, I can focus on the portions of writing I like, which may not give the full story, but will hopefully be descriptive and engaging enough to convey aspects of the trips.  Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pushing the Comfort Zone in Tuolumne, Sept 10-11

A large group of us were fortunate enough to have 3 campsites, thanks to Justin for reserving them.  Scott bailed last minute, and I was left contemplating an early night to bed at home in San Francisco or taking a right hand turn at 92 on the way home from work.  The thoughts of some Tuolumne dome climbing and packrafting got the best of me, and I settled in for the 4.5 hours of road time.  I stopped in Oakdale for some food, and pushed it to the campground, arriving when people were still awake.

The weather forecast for the weekend was iffy at best, and was the basis for Scott not coming along.  Regardless, we headed out Saturday morning to climb on Northwest Books (5.6) on Lembert Dome.  Unfortunately, there were incredibly slow people ahead of us, who appeared to also be rather inexperienced due to them leaving a stuck link cam in what was a stupid and expensive mistake.  Warren and I eventually roped up with uncertain weather looming above.  This was his first trad climb, but he is a very solid climber, so I wasn't worried in the least.  However, at the top of the second pitch, thunder did jostle me, and I yelled down for him to hurry up (with some expletives in there for good measure).  We finished and were on the ground just as the rain started, which luckily didn't last long.  We headed to Low Profile Dome, partially due to the fact I have wanted to try Golfer's Route (5.7), but also because the climbs there have easy retreats.  I started up Golfer's, made it through 90 feet of sweet knob pulling with minimal protection, and the clouds rolled in angry and ready to spit.  We bailed and retreated to the car with a massive hail storm close on its heels, leaving Tyndall and Kenny without climbing a single pitch all day.  Dinner was calling us, so we drove to Saddlebag lake to leave a note to the other group that we were going to The Mobile.  I love the food there, enough so that I bought a silly "The Mobile" tshirt.

Day two.  Bring on the packrafting and more shitty weather.  Justin and I packed up the rafts and everyone else, and headed to Lyell Canyon to hike up and "float" down.  You'll see why "float" is in quotes soon enough.  Everyone was a bit slow for our tastes, so we blasted ahead, hiking 5 miles or so, scoping the whitewater as we went.  We noted 4 critical no goes, namely what I'll call "Big Tree Across the Water", "Sand Island Next to Real Island", "Bridge" and "Campground".  Besides those, there were a variety of nice drops, slides, and chutes to play with, but many areas appeared to be rather shallow.

Shit the water was cold when we put in.  Immediately, we hit some class I+ waves and a nice deep water float afterward.  That was not to last, and soon enough we were dragging our asses and expensive boats on thankfully smooth granite boulders.  I laughed after the first section of getting extricating ourselves from the boats to drag them along in the middle of the river.  Justin wasn't wet at all while I was soaked!  Well, that wasn't to last either as it started raining and the temperature dropped to the high 40s.  The butt dragging continued and our worries of ruining our boats were replaced with fears of hypothermia.

The first major rapid came as a 3 foot drop.  I was in lead and nervous, but paddled strong and felt a good rush I was took the plunge.  Not too bad.  Justin followed without issue.  Then, it was more butt dragging, furious paddling, pushing rocks, standing and dragging, and portages.  Ah, portages.  We had lots of those, and lots of removing packs from rafts, and reattaching them.  Towards the end, we got lazy with said portages, and would just drag the boats with our packs attached.  We hit a few more nice rapids with some scoping involved, namely a few nice steep drops with good pools below, and a long slide without much water.  We hit all of our mandatory portages around dangerous rapids, and as we approached the campground, the misery really set in.  One last major rapid (a sharp left turn with some nice volume coming off some rocks) left my boat filled to the brim with water.  I was done.  We tried to laugh as we played with various techniques for lifting our butts off the water, which involved laying down on the raft to distribute weight.  The truth of the matter was, this sucked.  Ok, it was type 2 fun, and I had a blast, but as we portaged one last time, I know we both felt like badasses for doing a rare (not allowed) descent of a river.

I crashed hard as I waited for Justin to figure out if Erica and Dave were still there.  I got very cold and started shivering, and was generally angry at myself for walking to the trailhead.  Justin said I had a blank stare on my face and looked like death.  Luckily, they made room in the car to drive me back to the campground where I quickly, and systematically threw my wet crap in the car.   I pounded an immense quantity of junk food while blasting the heat in my car as I drove back to San Francisco.  After an hour or so, I started to feel human again, and started thinking about the damage I did to my poor packraft.  Luckily, it was left mainly unscathed, except for a few dings in the bottom, one of which was likely the "screwdriver effect" when I was stuck spinning on a sharp rock.  Damn, these boats are durable! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Shuteye, Sept 3-5

I've been climbing a lot recently, enough such that I'm not even really unpacking my stuff, and I'm feeling rushed to get blog posts done before another trip starts.  If I don't get my post done before another trip starts, I'll certainly never write it.  I'm going to bang this one out before I head off to Tuolumne this Friday.  Here goes!

Ok, so clearly, I didn't fulfill that previous paragraph's goal.  Yikes.

Sahara picking an appropriately sized branch.

Scott and I drove out to the remote and utterly beautiful Shuteye Ridge area on Saturday morning, caravaning with his friends Rob and Julie and their dog Sahara.  Sahara likes to carry large sticks while approaching climbs, sticks that are far too large for a dog to carry.  The drive continued up rutted out forest roads until we reached a nice clearing below Big Sleep and Crocodile.

Rob on a 5.9 or 5.10a or so at Crocodile

Scott and I started off on a "5.10" at Crocodile.  It deserves quotes because it wasn't a was 11b.  That is not a warmup for me, and surprisingly, Scott took a small lead fall on it.  Crocodile had some nice single pitch sport routes, most of which had sections with loose, abrasive and unappealing rock.  We lead a bunch of easier climbs, and I top roped some hard ones, including a roof with some hilariously loose flakes that will be coming off really soon.  On the way back to camp, Scott and I sent a nice v1 that could be a first ascent.  Ya know, fuck it.  I'm gonna call it "Wide Eyed".  I'm claiming my territory. 
Scott trying the sit start (probably v4-ish) to the uber-classic new bouldering problem Wide Eyed (v1)

Day two started with hazy directions to an awesome and remote crag.  After misreading poorly signed dirt roads, and making wrong turns, we ended up on the way, which entailed major off-roading appropriate for only the most prepared vehicles.  Needless to say, Scott didn't want to break an axle in the middle of nowhere, so we backed up the steep slope, tires skidding and 4 wheel drive kicking ass.

Scott utilizing the Beamer's 4wd to escape the horrendous roads

We chose a 3 mile hike with 2000 feet of elevation gain, which we thought would lead to Grey Eagle or one of the other domes near the main Shuteye area.  It was a painful hike, but luckily we had Emitt along.  He is a funny dog.  He likes to eat cake (a cheap red velvet cake I bought at Safeway) and pounce around in the manzanita bushes like a dog on a pogo stick with a mission to catch small critters none of us can see.  Luckily, he is a laid back crag dog, and sleeps in the shade with we party on the rocks, which was the case when we reached.  We got some more well-protected sport climbing in high on the ridge, but this time the holds were solid and the texture was friendly.

Julie leading a 5.9
The last day started with a stuffed up nose from the excessive dust and dry heat.  Scott and I make the short hike up to Big Sleep and scoped the routes, finding nothing until I spotted a single bolt, which we guessed was for Afternoon Nap (5.7).  It had a wonderful mixture of spicy runouts, solid grippy slab, runnel stemming, dike climbing, and chicken head grabbingt.  The one down side was the lack of protection where we probably only had 20-30 pieces of pro for the entire 1000 feet.  Regardless, the cruxes were reasonably well protected, but it still had us gasping on good rests in order to collect our mind for the next runout.
Me pondering the early runouts on Afternoon Nap (5.7)

I'm excited to visit Shuteye again.  It'd be fun to put up some lines on the untapped rock, which in the Sierras is quite abnormal.  At least now we know why this place is so under-climbed.  Big hikes, bad roads, primitive camping, and long drives all detract from visitors, but it keeps the place feeling pleasantly unspoiled.
Sunset from our campsite

Monday, September 12, 2011

Dear Blog, I have not forgotten you!

I have been too busy going on trips, trying to write about trips, cleaning up from trips, and dreaming about trips to get any posts done.  Trust me, I have stuff written, I think about what I'll write while driving, and I will write posts in the future!  Yeah!  For now, I have a huge mess from Yosemite to take care of...
All kinds of gear drying in my bathroom