Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Smooth Transition

I'm almost certain I have touched real rock for the last time this season after 20 amazing days outdoors.  Blogs are starting to buzz with snow forecasts, retrospectives of last winter, and all kinds of media to pump up the community for the upcoming ski season.  I'm planning on doing more backcountry this year, as I grew tired of the scene at places like Squaw, despite it being the home to my best lines I've ever had.  I already have a healthy list of ski days down on paper, so let the fun begin!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Grotto, Nov 14

Blurry eyed and conflicted about the early morning and lack of sleep, I make way to Scott's and fall into the comfy leather seats of his BMW suv. It was technically my turn to drive, but I'm certainly not unhappy that the approach requires a car with more ground clearance than my recently fixed Mazda.

Horses and massively rutted out roads were the norm on the drive.
The drive wasn't bad, nor was the approach over a mossy and alien-feeling talus slope. The Grotto isn't much alien feeling than the talus. It is sunken below the surrounding land, and fridge-sized basalt columns jut up from the ground and dissolve into a jumbly overhang. I ignored the pumpy face climbs in favor of the steep hand and finger cracks, leading all the 8s and 9s there while failing after a burst cuticle and two cams up a 10b.
AC Devil Dog runs up the column in the middle of the frame.  Lots of smeary bear hugging is involved to get up it.

There is no question I'll be coming back soon as this is likely my favorite climbing spot less than 3 hours from home. I want to finish Three Fingered Jack without blood loss, and I need to lead AC Devil Dog.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dawn Patrol at Ocean Beach, Nov 10

This is a new one for me!  I met Jimmy at 6:00am and we got out right as the sun was replacing the moon.  The waves were clean shoulder high peaks with an offshore wind.  It was great conditions to introduce me to Ocean Beach and dawn patrolling.  I caught 5-6 nice waves, even though at 7:30 or so the waves started to tail off as the tide was coming in.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Adventure Enabling Happenings

I'm picking up my previously damaged car tomorrow, and will be using it for the next few weekends to sneak in some climbing before the snow hits.  My knee feels good, I don't have glass in my foot, and the temperatures are right for sending!