Friday, October 13, 2006

Yamabushi: Done.

After at least 16 days of work spread over 6 years we finally finished our line right of Balrog on Yam. A big thanks to Raphael Slawinski, who I started the line with, and Cory Richards, who I worked all fall to finish it with (we were up there something like 10 days this fall). Josh Briggs came out for the final day and made it happen also, thanks. It's been the best fall of rock climbing I've ever had, so many amazing blue sky, yellow trees and grey limestone days where, as someone quipped, "It was a tragic day to have a real job!" Kevin Dyck, Kevin Wilson and Sarah Hueniken also put time in on it over the years, thanks. I'll write some more up and post some photos/topo when I they're sorted, but I'm just really happy to have finally climbed it bottom to top without falling, it's been a great project with good friends, so many ups and downs adding up to something special for all of us who put time in to finding the line. Yam rocks! I can't stop smiling. We're heading back up early in the morning to get some gear back, just before the weather really locks down for the season.

"Yamabushi" is the name by group decision, Yama means mountain in Japanese, the Yambushi are mountain monks I've always admired, Google them and check it out, plus the word starts with my favorite cliff in the Rockies, Yam.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Yam, Garrett College

I'm in the Pitssburgh airport on the way back from doing a seminar and show at Garrett College, just over the border in Maryland. Garrett is an interesting school with a strong outdoor program, one of the few schools to offer various paddling and climbing certification programs. Part of my job yesterday was to go out to a new climbing/bouldering area with some of the students, I didn't think it would be all that great but it turned into a classic sunny fall day with stellar fall color in the forest canopy. The rock we went to is part of the ASI complex, which includes a kayaking course literally on top of a mountain. More on that some other time, but it's an amazing bit of technology. Anyhow, our rocks turned out to be excellent, with a wide variety of new boulder problems just waiting to be done. The students and I got pumped silly and shredded our skin, perfect. Days like that are a big reason I like traveling and doing slide shows, it was a great experience. I'll never look at the east-coast woods the same way again, there's a lot of rocks hidden out there!

We went up on Yam on last Sunday, but it was miserably cold, just above freezing and not generally sunny. A cold wind didn't help, but we managed to work pitches 7 and 8, pitch 7 is definitely hard, solid 5.12, excellent climbing with a very sustained section. I couldn't come close to redpointing with numb feet and hands, but it's all there. I just hope we get a sunny day to try the continuous ascent, and that we're fit enough to do it. Four pitches of mid-5.12 in a row is difficult for me, especially after a 5.13 pitch and another 5.11+ pitch. Pitch 7 is the redpoint crux for sure... The ground was frozen hard as we walked up, we're going to need some decent weather in mid-October to get this rig done.

Thanks to the Pittsburgh airport for the free internet, one of the few airports I travel through that offers that. I really rely on the net for business communication, it irks me to pay the $10 for the hour of net I use while waiting for flights, sometimes twice in the same day. So right on Pittsburgh airport.

Ok, my late flight is boarding now, back home tonight, hopefully up on Yam early in the morning!