Friday, November 28, 2014

Life's a Beach: Hanging and Bouldering in the 'Bu

Since leaving Moab about a week ago we've been hanging at my Grandmother's place in Malibu.  There is a fair amount of climbing in the area but we spent our time mostly hanging with family and preparing for the impending celebration of gluttony that is Thanksgiving.  Now that we have eaten ourselves stupid it's time to hit the rocks and try to recover from the food coma.

We're still figuring out our plans for the next couple of weeks but as long as weather cooperates our options are wide open.  Yosemite? Bishop?  Black Mt?  Santa Barbara?  Hang in Malibu?  Until we make a decision we'll be hanging and climbing around Malibu.

Here are a few pictures of bouldering and beaching around the 'bu.  The bouldering photos are actually from last year and feature my friend Robert (everyone misses you.  Come back!).

 Sunrise at Malibu

 The view from Tutu's porch.  Life if good.

Prairie nearing the end of a sweet problem at the Tunnel Boulders in Malibu Canyon

Robert on Crocodile Rock, The Tunnel Boulders

Robert on Purple Prow at Purple Stone in Topanga Canyon

One of my favorite problems at Purple Stone.  Don't remember the name but it is awesome.

Robert finding a hold at Purple Stone.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Getting High on the Chaos Boulder

I had mentioned earlier that Big Bend has one of the better boulders I've climbed on in North America.  It's rare to find a boulder that packs such a punch as the Chaos Boulder boasts 5 problems that would be classic anywhere (Circus Trick, Hell Belly, Chaos, Phantom Fighter, Grim Reacher Left) and a number of bonus filler problems.  

Grim Reacher Left is one of the classic lines on the boulder but it doesn't seem to get much traffic as the height deters most suitors.  Fortunately for me my budy Kyle showed up so we got to try the problem with adequate foam.  

Christmas came early when Kyle rolled up to the boulders

Just high enough to play with your nerves.  I took a few tried to commit

Early move

Firing the crux deadpoint/dyno.

Kyle on the victory jug of a great problem.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Moab Bouldering: Big Bend

Moab isn't known for it's bouldering.  People flock here for mountain-biking, trad-climbing and beautiful desert scenery but the bouldering still seems to be under the radar which is kind of surprising as the rock is good, accessible and unlimited.  Of course the thing that is lacking is development and spray but I reckon it is only a matter of time before this region starts getting an influx of pad-people as the potential is too good to be ignored for much longer.

While there is a multitude of neglected rock around Moab a small bit of bouldering does get plenty of traffic.  The Big Bend boulders alone are too small to be destination worthy but they serve as a sweet stopover for traveling climbers or a weekend spot for those within striking distance.  There is a high concentration of quality problems and maybe one of the best boulders in North America.  

Last winter while passing through I salivated at the boulders littering the hillsides and I stopped briefly at Big Bend for a little climbing fix.  I decided I needed to return to this region to do some exploring and try a few of Big Bend's offerings I never got around to.

Here is a small sampling from this years return to the Big Bend boulders and a little video of a couple classics from last year (in case you missed it).

The Colorado River winds through the canyon it carved and boulders can be found everywhere.  I do wish I had a boat as ripe boulder fields mock me the opposite riverbank.   

Big Bend is just one small cluster but the only place that gets any serious traffic.  Access is ridiculously easy and most visitors talk about how good it is but few bother to wander beyond the confines of the established area.  I promise there is lots more that is just as good.

Oskar joins us for a quick morning session to sample one of Moab's classic problems.

Prairie about to gun it on Silly Wabbit 

Looking up from the boulders makes me want to get a rope and see what's on the top of that tower.

Scoopula, One of Big Bend's hard classics that proved too much for us.

Quality climbing in a beautiful dessert setting.

Kyle fires a neglected classic.  Black Angus is one of the better problems at Big Bend and took us a bit to figure out.

The stellar Hell Belly is a compression climber's dream.  I'd like to do the proper line from the sit but wonder if I got the juice.

Chaos is another amazing problem.  Big Bend really packs them in.

And here is the video from last year.  More to come.
Moab Bouldering: Big Bend from Walker Kearney on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Life in America.

So we been Stateside for a couple weeks now but still haven't quite "hit the road".  We've been using this time to visit family and slowly transition to life in an RV.  The weather has also cooled down considerably since our arrival and my little family, not being as climbing obsessed as me, appreciates the prolonged stay in my sister's warm house.  Fortunately the sun is shining and the road is calling so we'll be leaving for a week of bouldering and tower bagging around Moab.  Good times will be had.

Here's some pictures from our adventures thus far.

You can see fellow passengers cringe when our little family lumbers onto a plane.  Unfortunately for them it's too late to upgrade from coach but the good news is our kids are rock-stars when it comes to flying.  I almost always receive compliments on my kids when exiting the plane as people say they barely noticed their presence.  I like to think it's the excellent parenting but we may have just hit the lottery. 

The perks of seeing Fart-fart (aka Grandfather).  The sugar intake is definitely up.

And Farmor (Grandmother) with the obligatory pie in Pie Town.

My little family with Farmor in Pie Town

Björke gets used to an American breakfast.

Breakfast burrito.  Oh how I missed you.

The new whip.  We are borrowing this 21 foot Toyota Dolphin from Fart-fart.  Traveling in comfort and style.  Here we are in perhaps the lamest monument in the world, 4-corners.  We were unwilling to pay $5 each to see a spot where arbitrary lines meet.

The crew in Moab, UT

The Aunties meet their nephew for the first time 

Moab is beautiful.  We'll be hanging around for a bit.  

Climbing posts up next......

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Local bouldering and and a few new problems in Sweden

Here is my last post on Sweden (unless I actually edit some videos) for awhile....

Gothenburg is littered with urban bouldering as pockets of rock are scattered around town and some real gems can be found.  I never really considered that I'd find much more climbing in the middle of town so when Henrik told me about a good looking wall 300 meters from my apartment I was surprised.  This wall is a little hidden but I'm still not quite sure how I missed it.  

Kim on The Notorious Pocket at the local wall.  I seems that this wall was once used as a shelter of sorts as a couple holes are left from where something was fastened to the wall.  One of those holes make the starting hold of this problem.  

 Here is Henrik on one of the warm ups we established.

The hardest problem the local wall yielded was a cool compression problem that required a little trickery at the top.  I called it Home Court Advantage due to it's location.

And despite my limited climbing days and propensity to punt, I did manage to climb some other new problems in Sweden this year.  Here are a couple new problems we established in Bohuslan before the weather gods killed climbing....

My buddy Kalle told me about an arete a year ago and for some reason it took me a spell before I checked it out.  I'm not sure what took me so long as I knew this problem was a classic the second I saw it.  Pyssel made short work of it and I struggled my way to the top.  Anyone looking for a great problem up in Bohuslan should check out Reichenberg.  And the sit is possible for those looking for a real challenge.  

To the right of Reichenberg is another great problem that deserves some traffic as well.  Estelle briefly uses the arete of Reichenberg but is an independent line and great climbing, complete with a committing crux move at the top.  It's worth mentioning that the boulder yielded two other problems as well. 

Mud-cake is a roof that took quite a bit of cleaning and work to do.  The key beta is a kung-fu heel and the red-point crux is a desperate slap to a jug after the lip encounter.  Fun climbing and considerably harder that I thought it would be.

Next time an update from 'merica!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Few that Got Away

Once again I've left behind the dark confines of Sweden for greener pastures in the "Land of the Free".  We are a week into our 4 month trip but before I start spraying about life in 'Merica I've got one (or two) post about Sweden.......

It's standard to leave behind a few projects in Sweden when I make the winter journey to the States but this year it seems I'm leaving behind more than usual.  The combo of a new baby and bad weather made the usually productive fall nothing more that a string of rainy days and dirty diapers.  So it goes.  My angst at leaving behind projects this year comes from the fact that I will not be returning to Sweden in the spring to slay said projects but instead moving briefly to England (I keep telling myself it's only a year, it's only a year, it's only a year). Fortunately these projects won't be going anywhere even if it takes awhile to get back to them.

Here are just a few of the many projects I left behind in Sweden.

Stefan on one of the west coasts best squeeze problems, Hippopotamus.  The crux is simply having juice left at the end and I thought I'd get a chance to finish off this project after punting in April but life happens. 

I showed Pyssel this problem over the summer and he styled the fa and I couldn't put it together.  Needed anther day but never got it.  

I found this gem some years ago and brushed it up just before injuring my hamstring and leaving me unable to do a requisite heel-hook.  I took Pyssel here and he fired it after some work.  Was hopping to get back to it but.... 

I stumbled upon a small area while exploring one rainy day and would later get a couple "dryish" hours to try the two best lines.  One is this off the deck mantle that took roughly and hour on rope before cracking a very tenuous sequence.  It started raining before I got to attempt it from the ground and it will be scary.

The other problem in the small area is a difficult squeeze problem.  We managed to do all the moves despite the conditions but it will be a challenge to put this guy together.  Maybe I'll have the requisite fitness when I get back to this a year and a half from now.

With the help of an orienteering map I found a solitary in the middle of nowhere.  This striking arete brought me back there one day over the summer and while we managed the stand and a couple other problems the sit-start awaits a return.