Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Casa Diablo: A Treasure Map

There has been a trickle of interest regarding Casa Diablo and the questions generally include asking directions to the established problems.  While I hope people take the time to explore and establish new stuff I realize a dangling carrot is often needed to get folks started.  With that in mind I put together a quick map showing the exact locations of some of the better stuff that we did.

Remember that most of the points on the map will also have other development around it and there are plenty of problems that I only had time to give a quick brushing and are waiting for an ascent.  And if anyone does make it out there please let me know what you find and what you think of the place.  Happy hunting.

It's also worth noting that GoogleMaps might give directions to Casa Diablo Mountain from Bishop via Hwy 6 to Benton or Hwy 395 to Tom's Place.  It is much shorter and faster (unless you drive 15mph the whole way) to just take Casa Diablo Rd as for the upper parking to the Sad Boulders.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Casa Diablo: Things to Consider

Casa Diablo is amazing.  The place meets pretty much every criteria for what makes a great area, from the beautiful setting and stable climate all the way to the amazing lines and abundance of quality rock.  But despite having so much going for it Casa Diablo will not appeal to most climbers.  Don't get me wrong,  there is certainly potential for mass appeal but I don't foresee the place getting crowded.  For that to happen a few adventurous spirits would have to take a shine to the area and lay the difficult groundwork that is generally needed before the majority of climbers dare to venture from pages of their guidebooks.

It is a bit presumptuous to think a rarely read climbing-blog could seriously impact an area but I actually have mixed feelings over "spraying" about Casa Diablo.  I'd hate to see it turn into the shit-show that other Bishop areas have become but after consideration I decided the only thing that would really do that is a guidebook after much development.  At this point underdevelopment and a lack a information will certainly keep Casa Diablo from getting crowded, but its proximity to Bishop and the quality problems could drum up some decent traffic in a few years.  Currently it will appeal to those kindred spirits that prefer a little adventure and enjoy the process of finding and developing problems.  So with those folks in mind here are some things to consider if you are thinking about checking the place out

  1. Not all the rock is good.  There is a lot of choss at Casa Diablo but the good rock is bullet and worth the effort.  Finding the gems can be the crux at times but the good stuff is very good.  Also, much of the rock falls in the "decent" category but if you take the time to clean it up you might just unearth a classic.
  2. General rock quality varies by area.  While pockets of good rock can be found all over there are certain areas that tend to have generally better rock than others.  I've found areas with boulders a bit more spread out are generally better quality.  Jumbles of massive boulders often have cool features but the rock requires more cleaning than I was willing to put in.
  3. It deserves more than a quick look.  My psych for Casa Diablo grew every day I spent there because I hiked and brushed a lot.  A couple of the best problems were missed on previous days and taking a second or a third look can often have a big payoff. 
  4. Be prepared to hike/scramble.  Finding the good stuff could require trudging around and while some of it is very close to the vehicle you'll be missing out if you aren't willing to go wander a bit.  Lazy people probably won't appreciate Casa Diablo and will be waiting for a guidebook that will hopefully never come.
  5. It's an easy hang.  Casa Diablo is easy to get to (type "Casa Diablo Mountain" in GoogleEarth/Maps) and is reachable in even a standard car.  Camping is free (public land), cell coverage is great and the view/setting is stunning.  It's worth noting that I always approached from the obvious parking to the west and the very last bit of road is quite steep.  
  6. I haven't seen it all.  I really tried to see as much of Casa Diablo as I could but I had limited time and often a kid (or two) in tow.  I've found some mega stuff but I haven't come close to seeing it all.  You never know what is still out there to find.
If anyone does take the time to check the place out I'd love to know what you think and hear about what new problems you put up.  Here are some more pictures from my time there.

Tooth Decay was one of my favorite moderates.  Techy with the holds and feet in just the right places for it to work.  I also added a sit-start from the big scoop at the bottom. 

Prairie was painfully close to doing Tooth Decay but always came up just short on the big crux move

This project is one of those that will require a lot of cleaning as the rock isn't great but will be manageable.  Usually I wouldn't bother but this one was so beautiful it could be worth the effort. 

Tom and I did a few "filler" problems near the Mega-Boulder and they cleaned up nice.  Here is one of them

This boulder had beautiful patina and I originally thought the middle line would be a classic warm-up.  It ended up being harder than I thought and is now a classic moderate I called Mi Casa.  I also did a sweet one to the right and there are two to the left I didn't get around to. 

The problem to the right which I called Tu Casa

I stumbled upon this boulder after already exploring the same area on previous days. Crazy how I somehow missed this one and shows the importance of being thorough in your exploration.  The arete is one an awesome moderate I called Hell Freezes Over and there are a couple things on this boulder I'd love to get back to.

The Devil Wears Prana is probably the hardest thing I put up in Casa Diablo.  I even stayed an extra day just to do this and my many attempts are probably the reason I couldn't muster doing the awesome arete on the Mega-Boulder.  All in all I'd say it was worth it as this thing was pretty sweet.

This shot of The Devil Wears Prana gives you a better idea of the problems.  First you tackle a big "Huecoesque" roof with the help of two knee-bars before busting out to some bad slopers.  The crux is the end and took quite a bit of refining before I could put it together.