Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Pumpkin Man

Here's the perfect climbing video for Halloween. Missoula climber and filmaker, Jesse Spaulding's, The Pumpkin Man. It's SIC!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bouldering Comp Missoula

Freestone gym's fall competition bouldering bash is this Saturday, October 27th. Open to youth and adults. Sign up, enter and get in on some gnar plastic pulling and community fun!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New Pirates Cove Route

The route developers have been at work again. Michael accompanied Tim to the Pirate Cove to open a line that caught Tim's eye. They placed 9 bolts to new top anchors and named it "There's No ARRRR in a Bloody Stem!"

The climb is on the right side of the wall, tucked into a chimney formed by the adjacent wall. But you don't climb it like a chimney, though you can stem. It's probably 5.10a if you stem, 5.10c/d if you don't. It finishes at sport anchors and is great fun.

Tim wants you to climb this route. Michael wants you to climb it. They worked hard to open it. They scrubbed lichen and wrenched on bolts. Michael especially will be psyched if you climb it. He'll shake your hand. He'll talk to you about it. He'll hang in the shade at the base and give you beta.

He wants you to have fun. He loves you. He bleeds for you. You probably think that's a figure of speech...

Michael keel hauled in the Pirate Cove while putting up the Bloody Stem.
Note: The guide (link upper right) has been updated with three new routes including this route, a new one on First Girlfriend Buttress, and a new toprope variation from Cougar Bait to Liger anchors.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sunglasses Found

We found a pair of sunglasses in a case and a pack of gum on the Mill Creek trail yesterday (Sunday). Dane's going to drop them off at Freestone some time this week. Email us at the gmail address shown in the lower right of this page, or leave a comment if you have questions.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Worthwhile Reads

A number of interesting posts from the blogs we follow have appeared lately. Here's a list of our favorites.

Levi Lolo Report Earlier in summer we removed the link to Levi's blog from the sidebar on the right when it reached a year of inactivity. Then in late September Levi appeared with a new post containing an introspection on the climbing he's developed these past years in Lolo. He talks about his relationship with the area, increasing popularity, and prospects for a guidebook.
Cole El Cap Report Cole has been back-filling his blog with some great writing about his travels. On only his second trip to the Valley, he and climbing partner Peter sent the Nose! That's beyond solid. His El Cap trip report, as well as other posts, make for entertaining reading.
Climbing and Meaning Skander's reflection on friendship, purpose and a day in Mill Creek.
Peder and Jess Crag Info On the road full time, Peder and Jess have started adding posts to their blog summarizing the different climbing areas they've visited. Info includes practical logistics like laundromats, camping and dog-friendliness. Areas so far include Ten Sleep, Black Hills (Spearfish and VC), and Rifle.
Butte Scarpa Boostic Review The frequently-updated Montana Bouldering blog out of Butte reviews the sweet-looking Scarpa Boostic.
DPM Ethics and Style Deadpoint Magazine writes about climbing style, bolts and ethics. Includes several links to additional reading.
Mondo Snake Bite Full-timer Scott made it to Kentucky for the Red River Gorge season only to have Mondo get bitten by a copperhead! No!! Mondo fans won't want to miss this. (She's okay.)
Montana Rock and Ice Meetup This group continues to add members and build content with trip reports, upcoming events, and pictures. Sign up for full access and to receive news of climbing events in western Montana.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Three Times Ten Sleep Part 3

Submitted by Ken

Here's Part 3 of 3 of the Ten Sleep summary.

Sept 28 to 30

One reason I stressed the social side of climbing last trip is because MY CLIMBING SUCKED. Okay, I had a few decent sends, but mostly I needed to look elsewhere for the high points. Since that time, with additional motivation caused by August and September's unrelenting heat and smoke in Montana, I'd settled into a long training phase and just sort of hunkered down indoors on my basement climbing wall. Following that, I thought I should see what gains I might have made on the Behemoth.

So, with the unending support of my wife, Sarah, I again loaded up the Toyota along with June, and drove Thursday evening to Bozeman to meet up with the ever-psyched-for-Ten-Sleep Leslie for a quick 3-day trip. Part of this was an experiment to see if it would be worth my while to go that far for what would amount to two half-days on Friday and Sunday, plus a full day, Saturday, of climbing. Bozeman climbers routinely head down for the weekend since the drive is only about 4-1/2 hours. But add in the 3 hours from Missoula to Bozeman, and another hour from my house to Missoula, and the commitment changes a lot.

We got to the town of Ten Sleep around noon, had lunch at the 2nd Street Bakery, filled up water at the always welcoming Lyons Club park on the east end of town, then drove up into the canyon. We were able to get the campsite across the road above the main, large site. The large site had what looked to be a hunter's camp trailer occupying it, no doubt staking a claim for the upcoming big game season. By 3:00pm we were hiking up to the Superratic so I could hang my draws on Great White Behemoth.

Leslie - Tricks for You 5.12a
Sending on her 2nd try after narrowly missing the on-sight.

I got the draws up on the Behemoth and found a lot of the moves felt easier, but it would still turn out this trip that the best I could do were two long links from beneath the crux to the top. I was pretty happy with this, since Great White Behemoth is a hard style of climbing for me. The bottom line is I'm going to need to get my core strength and core endurance up. The climbing requires that your body is always under tension. You can never just rest on your feet, relaxed. For me, this is a type of climbing that exposes my weaknesses and identifies areas to emphasize in my training this winter. Climbs like BRIK, Ball and Chain, and Scary Math are in this same category, which means I have plenty to measure progress on close to home.

I was at least able to confirm that I continue to climb well on less bouldery, technical climbs. I managed a flash of Tricks for You and a first-go send (after having tried it once last year) of Wutang's Wild Shinto Ride, both 12a. So I didn't come home empty-handed in the 5.12 category.

End of the day, perfect conditions.

We hit perfect weather during this trip. The aspens were changing and the days had highs in the low 60s. We could climb in the sun, which meant we didn't need to wait until the usual 2pm shade. When the shade did come, we were reaching for hats and layers. We saw only a handful of other climbers outside our group, which expanded Friday night when Jeff and Sarah Ho drove down from Bozeman for the weekend. Jeff and Sarah are co-owners of Bozeman's Spire climbing gym with Meg Hall. Meeting them for the first time and camping and climbing with them continued my streak this year of getting to know a string of first-rate, super chill Bozeman climbers, who also happen to crush on the rock.

Jeff with June and Tika

As far as the experiment of a 3-day trip from Missoula to Ten Sleep, it pretty much worked for me. For Sunday, we got up early and broke camp, then got to the rock by 11am. We climbed until 3pm, with Leslie redpointing Center El Shinto, 12b, on her last attempt of her last trip to Ten Sleep for 2012. Pretty sweet. I broke up the drive home by sleeping at Homestake Trailhead, Homestake Pass, Sunday night, then drove early Monday the rest of the way in order to be back in time for work.

Moonrise south of Billings

I'd probably take an extra day off and make it a four-day trip if I were to do this again. I also found that the drive down combined with hard-for-me routes three days in a row made me pretty ineffective 3rd day on. In the future, I will consider working projects on Friday, climbing easy or resting Saturday, then climbing hard again on Sunday.

We also found out after the trip that the perfect weather we experienced is not typical for end of September. It usually starts getting cold and wintry up the canyon by then. However, I would still definitely consider a post-Labor Day trip to Ten Sleep next year, maybe a week or two earlier, with hopes of again catching awesome conditions and climbing sectors all to ourselves.

So, Great White Behemoth and about 50 other projects I want to climb await me next year in Ten Sleep. I know what I need to focus on in my training for the months ahead. I've also come home with copious notes on the beta and "micro-beta" for Behemoth. Goal next year is to cruise that route feeling well within my limits. Specific objectives like that always motivate me and keep me working hard in my training. I know I'm going back!

A few things to remember...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Three Times Ten Sleep Part 2

Submitted by Ken

Here's Part 2 of my three-part series on climbing at Ten Sleep this year.

July 31 to August 5

July is the peak season in the canyon. The July 4th rodeo and street festival swells the town of Ten Sleep and the original core of Ten Sleep route developers, including guidebook author Aaron Huey (also assemble for an annual bacchanal at the main climbers' campsite off the old road. The crowds thin somewhat as August approaches, but there are still plenty of climbers throughout the canyon.

Leslie was back in Ten Sleep for 10 days with Kelsey and hanging with Bozeman road-trippers Peder and Jess, and another full-timer, Scott, from SLC. Leslie was gunning for Great White Behemoth, which is a route high on my list, so I packed up the car, loaded June, and drove down to get in on some single-focus, project mode climbing.

This trip reminded me of how much fun the social elements of climbing can be, and how great it is to meet new people, hear their stories, and cross paths at the crag throughout the day. Scott, Peder and Jess had scored the big campsite and we had plenty of room for 4 vehicles and a good representation of dogs, including June, Kelsey's dog Titia, Peder and Jess's dogs Maverick and Berkeley, and Scott's heeler puppy, Mondo, who easily qualifies as the cutest blue heeler puppy, ever.

Scott and Mondo

June, Maverick, Berkeley
The weather was warm and the regular Ten Sleep climbing cycle was in full swing: Sleep late, hang around camp (a good reason to find a campsite with morning shade), pack up around 1:30pm, drive to one of the parking areas, hike in and start climbing in the shade at 2pm, climb in full shade until dusk, return to camp, spray on mosquito repellent, eat, visit and go to bed. Repeat.

Leslie and Kelsey
20 5.12s in 2012 (and counting).

Camp action - Mondo!

We met a lot of climbers at the cliffs, from the perpetually-psyched Justin of Lander, to three visitors from the Czech Republic who showed surprise when I knew the names of their famous countrymen Tomas Mrazek and Adam Ondra. With heavy accents, they told us the Ten Sleep dolomite equaled the good quality stone of Europe.

Definitely not alone at Home Alone wall
(Michael, this one's for you!)

We also met another full-time climbing couple, the way-dialed Becca and Mike, from Canada. Mike was projecting Hellion (13c), demonstrating unwavering tenacity, throwing burn after burn at the low crux.

Mike - Hellion 5.13c
(Great White Behemoth draw to the right.)

Scott was also working the route and we all soon found ourselves in many of the same sectors, exchanging stories and beta. Besides being super chill people, Becca and Mike were practicing what they preached. Becca runs an online lifestyle coaching business called The Uncaged Life where she guides people through life changes that move them toward their dreams. So if you have a dream of, say, quitting your job and traveling full time as a climber, then check out Becca's site. She's living the proof of her own advice.

Scott replaying Hellion beta to Becca and Mike
Mike sent Hellion on his last day before he and Becca left for Squamish. Scott sent shortly after. Leslie crushed Great White Behemoth for the send. And with a redpoint of Dickens Cider, Kelsey reached her own goal of climbing 12 5.12s in 2012. Oh, and Peder and Jess... well, they crush everything. I refined beta on GWB but was still far from sending. I did manage a flash of a technical 12a that Scott climbed first in order to collect the booty of one bale 'biner -an action of which our own Kurt would highly approve.

At the end of the trip, Kelsey drove on to Salt Lake and Leslie caught a ride back to Bozeman with me and June. Somehow all our gear fit into the Yaris.

Jess and Peder 5.11 warmup before both onsighted the 5.12 to the left.

Little Smokey was a great trip.
Bonus footage!

As if this post hasn't already gone to the dogs, here's a video that all Mondo fans will appreciate. After days of being teased and taunted by June, Mondo gets revenge!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Three Times Ten Sleep Part 1

Submitted by Ken

I returned Monday, Oct 1, from a short trip to Ten Sleep. I was lucky enough to get down there three times this year. The first trip was early in the season, the second in mid summer, and this last one - in normal weather years at least - was pushing it pretty late. It was interesting to experience Ten Sleep across the range of its climbing season.

This is Part 1 of three posts summarizing my Ten Sleep trips this year.

May 17 to 22

Pre-Memorial Day is early for Ten Sleep Canyon. But I was dying to get out of town and found I had little trouble convincing Michael and our mutual friend Leslie, from Bozeman, to give it a try. Leslie had been the year before early in the season and had to wear gators and posthole through knee-deep drifts to the base of the routes. But after doing some checking, we learned there was no snow at all in the canyon this time. Though there's always a chance of the usual mountain Spring storms, the weather forecast looked pretty good.
Michael, I, and June-the-dog left Missoula Wednesday evening, the 16th, and drove to Leslie and her husband Chris's place in Bozeman where we stayed the night. The three of us then headed out at 7am Thursday morning, arriving in Ten Sleep by noon.

The old road that accesses the primitive camping is closed until June, so we stayed in the Fish Hatchery campground at the bottom of the canyon. The outhouses were open, but the water spigot still had its winter wrap, the campground host site was strewn with leaves, and last year's signage of fees and regulations hung faded on the bulletin board. The summer season was still well off.

Michael and Leslie making a plan.

Our goal for the trip was just to get in mileage and shake off the winter cobwebs. We found the perfect first climb that fit the bill, located in the lower canyon on the Hound Dog crag of the Dry Wall area, a 5.10c inside corner named Big Bear Memorial. This is an "American Flag" climb (5 stars for those unfamiliar with the Ten Sleep guidebook) well worth doing, with a 10 minute approach on a wall suited to cool days.

Leslie, Big Bear Memorial - 5.10c

We then upped the ante and climbed a short 11a to the left, and then upped it again to an awesome 11c with the unusually generic (for Ten Sleep) name of HDC 222. I managed to on-sight, Leslie flashed and Michael topped to complete the team sweep. This made for a perfect first afternoon and we headed back to camp.

The next day, with rain clouds gathering, we went up to the Mondo Beyondo and climbed the Ten Sleep classic Beer Bong. I'd never done this climb and found most of the route non-descript and not even much fun. But the upper stemming chimney makes it all worthwhile. Super unique and definitely a must-do. For a bit more warmup, we added in the neighboring Hooray for Boobies (watch the shadows on the wall from the highway about 1:30pm in summer to see the likely source of the name). A few rain drops started falling, so I played around in the dry shadow beneath the steep rock at the bottom of Happiness in Slavery, trying to decipher the opening few moves. Then it really started raining, and by mid afternoon we were back in camp stretching a tarp above the picnic table.

Another use for the amazing Superclip stick clip device.

We ate dinner as the rain intensified, and by 6pm were all in our tents. The rain fell hard throughout the night. But by the time we rose in the morning, it had stopped and the sky gave a hint of clearing.

Fortunately, Ten Sleep has an awesome hangout in the form of the 2nd Street Bakery. We took our soggy selves down there and hung out until noon.
By that point the sky had cleared and the day was warming. We drove back up into the canyon and found the sun shining on dry rock. We stayed in the lower canyon and did a short approach to the low end of the Dry Wall sector where we climbed a couple of short routes, then finished on the challenging Sweet Cheeses. This thing throws a lot at you from old-school thin slab to an overhanging 5.10d crack finish. It's likely to have you crying "Sweet Cheez'us!" more than once.

Leslie dry and warm at Dry Wall.

Ken on Sweet Cheeses

Sweet Cheeses looking up the canyon.
The rest of the trip was spent sampling climbs at other sectors and hanging with several groups of Montana climbers around the base of the Slavery Wall. This included Leslie's friend and former Bozeman climbing partner Kelsey and her boyfriend Jared.

Mondo Beyondo - Slavery sector.

Kelsey and Jared gave me the Slavery opening beta and I at last managed to get myself off the ground and reach the 2nd bolt. I logged it away for a future trip when I felt fresher and would have the time to settle in and project the route. As it was, the rain had thrown off our schedule and we hadn't taken any full rest days, instead whittling ourselves down a little more each of 5 days straight until we were all worked and it was time to pack up and head home.

Michael pocket-pulling.

I'd definitely go back to Ten Sleep this time of year. The conditions are less reliable, but there's also a high likelihood of perfect bluebird days. There were only a few other groups of climbers, and whether coincidence or normal for this time of year, they were nearly all from Montana. As the saying goes, "Ten Sleep. It's Montana's best crag."

June's new friend, pro climber dog and guidebook star (pg. 157) Jedi.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Reel Rock Film Tour on Thursday

The heat and smoke we had for the entire month of September may make it hard to believe autumn is here. But there's an event this week that can help convince us.

As it does each fall, the Reel Rock film tour brings sending psyche to Missoula. Catch it this Thursday, Oct 4, 7pm at Urey Hall on campus. More information.