This trip to Bishop was the coldest I ever experienced. When we arrived at the campsite around 2am on Dec 21, it was about 9ºF (-13ºC)!!! A few days later we had a snowstorm that dumped about 4 inches of snow in the campground. Who cares!!! I love Bishop in the winter. The cold makes the holds feel less greasy, and the views are just amazing!
At the beginning of the trip I was planning to go project really hard climbs in the Buttermilks, but since they were snowed in and I hadn’t bouldered in almost nine months, my Dad convinced me to try and climb as many different problems as possible. I agreed, but at the same time, I was feeling strong and after a few days I had already climbed 5 double-digit boulder problems!
My friend Drew Ruana was going to join us for a few days, but by the time he arrived I had climbed seven V10’s (7C+)’s and two V11’s (8A), so I made a goal out of how I was climbing: Climb as many double-digits as days that I’m here. So, as the days went on I continued on my goal and progressed each day. One of my V11’s (8A) (Swordfish Trombone) was actually rated V12 (8A+) in the guidebook, but I dispatched it in less then 15 minutes and thought V11 (8A) was more appropriate. I had changed my goal from really hard projecting to a lot of more medium difficulty quick sends.
I also sent a really cool highball that I wasn't able to finish last year. It's called Saigon Direct V9 (7C). It really is a cool climb, and the picture with the snow covered mountain is amazing, I think...
On the morning of the 26th I decided to take a rest day because my skin was wrecked and at around noon we had to go pick up my friend Drew from the Mammoth Airport. Drew asked if we could go climb a little, so we brought him to the Happy Boulders. It was the day after the snowstorm and it was really cold. I showed Drew around, and helped with some beta for about 2 hours, but I was so tempted to climb that I threw on my shoes and flashed a V10 without warm-up or anything! Yeah, I suck at rest days… ;)
By now all of my friends from Zero Gravity (Matt & Hanna Grossman, Cameron Read, Seth & Ethan Rogers, Dylan Meyerhoffer, Natalia Grossman and Melina Costanza from Seattle, WA) had arrived, and everyone was psyched to crush! Over the next few days the weather in the Buttermilks improved and the snow was melting, so Drew and I were psyched to check them out.
On our first day there we tried a V11 (8A) called La Bellette, which was kind of interesting because it started with an iffy heel hook sequence that I had trouble with, then it changed to lock-off’s on crimps… which Drew had trouble with. So Drew was falling at the end and I was falling at the beginning. Drew ended up falling three times on the last move before a jug. Sooo close…
I managed to send the problem the second I nailed the heel-hook sequence.
Sadly Drew’s last day came faster than we would have liked. It wasn’t our best day but it was still fun (as always). We got lucky with our planning, as my Dad had to drop off Drew at the airport while picking up Andy Lamb there. Well, not so lucky, because Drew’s plane got delayed and my Dad and Andy had to wait several hours until Drew’s plane finally took off.
The next few days were not my best but Andy and Nick (who’d just arrived with his Dad) crushed. Andy climbed his first V11 (8A) and V12 (8A+), and Nick did his first V11 (8A) !!!!!!! Now it was our last day and I managed to send Kill Onsight V12 (8A+)!!!!
Talking about Nick… I have to tell you about his tent!!! When he arrived in Bishop, he texted me that they had set up their tent just nearby ours, and warned me:
“My tent is big”
So I texted back: “I know! Ours too…”
He answered: “No, you don’t understand…
Your tent is big, mine is huge!!!”
So when we got back to the camping I was eager to see it. Well, that wasn’t hard… It was HUGE, and you could see it from everywhere in the campground…
Well it’s not so much a tent than a house made out of tarp…
Then we walked in and they had a big table set up inside, and they even had a stove burning pellets inside. The temperature inside was over 70°F (21°C)…
It was funny, because lots of people in the camping came by to check it out. It was the talk of the camping… I think Nick was a bit embarrassed, and it didn’t help that we were sort of egging him on a little about it… ;)
I ended up sending eighteen V10 (7C+) to V12 (8A+) in about 13 days of climbing, so I beat my goal by a comfortable margin!!!
Next stop was Divisional Bouldering Championships in Portland, OR, and my birthday, and I was psyched!!!!! Qualifiers went well as I flashed every route, along with 5 other competitors. That night I had a great birthday dinner with my team, and many other friends. There was quite an embarrassing moment when they all decided to sing me a Happy Birthday at our hotel.
So, by now I was wrecked and ready for bed. After a good night’s sleep I was in ISO and before I knew it I was on the wall flashing the first problem, Then the second, and then BOOM! I was on top the third and final problem!!!!!!!!! Divisional Champion!!!!
So, you might ask: “What can be more embarrassing than 50 people singing Happy Birthday to you at the hotel???”
How about 500 people singing Happy Birthday while I stood on the podium!!!
…And nowhere to run and hide to… Mind you, I really thought about it… :D
After Divisionals, we went back home and the next week we headed out to Bishop once again for a long weekend!!!!!
This trip ended up being more of a first ascent trip. I ended up discovering a new full Sit down start (SDS) to the famous Seven Spanish Angels and I was getting close and I was also very nervous. Ian Cotter-Brown was working on a problem nearby, checked out my project, and started showing some interest. He tried it with me for a while, but we couldn't send it that day. On the second to last day I came back, and managed to send it first try of the day! I thought that it was harder than the 13 V10’s I had done in the past 3 weeks, and settled for soft V11 (8A).
I also got to climb a couple of real highballs. One of them is called the Southwest Arete. It's really easy, but ends 45 feet (14 meters) or so off the ground, so it's pretty scary up there...
Woo, now I had one last day left, and I managed to send One Mule Wonder Low V11 (8A, within 15 minutes), and Wisdom Whisperer V10 (7C+) FA!!!!
Bishop is Awesome!!! I love my life!!!
Video of Seven Spanish Angels Full SDS V11 (8A) FA