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Yosemite Bouldering Sessions

Beneath the great Yosemite monoliths lie mazes of boulders littered between trees and trails. Though the history of the Valley reflects daring big wall ascents, the beginnings of aid climbing and the progression of trad climbing, recent development has been devoted to the granite specks scattered about the Valley floor.

I’ve been lucky to have Kris and Sara guide me through many of the Yosemite bouldering destinations straight to several of the true gems. Below is a video sample of some of our favorites.

Keep reading for some photos and a taste of the Yosemite bouldering scene.
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Andrew Kuklinski - You guys look like you are having a blast in Yosemite! Jealous. I have been training hard in Eldo in preparation for the real climbing out your direction in the fall. Miss you guys.May 11, 2012 – 8:47 am

Tyler - Cool video! The bouldering out there looks awesome – is the summer a good season there, or is it better to wait for the fall?May 12, 2012 – 9:04 pm

Adam Scheer - Andrew, I can’t wait to see you in the Fall. But don’t take for granted the fake climbing in Eldo. It’s world class.

Tyler, the best time to venture our way depends on what you want to do. Twolame Meadows is prime climbing and location for summer fun. Yosemite and Tahoe would be great in September.

Cracked a bottle of the Jasmine Tea mead tonight. Sweet, aromatic and dark. Quite nice. Mwah.May 14, 2012 – 1:14 am

Eli Powell - Fun, fun! Thanks for sharing Adam. Looking forward to seeing you in a few weeks.June 1, 2012 – 5:58 pm

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Getting Outside: Winter’s End at Carter Lake

It’s almost May, and the Front Range has been stretching into a spring of absurdly good weather.  The days are lengthening, and post-work pitches and boulders are beckoning.  With weather like this, it’s easy to forget that six weeks ago, we were huddled into down coats and leaning into mid-March snow.

Neef bearing down on a quarter inch crimp

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ADNeef - Beautiful climbing
stunningly handsome broheims
well written story.April 29, 2012 – 10:15 pm

Doug - Nice write up, Tyler. Looks like I’ll be returning to my bouldering roots soon. I’m inviting people to Kearney May 12/13th to help create my monster woodie. Refreshments will be provided.April 29, 2012 – 10:31 pm

Kate - Looks like you guys had a grand time! I can’t wait to get out this summer!April 29, 2012 – 10:51 pm

Adam Scheer - I’m glad to hear the Busch heavy camo cans are still there for the suckling. I suppose it makes sense considering that nobody can see them.

Cool post. What inspired you to go to Carter Lake? That sounds like an Adam Neef idea.

Wilson sending a V5 on his 2nd go? Nice work.April 30, 2012 – 10:08 am

Kai - The camo cans let the rocks know “Hey, it’s cool, I’m one of you. You know, part of nature.” But the Busch heavy just pisses gravity off. If they made Keystone Light in a camo can, you would have sent.April 30, 2012 – 10:42 pm

Kate C - Ahhhh, looks completely awesome. I haven’t been out to Carter Lake yet, but it’s on the list for some day when I get good at bouldering. The NCCC is having a Carter Lake trail day this Sat morning if you are interested: 1, 2012 – 11:08 am

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Having a Blast in Yosemite

El Capitan needs no introduction. Most climbers consider it the single greatest monument to our sport. The sheer cliff face stretches more than 3000 feet. If you fell from the top, you’d have about 15 seconds to remember your favorite joke, take a nap or heroically plug a cam before eating dirt. I’ve been practicing my dynamic cam placements, so I felt confident as I stepped onto the greatest monolith on Earth and Kris and I started upward.

Kris leading pitch 4 (5.10) of Freeblast

Our goal was Freeblast, a 10 pitch 5.11 sprinkled with some jalapeño spice. The climb is the beginning third of summit route Salathe Wall, ending at the traditional first bivy. Though we both anticipated an adventure, I’m not sure either of us were prepared for the exertion that awaited.
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Tyler - Dang! I’m glad you’re getting out for some epics!April 24, 2012 – 11:16 pm

Ron James Propri - That was a fun read, Adam. Keep working on that wall-hugging beer belly.April 25, 2012 – 10:25 am

Andrew Kuklinski - Nice job guys! Climbing in Yosemite is big in every way. The pump seems bigger, the soreness bigger, and even the amount of energy needed to keep you mental game up to pair is bigger. Looking forward to the next time I can see you guys and the big walls!April 25, 2012 – 4:38 pm

Kai - Looks awesome Adam. Looking forward to hearing about a full ascent of the wall. 000 cam… nice.April 28, 2012 – 9:03 am

Kate - Sounds epic! I second Ron- a beer belly would definitely help you on those 5.12 slabs.April 29, 2012 – 10:59 pm

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Shorts: On the Highwire

If you’ve ever ventured to the top of the Bastille formation in Eldorado Canyon, you’ve likely noticed the massive steel cable that circles the summit. What you may not have realized is the cable used to be the anchor for a 530-foot highwire strung between the Bastille and Wind Tower across South Boulder Creek. That cable remained in place for decades and one man, Ivy Baldwin took dozens of trips across the line. Below is a photo taken sometime around 1905 of Ivy doing his thing, 500 feet above the canyon floor. If you look closely enough you can make out the pole tightrope artists use to lower their center of gravity and help balance.

Ivy Baldwin walking the highwire between the top of the Bastille and WInd Tower sometime around 1905.

The photo also documents the canyon before installation of the dirt road. What a different place Eldo is now than in those early days. Visit on 4th of July weekend and you’ll see the picnic capital of the world. But in Ivy’s time, through the early days of climbing and on to today, the unique sandstone towers inspire those looking to push their limits. More than a century later, picnics aside, Eldo remains rustic. No pavement collects polished campers, no restaurants collect polished people and the traditional climbing ethic early ascentionists established is still alive and well. I’m guessing Ivy would be happy to hear that.

Andrew Kuklinski - I like looking at this photo and thinking about how Eldo used to be before humans came in and changed things. The spirit of the place is still there!!April 16, 2012 – 9:03 am

Tyler - Wow, the canyon sure has changed. It looks a lot wilder for sure in that photo. I wonder when the road went in.April 17, 2012 – 11:32 pm

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From the Comp Scene to the Beach Scene

Each year, Planet Granite holds the Friction Series comps. Each of the three flagship Planite Granite gyms in the Bay Area hosts one comp with an onsight final determining the winner immediately after scoring the last event. This year, our gym in Sunnyvale held the finals and Lizz and I took part.

The scene at the 2012 Friction Series onsight final.

A subsequent weekend of calm weather gave us an opportunity to get to the shore and celebrate Lizz’s birthday. We made an evening trip to Mickey’s Beach, home of numerous hard routes right on the shoreline. Many of the climbs are not accessible at high tide.

What's better than a sunset at the beach after some sport climbing?

Below are photos and stories from the Sunnyvale Friction Series finals and our Pacific ocean adventure.
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Emily Knowles - Great job in the comp Lizz and Adam! I can’t wait to come out and climb at Mickey’s Beach with you guys, it looks awesome!April 9, 2012 – 11:19 am

Ron James Propri - Great post Adam. Beautiful shots! Also, nice work in the comp – both of you!April 9, 2012 – 12:22 pm

Tyler - Nice job on the comps, you two. It’s crazy that an eleven-year-old won the whole thing. Mickey’s beach looks pretty cool.April 9, 2012 – 6:56 pm

Amy - Great post and photos, Adam! It’s so great to see what you guys are up to. Way to rock that comp! What a beautiful place you are living in…April 9, 2012 – 9:01 pm

Kris Scheer - This is awesome! Thanks for sharing.April 10, 2012 – 10:22 pm

Daddyo - At high tide, can you swim over to the top half or so of those climbs? Actually, I liked the lazy seals!April 12, 2012 – 9:12 pm

WillO - Nice work both of you! That gym is massive… totally different transition than I am seeing… much smaller back alley gym. Can’t until we can get out there and check it out!April 17, 2012 – 9:29 pm

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Colors of Castle Rock

Within a few steps on the Saratoga Gap trail that winds through Castle Rock state park, you will feel as though you’ve entered an ancient forest where the trees whisper among themselves and enchanted camouflaged creatures with huge translucent eyes follow you out of curiosity. Neon green moss blankets the damp landscape like frost creeping along the dawn of winter dusk. Grey sandstone boulders and small crags are littered between the trunks of massive antique redwoods and lush Douglas-firs.

Bouldering in the Magoos.

The smooth sandstone is pocked with shallow huecos, gradual ridges and sloping aretes, resulting in unique friction climbing and compression bouldering.

This climb is now moss-covered history.

Lizz and I recently made the trip for a day of climbing and bouldering and took in Castle Rock’s expansive claustrophobia.
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Andrew Kuklinski - Nice article Adam! I agree with you, join the Access Fund if you are not already a member! You don’t even need to search for the page, here is the address!!

It’s too bad that special places are constantly under threat. One would think that these places would be a priority to protect, not only for climbers but for everyone to enjoy. Either way, its good to hear that organizations with some real power to change and protect are doing something about. Castle Rock looks amazing and seems to be a place where you can really find your head. Thanks Adam!!!April 2, 2012 – 9:44 am

E.F.R. - Thanks for reminding me of the pungent redwood forest – that decay, bay, and wet smell that’s so crucial to the redwood ecosystem. Moss can be a seasonal plant, by the way. As the summer warms up, some moss retreats. You’re at the end of the Cali rainy season, when everything is gorgeous. Wanna see a garden that will impress? Check out the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco before the end of this month. The trees are in bloom … and it’s breathtaking.April 2, 2012 – 9:56 am

Andrew Kuklinski - The Tea Garden is amazing! Go and drink tea. :-)April 2, 2012 – 12:26 pm

Kris Scheer - Love All your posts Adam. It’s fun to be part of your adventures. MomApril 2, 2012 – 8:16 pm

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