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Way Lake and Shuteye Rain

California only ever seems to get bigger. Every time I think it’s time to narrow my focus and zone in on a particular locale, style or project, a friend calls me up stoked about an area I’ve never been to – or even heard of. So when Gabe suggested a trip to Way Lake and Hartley Springs, my total ignorance didn’t come as a surprise.

“Cool. Let’s do it. Where the hell is Way Lake?”

Conversations like this are the way most of my summer adventures have started.

Gabe setting up for a toss on Ugly Duckling (V9)

The bouldering at Way Lake near Mammoth will leave you breathless – figuratively and literally at 10,000 feet. For three days we had the serene scene nearly all to ourselves, only running into one other party.
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Smoke and Flare

Climbing successes give the feeling you can handle anything the rock gods throw at you. But inevitably these moments of triumph are followed by being thoroughly humbled. Sometimes both extremes can happen on the same route. That was the case when Luke and I returned to the Hulk with our eyes on an amazing linkup: Solar Burn (5.12b) to Solar Flare (5.12d).

The mediocre scenery on the hike to the Hulk

Check out some images from the route as well as a few of the Yosemite fire, captured over the weekend while climbing Fairview Dome classics in Tuolumne with David.
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Emily - Good read after my bipolar fit of weighing the options of climbing the first weekend into my last semester of nursing school or not. I vow to never be an Urrrrssaaaaalllllaaaa. Oh, and holy greatness! Nice work on your sends!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You kick ass at climbing and your day job is pretty bad ass too. So good work Adam :)August 26, 2013 – 9:36 pm

Luke - Wahooo! Good stuff dude. Fun climbing with you!August 28, 2013 – 5:24 pm

Vitaliy - This Ursala person deserved a bitchslap…

Well done on your climbs! Enjoyed the report.August 28, 2013 – 7:19 pm

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Bathanging at Woodford’s

Bay Area climbers chase weather like a dog that just can’t catch his tail. In the Winter, Bishop and Jailhouse get plenty of sun and the cool, dry days mix with neurotic retentiveness to create perfect sending conditions. Fall and Spring bring the type 2 fun only the Valley can inspire. In Summer, the High Sierras, Tuolunme and Tahoe are perfect high altitude destinations for escaping the heat. My list of ‘must-do’ climbs and boulder problems has grown impossibly large.

Ben Taking a nap on Power Surge (5.12c)

I woke up Saturday next to a dirty buttress called Woodford’s in South Lake Tahoe where I was happy to join Jonathan, Casey and Ben for a weekend of adventurous climbing. Many of the routes in the area are trad lines established by Dan Osman and company in the late 80s but see relatively little traffic today. Ben and Casey spent half the day cleaning the second pitch of Power Surge, knocking off dust, pebbles and the occasional widow-maker. The reward for all the effort was a pristine upper pitch that is one of the wildest lines in the area. I caught some good shots of them working through the route. They were both making big strides and Ben had a quality attempt before river-cooled beer became the watermelon of our perception. Enjoy a few shots of the climb and a couple anecdotes from the weekend.

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Eli - This is awesome. Love that first photo, wow.August 19, 2013 – 8:56 pm

Tyler - Wow, that looks absolutely amazing. I love the Tahoe area, I wish I’d been able to climb more while I was out there.August 21, 2013 – 9:22 pm

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A Soggy Day in Eldo

Having an old friend in town is a great excuse to go climbing, weather be damned. Adam stretched out a layover at Denver International Airport long enough to hit the crag and catch up over some beers. Better still, our little crew had Rincon Wall and the entire West Ridge of Eldorado Canyon to ourselves- It’s amazing what a little rain in Boulder will do. Big ups to Tyler for leading Climb of the Century, and Nate for leading Wendego- I’m glad I was watching from a safe distance.  Here’s a few photos from the day…
clouds hanging above eldorado canyonwater droplets on leavesclimbers hiking through talus field in boulder coloradoinsect skins hanging on underside of treeclimber belaying in the rain outside of boulder coloradoclimber trying very hard on climb in eldorado springs canyon coloradoclimber climbing through the rain at Eldorado State Parkguy climbing in the rain with pine trees all aroundclimber at the belay in a rain stormtyler sheer climbing Climb of the Century in Eldorado State Parkclimbers lounging between climbs in boulder ColoradoNate climbing Wendego in Eldorado Springsrolling mountains outside of boulder colorado

Tyler - Holy crap, Eli, great pictures! Thanks for putting these up. I love the photo of Adam bearing down on foxtrot in the pouring rain. Hope to get out again soon.July 30, 2013 – 12:27 am

Chris - I just have one question. When did Adam move back to Boulder? :)

And, of course, great shots Eli.July 30, 2013 – 7:30 am

Adam - I moved back on Saturday night after 3 weeks in Spain, Switzerland and Germany – got settled in, bought a hamster and then was uprooted again on Tuesday morning.

Great post, Eli.July 30, 2013 – 3:01 pm

Jamie Richard - These are great!July 30, 2013 – 7:17 pm

Eli - Thanks guys. See you soon~EJuly 30, 2013 – 7:52 pm

Justin - Nice photos Eli! Its always great when you can beat the crowds out on the crag like that.August 1, 2013 – 9:51 am

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The Indelible Hulk

Like many climbers, I’ve gravitated closer to the ground and now spend more time sport climbing and bouldering than routefinding and fiddling in stoppers from tenuous stances. But scary trad climbing clicks back in like riding a bike and our trip to the Incredible Hulk reacquainted me with the mental space unique to hard alpine gear routes.

The Incredible Hulk (Photo: Vitaliy M.)

Luke and I had an agenda laid out:

  • Friday – hike the 5 mile approach and tick off Sunspot Dihedral (1000 feet, 511b).
  • Saturday – Tradewinds (1000 feet, 5.11d).
  • Sunday – Polish Route (800 feet, 5.10c), hike out, then relive the heroic moments in an epic montage serenaded by Journey’s greatest hits on the drive home.

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Andrew - I think you might be back in August, I would hope. :-) Jelious that you got out to this amazing destination without me. Alas, August is coming!!!!!!June 28, 2013 – 2:11 pm

Emily Kilmer - Take me with you!!!June 28, 2013 – 2:30 pm

Vitaliy - Awesome post! Need to explore your blog..will have a lot of free time for that in Peru, I hope (already here).June 28, 2013 – 9:18 pm

kris - Adam, you da man!June 29, 2013 – 1:02 pm

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Stories to Remember: The Naked Edge and Much More

Life can feel stuck in constant acceleration, each year speeding by faster than the last. I’m older, greyer, fatter, balder, crankier and more haggard by the day. It’s hard to believe I moved from Colorado a year and a half ago and easy to wonder where the time went.

But that perception exposes a choice we control.

It’s worth reminding ourselves to take a breath and enjoy the little moments. Collect them. When we’re old, grey and as wrinkled as discarded paper lunch bags they will reflect the stories behind our eyes more than any mirror.

Many of my favorite stories come climbing with the amazing people I’m privileged to call friends. Those instances occur not just pushing a runout or bearing down at a crux, but in the untied times. Grilling out on summer nights with a cold beer numbing wasted fingers, reliving the day with laughs and astonishment at what the human experience offers those willing to relish it. Brick red dried blood crusted over dirty ankles suggesting the embellished tales just might hold a shred of truth between the lines.

Repeating one of my all-time favorites in Eldo: Aerospace to Aerohead (5.11 R). Bring your toes and your mental game for this 160 foot mixed pitch.

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Ron James Propri - Great post, Adam. What an awesome trip, and it was so good to see you. Looking forward to the next time!June 6, 2013 – 1:19 am

kris - Awesome storytelling, Adam. You kept me entertained and wishing for more.

Also, since you started it… I have to address a certain point to perhaps a few lucky souls. It is my contention that anyone who believes or is sheeple enough to state that they are putting in “110% effort” are doing themselves a disservice. Aside from the fact that it is a mathematical impossibility, as a concept it is a load of BS and insulting. Humble yourself a little and start back at the bottom where you naturally belong. Your reward will come from the realization that there is a theoretically attainable limit (100%) to your performance and that you likely aren’t putting forth the effort to get anywhere close to that point. In doing so I’ll be able to take you seriously and if you do (or don’t) make it anywhere near 100%, then I’ll give you a sincere fist bump.

Ah, pet peeves… 😉June 6, 2013 – 1:08 pm

Adam - Sheeple – ha! That’s a new one for me. Kris, what can I say? The opportunity arose and I had to take advantage – though I’ll admit, my effort in constructing that joke likely only approached 60% or so. I easily had another 40% in the tank and maybe even 50% if I was willing to run on fumes.

By the way, the cumulative inflation during the last century (since 1913) has been 2248.8%. So it seems as though the per cent effort one puts forth is really only relative to an indiscriminate point of comparison. For instance, 2007 Adam would have had to try 213% to even hang dog up the Naked Edge, or to work one of your boulder problems.June 6, 2013 – 6:22 pm

Tyler - I’n gkad that you were aboe to cpme oit fpr the trop. I;m sprry abput my fonger. It dpesn;t seem to be causong me trpble ptherwise, thpugh!June 7, 2013 – 10:49 pm

Jaclyn Ferber - I just had to say what an amazing writer you are! I found your blog searching for the perfect definition of a dirtbag climber. I love reading your stories! Come climb with me in California any time!
Jaclyn Hope FerberJune 24, 2013 – 10:21 pm

Adam - Thanks, Jaclyn!

It’s great to hear that our work has struck a chord. I definitely appreciate the feedback.

Happy climbing!June 25, 2013 – 11:35 am

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