Monday, April 21, 2014

4-21-14: Single Subject

Joel Ruscher on Single Subject [v9]

After a bit of a hiatus, Joel Ruscher is back in the game.  A few weekends back, Joel nabbed the first ascent of this cool squeeze arete.  As you may have gathered from the name, the climb is deceptively simple, and you feel like you could stick the pinch every go (until you don't).  

The problem is located just to the right of the Infamous Dark Crystal problem at the Ahwahnee boulders.  This time, we have video proof...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

4-15-14: Sasquatch

Randy Puro on Sasquatch, v11

Most scientists discount the existence of Bigfoot (Sasquatch) and consider it to be a combination of folklore, misidentification, and hoax rather than a living animal. [wikipedia]

Much like Bigfoot, ascents of Sasquatch are rare as it is one of the hardest pure crack boulder problems around.  Our visits to the valley have been rare as well, after our son was born - but that is a different story.

Randy has been on a tear and sent Sasquatch last December.  It must be hard at his point for home to find established boulder problems that he hasn't done yet. 

If you are feeling like a stone master, go to the back side of the LeConte boulder to test your mettle. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

12-19-12: Pinball Wizard Revisted

Theo Merrin on Pinball Wizard [v6]

Since it seems that Pinball Wizard has become fashionable again, I thought I would post a video to update the original post, which only had pictures.  Pinball Wizard is a climb that demands more skill than strength, and many people will find it difficult to trust the smear at the crux lip encounter.  Don't let the name scare you, I haven't seen anyone bounce of the back wall...yet....


Thursday, June 28, 2012

6-28-12: Goldilocks

Raza on the first ascent of Goldilocks [v9]

Here is a blast from the past.  I got the FA in May of 2009.  This is a problem in Bridalveil facing the Meat & Potatoes wall.  Not many holds, but just enough to get you by.  (You can say that about many Yosemite boulder problems, though)  It all boils down to a dyno to a decent edge, but you have to grab the hold just right, hence the name: Goldilocks.

Here is Randy Puro on the second ascent.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

6-19-12: Wild Pack of Family Dogs

Lyn Barraza climbing Wild Pack of Family Dogs [v7]

Went climbing in Tahoe the last few weekends and checked out the Beavers for the first time.  Seems like every time I go to Tahoe a new area pops up.  Serious props to all the Tahoe guys who are out exploring and finding new stuff.

The Beavers has a fairly good concentration of boulders, so it is easy to spend a day there.  One of the better climbs I thought was Wild Pack of Family Dogs, v7.  Just wait until the shade arrives.

The first move is pretty big, if you are shorter, so it was pretty cool to see Lyn make the span.  Thanks also to Evan for inspiring me to keep posting on BetaBase.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

One Amazing Fall

This fall season might have been one of the best on record. There was a freak storm in late October, but after that it didn't rain until we got 5 inches last weekend. The highs were in the 40s and there was so much climbing going on, I really didn't get that much footage.

Enter Kyle O'Meara. A recent transplant from Washington, he had quite a fall season taking full advantage of the great weather and a his first season in a new bouldering playground. Now that he's done most of the classics, it time for him to start putting up some of his own!

Panic Room [v9] & King Air [v10]

Tom Sawyer [v10] & Pine Box [v10]

Heart of Darkness [v9], Good Vibrations [v11] & Diesel Power [v10]

The Force [v9], Wall to Wall Carpet [v9] & Bruce Lee [v8]


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Action Alert - Act today to help preserve bouldering in Yosemite

TODAY IS THE LAST DAY the National Park Service is accepting comments on the Merced River Plan (MRP). Please follow this LINK and copy and paste the text below to help preserve bouldering access in Yosemite Valley. Please post comments to this post when you have submitted your comments, so I can stop bugging you!!


* Please cut & paste the text below in the the first field * Alter or add as you like *


Here are my comments regarding the Issues addressed in the Merced River Plan Workbook:

- Issue 7: I prefer option C - the only two options provided in the MRP Workbook to reduce river bank impacts at the Upper and Lower Pines Campgrounds are to eliminate or relocate campsites that are near the river. I believe that before these options are considered, efforts should first be made to fence and sign the areas of the riverbank to be protected, as has been done at Devil’s Elbow, and then design river access points in resilient locations and restore riparian areas to natural conditions.

- Issue 9: I prefer option B - more primitive / rustic camping should be created.

- Issue 10: I prefer option C - replace existing bridges with foot bridges designed to enhance the free-flowing condition of the river.

- Issue 12: I prefer option B - restore visitor use opportunities at upper and lower river campgrounds.

- Issue 15: I prefer option A - the installation of a roundabout and under-crossing for pedestrians to relieve congestion.

- Issue 19: I prefer option A - develop more camping to increase capacity.

- Issue 20: I prefer option D - the installation of a pedestrian underpass to allow access to Lower Yosemite Falls. Relocating the lodge entrance or an overpass don’t seem practical and won’t work.

- Issue 22: I prefer option D - the Merced River Gorge segment west of Pohono Bridge has a number of popular climbing areas, including Cookie Cliff, the Rostrum, Reed’s Pinnacle, Elephant Rock, and many others bouldering areas. Climber parking and approach access to these areas should be retained and improved to reduce impacts. Curbing to formalize parking areas may eliminate many parking areas for smaller climbing and bouldering areas that planners might not know about.

- Issue 23: I prefer option A - develop more camping to increase capacity


* Please cut & paste the text below in the the second field * Alter or add as you like *


As a climber who boulders in Yosemite Valley frequently, here are some additional thoughts:

- The bouldering in Yosemite Valley is universally regarded as some of the best in world. The unique combination of rock quality, rock features, boulder sizes and quantity make the bouldering in Yosemite an Outstandingly Remarkable Value (ORV) that should be protected. Additionally, climbing has a long a significant history in Yosemite Valley.

- Bouldering requires a large amount of gear that makes using shuttle services impractical. Therefore maintaining and increasing the level of recreational parking is critical.

- The bouldering at Camp 4 is considered the birthplace of modern bouldering and has the largest quantity of all the bouldering areas in Yosemite Valley. The site of the former gas station was previously used by boulders for parking but has since been used as a staging area for the recent road improvement projects. I strongly recommend this area be reconfigured into a day use parking when the road improvements are completed.

- The recent reduction of parking in the Ahwahnee Hotel lot has adversely effected climbers as there is a large bouldering area at the base of the talus field and many climbing areas (Royal Arches, etc) are access from this point.

- A permitted parking system would adversely affect those who boulder because of the quantity of gear required for our recreation. There are no reasonable alternatives to transporting the gear in our cars and parking near the bouldering areas.

- The Park should ensure climbing needs are addressed in the MRP, particularly parking locations throughout the Valley and the Merced Gorge segments. Where appropriate, roadside parking should be paved to reduce impacts and moved off the shoulder to improve safety.

- More access options to lesser attractions in the Park and surrounding area rather than regulatory solutions such as day-use reservations, parking permits and closures. All reasonable day-use parking facilities should be developed or improved in the Valley, including Camp 6, Curry Village, and the wilderness parking lot.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Merced River Plan: Update

Merced River & El Cap

Climbers interested in Yosemite issues should take a look at the MRP workbook and get your comments in by DECEMBER 14th (it was recently pushed back from November 30th). The Access Fund's positions on appropriate MRP planning alternatives are as follows:
  • Yosemite planners should work to reverse lodging/camping ratio (currently 60/40) to provide more camping and less emphasis on lodging (move lodging to the park boundaries). Providing more camping in the Park, and limiting lodging in the park to rustic/primitive accommodations, is consistent with the NPS's own management policies that promote visitors having a direct relationship to Park resources. Adjusting this ratio would also be more consistent with a national park instead of the luxury resort or amusement park that Yosemite often resembles.
  • Park planners should include in the MRP the several "improvements" for Camp 4 that were contemplated in Lodge Redevelopment Plan (which was stalled by the MRP litigation). These improvements include showers, fencing to encourage vegetation, limited loud bus noise, foul weather cooking pavilion and communal fire, and a nearby location for Ken Yager's Yosemite climbing museum. In addition to focusing on more camping in the Park, planners should also improve the quality of the camping experience, especially at locations such as Camp 4 where climbers are forced into highly dense and low-quality campsites. Planners should recognize the historic importance of this campground and improve some of the basic amenities such as the bathrooms.
  • Yosemite planners should restore as much camping as possible to sites that have already been disturbed such as the Pine and Oak lodging units and the Rivers Campground that were destroyed in the 1997 flood. These areas in particular could be engineered with the recognition that they will again be flooded. Plan maps should indicate flood plain areas where shallow flood depths and low water velocities make the development of campsites feasible. Planners should establish diversity of camping opportunities (including walk-in, walk-to, and a "drop-off" your gear but walk-in model) and not just limit opportunities to drive-in campgrounds (where RV generators, for example, impact the experience) or the ghetto at Camp 4. The Park should bring campsite numbers at least back to pre-flood totals as contemplated in Yosemite's General Management Plan (there's currently a shortfall of 300 campsites), but any new sites should be focused on placement in the East Valley so that the largely undisturbed areas west of Camp 4 don't also suffer from campfire smoke and new infrastructure.
  • The Park should ensure climbing needs are addressed in the MRP, particularly parking locations throughout Valley and the Merced Gorge segment (Cookie Cliff, Arch Rock, etc.).
  • Park planners should ensure that measures to restore or harden El Cap Meadow are not unsightly from above. The MRP should consider hybrid approach for boardwalk further west of typical climber use areas, and use fencing and other ways to focus people onto a few discrete paths into Meadow. The MRP should ensure that climbers can continue their traditional use of the Meadow.
  • Park planners should ensure that there is adequate day use parking while pursuing a range of transit strategies to reduce auto use in the Valley.
  • The Plan should include a noise control element that addresses noise sources such as idling tour buses, motorcycles, trash collection, RV generators, the Green Dragon touring flatbeds and others.

I'm still working on a "voter's guide" the the workbook. Look for that in a bit...


Monday, November 14, 2011

Merced River Plan: NPS wants your feedback

In case you haven't heard, the National Park service has been working on the Merced River Plan for many years now. They have been sued and had to rework the plan TWICE. If they don't succeed this time it is likely that congress will get involved and legislate a plan and nobody thinks that would be a good idea.

I am currently looking over the pdf workbook to come up with some "talking points" that should be included to support and enhance bouldering in Yosemite Valley. Hopefully, I'll have something in a week or so. Check out the links below if you want to get started. THE DEADLINE FOR FEEDBACK IS NOVEMBER 30TH.

This is the NPS link for information:

This is the link to the workbook:

Looking for other ways to help? Here is a short list:
  • Look over the workbook and post suggestions of good ideas on BetaBase
  • Encourage friends and family to do the same
  • Spread the word on facebook / twitter / climbing blogs / etc.
  • Join the Access Fund
  • Donate to the Yosemite Climber's Association


Monday, November 07, 2011

11-7-11: Post Send Depression

Paul Barraza on Post Send Depression [v7]

Here is a problem that was hidden in plain sight. Located on the B1 boulder at Sentinel just between the Jungle Book and the down climb. Perhaps the two-tiered landing was a deterrent, but with the right pad setup, it is pretty safe.

The problem climbs up a faint dihedral using an unusual assortment of holds. The only downward facing holds are at the top, and they are unnervingly slopey. (hence my fear scream at the top - doh). I'll be honest, the rock is not the best, but once this thing cleans up it could possibly be a classic? Bring a bunch of pads and decide for yourself!