A view of the full moon rising from the third tier of Mt. Clark.
The past few weeks have been mostly spent at home in Las Vegas. Mt. Charleston is the summer retreat and has been the source of much frustration. I'm not a fan of climbing in hot weather, and the hot and humid monsoon season that usually happens during this time in August is of no help.
Sport Climbing 101-A0
I'm more psyched on getting stronger for when September hits rather than trying to rock climb outside right now which is a mixed bag of thoughts. On one hand, training in the gym could potentially get me more powerful since that's my weak spot, and on the other hand, the only way to get better at climbing is to actually go climbing. So it's been a toss up, but with the recently rising gas prices, a couple days at the cliff and a couple days at the gym seem to be the smart and economical way to train for when September hits. I've got a month-long trip to Vietnam and China starting in a few couple weeks that I'm really eager to be in top form for, so fitness has been a concern.
I'm always on the lookout for new cliffs to bolt, and I've spent some grueling hiking sessions lately trying to find the next best rock climb in the World on my not so restful "rest days" around Vegas. Exploration is something that has motivated my climbing ever since I first started hopping boulders in the So-Cal bouldering fields searching for untouched granite ten years ago. If you always keep looking around the next corner, eventually you'll find something cool. At least, that is what I'm hoping for.
A three hour hike straight up for this!
My buddy Chris Sharma stopped through town a few days ago while the summer heat receded down to the frosty, low 100s. We took a trip out to my favorite climbing area in the World, Clark Mountain. Joe Brooks (whom I'm traveling to Vietnam with) also came along for the adventure, and what an adventure it turned out to be. Once you get to the exit for Clark from the highway, it's a 20 minute drive up a dirt road with a couple brief sections of 4WD and high clearance needed towards the end. Well, five minutes into the dirt road we noticed a lack of road normality. The recent gnarly monsoon rainstorm a couple weeks ago devastated the dirt road rendering it a gigantic wash rather than a road. The dirt levels were shifted up and down by as much as 10 feet in some places and small trees and large rocks were ripped out of the ground everywhere. The road was invisible, nearly impassible, and downright abusive on my truck for TWO hours until finally we could drive no further. A tree root that had been buried in the dirt, was now three feet above ground screaming, "Do Not Pass," so we had to park and hike the rest.
"Do Not Pass!"
Can you say, "Perfect Rock?"
Sharma makes good use of a spray bottle to wake Joe up.
We took our sleeping gear and enough rations for two days, and hiked to the Third Tier and had a wonderful time in the hot, but climbable conditions. I'm mildly bummed about the road because it's going to take a TON of maintenance work to get the road back into the condition it was previously in. Either that, or I have to buy an ATV Quad or something like that. I don't really know what to do, but the road is way too gnarly on my truck for multiple trips up there throughout this upcoming Fall season. We we're all quite blown away...
Right now I'm in Wisconsin for a couple days soaking up the Family life. My cousin Mandy got married yesterday, so my girlfriend Jodi and I flew out from Vegas to see everyone. My Dad is from Milwaukee, and other than my brother and sister, my entire family lives in Wisconsin (Dad's side) and Germany (where my Mom grew up). We've had the privilege of eating some amazing home cooked Midwestern meals and desserts, as well as a decent sampling of Wisconsin's best: Cheese, Summer Sausage, and tasty micro brews. Good times, but tomorrow it's game-on as far as climbing goes-Back in Vegas.