Tuesday, February 24, 2009


This past Friday I had the pleasure of viewing the world premiere of Chuck Fryberger's new film Pure.  I must say I was very impressed with the film as a whole.  Very pretty looking.  I was especially psyched to see some of my home (Sonoma County) rocks in the film looking particularly brilliant.  

Following the film I was faced with the predicament of leaving that night for the Fortress or the next morning.  At one point I was considering bailing entirely.  But something was pulling me to that place beyond normal rationale.  Seems to always be the case these days.  So here's how my weekend played out.

Saturday morning, 1 am, I finally get my ass out of Boulder and on my way to the Western Slope.  I had my good friend, and photographer, Greg Mionske in tow and he claimed he was psyched as ever.  Hard to believe after it took 4 calls to wake him up for our ridiculous "alpine" departure time.  Our plan was to at least make it past Vail so we could miss all the morning ski traffic.  After a 30 minute detour through Denver due to an accident on 93 and another 3 hours of driving we arrived in the Walmart parking lot in Eagle with Dr. Dre bumping from my sub-par sound system.  That shit is pretty much the only music that can keep me awake on late-night drives.  We found a dark corner of the lot and prepared our beds.  I can just manage to sleep in my car, but Greg, at 6' 5'' brought along a tent that he pitched next to the car.  Urban camping at it's finest.

After a decent night of sleep we awoke at 9:30 am and hopped back on I-70.  Following a bit of breakfast and some more driving we found ourselves in the muddy parking lot below the cliff.  The hike definitely has a reputation and I was interested to see how I would fare after a winter of barely any physical activity outside the climbing gym.  It ended up taking us about an hour to get to the cliff.  We got a bit lost near the end and I ate shit in the talus/shale that covers the hillside below the cliff quite a few times.  However, psych was high.  The Fortress is gorgeous.  Blue and white streaked walls for days.  Intimidating to say the least.  At the cliff, we met up with some folks from Rifle, Andy and Mark, who were kind enough to show us around and tell us where to warm up.  I ended up hopping on The Daily Planet 5.13d right off the bat and dispatched it on my second burn.  Busted out the "rose" move and a mono for the send.  I've never really been forced to do any of those moves on outdoor rock.  After I belayed Greg on the 5.12 opening section of the climb, I decided to hop right on Kyptonite 5.14d.  Climbing a route such as this is on my lifetime goals list.  140 feet long, overhung, proud, with a complex and amazing crux.  Definitely something that will challenge me properly.  I went bolt to bolt through the first 40 feet of choss, and continued through the next 5.13 section dispaching most of the moves on my first attempt.  I'm thankful that I'm not any shorter because some of the lower moves would be downright impossible.  Simply amazing moves none-the-less.  After a stout left hand drive-by to a tufa pinch and a few pocket jugs I found myself at the base of the crux.  It was easy to distinguish this section because I couldn't see any holds ahead that would be good enough to clip from for as far as I could see.  But it looked perfectly my style.  Compression on slopers and pinches.  After pondering the sequence or a bit I decided to just gun for it, hoping to reach some sort of decent hold relatively quickly.  About 10 significantly difficult moves later, after skipping two draw-less bolts, I pitched off for a nice 40 foot ride.  Not really pumped, just not really sure where to go.  I did the same thing about 2-3 more times not quite able to find where the end of the crux was.  I lowered off and we hiked back down the trail, tired and hungry.  I was psyched on the route, but perturbed that I didn't take it to the top.  I would need to figure out the upper section better before proper redpoint burns could commence.

Probably can't see me.  I'm  a small red dot a bit higher than dead center.  You can see Greg belaying just above the tree in the foreground.  The route ends near the top of the frame.  I'm on one of the first moves of the crux.

Day 2.  Slept poorly in the Target parking lot in Glenwood Springs.  We must have looked like bums when we stumbled in the coffee shop nearby.  We arrived at the cliff earlier than the day before.  Nobody else in sight.  Truly in Solitude.  I warmed up on Kryptonite.  Mid-crux I was somehow able to basically dyno a draw into the bolt and clip it up so I could work out the easiest sequence.  I accomplished every move of the 15-move resistance crux with ease (thanks to the now clipped bolts) and made it to the resting jug and then through the last few bolts of 5.13 to the anchors.  I figured out that if I could get to the crux without being pumped in the slightest, I could definitely finish the route.  I lowered off and chilled for a few hours (it was quite warm mid-day).  In the late afternoon the sun tucked itself behind some clouds and it cooled down significantly.  I was ready to give it a burn.  Four bolts in and my hands were numb.  Not warmed up anymore.  I managed to climb into the crux from the bottom without being pumped, but I dry fired due to lack of feeling in the skin.  As the temps continued to get colder, I belayed Greg a few times on Phonebooth 5.13a, and then we headed back to the car.

3 realizations:

1. The route will go.
2. I should get in better shape.
3. Damn, The Fortress is amazing and I'm psyched to spend more time up there and Kryptonite is by far the BEST route climb I've ever tried regardless of grade.  Superb quality stone, amazing moves.

In regards to the pictures.  They were taken by Greg.  He set up the camera on a tripod and had it automatically take a photo every few seconds the whole time I was on the wall.  These are the low-res versions.  I've decided to blow up a high res. version and put it on my wall for motivation.  You gotta do whatever you can to make sure that you get shit done.  Word.

On Thursday this week I leave for Hueco with a motley crew to do some tanning in the Texas sun.  And this amazing event:

So get down to Hueco for some climbing in the sun!


Alphaboth said...

That's awesome Carlo, I hope your send it man.

::BS Productions:: said...

Hope you guys are staying psyched in Hueco!!! I had the chance to shoot Joe on Krypto for The Players. Its soo dope!

Paul said...

Send Carlo, SEND!!!