You and me and the mountains!

The last few months have been a whirlwind flourishing with activity. Climbing, work, climbing at work, and a little more climbing round out my days currently. I have even been doing a little bit of shooting as well as getting extremely strong.

I have been thinking alot about this blog and how I should run it and what I should publish on it. When it comes down to it, I am a photographer and this is a photography blog. But I’m bored of that because If I’m not always shooting then I have nothing to post.

So with that in mind, I would like to introduce a more climbing focused blog roll. Mainly what my friends and I have been up too, but also what is going on in the climbing industry and the world of professional climbing. Things that interest me or items that I feel are important and should be noted.

I will include more posts of travels that I engage on and even no images came out of the trip I will still be talking about it.

With that said, I will start by doing a quick recap of my 2009.

January started with a quick recon mission to Morgan Territory in Livermore, Ca. Lauren and I only go to spend less than an hour there but we found this (hopefully) soon to be gem ready to be cleaned, cared for and sent.

Next was a trip to Mount D. where I repeated the great easy line Amazing Face and get myself thinking about the bolt line to the right. Next was Yosemite Valley with my roommate and newest climbing partner Justin Ancira. It was his first climbing trip to the valley and his second trip outdoors ever! We did After Seven and then finished up on After Six. I lead all the pitches and Justin did a damn good job learning how to climb hand cracks and clean gear at the same time onsight!

A few weekends later we headed out to Berkeley to climb at Mortar Rock and Indian Rock. My good friend Brendan just got into town from New Zealand and was stoked to climb some Cali rocks before heading back to Zion to guide.

My go to climber for shooting hard pulling Eric Sanchez, made quick work of Sunshine Eliminate Extension, or something of the sort. A somewhat contrived but still cool line on Mortar that goes at a hard V9. He then started working on Rimshot (V10) and put pretty good work into it. I sent a 3 day project of The Ramp Sit Start (V5) and then walked down to Indian Rock and sent the C+ Dyno eliminate second go, and static! It was very cool full extension moves with a greasy pinch and a perfect gaston that I was able to lock off super low and pull through to the finish jug which people usually deadpoint/dyno for.

Lauren made good work on The Ramp Stand Start (V4) as did Justin. I think both of them have it on them to send it soon.

After some Berkeley rock I headed out to Lee Vinning Canyon for my first time on water ice. What a very cool experience. I climbed three lines on TR on the Chouinard Falls. Very good ice around WI3. Sometimes a little harder and easier.

Then February came as did the rain. Justin, Brendan and I made got one trip out to Berkeley. We checked out the Little Yosemite area where I put in great work on The Great Stone Face (V7) but only did it from the stand at V4. We then drove over to Indian Rock were I actually focused on shooting 100% for once and got some awesome images of Justin and Brendan climbing on the Center Overhang (V3) and some mossy freesolos.

March came and Brendan’s departure was nearing. He had come out to the Bay Area with hopes of getting out to the valley. If that was going to happen it NEEDED to stop raining for a few days and it had to happen fast.

Well, it was 6 days and counting till Brendans return flight and it hadn’t rained or snowed in the Valley for almost a week and the other than morning snow one day, it was going to be sunny and a little warm. It was on!

On Friday night we packed the car to be ready for an am departure on Saturday. We took the 140 route to save gas and got to the valley in about 3.5 hours. After checking out the Knobby Wall for dryness we went over to the 5 Open Books were we did a wet push of Commitment 5.9. Brendan and I both took falls (my first on gear) and I added the French Free technique with cams to my bag of tricks. That night we checked out some boulder/solo cracks at the Swan Slabs were Brendan and I both groveled our way up a nice 5.8 off-width and I repeated a nice 5.9 move into a 5.7 lieback corner that runs for about 15 feet then tops out. We tried a few more problems in the dark after that then hit the sack.

Sunday we woke up stoked and ready to rack up some pitches. We walked from Camp 4 to the Manure Pile Buttress and then saw that the road was opened up the entrance for the Manure. Slightly bummed we talked to another party eating some lunch and thenb walked over to Nut Cracker. I started it on the original start and quickly found myself getting stuck into my first real chimney. I got through it easily and then was run out on a red #1. I was standing on a flake that looked more secure to be hanging from and placed a yellow alien below me in a small crack. After looking at a photo copied topo I committed to the 5.7R traverse and then ran up the ramp until and I had inches left on the rope. Brendan came up and we started Looking at the next pitch.

“It’s really wet”, I say.
“Ya. Uhh, I don’t want to lead that”, Brendan says as hi eyes the 5.8 lieback flake that has a small waterfall running right down on the feet.
“Neither do I”, I reply.
“Well, how do we get down? This route was put up with no bolts and there are people on the climb right below us.”
“I have some retired webbing and a biner. Lets go do After seven into After Six!”

We top out After Six right as the last bit of the suns rays are gracing the face of Cathedral. It was a vibrant amber and the rays of the sun traced away from the wall and got lost behind el cap. A perfect silhouette of the Nose being created.

On Monday we headed to the Church Bowl to do Bishop’s Terrace but another party was racking up below when we arrived. We walked left to the 5.4 gully that is Aunt Fannies Pantry and soloed up to the base of the spire. We had brought our rope and four cams and four alpine draws. I quickly tied in and place two pieces as I climbed up to the top. What a cool view! Three raps put us back on the ground. When then packed up quickly and I drove us back to the Knobby Wall. We pretty much ran there and I set up shop quickly on an unamed 5.12a.

The first bolt was super easy to reach so I clipped it. I also used my crash pad for the boulders on the ground. I started pretty much as low as I can and after 3 tries of just trying to get off the ground I was placing and clipping the second bolts. A match and right hand lock off quickly made me say take as I was falling. I rested for a min on the rope then Put my hands and feet back to where they were when I fell and pulled through to the lip where I through a heel over my head and mantled up onto the perfectly flat top! Awesome!

This last Wednesday (3/11) Justin and I drove Brendan to SFO so he could catch his flight back to Vegas and then the bus to St. George then a 45 min drive to just outside Zion.

After dropping B-Gone off, Justin and I went to Castle Rock State Park. I quickly sent Tree Route Sit (V5) and almost did Yabo Roof (V5) third go. Then we hiked some easy problems in the Magoos including Mr. Magoo. I also sent Bates Problem (V6) after finding the very critical right foot.

After that we went to the Sharma Traverse and each did the moves leading to the final V6 crux. After using the rest of our energy trying to and for me doing the final section we walked back down to the parking lot boulder where we met this rad local who gave us an orange. Nice fellow.

All of that leads us to now. To tonight. The start of this new venture for my creativity. Next Friday I might be going back to the valley for a day of bouldering with my friend Jeff Headrick and Saturday Lauren and I are FOR SURE going to Bishop for 3 days off hard pullin! We will be meeting up with my good friend and a Livermore local Jesse Palomino and hopefully tick some more classics while we are there.

Thats it for now. Signing out, Alton R.


One comment

  1. Chris Duncan

    Sounds like you’re having an awesome time. I didn’t understand half of what you said here, but it’s obvious you’re getting majorly into it. You said you weren’t focusing on the photos so much, but you’ve got some really rad stuff right here. Keep it up man.

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