#6 Innominata

#6 out of 7 and only one more left on my goal of climbing new routes on all of the major summits of the Fitzroy skyline!

After an amazing streak of good weather things returned to a slightly more regular (not that there is regular pattern) for the later part of January and into early February.  As mine and Kate’s trip was nearing its end I had all but given up on getting another route done this season.  Thankfully just a few days before our planned departure another good little weather window appeared.  After nearly 3 straight weeks of bad weathered I figured the mountains were going to be pretty plastered with new snow but for some reason they turned out to be fairly free of snow and ice.

When up on the South Face of Poincenot in early December I had plenty of time to look directly south on the north face of Innominata (also know as Aguja Rafael Juarez).  Before our ascent there were only two routes (and a short variation) up the north face proper.  The face is quite narrow but it appeared there would be room for another route shooting straight up the middle, well thats at least what I hoped.

 

We left Niponino camp sometime just before dawn (i’m sure it wasn’t to early because getting up isn’t something we are good at).  The approach took a casual 3.5hrs to base, with  a little bit of cramponning and post-holing required, but nothing to unpleasant.  I’ve gave Kate the fist block knowing that it would keep her a bit warmer, and well, I of course ended up getting pretty cold.  Our first few pitches followed Jon Walsh’s variation to Artebelleza, called Como No! The climbing was quite enjoyable and fairly straightforward.  And YES, the rock was actually really good.  After dealing with some shitty rock on my last two routes I wasn’t in the mood to climb any more choss.

Kate made quick work of the Como No pitches and took us to a nice ledge underneath the splitter crack the went up the steep headwall.  I wish I could say I then started to dispatch of the headwall cracks with speed and grace, but no, that is not the case.  I was feeling a lot less than great.  Maybe it was the lack of any actual crack climbing in the last few months, or maybe it was just me being lame.  Anyhow I still managed to keep the rope moving upwards though it was with a fair bit of hanging on gear.

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ean Potter slacklines on Cathedral Peak

National Geographic Adventure Photo of the Week: Dean Potter Highlining

Finally after 6 months of waiting I can share this image of Dean Potter walking a line up on Cathedral Peak in Yosemite.  Hands down this is one of the craziest images I’ve ever captured.  A lot  of the credit really should goto Dean though as he was  the one who dreamed up the shot over a year ago.  I shot this image while on assignment for National Geographic Television while shooting A TV show on Dean.  I’ll post more of the details about the show soon.

Dean Potter slacklines on Cathedral Peak

NG Adventure online decide to pickup the image for their Extreme Photo of the Week to promote the TV show which put a nice smile on my face.  There are a few paragraphs over there talking a little bit more about the image.  Check it out here:  http://adventure.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/extreme-photo-of-the-week/#/dean-potter-human-flight_48311_600x450.jpg

 

 

 

 

Astro Choss on Exupery

Climbing is complicated. It comes in many forms. It evokes many emotions and tries us in many ways. More than any other week of my almost 20 years of climbing have I felt that this week. The highs have brought tears just as much as the lows. I used determination to overcome fear and just a day later have had my determination smothered by fear. I high-5′d with my bros and heard their story of one of the best climbs of their life and then had to break the news to them of the loss a beautiful young strong lady that was a friend of us all. I’ve spent nearly a year of my life climbing in Patagonia waiting for the perfect weather window to arrive and now that it has it seams like the most unimportant thing to me. Now I want it to rain, I want it to snow, and I want it to blow so I don’t have to go…

My desire to climb runs deep in my veins except for right now.

Below are some pics from mine and Kate’s new route on St. Exupery, called Astro Choss. Not much to say about it. We started and the bottom, jammed some clean rock, climbed some icy rock, aided some chossy rock, and then stood on top.

Kate in front of St. Exupery

Kate in front of St. Exupery after our failed first attempt

 Rapping from pitch 3

Rapping from pitch 3 after our first go at it

Me crossing the schrund via a cool bit of face climbing

A bit of good climbing on pitch 3 before the rock gets bad

More photos after the break.

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Double Cover Month

Pretty stoked to have managed to get not only one but two covers this month! Both images have some pretty classic stories behind them as well.

The shot of Cerro Torre, in Patagonia was taken last year while hiking out after climbing St. Exupery with Kate. We briefly stopped on the hike to have a look at Cerro Torre as it was getting engulfed by a pretty serious storm. I had with me my Panasonic GF1 which is a great camera but I only had my fixed 14mm lens on it, which was to wide of an angle for the shot. So I asked Kate if I could borrow her Canon S90 point and shoot which had a decent zoom on it. Thankfully she said yes! I snapped off 3 pics and kept walking not really thinking they were anything special. Turns out I got one decent shot.

 

Patagonia's 2012 Mountain Catalog

Patagonia's 2012 Mountain Catalog

 

Nearing the end of our month long climbing trip to Slovenia and Croatia, Brittany Griffith, Kate and I decided to check out this amazing cliff just outside the mouth of Paklenica. The climbing was great though we were all extremely tired after climbing for to many days in a row. We had already packed our bags up and were about ready to head down the trail when some epic light started to pop out behind some clouds. I pleaded with the girls to unpack their bags and do one more pitch for me. They weren’t exactly enthusiastic, but thankfully I managed to persuade them. Just so happens this was the last route I shot and one of the last frames of the trip. I owe the ladies for this one.

Patagonia's Euro 2012 Spring/Summer Catalog

Patagonia's Euro 2012 Spring/Summer Catalog

Cerro-Torre-Night

Patagonia at Night

While descending from Poincenot a couple weeks ago my finger started to turn red and get a tad bit painful. In my state of exhaustion I didn’t really pay much attention as my body was prioritizing my needs over my pain. Once arriving back at camp, getting some rest and eating some food it became obvious there was something wrong with my finger. After 7 hours of hiking back to town the pain was becoming unbearable. What started out as a little red spot had swollen up like a grape and turned bright red and yellow… A trip to the hospital was mandatory. One week later when the weather got good again my finger was still painful and not ready to go back to the mountains. I’d be sitting out another excellent 2 day window.

So to entertain myself I hiked around town and setup a few different cameras. I’ve got a project that I’m working on that I need to doing a bunch of time lapses. A couple of the cameras sat for 3 days. The cool things about time lapses is not only do they make a cool video clips but sometimes the individual frames are worth themselves. Below are two of the better frames I got as well as gross pic of my finger!

Click on the pics to have a better view of them, they deserve it.

El Chalten and Fitz

 

Some peeps rapping Cerro Torre right before the weather closed out

 

 

Really gross and very painful

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Off The Couch and onto Poincenot

Nearly three months ago while descending El Cap I took one false step, heard a pop, and fell to the ground clutching my ankle. I instantly knew I wasn’t going to be “walking it off.” Fast forward two months and a change of location to Smith Rocks, where Kate and I posted up for my recovery. After sitting around for so long I started to loose the plot and deemed it time to start climbing again. I gradually worked back into it, 5.8,5.9 and 5.10 the first day. 5.11 the second day. And then the real surprise came on the third day when I managed to climb Chain Reaction, one of the most classic 5.12c’s anywhere. Needless to say I was fairly happy with my progression though I knew Chain was a more of a monkey trick than a rock climb.

Fast forward another month and this time to El Chalten, Argentina, the small cozy town that lays at the foothills of the massive Fitzroy massif. I arrived early December with my sights set extremely low knowing that climbing a 35ft 4 bolt sport climb at Smith Rocks hardly got me ready for climbing in alpine. Or maybe it did? At least thats what I had to tell myself as a weather forecast started to appear that I knew I couldn’t miss out on.

Cerro Torre on the approach to the Torre Valley

Thankfully for me Jens Holsten and Joel Kauffman offered to take a gimp along with them (that would be me). What I lacked in fitness though I made up for with a good plan, which be might arguable looking back… But never the less they were sold and the bags were packed. Our plan, take a new steep and direct line up the 900m south face of Poincenot.

 

Like any alarm that goes off at 3am, this one came way to early for me. We took our time getting out of camp waiting for a faint illumination from the sum , wanting to avoid crossing the loose moraine by headlamp that guards the entrance to the Poincenot-Inominata couloir. Slowly we picked our way through huge loose boulders and up into the couloir that leads to the base of the massive and steep south face on Poincenot.

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This should be a cool rock climbing pic but I haven't really been able to take any of those lately.  So here is one from the parking lot at Smith Rocks

Rockclimbing

Kicks A$$.

Today was my first day climbing in 5 weeks.  Definitely the longest duration I’ve gone without climbing in a really long time! (hard to recall exactly but probably 5 years).  5 weeks ago I sprained my ankle in a pretty serious way coming off of El Cap.  I knew when I hit the ground that is was going to be awhile before I was walking let alone climbing.  Walking is pretty easy these days though I’ve still got a limp.  Climbing is just barely doable…  I used my heal a lot as putting weight on my toes is still fairly challenging still.  But regardless I managed to climb 3 pitches of 5.easy at Smith Rocks today.   The climbing was great but equally as cool was just being at the crag hanging with friends.  That is hell of a lot more fun that sitting in my van watching movies!!!!

Now I just need to not over due it and make sure I’m ready for the upcoming season down in Patagonia.  My Dec 5th departure date isn’t that far away.

This should be a cool rock climbing pic but I haven't taken any lately... so here's a pic from the parking lot.

Another pic only a 5 second walk from the van

 

This one was maybe 2 minutes from the car... Big day for me.

60 minutes

Alex Honnold and 60 Minutes

Earlier this year I got hired by  CBS to work on a short profile piece about my good friend Alex Honnold.  Along side a small crew from Sender Films we shot Alex free soloing the Chouinard-Herbert (IV 5.11)  route on the north face of the Sentinel.  In normal Alex style he made it look like 5.8

Enjoy!

Paklineca, Croaita

The Limestone Walls of Paklenica

I just got back from an amazing month long trip to Slovenia and Croatia. Kate and I spent the first couple weeks of the trip getting familiar with the steep limestone of Misja Pec in southern Slovenia and then headed to Paklineca in Croatia for the second half of the trip. Brittany Griffith joined us for the second half which really helped to keep the stoke high (and made taking photos easier).

I think I’m still a bit pumped from all the steep rock over there!

Here are few of my favs:

more after the break….