Sunday, December 30, 2012

Two more buses

Well the last bus was late by two hours. Now we are two buses away from the entrance of the park... We are dieing to swet and work in the vertical world.

To my family... Love you and thanks for the support!


Monday, December 24, 2012

Eve before Christmas

Eve before Christmas

So two nights ago Amy and I had an amazing experience with the locals. After the 20 minute bus ride which was actually a 45 minute ride to a zoo of a city with one ATM  and a line that would run around the corner... A waiter that hated us and some exhausted sleeping on a bus and we we were back en la Playa before dark. Time for some music. The restaurants around here blast music from all directions... The whole trip I have been waiting for this moment.... LIVE MUSIC!!!

We got a map... Not a clue where we are going... Not a post with a sign in sight...

We make it not a hundred yards from the front door when the constant drumming noise we have been hearing is discovered. A massive drum circle with a beat that can only be describe as "BOOM!" is taking place. Drums the size of wine barrels in a variety of shapes are creating a storm.  Ten to fifteen drummers setting the mood. The locals-  swinging... Dancing, stomping. Dust from the feet and yells of excitement come from all directions. 

Well, it didn't  take Long for Amy and I to catch the rhythm.  Right in the middle of the road. Cars  would creep by with only smiles, mopeds would drop into first gear. All natural and wild excitement took place. The sound and setting was perfecto!  

"Lo quieras?" One of the drummers asks some of the people. 

"Lo  quieras?" 

"Si, si, si" I say.

Not an idea what to do, but who hasn't pounded on a bucket or made music in the kitchen with utensils.  The guy setting the beat had a mondo drum! I tried following his rhythm and they didn't care. But one guy caught on.... And I was Booted! This old man took the drum from me.  He started pounding  it with such ferocity and rhyme that the whole circle followed his beat.

They then started to fall into line... 

Then the rhythm took of... They nailed it!!!

Feet stomping and filing together they began to march up the road... Unreal! 

That was only the beginning...

We had the treasure map to the local bands location...

"Is this the right way? Lets try this road? Where is a damn street sign? Check out that VW Bus! Whoa it's getting dark. This hill is steep! "

Este Central Avenida ? 
La musica?
"Si!" as she flys by on her bike.

We must be getting close! 

Oh yeah, you can hear the noise.

The place is packed with locals. A tiny little stage and Boom... The band begins to play. Look at that timing. We are jammin' once more. The band is great and everyone was loving it. As we looked around we started to realize all the drummers from before were there... It was awesome! 

Yeah... We got funny looks for being in the middle of the crowd, among a group of  close neighboring friends.  Not understanding  what was being completely sung was also amusing.  But the music was local, classic, flowed, ripped and made everything feel alright.

Nothing but friends and acquaintances were made that night.

Luckily the way home was down hill and the wind along the coast was at our backs.... A wild night and and thus far a wild trip thru Punta del Diablo! Jeezzz these people stay up late... I think it's the heat during the day.

...Well it's Christmas Eve and the weather is sweet. To all of Our Family and Friends... We  would like to say, We Love You  and wish many bloated bellies and smiles over the holiday.  Many beers clashed, corks popped and loved passed around. The days are counting down for the main part of the trip to began. From hiking loads in, to swinging on ropes,  to feasting on the shoulders of a Giant  and seeing how far the spit can fly from the wall. Pretty excited to drag a massive haulbag in tow, in the vertical world and sea of granite.

Merry Christmas and Thank You for the Support in so many ways.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Day four en la Playa

Day four en la playa

So I have finally figured out that the sun rises over the ocean, which is compass East. No mountains in the way, just a straight blast of heat!Pretty wild. Growing up in a town on the coast I found mornings to be more pleasant at the beach, where as here- late... late in the evening is best. The sun is much more gentle then. The girls and I are fully cooked lobsters currently.  Luckily, la casa has a giant aloe plant. 

I'm starting to get un poco gordo porque la comida y cerveza. The hands are starting to peel and molt from lack of use. Picking up seashells is more fun than the idea of bouldering. Secret beaches feel as if they are around every bend. The other day a man was 50yrds out with water only up to his knees... Made me think of sharks. Then of course Amy's Mom had a story about that situation, which we won't go into details about...  Last night we wandered the roads enjoying the night- life with the locals.  I couldn't resist the soccer ball being passed around in the street. The sandals came off and I gave it my best. The kid was fast, tricky and good. He megged me four times. Seeing that he had a smaller stance I was already at a disadvantage... I had zero. We played what felt like hours, but I'm sure it was probably twenty minutes. Not too bad for not moving faster than a walking speed for the last seven years. It was fun to teach him some tricks and technique, even though he destroyed me. Every time he megged me, we could hear his father, friends, my girlfriend, her family and people on the porches of the restaurants cheer... Avoiding the mopeds was a constant issue.  The tourists were a whole other obstacle, as well as the broken bricks, uneven dirt and yes, even the feral dogs... It was great!  I think I have broken seashell in my big toe... 

Well it's early in the morning and we have to catch a twenty minute bus ride to the next town. We have to find an ATM and seek out Internet to send this off.
Hope all is well state side... And I gotta get this thing out of my toe

"Amy where are the tweezers?"


La Casa en la Playa

La casa en la playa

After hours of flight and transfers to other planes, bus to bus and dragging some giant bags around we are finally in Uruguay.  The owner of the Hostel failed to return our phone calls upon arrival so we did what any sane person would do... We found a bar!  While sitting there enjoying our drinks a gentlemen approached us and offered a deal...

He said "Tengo un casa en la playa para acquired"  

Un casa en la playa? Si?

So we looked it over-
Stove works, shower runs, sink drains, five beds for 4, equipped with dishes, neighbor lighting fire crackers at all hours, feral cats and dogs roaming the roads, fridge works- makes a weird noise though, a little dusty, a little musty... a little air fresher will clean that up... Gotta buy some Raid. Ocean sounds all day through the windows, Uruguayan hippies with dreadlocks surfin' the sea, fresh fish,  bathroom sink wont stop running, grass in the sand, ocean water on the grass... Rock climbing 50yards from our porch, water landing, billions of seashells to choose from, thunderous booms of lighting at 3:00am, wild winds, pounding rain, flooding kitchen while making eggs, more rain, the sun breaks, mild sunburn, shirtless weather, can't believe there are hippies here.

So here I sit on our porch at "Punta del Diablo", a small town with small houses and friendly locals. The beer you buy by the liter, the food is greasy, trinkets and bamboo wind -chimes line the docks. Necklaces with shells and fish spines hang on display, local wood is cut and plained for construction of beach homes, thatched roofs, no ATM's, dogs will greet you... Shoo them away, cats will follow you... Don't be afraid to bark at them. Food is cheap, the weather is great, life is much slower, don't get hit by the mopeds, enjoy the smells of the ocean and food, eat before the shops go for siesta, buy the beers in large  quantities.... Because it won't last, sit on the beach, climb some rocks, sun bathe,  make friends, don't pet the dogs, and enjoy life at Punta Del Diablo!

As the locals say.....  CHOW!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

We have landed in Buenos Aires

Woooo this place moves fast! Look both ways before crossing the street, then look again.  We are here for a day then to Uruguay for a week to spend the holidays on the beach. Then the hell of humping 300lbs  of equipment Under the Towers.

Looking forward to it!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Time to Fly!

We just got through airport security...3 haulbags, a 100 lb duffle, and carry-ons full of gear! TSA guys had a blast pulling out each cam and sling.  But, here we sit, about to take flight.  Just wanted to thank everyone for all your support with this trip! We couldn't have dreamed of this opportunity without you;) we'll keep you posted-

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Gettin' Ready- Torres del Paine

        Ohh Man , here we go! The bags are packed and the clock is counting down. We, for last month or so, have been sewing haulbags, repairing tents, altering bivies, and doing a whole lot of duck taping. The preparation for this trip has not been easy- paper work had to be filed, topos gathered and problems had to be solved. The weight, size and overall dimensions of the bags for traveling internationally were a constant burden, and figuring out what goes, what doesn't, what are we forgetting and what have we brought too much of has spun through our minds for the last two months. We have had to modify equipment, replace our scuzzy cameras, upgrade from the old to the new, always with the knowledge that forgetting one little detail could affect so much of our trip.

Here are some important details about just getting started, if you think you are going to “Taste the Paine”.

    • The two main international destinations from the US are Buenos Aires, Argentina and Santiago, Chile. Many visitors to the far south, such as Torres del Paine, chose a domestic flight to Punta Arenas or Rio Gallegos. One thing to consider if planning a big trip with lots of baggage, is that you will get charged again for your excess our case about $500. So, we opted for a 2 day bus ride.
    • Be cognizant of where you are going: South America's seasons are reverse of those in the USA, winter is summer, fall is spring, etc. Pesos are used, and it's good to know the exchange rate before you arrive Spanish is spoken (very different from the Spanish spoken in Mexico).
    • Also, be sure to prepare for some fierce weather...the Torres del Paine National Park temps online say between 40-60F, but that is considered without wind (which could reach 100 mph) and the wet. If planning on traveling around Chile or Argentina during your stay, the variations between temperature can be quite vast because of the large land masses of the countries. San Pedro de Atacama, for example, could be in the 100's while Torres are in the 30's!

    • Many of the items you will need during your stay can be found in Puerto Natales: internet, skype cafes to call home, good assortment of food, etc. However, bring all of your own climbing and hiking gear, as it can be very expensive to buy/rent down south.

 Here are some pictures of the haulbags that we had to create for the up coming expedition as well as the packing nightmare.  A simple layout of 2 inch webbing gets the ball rolling

 Making a mess!
2 inch webbing all stitched up

 If you look at the Walking Axe on the Duffel Bag we have made a bolt-on Dead-man Anchor to use the axe as a shovel or trenching tool

 Bottom of the Bag... Clean!

 All Built!

The Whitney Portal Hostel in Lone Pine Ca, has been our staging ground for our trip. Allowing us to sew, make a mess and sleep. They have great rates, employees and the Owner is one hell of Guy.

 Organizing, packing and trying to make sense of what to take and what to leave.
 This bag, now that is packed and waiting for the plane weighs in at 99lbs. There are going to be some fees on this one!
 More Bags and Equipment... Ahhh it is going to be heavy!
 Some custom chopped and ground iron. Its heavy, but necessary.
And some good lookin' Hooks.
 There is Power Pack in this picture ( the thing that looks like a laptop) we invested in total solar power and rechargeable batteries. Four months in the rocks would require a whole lot of AA's

Advance Tech HX 5 to 1 Haul System by SMC

Its a great tool that works with ease, when fighting against friction, gravity and weight.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Keeler Needle -Blood of the Monkey VI, 5.12 ... TOPO!

     Here is a topo of the the route that Amy and I Established over a Period of ten days on the wall of Keeler Needle at 14'000ft.  We moved capsule style up the wall, free climbing all pitches.

    Blood of the Monkey VI, 5.12 16 pitches

 Click Here for Larger Version of Topo

Click Here for Larger Version of Over Lay

Day Needle-BCB on the Prow VI, 5.10A2 & Keeler Needle-Blood of the Monkey VI 5.12

Trip Report and Video on Keeler Needle- Blood of the Monkey

Video Trip Report- Attempt One on Keeler Needle trying for the Winter Ascent

Trip Report and Photos on Day Needle-BCB on the Prow
 Follow Blood of the Monkey on

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Amy Sends!!!

It's Amy's Birthday today and as gift to herself she went for the East ridge of Lone Pine Peak solo. This finishes her Quest of all three ridges solo on Lone Pine Peak... Not bad I say!
Over the last Year in half she has bagged this colossal Mountain from all sides to only finish with a 3 mile ridge line by herself.


Nothin' like climbing on to a Giants Shoulders from the Desert floor.

Happy Birthday Darlin'

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October trip to Yosemite

    Our trip to the Yosemite Valley; Wild, Fast and Scary! After pulling into Camp 4 and denied a site, we got some restless sleep with Senior El Capatain. Climbers roam the wall with torches ablaze. Six or more Adventures were at work. We score cell-block 29. Simul-climbing by ten O'clock on Manure Pile Buttress we soar though After Six, After Seven and Nut Cracker. Sweat is poring off of us! A bottle neck at the Mantle on Nut Cracker. Under the parties of our fellow travelers we go, greasy, hot slab awaits. We bypass climbing sandpaper and moss. Back to camp dropping the 8.2 simule-rope for a real one. Off to Serenity-Sons. Hot! We bleed and send. Sleep.
Bear Boxes clang and slam from all the awaking soldiers. Amy is excited about the on-sight solo of Royal Arches about to take place. Meeting more Comrades at the start and in the belly of the Beast, they slide through with ease. We swing on the Pendulum with packs on our back, we have a plan. Amy slams the Tower above the hollow, springing tree, laced with jugs. The final exposed slab we take and feel the relief. North Dome we trudge toward. Awesome and bizarre slab climbing weaves through the Crest Jewel. Mystery relics appear on the left at times from past explores. “Where's” and “whose”, wander through our mind with “whats that?” as we climb. We greet a Baby Cub on the summit as he dashes down the descent trail. Where's Momma Bear?
We take Rest.
     We approach the Sentinel. Welcome greetings from a man named Jake belaying an unknown Leader while we rack tools. They are strong and fast. We start simul-climbing, Jake and Peter hang waiting for us to pass. Through Wilson's Overhang we go. Amy is unhappy with all the equipment and bag O' supplies. She passes through the wydes with nothing, but strength and style. We start pitching full rope lengths. Jake and Peter have swapped their blocks. Jake moves! We hang in a cave eating our feast of nothing below the Narrows. Jake goes through the slot then Peter follows. We watch as Peter tries to squeeze his giant body through the chasm. Legs dangle and wiggle in space as he inches up. Amy takes the reins and chases quickly through the heart of the giant. I push for the top hearing Peter and Jake sound “Good Bye! See you on the Descent!” A shuffle through the equipment and only one usable headlamp we head for the way off in sandals. We have just found the Boys. “Rock!” I yell as the ground gives way under me. Blocks fly though the gully as Peter and Jake dive out to the walls. I got Peter. He is “fine” he says and continues as if nothing happened. Strong! We clash beers together at their rolling palace. We talk about favorite pitches and future plans. We are now friends and will see each other again.
    Appropriately enough we clash beers over our dinner on the rest day. We talk about traveling to Patagonia. Jake and Peter fill us with all kinds of useful information on the region. They are excited as are we.
The Lower Cathedral Spire, Higher Cathedral Spire and The Braille Book we wake to climb. Starting on lower spire we climb with enjoyment, simul-climbing the first four pitches. We shoot of the Regular Route and jump onto South by South-West. Amy racks for the 5.10d pitch. It fights her as she works it out. She commits. The steep, slightly overhanging wall greases her off, the double 00” t.c.u rips, she goes even further. She reels her self in. The rope has been slightly melted and core shot twice. Good thing the piton held. We swap. The climbing is stout and totally enjoyable. Amy takes us through a hole to the summit. We rappel and start soloing up the ridge-saddle to link into the higher spire. We part a bush then through a half dead oak. “Ow! It must be an oak leaf in my sock, AHHH!”. Ow! Amy starts screaming. “Its Bees!!!”. We start soloing and trying to move! Ow! Ow! Amy is below me being totally attacked. I jump down to her and start plucking Meat Bees out of her hair as quick as I could. Another one gets me in the ear. We start hauling ass up the mossy wall, trying to get away. We have no rope or harness, they are in the pack. We hit a ledge and are forced to rope up. I can feel a few bites, Amy has no idea how many she has. She is in a lot of pain. We get to the base of the Higher and bee line straight to the car. We need Benadryl. We swell and feel bad for ourselves.
   The next morning everything is swollen and puffy. We pack the car and head back to Lone Pine cutting the trip short by a few days. We are happy with what we had done. Amy got to see Yosemite Valley finally, we got to see some future endeavors, but now it is time to ice our stings.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Thank you TRANGO!!

We are very excited that Trango Climbing has brought us on as Grass Roots Climbing Team Athletes. The support and excitement that we have received thus far, has lite a fire under us for our next expedition to South America!

Our plan and goal is to be base camping at the Japanese Camp under the Central Tower of Paine Massif. We will be there for four month taking the ride on some really big Giants. Being on a 4,000ft beast is keeping us up with the thought of spending anywhere to 20 days on the wall to establish what we seek. A Journey into the unknown is what is all about.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Another Lone Pine Peak Adventure-Ptergio Dieythno

the white colored fin is centered
the white colored fin is centered
Credit: Amy Ness

After our last experience on the south side of Lone Pine Peak, we wanted to return immediately. However, the winds that nearly blew us off the Serrated Ridge brought with it a white blanket which covered the peaks throughout the last week. Finally, getting stir-crazy in the valley, we decided to hike in the snow to check out a future endeavor and get some fresh air. On our way, we couldn’t help but notice the dry, south-facing granite looming above us. We continued on towards the stone house, knowing that we would turn around to pack for the trip that couldn’t wait.

myles and max ready to go...lone pine peak is behind them
myles and max ready to go...lone pine peak is behind them
Credit: Amy Ness

Salami…check. Dry milk…check. Inflatable pillows…check, check. We are ready to go by the next morning. Arriving at the base of what appeared from afar to be a ridgeline, we encountered a bunch of wide, kitty-liter quality rock. We had been hiking for about 2 hours and the idea of going around the corner to scope out other options seemed like such a challenging task. We built up the energy and walked to the right of the formation. We found a large dihedral that took off from the ground eventually hitting a saddle that connected to the large brown dihedral we had seen from afar. The climbing looked moderately difficult and we would have to climb 4-5 pitches before connecting with what we thought would be the 1st real pitch if we chose the ridge route.

myles ready to simulclimb
myles ready to simulclimb
Credit: Amy Ness

We decided to stick to our plan and climb the ridge, so we wrapped our kiwi coils in order to simulclimb. Myles started up and before making any progress, called down, “You wanna go direct?” “Yes”, I called back, “this looks stupid!” We reflaked the rope and hiked back over to the beautiful dihedral…not knowing how difficult or long of a process we had in store for us, knowing only, that this was the line we had come to do. I must admit, I was nervous; the wall had transformed from a simulclimbing romp with a few more difficult pitches into the unknown. The days in mid-November are short, and the descent will be covered in snow…yet, here we go!

fin from the base
fin from the base

Myles goes up the dihedral with ease ending atop a bowling pin block. After a flake, he steps across to a roof and belays me up.

myles on first pitch
myles on first pitch

I take the rope up a chalkstone arc and wandered up the wall passing 2 beautiful flakes to where my rope ran out in an oasis.

chaulkstone arc
chock-stone arc

Myles joined me in my perfect little hole and took off over a chicken-head roof crack, eventually belying in an alcove about 100 ft. up. His pitch was short, which he briefly mentioned while we looked up at the lieback I was about to climb. I used the nut tool to clean-out a spot for gear in the beginning (a technique we had used a time or two before on this route). As I reached the top where the lie-back widened and my only #3 was 10’ under me (the other was at the belay), I reached up and found the jug…except it was moss. The slickest, oozing, slimy moss I have ever encountered! I tried to jam my thigh into the crack and all of the sudden…POP! I was off. Hanging 10 ft, below my piece, I collected myself. “My turn”, I hear not 20 seconds later. “Bullshit!” I yell back as I grab the rope and get to high point as quickly as possible. This time, I put in another piece a little lower and take my #3 with me. I go again for the mossy jug, my thigh slips in, and I place my #3- whew! I skim up the mossy, muddy, wide crack to join into another wide crack.

my lieback...mossy jug on top!
my lieback...mossy jug on top!

My angry partner joins me at my tree belay and renounces my decision to go up the wide crack instead of going up the face…with no pro. We had to carry our boots, microspikes, as well as the ordinary all-day climbing items; making the 2nd carry a thick, heavy pack. Haha. He took the rope left over some 4th class to the case of the brown dihedral. He went up the odd, brown face protecting the crack. After standing on some questionable, but necessary, blocks on the face, he moved left to a ledge and belay.


I went up some flakes, over a ledge, and worked the ledge left to where I encountered easy knobs to a thin ledge belay. The experience of tiptoeing across unprotected, easy knob-climbing has become one of my favorite aspects of climbing in the Sierras…the other option was a wide crack, which my partner wouldn’t have appreciated! Myles then walked up a ramp to make an unnerving move across to an overhanging, wide crack with bushes on top. After a difficult move, he lead us past flakes and cracks to the summit.

Credit: Amy Ness

That was it. We were done. The sun had almost hidden behind the canyon leaving us just enough time to get back to camp. The descent is long and snowy, but we could still manage to see our faint tracks from 2 weeks ago and our microspikes kick ass:) As we relaxed by the fire that night, Myles asked me what my favorite part of the day was. Thinking for a moment, I replied, “When you wanted to do the direct.”

We have no prior knowledge of the route being done. It goes up the white fin on the right-hand side of Autumn Ledges for about 1450 ft. Even though I fell, I think it goes at about 5.9…without the moss!