Saturday, December 31, 2011

Austrians in Highball Paradise

Katharina Saurwein of Austria, and former overall lead World Cup champion of 2008 Jorg Verhoeven from the Netherlands (both now living in Innsbruck, Austria), have been out in Bishop since around December 12 and have already completed some impressive ascents. Of particular note was Katha's ascent of This Side of Paradise (v10), the mammoth highball prow at the Bardini Boulders, and Jorg's ascent of Ambrosia at the Peabodies.

I met these guys out in Zillertal, Austria a few years back when Lisa Rands presented a video by Sender Films in which she climbs This Side of Paradise. It was the incredible beauty of the line that really drew Katha's attention, and she made it her mission to give it a try. Unfortunately, after arriving in Bishop about a year ago (shortly before Christmas), heavy snow reduced access across the Buttemilk Country and their highballing plans were put on hold. Undaunted, they returned this time and things went a lot better.

After making the moves on a top rope, Katha went for the ascent and topped out to become only the second woman to do the line. On one try, she took a fall from just below the crux and said her legs were still sore four days later. No surprise, as she only had two pads beneath her!

Katha has also pulled off ascents of Golden Shower (v10 highball at the Pollen Grains), and Xavier's Roof (v11), among others. As for Jorg, he claims not to be feeling so great and spending his time shuffling their two foam mats about while Katha climbs. Even so, he did drag the pads over to Ambrosia to check that one off. Hey, when you only have a pair of pads to use in Bishop, you have to be thankful for such forty-five-foot-tall lines. As Jorg matter-of-factly explains, "The lower part to the hueco you can do with two pads and at the top you can't fall."

It should be noted however, that after renowned soloist Alex Honnold (second ascent) told Jorg it, "probably wouldn't be a good idea," Jorg decided against a ground-up approach and ran a TR on the line first.

"Scary, scary scary," is German for something I guess, and you can read more (all in that language) at Katha's website.  Also, for comments in English, and for some sweet photos, please check out Jorg's blog.

Meanwhile, here's a little vid:

Katha Saurwein and Jorg Verhoeven Highballing in Bishop. 'Ambrosia' V11, 'This side of Paradise' V10 etc from katharina saurwein on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Alex Biale, Rastaman Vibration

This news has been covered elsewhere I know, but I want to give props to Alex Biale for his ascent of Rastaman Vibration (v12) on the Grandpa Peabody on December 15. It is interesting to note that, although this line was first climbed by Jared Roth back in 2002, it had never before been repeated!

Indeed, Rastaman Vibration begins with one of the hardest moves at the 'Milks, a big move from a miserable pinch to gain a tiny right-hand crimp, feet swinging. Most people now know this move from images or video of Paul Robinson's sit-start to the line, Lucid Dreaming (v15/16?). However, not even Paul climbed Rastaman Vibration before completing the sit. After sticking that super-low percentage start, the upper section heads up the wall and super-highball slab (vibration territory) with dicey low-angle smearing and sloping grainy palm-moves twenty feet up. If you were aiming for the sit, would you really want to do that part twice?

There were probably less than half a dozen people who ever seriously considered a repeat, as the opening crux was so hard that almost no-one could do it and the handful of elite that did stick the move didn't feel like completing the line! Even so, we must thank Jared for his Rasta vision: Though proving one of the least popular lines in the Buttermilks, Rastaman Vibration nevertheless pushed bouldering to a new level and was a significant step toward the ultimate challenge that followed.

Breakage at Ice Caves

One of the key holds for many of the climbs on the roof of the Beef Cave in the Ice Caves at the Sad Boulders has broken. The break, which happened at the end of November, was of the good finger-hold that was at the right end of the rail that Beautiful Gecko follows, a hold that also was important for lines Aquatic Hitchhiker, Feels Like a Barnacle, In the Aquarium and Windchill. While all these lines will be harder now, this break will probably have the most impact on Beautiful Gecko. Anyone who has repeated any of these lines since the break please post a comment and let us know what you think! Thanks!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sonnie Trotter, Luminance and Ambrosia, Alex Honnold Luminance and Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

The handsome Canadian Sonnie Trotter, had a good past couple days of climbing in the Buttermilks. Yesterday he did Ambrosia (V11) the 45 foot Kevin Jorgeson highball/free solo on the west face of Grandpa Peabody boulder. Sonnie, as with all the others to have climbed the line used a different start: Sonnie's start is a mixture of Isaac Calderio's (3rd ascent of the line) and the original beta. Sonnie said although feeling a bit shaky at the hueco, 25 feet up, said the the upper half felt better than it had on his previous top rope rehearsals.

Earlier in the week Sonnie and Alex Honnold went and ticked off Luminance (V10?). The relatively short problem (10 moves--short by 'milks highball standards anyway) is not to be taking lightly due to its bad landing 20+ feet below. After doing a lap or two on the line they both agreed Luminance felt a little easier than previously thought, Alex (though not to be taking too seriously about his grades) said it felt more like V8! Either way, nice work guys!

Alex, who is spending the winter in the Bishop area did what is likely the 3rd or 4th ascent of Sonnie Trotter's line Standing on the Shoulders of Giants (V8 or 9) on the south face of the Golden Boulder. The line, which the name implies, starts about 12 feet up from a shoulder stand and climbs about another 12 feet of reportedly great climbing. There is a potential ground start to the problem (which has been attempted with no success) that will probably check in around V13 or harder and will be one of the last great high, hard lines in the 'milks... Or will it..?

Dan Beall climbing well in the 'milks

Dan Beall has just done what is likely the 3rd ascent of the newest hard link up on the Grandma Peabody boulder, Direct North (V14). The line climbs Direction (V13) to a marginal rest into the tall and insecure Magnetic North (V8 or 9). Below is a link to a clip of Dan falling off the last move on his last try before the send. A week or so prior to his Direct North ascent Dan dispatched, as Zlu Haller says "best line in the world?'', Evilution Direct (V11). Congrats Dan and keep on crushing

Here's a quick vid of one of the attempts:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fall Highball with John Long, November 19

The Fall Highball event organized by the American Alpine Club is once again coming to Bishop with famed stonemaster, climbing pioneer, and raconteur extraordinaire John Long coming to speak at the Mill Creek Station on Saturday night, 7pm. This will be a show worth seeing.

The event is coordinated to coincide with the Access Fund's Adopt-a-crag day, and so, in partnership with the Inyo National Forest and the group Friends of the Inyo, there will also be a Buttermilk clean-up on Saturday morning beginning with a free light breakfast at 8:30am at the parking lot just before the Peabodies.

Please join the folks out there to help keep the area clean and beautiful. Thanks!

See the American Alpine Club website for more details.

Note: Mill Creek Station, a great venue for talks and shows, is about 9 miles from Schat's bakery going toward Mammoth, on the right side of the road. Designated drivers are recommended.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Buttermilk Pit Toilet--Comments Needed

Andrew Schurr of the group Friends of the Inyo wrote to me recently about a proposal from the Forest Service to construct one or two permanent pit toilets with wheelchair accessible paths adjacent to the Buttermilk boulders.
The proposal mentions two locations: 1) the parking/turn-around at the Birthday Boulders, and 2) the gravel pit just before the Peabody Boulders on the right hand side of Buttermilk Road. This latter is an old borrow pit that has become a large parking pullout at the base of an old disused 4-wheel-drive track a hundred yards or so before the Peabody Boulders.
The Forest Service proposal states an intent to build a toilet at the Birthday Boulders either at the end of the summer or early fall this year, and then to build a second one at the gravel pit also known as the "borrow pit" only if needed.
I would prefer not to see a permanent structure placed at the Birthday Boulders as it would be ugly and present other problems. So choosing the borrow pit location as the first, and ideally, the only option would seem like a better approach to me. Here’s why:

Visual problems:
Birthday Boulders Site: Visual impacts would be a disaster here. A permanent toilet would be an eyesore. This area is high on a plain and, as viewed from the boulders, any toilet structure will stand out against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This area is famed for its beauty. Why ruin it?
Borrow Pit Site: This would not ruin the view from the boulders. From nearly all perspectives this location will be unobtrusive. Even a large toilet block here could be made to blend in against the hillside and have little impact.

Camping problems:
Birthday Boulders Site: We really must do what we can to REDUCE camping in and around the Birthday Boulders and the Birthday Boulders parking spots. A toilet placed here would undoubtedly increase camping at this location. This fragile area is not suited as a permanent campsite with all the accompanying erosion and visual impacts of tents, cars, campers, networks of paths etc. I would like to encourage people to camp away from the boulders.
Borrow Pit Site: Increased camping here will have less of an impact as the area is less visible and is already impacted from previous use.

Access problems:
Birthday Boulders Site: This is a site nearly exclusively used by climbers. It is at the end of a spur, off of a small side road that diverges from the only regularly used access road to the Buttermilk area. Climbers specifically choose this place to park for its proximity to the boulders, and on busy days all the parking in this vicinity is taken up by climbers. Few if any other users choose to take this spur road and so this climber-specific location may lessen the value of the toilet for all other groups as well as present a parking problem.
Borrow Pit Site: This site is occasionally used as a parking spot by climbers, but is rarely if ever filled with climbers’ cars. The nearby road is wide and easily accessible by all users of the Buttermilk area. This site is conveniently located beside the only regularly used approach road to the area, taken by virtually everyone.

Winter Access Problems
Birthday Boulders Site: During the winter this site is often inaccessible due to snow, sometimes for weeks.
Borrow Pit Site: Even while the upper area is blocked by snow, the lower site and lower bouldering areas remain in use and nearly always accessible.

Usefulness Problems:
Birthday Boulders Site: Even for many climbers, this site will require a special trip to reach. The site is off of a side road, and along a spur. People approaching the Buttermilks in the morning and intending to climb at any of the lower locations first reached, which is a large proportion of all climbers, could be discouraged from making a special trip to use the facilities. Adding to the discouragement could be a cluster of cars trying to get into and out of this already-crowded turn-around. The roads there are narrow and will get stretched as cars attempt to park and/or pass each other.
Borrow Pit Site: As stated above the location is beside everyone’s approach so there’s no reason not to use it for anyone needing to ”go” as they arrive at the area. The Buttermilk Road is wide at this point and stopping would be relatively easy.

The comment period for this proposal is 30 days and nearly up. In fact those wishing to express their opinion on this only have until July 15 to do so. Please submit comments to Lesley Yen, White Mountain Ranger District, 798 N. Main Street, Bishop, CA 93514; fax 760-873-2563; phone 760-873-2524; email There is a link to proposed actions here. I believe I have expressed the proposal accurately but if you wish to see the two-page pdf from the Forest Service please drop a line to Lesley or me (email at right) and ask for it.
Having spoken to Lesley recently I know that the Forest Service is genuinely interested in people’s opinions and may reconsider the proposal accordingly. If you can drop a line or call Lesley to politely express your thoughts on this, that would be great.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Transporter Room Another Repeat -- from Zack Parke

Just received this note from an inspired Zack Parke of Santa Cruz. Read on as he explains.

"About a month ago I came across this video on Black Diamonds' website of Kevin Jorgeson in the Buttermilks. In it, among other sweet lines, Kevin does what could be only the second ever ascent of the Transporter Room on the Grandpa Peabody boulder.
After watching that video I got pretty psyched about doing this climb, now that I know where it goes and some of the beta. I'd planned a trip out to the Buttermilks for last week, and made it a point to check out Transporter Room. On Thursday after I warmed up and surprised myself by wrapping up a couple of previously frustrating projects, I convinced my friends to bring pads down and check out the line. It looked good so I went for it, and got up on the first go.
The bottom was pretty straightforward, and includes the physical crux, a left hand cross. The top was a little weird as I didn't quite know exactly where on the slab to climb, so I kind of mini epic-ed for 15 minutes deciding which holds to use. Not too hard but definitely the mental crux for me.
Respect to Kevin for reviving this old line. Without his video I wouldn't even have been thinking about the climb.
Hopefully it will get more traffic!
Wish I was still there; everything's turning a beautiful green!
Zack Parke"
This ascent is all the more impressive as Zack (25) has been climbing only about four years, mostly in Yosemite, but has been mixing things up with a fair amount of bouldering. Zack climbed the line without any prior inspection or TR, but after looking at the video from Kevin Jorgeson's ascent, which turned out not to be the second after all (see comments below). As well as working as a bike messenger, Zack makes custom sewn gear for climbers including chalk bags, pads, packs and wall gear. UPDATE: Please see the very sad news in comment #4. Here are a few images from Zack's ascent:

Zack Parke, Transporter Room. Photo: Kevin Smith

Zack Parke, Transporter Room. Photo: Kevin Smith

Zack Parke, Transporter Room. Photo: Kristel Dorighi

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Isaac Caldiero completes Joe's project!

Longtime friend of Bishop Bouldering, Isaac Caldiero, has completed his guidebook to Joe's Valley, Utah. He's done an awesome job of the guide, updating all the known info, and finally getting the word out on a slew of development there from the last few years. More info at the Joe's Valley Guidebook website.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fingerprints FA by Andrew Stevens

It's great to see that even though I might not be climbing much right now, life still goes on as usual out at the Buttermilks!

In early April, local Bishop RN and ER manager Andrew Stevens even added a sweet new line to "The North Boulder," which might better be described as the "East Side Story Boulder," after the proud highball by that name on its south face (see page 236 in the guide 2nd ed). Andrew's likely first ascent climbs a prow-like line on the boulder's northwest corner.

Buttermilks FA, Fingerprints from Andrew Stevens on Vimeo.

As I've been out of action recently, I haven't been able to check out the line yet, though I do know the boulder pretty well and the patina there is second to none -- it is perfect. I remember climbing on the slab and the undercut wall, but don't think I did the problem Andrew found here. Obviously some degree of vision is needed! This problem is in the v8 range, he says and he highly recommends it.

Walk out from the Birthday Boulder parking past the Fly Boy Boulder to find this. The problem will stay in the shade for half the day, but watch out for snakes as it's getting kinda warm out there. Should have posted this earlier, sorry!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Dan Mills, Sad Boulders Project (v11?)

Dan Mills has reported an ascent of a long-standing project at the Sad Boulders, suggesting v11. I say project.... At least I don't know of anyone who has climbed it--but if someone knows different, I hope they'll post a comment. It is an obvious line on a giant block facing south and the first really big boulder just off the path, a couple hundred yards up from the lower parking on Chalk Bluff Road. It's a proud line, in fact, and may have gone unclimbed this long due to its orientation (it faces the sun and heats up even on cool days), and also, of course, it is pretty hard.

Here's another angle added later (see comments):

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Direct North (v14), Guillaume Glairon-Mondet

I recently learned that French climber Guillaume Glairon-Mondet made an ascent of the desperate new line Direct North (v14) on the Grandma Peabody Boulder's steep side. The line is an obvious extension to Direction, and takes on this photogenic wall of immaculate yellow-streaked rock by its hardest sequence, stacking the excellent highball Magnetic North (v8/9?) onto the testpiece Direction (v13).

Starting in the underclings, first Direction is itself a v13 sit-start to the original "one-move-wonder" Thunderbird (a tough v11 utilizing a tiny right crimp) and leads to some full-pad crimps above and right of the finish of Center Direct. After gaining the crimps, and taking a shake, perhaps, the line moves up and right following Magnetic North which has a longish span to another small right crimp followed by a tough and nervy heel-hook lock-off to gain good jugs that lead to the lip.

Guillaume, who also climbed The Mandala Sit Start (via the left sequence, v13/14), and grabbed a possible fourth or so ascent of Iron Resolution (v13) in Joshua Tree, before heading back to France, said that Direct North was the hardest ascent of his trip. Though he flashed the upper section (Magnetic North), he found the move from the heel hook extremely hard when reached from the start, taking a fall there on one of his attempts. He also described the crux move (on Thunderbird) as "really HARD!!"

Guillaume described the line as "the most logical of the whole boulder," by which perhaps he means the most compelling, or most impressive, I'm not sure. Given the rock quality, this is certainly one of the most perfect hard lines in the Buttermilk area--the holds are bullet hard, and the climbing is sustained and amazing.

See an earlier report for this line.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Swarm Direct (v13?), Nalle Hukkataival

At the end of Feb The Swarm (at the Secrets of the Beehive Area) received its obvious and long-awaited direct finish from visiting Finnish celebrity Nalle Hukkataival. Many others might have done this problem, but for the effort involved in rapping and cleaning the line and dealing with a known loose hold. The loose hold did break (so I heard), but only to leave another edge.

As expected, the direct version checks in at roughly the same grade as the original and surely goes high on the list of top crimping testpieces of the West! It looks awesome and is on that perfect polished brown rock, some of the best in the Buttermilk area. Apparently Nalle doesn't find this style of climbing particularly hard and had more trouble with the Sit to The Mandala, which he felt was harder, even via the left (generally considered easier) variation, which is the one he did. He writes about The Swarm Direct, and more about his Bishop visit on his blog post.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Enzo Oddo, Ambrosia (v11 super-highball)

Just heard that 15-year-old French prodigy Enzo Oddo repeated Ambrosia yesterday. He must have been wanting to get it done before the bad weather moved in as it was a very windy day up there! He had previously top-roped the upper part of the line and bouldered out the start, using the same direct version that Isaac Caldiero used on the third ascent.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Another Fun Variation ... Drifter Boulder

The Drifter Boulder aka Smoking Boulder is certainly one of the finest in the Buttermilk Country, home to the ultra-classic High Plains Drifter (v7) and Change of Heart (v6) two amazing problems first done by former Yosemite habitué and Eastside bouldering legend Dale Bard back in the late 1970s. A little less popular than these side-by-side gems is the line to the left, The Knobs Problem, though also interesting with a tricky long lock-off using a right heel.

Even a traverse of the boulder from left-to-right that finishes on High Plains is attaining a reputation for elusive difficulty--Les Tois Maunets (v11, FA Fred Nicole late 1990s?). The latter problem has a strange section where you actually climb down from The Knobs to gain the start of High Plains Drifter. Why then did we forget the obvious link-up, beginning at Change of Heart but drifting up left to join The Knobs? Crazy, huh? Check it out--maybe around v7/8, and like nearly all the problems around it, it's on good rock and with a decent landing. I mention it here because it's not in the guide.

 Above: Sequence for the "Drifter Left" (above) moving into undercling. 
 Finishing with the big move of The Knobs.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Nalle Hukkataival, The Swarm

Famed Finnish climber Nalle Hukkataival arrived in Bishop just a few days ago (along with Austrian bouldering masters Kilian Fischhuber and Anna Stör). After a month or two chilling at home and training in the gym, Nalle was ready to leave winter behind and hit the road again. On his first day he made a trip through the Buttermilks, doing some classics. A day later it was down to business with a quick (half hour or so) ascent of The Swarm (v13/14)! Nalle is here for a few weeks and says he's excited to get to grips with some of North America's most famous problems, highballs and all ... "The lines are amazing," he says.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Makers, v8, Pollen Grains

I made a trip over to the Pollen Grains/Lydija Boulders on Saturday. The road down to the Get Carter boulder was still incredibly deep with snow, which is a bit surprising considering how little snow is left on the slopes of the main area. We all began to get a bad feeling as driving downhill in the 4x4 became tough going! Anyway, it was good to finally get out to the area as I’d been waiting for the chance to check out a couple of lines there.
Daniel Ferreira had written to me a while back about a problem he had done on the Honey Boulder (between the Lydija Boulder and the Jedi Boulder). It takes a direct line straight up from the start of Cover Me With Flowers, passing some cool rounded features to gain a distant slopey crimp (for the right hand), followed by an awkward pull around a bulge. Daniel had named the problem Makers after a night of whiskey drinking. I felt it was in the v8 range, and well worth doing--a little grainy, but that’s normal for FA’s. It’s fairly high and exciting, but the landing is flat. Thanks Daniel for bringing this to my attention.
Sorry, pretty lame not to have a shot of someone on this!
It is slightly overhanging to a bulge.
Sadly, the hours rushed by, and I didn’t get up the hill to look at the other line I was eager to try--Kevin Daniels’ Anaphylaxis, a direct start to the Beekeeper topout, which climbs directly to the finish of The Beekeeper from off the rounded rock at the base of that wall. Kevin said about v5 for this highball. I will report more about that one when I get a chance.

For more goings on, check out Alex Johnson's blog.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Mandala Start--some background info

The debate over where a boulder problem really starts can extend to many problems out there. Jump-start lines are notoriously hard to clarify, for example--how many pads?--and there are no doubt dozens like that.  As for The Mandala, the now-standard start seems to have come to dominance over the last couple of years. I pointed out that the start has changed in the previous post simply because it has changed. I'm not saying there's anything "wrong" with the new start. Fact is that while some people know the start changed, many people, especially those who climbed in Bishop in the early 2000s don’t know this.
Here's a bit more background:
When Brion Voges flashed The Mandala last year, I didn’t report the ascent because I felt that by starting off of so many pads with the right hand in the undercling and left on the good crimp (just above), that this wasn’t doing the problem in the way it traditionally was done. It seemed an unfair start that didn’t respect Sharma’s line. It seemed unfair to Chris Sharma to claim to have flashed this historic problem, though Chris probably doesn’t care. It might also be considered unfair to anyone else that might have wanted to make the flash previously, or at least attempt it. I held that view for a long time and have mentioned it several times on my blog and elsewhere, though many people don't seem to agree, and people could debate this for years! I was trying to uphold a belief about the starting point of the problem, but even my own beliefs can't handle all the gray areas and lead to inconsistencies, so why bother being so pedantic?
Do I think Alex climbed the Mandala? Of course I do. I'm just saying for others coming along later that this is where she started the problem, and it's not the same place it used to start. Nearly everyone starts it that way now. Sure, it seems kind of strange to me but that's how it is. Now I look at all the videos out there of people doing The Mandala, I can see that there's almost no need to point out where it now starts, except to old farts like me and others climbing here back when Sharma first did the line.
The truth, I think, is that Brion and others had no idea there was ever a lower start. As I said, you can see loads of vids online. Of course Brion went on to comfortably complete the sit-start, and was very good humored when ribbed about the stand, but then, flashing The Mandala probably wasn’t too big a deal to him, amazing as that is!
To go back to the line: In the first few years after The Mandala was done, despite a huge number of attempts, I never saw a single person even consider starting the problem the way people do now. That’s not because there is a new sequence today. The sequence used from the high start is pretty much the same one Chris Sharma used for the FA (other than beginning higher), and the same as used by some others who also repeated it in the first few years—indeed, this includes Jared Roth’s third ascent for which he literally jumped off the ground to gain the good crimp, because he insisted that to use a pad or even a rock would invalidate his achievement.
It is within this context, and from this perhaps generational perspective that I watched the new start arise. If Chris Sharma, 11 years ago, had stacked four or five pads under the problem and pulled directly into the right-hand undercling, he would probably have felt like he was just working the moves. Sure, he could maybe have pulled directly into the undercling from the ground with his right hand, and a low left hand hold, and moved his left hand up to the crimp, but to do that does demand a hard pull—a harder move, he felt, than beginning with his right hand high, left hand low, and switching his hands on the undercling. Still, both options are there for the taking.
For Sharma to put a single pad under his feet to pull off the ground would have been frowned upon by some people back then, and would have been considered a very light-gray area to the magazines who reported groundbreaking achievements. Whether or not Sharma repeated the problem, or did the FA without using a pad, I don’t remember.
John Sherman amusingly told me one day after the problem went down, that maybe he would have done the line back in 1990 when he was in his prime if only he had stacked enough pads under it to reach that first hold. He was talking about the good crimp just above the undercling, a crimp that sure enough, most people can’t even reach from the ground. He watched annoyed as a few would-be ascensionists grabbed that hold standing on a pile of rocks plus pad, and struggled to bring their left hand into the undercling. I thought his comment comical when he said it because I didn’t consider that starting off a pad so as to put your fingers in the starting hold was such a big deal. So that’s where the gray area begins and the generation gap starts to appear. Funnily, though, John actually could reach that crimp from the ground!
Bottom line: The Mandala is an amazing boulder problem and unless you're John Sherman, you'll almost certainly need a boost to get to the start. Then, if you're anything like me, you will probably need another hefty shove to get any higher.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Alex Johnson, The Mandala

Alex Johnson climbed The Mandala (v12) this afternoon. She did the problem from the high-start that is standard now (off pads with right hand in the undercling). This follows pretty much the same sequence used by Chris Sharma on the FA in 2000, beginning with a huge burly span from the undercling and some big pulls on small but positive crimps. Unlike Sharma, she only cut her feet near the top.

Alex Johnson, The Mandala

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Alex Johnson, Haroun & the Sea of Stories, v11/12

The snow is all over the boulders and a foot deep or more across the hillside, and the road in is like a sleigh run, but some determined folks have still been getting after their Buttermilk projects! Alex Johnson, battled through the ice and slush this past week or so, to enjoy nice cool conditions on Haroun & the Sea of Stories (v11/12), which she succeeded on after a few days work. Arriving Jan 3rd, and planning to stick around for January and February, Alex also managed Stained Glass (v10) and is looking at some of the harder and maybe higher lines to see what might be next. It promises to be a pretty amazing season here at the 'Milks for Alex.

Alex Johnson writes more about this on her blog.