Saturday, December 22, 2012

Elliot Faber climbs ZAP in honor of Zack Parke

As mentioned in an earlier post, Elliot Faber recently added The Elevator a line parallel with Transporter Room on Grandpa Peabody at the Buttermilks. In addition to this, he has now completed ZAP, another project he had been eying that branches left out of The Elevator.

 Elliot Faber sets off on The Elevator, a start now shared with his new line, ZAP

For Elliot this was the prize line he most wanted to do, and he named it ZAP in honor of his friend Zachary Amadeus Parke. Zack was a good friend and gifted climber who had previously visited Bishop and inspired many with a ground-up ascent of the adjacent Transporter Room--as noted on this blog. Sadly, a few days later Zack was tragically killed in a hit-and-run accident.

Thanks to Spenser & Vikki of for the photos

In the image above, Elliot is moving up rightward on The Elevator to join Transporter Room. The new line ZAP goes up and left from here passing a large, but shallow hueco that is visible in the photo.

Elliot practiced the crux on a rope before going for the solo. From what he says, there are some dicey moves up high to get stood up securely above the hueco and onto the slab, possibly bumping the overall rating into the v9 range. He mentions some two-finger crystals and hard-to-see footholds. A stack of around ten pads was piled up below, but thankfully not needed!

"I'm so excited that it went," says Elliot of the new line, adding, "there are more out there. I'm hungry for the unseen lines." Let's hope it will be a good season for him and that Zack's memory will inspire many great additions to the area.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Luminance "Send Train" Video

Thanks to Spenser Tang-Smith and Vikki Glinskii at for uploading this sweet video of a send train in action on Luminance, featuring Mark Heal, Alex Johnson, Josh Horsley, Steve Bradshaw, and Eliot Faber. Yep, five people in a row all cruising this glorious-looking highball! Don't have 20+ pads? Well call your friends, gather a posse, and have at it!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Elevator -- Big New Line on Grandpa Peabody

Elliot Faber has made a bold first ascent of The Elevator, a new line just left of Transporter Room on the Grandpa Peabody at the Buttermilks Main Area. The climb follows a weakness past huecos just left of the blunt arete on the giant boulder's southeast corner and runs up parallel to Transporter Room before joining that line at the slab.

Elliot who had previously climbed Transporter Room, took a liking to the style. He then rappelled the block to inspect other possibilities. He had just two large pads (Mondos) and was spotted by one friend he describes as "white-faced Joseph on the ground" for this white-knuckle super-highball. A knee-bar near the start proved useful to get moving between large huecos on the line, and from a jug in the upper of these, Elliot says, "the fun begins as you start to climb up and right toward Transporter Room."

It's great to see this obvious weakness get climbed. Elliot has suggested the line goes at about the same grade as Transporter Room--around v5.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Alex Johnson, Luminance ground-up flash!

Alex Johnson is super-happy with her one-day visit to Bishop yesterday, after making a ground-up flash of Luminance, a shocking highball on the Luminance Block near the Beehive sector of the Buttermilks. This problem has rightly gained a reputation as one of the finest on the Eastside--perfect rock with perfect slashes for holds. Amazingly, despite the heinous-looking fall zone it has also attracted numerous suitors all gunning for the 45-degree line ground-up.

Alex's prior three-week stint in Yosemite had been hindered by wet conditions, so she dreamed of a special finale to her California trip. Using facebook she posted her intent to check out this amazing line as she drove east for family time in the mid-West. A large posse of climbers and pad bearers met up on a perfect day at the Buttermilks. Though many were talking about trying the problem and studying the features, at the base of this intimidating prospect, nobody seemed to want to be first to pull on their shoes--so Alex has told me! Then, Mark Heal stepped up and moved through the powerful climb with such ease that everybody's attitude changed.

"Mark made it look SO easy," said Alex. "He showed me the beta, told me what footholds he used, and which ones Max [Zolotukhin] had used."

Alex was second to the plate and said she pulled onto the start and into a zone where nothing mattered but gaining the top. With great beta, a positive attitude, and no hesitation she cruised through it first try.

Three other climbers also completed the line during the same session. Also of note, as I heard this but haven't mentioned it, was Isaac Caldiero's ground-up flash of the same line about four weeks ago.

Alex is planning to be back in a couple of months.

Back in Bishop!

I'm back! I'm back in Bishop for some winter bouldering under the sunny skies, amid the stunning scenery of the Sierra's east side!

Snowy mountains ...? Check! Vast vistas ...? Check! Big rocks ...? Double check! I've spent most of the last year out in the eastern US and yes, this blog has lacked updates for all of you beta-hungry boulderers out there! Has anything much happened? Have I missed something? Well, yeah, a LOT!

Thanks to everyone who has written me (email at right) with info and updates. I hope to see you all out there at the boulders in the coming weeks. I know there are a few new additions I have to get out to climb, and I will try. I am in okay health and have been climbing quite a bit lately so hopefully this will continue and I'll enjoy another fantastic season out here, long overdue as a result of various injuries and distractions. I've gotta take care of some household chores, but I can't wait to grab some of those familiar holds again.

I hear you about the broken jugs on some of the heavily trafficked classics like Suspended in Silence (Pollen Grains/Lidija Boulders) and also on Arch Drude (Druid Stones) among other less major breakages such as the right-facing ear on The Mandala. But don't worry, there ARE still holds left. All this means is your favorite bouldering area just got cleaner, safer, and better! Be careful though and never take anything for granted. Ha ha ha  ...!

Bishop is a-buzz as usual: Dan Beall, after establishing the area's hardest problem since Lucid Dreaming nearly a year ago (Misdirection --I'll get to that in a future post), has been climbing technical double-digit lines in his hiking shoes between sessions on new projects, while climbers continue going ground up en masse on previously unimaginable objectives! Young Alex Johnson (yeah, the girl not the guy version) has just (yesterday) joined the list of lunatics by making a ground-up flash of Luminance. Highballing has been the name of the game at the Buttermilks, as ever: New lines, climbers new to me, and much to talk about, so I'll sign off and return shortly with some updates and more about the last year's, as well as the last week's developments! Talk soon.