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Carbs and Caffeine November 21, 2015

Cabs and Caffeine

It’s always nice to have goals, a climb you keep in your mind as you head to the bar after the climbing gym. When will I get on this climb? When I’m ready to onsight it, you know, when all the moons align. When I’ve been pulling hard in the gym, regularly sending routes in your range with ease, repeating your older projects, getting a lot of rock miles in to build the proper head space, following harder climbs, perfect temps, a good night sleep, and a solid dump in the morning. Or you decide to stop procrastinating and give it your best go.

Brian Ingram and I have climbed a bit together, but never roped up at the Gunks as partners. He was set on finishing Carbs and Caffeine this year, having been on it once before. He’s an encouraging, psych filled kind of partner. We decided to head up this weekend nearly a month ago, just to get work and finish Carbs and Caffeine.

Brian totaled his car the night before but was uninjured, so I agreed to pick him up from west Philly. It was a true shit show getting through the city, but it did happen and we got up to the gunks around 10PM. I rolled my bag out in the car and did my best to stay warm. Saturday morning I got coffee at the Deli then we made our way to the stairmaster. I hit the uber pooper and carried on to our warm up project. Bonnies roof was occupied so I lead Ant’s Line. Brian cleaned it, then we moved on to the goal for the day. It wasn’t even 11 by the time Brian was done leading the first pitch. I brought a second rope up along with some comfort items for Brian. The route was in the sun and for temps calling for a high of 49, it’s a good thing too. I racked up and took off on pitch 2. I clipped a fixed purple c4, plugged another cam before getting to the first bolt. The first bolt is easy enough to clip. There is a large chalked side pull looking thing, but I found going big past that to a crimp above the next chalky feature was where it’s at. There’s another crimp out left and the second bolt can be clipped mid sequence. There’s a nice stance at the end of the crux section, I fished in a Blue alien above my head in a hidden horizontal. There is some delicate climbing on positive edges out right then up to a #2 placement. Climbing is mellow until the last roof system. I was able to get the yellow link cam in around here. Once into the “crab walk” I put in a poorly placed #1, I tried keeping my shit together as I got closer to the anchor but the moves were not obvious and I was too pumped to muscle through. I tried swinging my legs out right, back left. one more try to find a foot somewhere, I shifted my weight back left and yelled take. I was pumped to hell and terrified my tipped out #1 would pop at any second. After a long rest I moved back up and put in another cam (the thinner crack here takes red C3, or equivalent) but had real trouble clipping it (I think I was getting shorted a few times while dicking around). I endured then took another hang. I pawed and fought my way around the corner to the anchor. Blood on my fingers and palms, I lowered to the ground on the 70.

Brian wrapped to the ground on the second rope, we recouped and he headed back up to the chains. I put him on belay on the lead line and he went up. He muffed the crux and had some work to do to get back on the wall. While doing some pendulums he knocked a broad loaf sized flake off the wall. The feature wasn’t on the route and now is no longer on the wall. The rock crashed to the ground missing 2 climbers coming off Yellow Wall by about 5 paces. The gunks could be dangerous just walking on the trail. By the time Brian got off C&C he lost his enthusiasm for the route.

Now in early afternoon we decided to play on the Sting instead. Brian went up Lisa, with some difficulty. I didn’t quite realize how reachy the climb can be. I followed Lisa, and set a directional in for the Sting. I gave it a good go. Getting the bottom dyno after about 6 tries and for the first time ever, I was able to get the top move (after another 6 or so tries). Brian battled his way up the Sting. I was cold and we were ready to make our way home by 3:30 or so. We stopped in Rock and Snow, checked out the new cams on the market and returned to Philly.


New River Gorge: oct 23-25

I’ve been hoping to get back to the New this year and get on something new and something old. It’s hard being 7 hours from a climb you’d really like to get back on and finish.  I discussed a few routes with Russ and made sure we got on at least one of them.  The weather was looking good, we left Thursday night and stopped at Bryce’s on the way down.

fri 10-23-2015
We left Morgantown kinda late and got to summersville around noon. Russ and I were able to climb quickly, with relatively few people at the crag.  I put up personal pronoun / Menace Alert and Russ and I both warmed up on this classic twice.  Russ was kind enough to hang the draws and check out the holds for me on Under the milky way.  I was able to get this climb clean my first go of the day (I have tried it a couple of years ago).  Russ went up again and cleaned the route. Next up, I blew the onsight of minimum overdrive. The climb blew me away right at the first bolt as I muffed beta and was locked off on crimps for entirely too long.  I was able to get it clean on my second go.  Russ gave it one go on lead and another on TR.  The route has some traversing and a bit tough for 11a.  We decided on a cool down, I led Make Way for Dyklings, which I had forgot I’ve been on it previously. Regardless, I got it clean. Russ went up and cleaned the route.
After climbing we pitched tents at the AAC campground and picked up some liquor for Bryce.  Russ and I ate at Pies and Pints and Bryce met us at the Campground.

sat 10-24-2015

We had a lazy morning, heading to Cathedral Cafe for Breakfast. We picked a crag and after a quick stop into WaterStone we drove over to Cotton Top. We forgot where the crag entrance was but found it at the parking area, close to the entrance of the lot.

I put up Cottonmouth, Bryce and Russ also got it clean. I lead Bio-Slab, and Bryce and Russ lead that clean too. Bryce put up Cottonhead then took some photos of Russ and I getting it clean. Bryce attempted Psycho Wrangler, and I watched closely for any beta I could gather. I was able to flash the route my first go, which added to the enjoyability of this steep route.  From here Bryce hung the draws on Q-tip. Russ and Bryce figured the beta out for me and I was able to flash this one as well. Thanks! I took a final top rope trip up the climb to wrap up the day.

We headed to Pies and Pints again, and I had my standard Spinach Garlic pizza two nights in a row.  We headed back to camp and wondered over to the near by Adventures on the Gorge bar looking for a pool table.  We left after a beer and were in bed before the rain really got going around 10PM.

sun 10-25-2015

The rain dissipated in the morning and we had a leisurely breakfast at Cathedral. The waitress called me out for smelling like garlic (could always be worse on day 3 of a climbing trip). WE headed to Whippoorwill but found the lake higher than we hoped. We decided to finish off the 3 climbs on the first wall. Russ put up Whinerlamer.  Bryce and I got it clean. We next got on Jowiki, which was equivalent to the 5.8.  I hung the draws on Pat-agonia, messing up the beta right away and took my time hanging the draws. I was happy to redpoint this one my second go.  With that we decided to hit the road early and return to Philly.


Gunks October 17, 18

Russ and I drove up on Friday night, a bit of a late start but it worked out fine. We were able to meet Emma at the Brahaus, and a good thing too, the temperatures were dropping. We caught up a bit over some bourbon. The next morning Russ and I rolled out early and met Penina at the Deli. We caught Annie, Rory, Katrina and Shawn on our way out and discussed plans. They warmed up at the Mac wall and Russ, Penina and I headed down to the seasons.  Unfortunately, Russ left part of his kit at home so we settled in on single pitch climbs so we can share a harness.  I lead Spring, Boldville and top roped Winter and Summer.  Annie, Rory, Katrina and Shawn caught up with us and got on the climbs as well.  I took revenge on Simple Suff (or as I call it,wrongly, Simple Stuff). I also lead Frustration Syndrome.  The temps were dropping and around 4PM we packed it in.  Katrina, Shawn, Penina, Russ and I had some burritos on the cold hard streets of New Paltz, milled around Rock and Snow (Russ picked up an awesome new ride), and played pool…mostly Russ played and Penina and I moved the balls around the table.  Russ and I crashed out at Emma’s and picked a later departure time for the next morning.

On Sunday there was frost on the car, so we warmed up at the Bakery.  The 3 of us headed in for a short day. Penina tackled Thin Slabs. Russ did the first pitch of Middle Earth in a light flurry. We tried finding something else to set up on and ended up walking all the way down to the Mac Wall. I got on MF and ran up the first pitch.  I had some movement problems so took a few trips to the Uber pooper before putting up the first pitch of Birdy Party.  We packed up around 3:30 again. Russ and Penina got some Pizza and we hit the road.

Next weekend: The NEW.

Gunks Sep 12, 2015

I took a day trip up from Philly with Russ, and Jono. We stayed at the AAC campground friday night and met Penina at the Deli on Saturday morning. We had an early start on the crowds so we headed over to to Arrow and Limelight. Jono lead Arrow in one pitch with Russ following. I broke limelight into 2 and had Penina follow me.  Jono lead up Annie Oh! and Russ followed. I did the 2nd pitch of Three Doves and Penina followed.  Russ lead the second pitch of Limelight before we all headed to the ground. There were parties getting on everything by that point in the morning.  We headed over to Feast of Fools. I put up FoF’s first pitch and Jono did Proctoscope.  After everyone gave FoF a go I lead Proctorscope and Jono took on Nurse’s Aid.  Procotorscope was harder than I remember, very thin climbing over small gear.  As we were wrapping up it began to drizzle so I suggested getting a rope on Ant’s Line, which stays dry in light rain.  Jono put up Ant’s line and I put up Groovy.  Unfortunately the area got crowded before I could grab a ride on Ent’s Line. The effort was moot as the weather got worse. Penina tried cleaning Groovy but stopped at the roof. Russ pulled the rope and lead the climb to the anchors in the rain and thunder, cleaning the whole thing on the way down like a gentleman.   We were all pretty wet at this point so we hustled our gear into our bags and headed to the Otter for beer, coffee and stale (like, ew) chips and guacamole.  Russ, Jono and I said good by to Penina and drove home in the rain, stopping at Wegmans on the way.  I was home in philly by 9.

Gunks July 17-19

Ok, this is a late retroactive addition to the blog. I’ve been climbing so irregularly I’ve been forgetting to update.  Over the summer I headed to the Gunks with Penina and we camped at the Multi-use area. I hadn’t stayed there in at least 12 years and it’s worse than I remembered. Lots of bugs, human poop by the camp sites and loud campers.  The weather was pretty hot but we had a good time regardless.

Baby: Penina Attempted and I finished. We did both pitches to the top and new bolted anchors

Rhododendron: Penina Lead

Laurel: I lead (watch out for mud wasps)

Horseman: Penina lead all the way to the top in one pitch (well done!)


Grease Gun Groove: Penina Lead

Tulip Mussel Garden: I picked up the redpoint

Glesa: I lead up to the corner and Penina lead the last pitch. We walked off.

Roseland: I lead

Shitface: I top roped

Thin Slabs Direct:


Yenta: As a toprope

On Any Monday: As a Top rope.

Gunks Aug 29-30

Russ and I went to the Gunks and Friday night, getting to the new AAC campground around 10. The night was pretty cool and we went to bed shortly after pitching tents.  Despite trying to make plans with Brian Todd we ended up at the Trapps so Dave Roller could find us on Saturday morning. I lead the first pitches of Snooky’s Return and Friends and Lovers.  Russ lead Asphodel and Roller met us. While was was leading I ran into some old friends, Meghan and Steve Smith. Busy day at the Gunks!  Dave followed Asphodel and they rapped with the 70m without having to stop. It’s a long rap and the 70 just gets you down safely.  Dave put up Co-Ex, reappointing the climb in style. (Dave used a Blue Alien to protect the low move). I top roped it twice and am ready for another red point attempt.  We walked up to Beatle Brow Bulge and I lead that, I think onsight, but I’m surprised i’ve never lead such a good route. It’s definitely soft for “5.10” but fair enough with the pump. There is a pretty good tree and we were able to top rope with the 70m.  Russ got a redpoint on V-3. We all took a TR trip up that and moved on. Dave onsighted Never Never Land and I took a TR trip up that. Pretty full day for climbing with 3 people on a really busy summer day! We tried to get into the Brahause for dinner but were too hungry to wait.  The three of us had dinner at the Otter instead. I was quite tired by the time we got back to the campsite and passed out early.  Russ and I were treated to some wild animal noises overnight. I assume it was an owl  and another bird (mate or dinner?).

We got up around 7 on Sunday packed up our camping gear and headed back to the Bakery for breakfast.  The Trapps were pretty quite, Russ and I headed back to the same area we finished at on Saturday. I warmed up on Cake Walk.  Russ then lead Alley Oop. I followed that up and I top roped Dry Heaves. I put up Absurdland and we finished up for the weekend.  The split rock parking was full again so we decided to hit Rock and Snow and head home. Russ purchased a new helmet (a smart buy!) and some sexy new slings & binners….we’ll be climbing on his rack before long!  We made it back to Philly for dinner.

Red River Gorge 2015

Flickr Album

Red River Gorge 2015

Ah, another trip to the Red. Russ and I hatched plans during the winter to invite everyone from previous trips to join us in the Outback Cabin and climb for a week. We picked the last week of May as a matter of convenience, not for the memorial day weekend and not for the early summer heat.

Russ, Pedram and I left Philadelphia on Saturday May 23rd and made good time down to KY. We stopped at Krogers and Russ demonstrated his Rain Man level price guessing nailing down both the total receipt and card savings within $2.00.

We got to the cabin and there was already a party going on. Bryce, Nikki, Chowder (the coonhound), Roller, Ganim and Penina were enjoying the porch. We made plans for Sunday and headed to bed early….well once we had enough beer.

Sunday May 24:
We decided to head to the recently established Miller Fork. We settled on the Secret Garden wall. I set up Bees in the Trap but needed another 3 goes before getting it clean. This was a pretty soft 11d. I also climbed So What and Little Wing. The could moved over to Linear Regression. Being impatient I decided to set up Red Devil with Pedram belaying. After negotiating with the first crux (high foot and committing stand to a small crimp) I failed to stick the move and took a long fall into the jagged wall under the first bolt. I looked down to find a large hole in my shin, I quickly pulled the skin back in place and knew I needed stitches. The rest of the day was spent at the ER where I received 9 stitches, 2 on the inside and 7 on the outside. Thanks to Russ and Pedram for driving me out there. We picked up beer in Lexington and got back to the cabin around 10PM.

Bees in the trap



Monday morning I found my leg aching a good bit and difficult to walk on. I stayed at the cabin while the crew rolled out to PMRP & Volunteer wall. I read some of The Baron of The Trees, straightened up the cabin and cleaned my wound. I think most of the pain was due to the bandaging pulling on the stitches, scab, hair and skin. Erika and Gina arrived as did Brian, Amy, Reggie and Talia. Bryce and Nikki left directly from the crag.

Tuesday May 26: Chica Bonita, Drive By.
I put up Raindancer, a short 10a. lead Brown Eyed Girl, Baby Blue Eyes and then unsighted Hot Drama Teacher which was really good with a unique move over the roof involving a hand jam. We cleaned up and trekked over to Drive-By. I put up Yadda Yadda Yadda and others got on Check Your Grip, Whip-Stocking, Breakfast Burrito, A Wave New World (A new route to the left of Make a Wish).

Yadda Yadda Yadda.



Wednesday May 27: Muir Valley: Bone Yard, Solarium and Arsenal
We started the day off over at Bone Yard. I lead One-Armed Bandit, Captain Blonde Sinks the Ship, Cinderella (with it’s dripping wet start). Russ hung at the top of the wall to take some photos. Pedram, Russ, Ganim headed over to play on Inequity and I went over to Solarium with Penina. I lead both Air Ride Equipped and Manifest Destiny clean. We went over to the Arsenal and Penina put up draws on Sacriledge. Pedram put up draws on Bathtub Mary. I hung above Sacrilidge after leading it and took pictures from above. We made it back to the car moments before the rain started.

Bathtub Mary





Thursday May 28: Shire & Gallery
I headed up Miranda Rayne with my camera and took some pictures of everyone warming up on Pee-wee and Audie over at the Shire. From there Ganim got the Redpoint on Amarillo Sunset and I belayed Penina on Random Precision. I then had Russ belay me on Break the Scene which was a lot of fun, unfortunately a bit too sweaty for me to get clean. Definitely a climb to head back to, steep with good holds and tricky stemming crux. Russ put up Different Strokes but neither of us got it clean.

The Shire





Friday May 29: Left Flank
I put up Face Up to That Crack and Mr. Bungle. I failed to overcome the wet start on Fast Food Christians and got a nice scratch on my chin. I hung draws on Wild, Yet Tasty and nearly got another redpoint but forgot the beta. The weather turned really bad and I had a lackluster 2nd burn. I gave Infectious an attempt but the conditions really weren’t helping. I’d be willing to get back on that climb. Reggie headed to the hospital with flu symptoms and likely a Lyme diagnosis.

Wild, Yet Tasty!




Saturday Chocolate Factory
I hung draws on Loompa, onsighted Glass Elevator, and Oompa but needed 3 tries before redpointing Loompa. A few people went to work Malice but I wanted to avoid a ganging siege on another hard climb so I decided to put up Wobbler…which felt really hard for the listed grade, making a mockery of other 11d routes. I must have been getting tired. Amy put up OneSide Makes You Taller above the copperhead pit and hornets. Saturday night was another cookout and beer drinking.


Sunday Drive Home