Friday, June 28, 2013

Hallet Peak, RMNP

Hallet above...
 My first route in Rocky Mountain National Park yesterday and some rad history to it... Hard to believe the first ascent was done 56 years ago?! Went smoothly - except my BD belay/rap device is likely sitting on a ledge up there somewhere having snuck off a carabiner at a belay, forced oblation to the mountain spirits... They gifted me back with a new stopper at the summit which was nice. The climb could be a route-finding monster if you are unlucky...

Type: Trad, Alpine, 8 pitches, 1000 feet, Grade III
Consensus: 5.9 [details]
FA: Dale Johnson, Dallas Jackson, 7/4-5/57

Check out the posts pasted from Mountain Project below... Looks like I need to buy Dale Johnson's book now..
Hallet with a view of the route that leaves from the center snowfield and wanders up the face to summit.
2 hours approach makes this one of the easiest and likely most crowded faces in RMNP.
Gaining ground with dual leads to maximize time efficiency in the weather fickle Rockies...

via Mountain Project...
By Lordsokol
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 26, 2007
rating: 5.9+
Climbed with Phil Wortmann this Saturday. We started on "in between" aka Right Dihedral. After three pitches, we decided to traverse right and finish on Jackson Johnson. We climbed the last 4 pitches of that route. The only things to say are; route finding is a bit more tricky than most big walls in the area, the top 5.9 move feels much harder after a long day of climbing (the bolt is way too old and spooky to trust but there's a nice place for a #1 cam several feet above it). Also, we did not really look at the descent beta as closely as we should have, and ended up dropping down into Chaos Canyon. Though this was a bit tiring on us, it wasn't the end of the world, and a little bit of perseverance got us out safely and back to the car well before dark. Finally, the route was completely dry this time of year, even with the heavy winter snowfall this year. After having done it now once, we will definitely have an easier time route finding next time out!
By Michael Amato
Jul 9, 2007
Re crux: not sure if I climbed this properly... I went up the left corner, well left of the rusted 1/4" bolt with the spinning "gunsight" hanger. All I can say is getting back out of that corner and above it was a hell of a lot harder than 5.9, that is, without "grab(ing) one piece of pro". I would also add: DON'T get stuck up in that corner. It was most unpleasant.
By Ivan Rezucha
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 3, 2008
rating: 5.8+
I had a great time on this route and thought it was really good. The crux pitch is wild, but not that difficult, with good gear. Fun stemming looking down between your legs 800' to the ground. Route finding was easy with info from here and from the Gillett guide--keep angling right until you have to angle back left. One hint that was useful was the "step down" in the original post. At the point where you can make a short step down and keep moving left, there is a corner directly above. The step down hint convinced me to move left to the next corner which leads to the crux corner.
By tooTALLtim
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 21, 2009
The last several pitches are amazing, among the best on Hallett, but the first pitches are just ok.

It'd be great if the direct start was better.
By Roger Harris
From: Boulder, CO
Mar 14, 2012
Sad to see that Dale has passed. Obit -( Best regards to his friends and family.
By Brad Johnson
Mar 27, 2012
Dallas Jackson and Dale Johnson made the first ascent of the 2nd buttress of Hallett Peak on July 4th and 5th, 1957.

On the 4th they had hiked up to a vantage point across the valley from Hallett Peak to have a look at the face. After some study, they picked out a possible line and decided to hike over to the face and climb a few pitches to see what the climbing was like. They had only brought along a lunch and a canteen of water each as they had not planned on doing any serious climbing that day.

The first few pitches were not difficult and they ascended rapidly up an inside corner of a feature they called the Yellow Buttress. They continued up crack and and small holds with good belay ledges at the end of each pitch. They were enjoying themselves and the lack of any real difficulties led them to climb beyond where they should have turned back. It then became evident to them that they should turn back if they were not to be caught by nightfall. They discussed the matter and realized they did not have enough pitons for all the necessary rappels and decided to push on in hopes of reaching the top before dark. A few more leads brought them to the most difficult section of the face and still a couple of pitches from the top.

Dale climbed up a steeply sloping ledge only a few inches wide. He ran out about 80ft. of rope before realizing the ledge was leading nowhere. With no cracks or handholds to continue and with his only protection being two pitons he had placed back at the beginning of the pitch, he realized that he was not going to be able to downclimb without a possible long fall. Dale was able to take his pack off and dug out a bolt kit he had inside and put his pack back on. He spent the next half hour drilling a single hole in the granite and eventually manage to insert an expansion bolt and clipped into it for an anchor. Because it was beginning to get dark, Dale tied one end of the rope to the anchor and rappelled down to where Dallas was belaying and they spent the night sitting on a ledge, with no warm clothes and out of food and water.

After a long night huddled together for warmth, they waited for the sun to arrive and warm them up a bit. Dallas ascended the fixed rope using prussiks to reach the bolt anchor. Dale followed in suit and they set up a belay. Dallas took over the leading and managed to climb a smooth slab to reach a huge, thin flake above. After a few more moves off the flake, the climbing eased and Dallas climbed the full 150 feet of rope to a good belay spot. Dale followed and led the final 50 foot pitch on easy rock to the top.

This information was taken from Dale Johnson's book titled; Calculated Risks, an autobiography of his adventures.
By PatrickV
From: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Mar 28, 2012
That's an incredible story Brad, it's cool to know where the old bolt came from on the crux dihedral. I couldn't imagine climbing the Jackson Johnson with a hemp rope and mountaineering boots.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Boulder Boulder

A Portrait of Hiro Watanabe

Always eye-opening to hang out with young super-mutants - When the warm up is some random V7 they just spotted and it goes in about 10 minutes of "work".

A Portrait of Alexandra Kahn
I was happy to hide behind the camera and watch them dance up highballs with mossy top outs. Perspective building for sure, and nice to get out in the woods and hike - like four miles no less... Shattered my belief that boulderers were so inclined because they hated hiking and lacked stamina.
Hiro and Alex at Work...
For some more pics of the day check out this link at Tandem Stills and Motion.

Alex lives and breathes bouldering and has some pretty sweet visuals/video from around the globe and from several years of pulling down with Paul Robinson...

Friday, June 21, 2013

My Boulder Welcoming...

Hiro Watanabe on the tyrolean to Cob Rock, Boulder Canyon ©Bennett Barthelemy
Relocation is a challenging thing... What is home? Where is home? Strange to touch down in a new place with the expressed motive of nailing ones feet to the ground. Even if its not forever it has to be approached that way from a survival standpoint. Going in on wing and a prayer, last minute has kind of become my modus operandi... Everything in my car, loaded to the gills and not psyched to drive past Nederland to camp, or worse stay in hotels till a room is found. Day one and I got my first call back from a potential sublet...

I stood on the doorstep, admiring the xeriscaping in the front yard. Looked natural, wild. The door opened and the young woman answered who had put the notice on Craigslist. She was vacating her room and was anxious for the right tenant. Short hair, tiny glasses. She seemed like she had embraced an alternative lifestyle. A housemate was there but the third was out. The two men were a couple living downstairs and running a massage business from the basement as well. I toured the music room with guitars, drums, piano... Cats wandered the halls.

Finally I got the tour of the room I was to be renting. "My cat lives here too, this is her room and she is staying, she comes with the room. There are two other cats here too." There was one other contender for the room. She suggested we all meet the next day along with the errant roommate to see who would be the best fit. My humor got the better of me and I said the other contender and I could arm wrestle for it. She was taken aback slightly but recovered and said, "Well, yes I suppose you could do that."

Tomorrow never came for me at the North Boulder house. That same evening I called Hiro and within minutes of his posting on Craigslist he had me filling the spare room with my car's worth of stuff... A whirlwind of interviews, finding new coffee shops to haunt, burrito joints, checking out the local routes in Boulder Canyon with Hiro who is also a climber, making forays to the Goodwill, finding the best bike routes and best ways to avoid traffic - has kept me busy.

Moments on several days already spent enthralled with the intensity of thunderstorms - with hail whitening the streets and the widest bolts of lightning I have ever seen. Dynamic weather for sure. I made the mistake of reading Weather Undergrounds highlight in weather history from the last two days and honestly it has left me slightly gun-shy. I got to teach Hiro my new roommate, A V10+ boulderer that somehow has never climbed trad (poor soul), how to bail effectively. At Cob Rock clouds built, virga swirled and thunder grumbled today. There is a sling and three biners on two museum quality pins up there for the taking...

Watching the the dusky light fall on the Flatirons from the Brewing Market in South Boulder from my cafe perch... so far so good...

From Weather Underground, June 21 ... Today in Metro Denver weather history... 

19-21 in 1875... smoke from several large Forest fires in the mountains was visible from the city on each of these days. 20-21 in 1897... high winds raked the city overnight. Southeast winds were sustained to 60 mph with gusts as high as 72 mph on the 20th. Southeast winds were sustained to 57 mph with gusts to 60 mph on the 21st. In 2007... a brief hot spell produced two temperature records. The high temperature of 97 degrees was tied on the 20th. A new record high temperature of 99 degrees was established on the 21st. 21 in 1927... north winds were sustained to 40 mph with gusts to 44 mph. In 1984... lightning struck and killed two children standing near a tree in a backyard in Lakewood. Strong thunderstorm downbursts caused a wind gust to 58 mph in Northglenn and knocked down two power poles near Brighton. In 1988... lightning struck a home in Denver... causing about ten thousand dollars damage. Lightning damaged 3 homes in Littleton... and also hit a house in Greenwood Village that had been struck by lightning 7 years previously. In 1991... thunderstorms produced widespread hail across Metro Denver. Hail as large as 2 1/2 inches fell at several locations across southwest Metro Denver. One storm spotter reported hail 8 inches deep near the intersection of I-25 and c-470. Heavy rain with the storms caused some street flooding. In Commerce City... several cars were under water... and in Westminster a police officer reported water up to the doors of his car. Damage to homes and automobiles totaled 55 million dollars. In 1992... a tornado touched down briefly near Bennett. Another tornado was briefly on the ground near Strasburg. In 1994... heavy thunderstorm rains caused flooding in Metro Denver. Several vehicles were stalled in the high water on I-25. Lightning struck an underground natural gas line in Aurora... causing a fire. Widespread power outages were also observed. In 1996... three homes were struck by lightning in Parker. The lightning struck the garage of the first home... which started a small fire that burned some siding and spread into the attic. A second home sustained damage to the attic when a small fire was started. The third home received only minor damage. Lightning also sparked two small grass fires in the area. A man in Lakewood received minor injuries when he was struck by lightning while working on a ladder. A funnel cloud was sighted in Castle Rock. Strong thunderstorm winds downed a large tree near Crossroads mall in Boulder. A small tornado (f0) briefly touched down near Lafayette. No damage was reported. In 1997... one inch diameter hail was measured in Boulder. In 2002... a thunderstorm wind gust to 62 mph was recorded at Denver International Airport. In 2005... severe thunderstorms produced hail to 1 inch in diameter in Broomfield along with 3/4 inch hail near Arvada. In 2006... a man riding a motorcycle was struck and killed by lightning on U.S. Highway 36 between church ranch Blvd. And Sheridan Blvd. In Westminster. After the biker was struck... he and his motorcycle crashed into the center Concrete median of the Highway. The lightning Bolt left a crater in the Highway asphalt that measured 18 inches long... 8 inches wide and 4 inches deep. In 2010... a severe thunderstorm produced hail up to 1 1/2 inches in diameter near Morrison. In Lafayette and Louisville... hail up to one inch in diameter was observed. 21-22 in 1941... strong thunderstorms produced cloudbursts of rain in Boulder County... starting during the late evening of the 21st and continuing overnight. The heavy rains over the Boulder Creek... Left Hand creek... and south St vrain river basins produced flooding in already swollen streams and turned dry gulches into raging torrents. The force of the floodwaters swept a man from the arms of his wife to his death... severely damaged canyon homes and swept others away... and hurtled a car down a steep embankment after the driver narrowly escaped. West of Boulder... the Boulder Canyon Highway was littered with rocks and debris and collapsed when two culverts were washed away. The flood waters washed much debris down Four Mile Canyon... damaging the Road near the creek bed. A bridge over Dry Creek just south of Niwot was completely washed away. In 1964... scattered hail and rain caused property damage and local flooding in Boulder. In 1989... an unseasonably cold weather system produced strong winds over much of Metro Denver and snowfall in the foothills as low as 7500 feet elevation. One to 6 inches of snow fell in the foothills west of Denver with 15 inches reported on The Summit of Mount Evans. Six inches of snow were measured at Conifer. Rainfall totaled only 0.09 inch at Stapleton International Airport where northwest winds gusted to 29 mph on the 21st.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Road Through Dinétah

“Thank you mister. Now you know someone from the reservation.” Lester Tall Rock smiled and shook my hand through the passenger window. Two dogs then walked across the red dust to greet him as I backed the car away from the Hogan his grandfather had built. Lester was returning from a tech school in Flagstaff for his great Aunt’s funeral. When we drove up he was momentarily distraught. “I missed it, they had a ceremony last night for Father’s Day. I missed it.”

When I picked him up, he was standing on the side of the quiet highway just east of Tuba City. It was 6:30 AM. He had only a small black backpack. As I made room in the front seat he asked, “Kayenta?” Lester had not been drinking, something I was a little worried about at first. The Reservation can be a rough place. He was short for Navajo and had dark green tattoos visible beneath his shirt cuff climbing the inside of his wrist toward his dark leathery hands. His hair was short and I guessed he was in his mid-twenties. He told me his mother’s clan came from the intermarriage of a Navajo and a Hopi, “That’s why I’m short.” Lester had been hitchhiking since he was 13.

He was a reader. I told him that I first learned about the Dinetah, the Reservation, from Tony Hillerman books. He grinned. “Joe Leaphorn! Those are good books. You know the author lived in Kayenta. I read all those books. I like Sherman Alexie too, and James Patterson. As we were driving Lester told me one of his grandfather’s just drove by. 68 and still works for Peabody Coal on Black Mesa that flanked the south of the highway.

Lester pointed out Skeleton Mesa, the Toes – a formation he had climbed to the top of. He pointed out the Gorilla (El Capitan) and said he wanted to climb it too, but he knew some Navajo friends that got thrown out of there from the other Navajo that live there. He told me about finding pottery shards on one rock face. “We leave them alone when we see that. It might be from a burial or something so we just walk away.”

We passed a sign that said Revival. I asked him if he went to them. He shook his head. “They don’t really like us, they are some kind of Christians or Mormans and don’t like that we use fire or something, they think fire is bad.” Lester was part of the Azée Bee Nahagha. The Navajo version of the Native American Church (NAC). I knew just enough to know it was somewhat popular in the Southwest. I asked him if they grew the Peyote on the Res. “Now we go to Texas to get Peyote. We used to go to Mexico and bring back a whole truck full but you can’t do that now.” I aksed if anyone abused it. “No. You don’t take too much, but sometimes you get high and see things. But we only take it during the ceremony.”

Lester said the old way of making sand paintings and doing sings for people was starting to go away. But part of the Blessing Way ceremony is now done in Dine NAC ceremonies. “It [NAC] was started by Quanah Parker, like a 100 years ago. Some Navajo went to Oklahoma and they gave it to us but said to make it our own. The young people they are not learning the old ways like they used to. It’s hard to do sandpainting and the sings. You have to get them perfect. A lot of time to learn.”

"This white guy from New Mexico was at the last ceremony I went to, he was pushing the logs around the fire. He sang good too, some Cheyenne songs. I want to learn some of them songs, they are really pretty and similar to Navajo. Cheyenne is another Athabasca language, like Navajo. I'd never been to a ceremony with other races. The Cheyenne, they allow that so my uncle let him come. Women, they can sing too, but not the Kiowas or the Apache. They don’t let women do that.”

Lester had been coming back to the Res every week for ceremonies but said his school work was suffering so he had to scale it back. I asked if one day if he wanted to be a roadman. “My uncle says learn these songs because one day you will sing them. He thinks I will. But he wants me to learn from my Grandfather. He has been all over, Alaska, Hawaii doing ceremonies so he wants me to learn from him. But when I’m not working I have the songs downloaded on my phone so I just put my headphones on so I can learn them." His uncle seemed worried about Lester moving back to the Res, a dangerous place for him I gathered, so being a roadman would be a challenge for Lester because he commutes from Flagstaff without a car. He said the reservation would always be home, but said he wanted to move far away.

Lester told me about his daughter whom he had not seen for five years and finally saw last week. He was just 17 when his high school girlfriend got pregnant. She said she was from over in New Mexico so I was sure we weren’t related. Then we went to visit her grandmother after she was pregnant. And we kept driving and driving and I said, You sure its over here? We were on the other side of Kayenta we stopped. I said my grandfather’s mom lives over here too. So we are related. By clan. Not second or third cousin, like tenth. But some say the kid doesn’t come out right if you are related but I don’t think so - and some say it doesn’t matter. She says my kid is doing good in school.”

Lester still cared about her. "She wanted me to come back the next day but I said I got school, I gotta go. Navajo women are pretty, but I want to go to Oklahoma and find me a Ponca woman. We could run from the tornados together on the prairie. Nah, we would move somewhere else…”

Monday, June 17, 2013

Climbing Mag Indian Creek Image...

A shot currently on the rotating banner on climbing mags home page from a trip to Indian Creek a while back... Article about routes that went with passive pro/nuts... gotta say I liked having my fat cams when I led it...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Expansive Views and Finer Details

Expansive views and finer details... 

Exploring many new and long since visited spots in the Los Padres these last few weeks... The Sespe Wilderness, Nordhoff Ridge and Pratt Trail... 

Subtle detail, filigree and backlit spaces.

Much magic in the finer details.
Sweat dripping off the nose, the smell of sage and sumac cut at trailside.
Sunrise mist seen from a ridge top... 
The eve of departure and I already look forward to the return...

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Captured Moments on La Frontera

Captured moments from the last days... The heat, the dust, the clouds, the color, the water. La frontera. The edges and places found waiting... Looking beyond the sea and slipping sun, the hopes drifting like fog. Searching for the lost migration. 

My sweat dripping toward dry dirt. A flower flashing in the breeze out of reach... My days now build the border between hope and heartache. Which side... 

Home is an odd place to feel marooned. A  phantom heart haunts two worlds. Waiting to cross la frontera.

words / images ©Bennett Barthelemy