Right now there is a band playing four blocks away on Mission Street. The speakers are turned up so loud it sounds like they are playing right in front of my house. “Want to hear one more song?” Shouts the lead singer, over and over, a little louder each time. His voice echoes over the high-pitch twang of an electric guitar. People of all sizes, ages, and colors walk by wearing every kind of outfit you could think of from pirate’s costumes to African tribal wear. Scantly clad women in sparkling bikinis, make up, ornate headdress, and high-heels scamper by in the overcast, sub 50-degree weather. Someone at the park across the street drums on a set of bongos while I gulp down the dregs of my now-cold lemon zinger tea. Urban youths toke up in the alleyways and stairways of my neighbor’s houses yelling into their cell phones every now and then.
Yes, this is my city. And I love it, but I’m still not going outside.
Now I want to tell you about a certain heavenly being that I spotted at the animal shelter about 10 years ago. Yep, I’m talking about the family feline known as Inky Zorro. Those who were blessed by his Godly presence and his unforgettable grace were left with an everlasting smile on their face. So, I would like everyone who met Inky to take a moment of silence to remember him, the good and the bad, the young Inky as well as the old and senile, because that’s what it’s all about right? You have to take the good with the bad, because without the salt in your eyes, the sugar just wouldn’t taste as sweet.
Speaking of salt in my eyes, the surf has pretty much been onshore dribble for the last month and a half, except for the odd, windless mornings, which I have definitely been taking advantage of.
Okay, enough of Surfing, cats, and city life, let’s talk about climbing. Since my last blog it feels like I’ve been to hell and back. Well maybe not, but I did go to Vegas, which can feel like hell sometimes. I made a special trip down to Vegas to hang out with the Chrises (Lindner and Sharma) and climb at the one and only Mount Clark, specifically the third tier, AKA The Monastery. The Monastery is probably the single most underappreciated cliff in the country, or at least in California, or at least it will be when Sharma finishes his project. I’m not really supposed to talk about it, but I will say this: When it gets done, it will be the hardest, most badass sport route in the world. There you go, that’s all I’m going to say. So now you know where it is, all you have to do is go there, and climb it. But good luck. You need fairly accurate directions, a four-by-four vehicle with plenty of clearance, and legs of steel for the hour long, very steep, maze of an uphill approach. Oh, and a solid 5.15 climbing ability. And don’t worry about the mountain lion (Ringtail Cat), he’s tame. Don’t worry about finding the route once you get there either, its stands out in the ocean of limestone that makes up the more than 200-foot amphitheater, or at least the line of draws does, if they’re still on it. So good luck, you drooling bastards, good luck.
I also managed a first ascent of an extension of an already established route at the third tier called Wall of Glass. Lindner has been working on it off and on for the last five or so years, falling at the last hard boulder problem, which is still about 50 feet from the anchors of the full pitch, which makes it about a 120-foot pitch in total. It is a consistently bouldery route, and no move is harder than about V10ish. It has a couple of decent rests that you have to milk, or they will milk you. The angle of the wall is like 20 degrees overhanging the whole way—pretty bitchin’ line. I am including a picture of Lindner I took a while back on the first crux of the route.
Since my week and a half long stint in Vegas, I have taken a couple weekend trips to some rock a little closer. The first weekend we spent in beautiful Tahoe, bouldering at Bliss and Split Rock the first day and cragging at Donner Summit the second day. I have been really psyched on sport climbing lately, so I was excited to send a vertical, 13ish crimp fest at the Snowshed Wall called Rocket Science. I am including a picture of my friend Derek on it that I took a couple years ago.
So now I’m just chillin’ in the city (pronounced sit-ae), climbing in the gym, trying to stay psyched for the next adventure, the next goal. What that may be, you will learn in time. Let’s just say I got a crazy agenda of hard sport climbing projects this summer, and for now it will stay hidden.