Archive for November, 2008


Photos and Video

November 19, 2008


Had to start with a picture of Midnight Lightning.  I only got those 30 minutes of pads on the first day and didn’t stick the crimp Lightning bolt hold so….. I’ll have to go back for that!  I did do several other beautiful climbs, amongst which was King Cobra, V8:

Didn’t get video of my ascent but here are two videos of King Cobra.  The second video has Mark making it look too easy so I add a video of Owen having a harder time with it.  My ascent looked like something in between the two in the video 🙂

Kaleakai soloing a slab:


Very cool move on Tendons Givedscn00211

Owen on Blue Suede Shoesdscn0077

The family:dscn0093

More Midnight Lightningdscn0055

The Falls and the girls:dscn0058

Yosemite and Maggie:dscn0124


Yosemite Day 2

November 17, 2008

Another excellent thing about this trip has been using the down sleeping bag which I recently won at a comp in Berkeley.  It is the first time I have slept really warm in a sleeping bag, while it was freezing cold outside.  It is the first time I was naked in the sleeping bag while it was freezing outside!!!  So I slept great and by 6:45 I was at the Yosemite Lodge working on the thesis.

At around 9 we had a good breakfast, I met several climbers, a groups of them from Oakland/Berkeley (Rich, Owen, Mark) and decided to tag along with them for the day.  Kalekai had made a friend the previous day on our trek up Lower Yosemite Falls and they rendezvou’d at breakfast and decided to go for another exciting hike.  All set!!

We started off playing on Blue Swayde Shoes… a V5 Yosemite slab… hard for someone who hasn’t learnt to fully trust his feet.  No sends on it but we scrambled up some easier climbs around it to warm up.  And after a good hour of fooling around we went to play at King Cobra.

I was psyched to see this problem and Owen was psyched to send since he had gotten close.  It was tall.  You climb into a dihedral where you have to stem with your hands and stand on a small but positive foothold to reach far out to a good but slanted hold before hitting another slot way above the floor.  It felt hard but totally doable and the first time I stuck the first move I got myself all the way up to stemming and having to commit to the left-hand reach.  It felt too precarious though and I wasn’t ready so after a good minute breathing and wondering if I would die I dropped down.  My next two tries weren’t as positive since I botched the hand-foot beta which I had spontaneously made up (and subsequently forgotten) on the previous try.  We were about to leave, my thumb was feeling bruised and I gave it one last go.  Got back up to the stemming smearing high-footing move and started to rock onto the left foot, reaching for the hand-hold, and I closed my eyes and just reached reached reached, stuck the hold then pushed with my right heel to keep my body from barn-dooring, reached way up with the right hand and stuck the slot!!!!  So phyched, high off the ground, and managed to make the top out through the sketchied area yet felt solid.

Such a proud send!!!  I got video of Mark cruising it but no pics or video of me, which is unfortunate but fine since I need all the spotting available.

So no Midnight Lightning, still have tomorrow morning possibly… but another awesome climbing day!!!!

ended playing on Bachar Crack (which Owen and Mark did with good style) and then got our asses kicked on Emmet Arete.

Met up with Ursula and Kaleakai for a nice snack and well… now for some well-earned work!!


Yosemite Day 1

November 17, 2008

It is 7pm, the end of an awesome first day.

Last night it seemed like the trip had come to a premature end when we stopped to put gas and the back of the Maggie Westphalia was smoking…  Ursula immediately said it was the coolant and that we couldn’t go anywhere with the radiator without coolant.  And I was BUMMED!

We slept in the van, just outside a nearby restaurant.

Next day woke up and called JJ (the van owner) and talked it through and came to the conclusion (after also looking at the tank) that water was put into the coolant tank, overfilling it, and that it was probably just water vapor steaming out.  Happy happy happy we got back in and drove the rest of the road to YOSEMITE!!!

Arrived, set up an awesome tent at famous and empty Camp 4 and met up with our friends there.  In an hour we were playing around on Cocaine Corner and other fab problems.  Warmed up on a couple V0’s (Yosemite V0’s), fell off Cocaine Corner V5 a couple of times before the sun was too intense on it, quickly sent an unnamed V6 with a sketchy sketchy foot mantle the moved on.  Played on a couple more unnamed V2s, then sent a pretty pretty V4 first try called … hummm… anyway.  We were warmed up and talk about going to Midnight Lightning was in the air so we went there.

Midnight Lightning, candidate for most famous boulder problem in the World!!  On Earth!!  Beautiful line!  10 or so people were there with a bunch of pads so we joined in and immediately watched 3 people hike it!  Sweet.

I got the jitters out of my system on the first three tries and then found myself throwing for the three finger crimp which you have to then match.  I was getting more and more psyched as this problem all of a sudden was POSSIBLE.  But then people started leaving and we had only 3 pads left… on a pretty high climb…  and Ursula wanted to check out Yosemite Falls before it became dark so I gave it a couple more tries and got some really good feels of that crimp and figured out a good sequence so hopefully there will be other people out there tomorrow or Tuesday morning cause it will go!!

After that high point we took a sweet walk to lower falls, enjoyed the drizzle and gorgeous landscape then went back to cook and set up a nice campfire!

What a sweet day.  Now for a couple of hours of work before bedtime and don’t forget: tonight are the Leonids.


Yosemite Extreme Panoramic Imaging Project

November 10, 2008

Damn!  Yosemite Extreme Panoramic Imaging Project


With a name like that the site is either super kickass amazing ninja pirate style or it’s crap.  Turns out it is the first.

Objective: To construct a “comprehensive, large scale gigapixel image of the valley walls in high detail”


If you are an afficionado of Yosemite then I highly recommend you check out the website!  Or just interested in photography, or nature, check out the site!


Saturday at the Pinnacles

November 9, 2008

Yesterday I had an awesome day at Pinnacles National Monument!

So this place is really cool.  It felt like a mixture of Hueco Tanks and Joshua Tree.  No bouldering that i could see but loads of rock, loads of hiking, loads of crazy features and sacred spaces and caves and rivers and lakes.  26,000 (twenty six THOUSAND) acres!  That is 105,218 square meters!! This place is big and cool.

Sitting right on the San Andreas fault Pinnacles National Monument is, in part, made up of the remains of an ancient volcano!  The thing lies on the fault so throughout the years it has seen the spectacular dances which the earthquakes stir up.

We went there for climbing, a group of 4 of us.  For 3 it was the first time there, and through caves, we were led to a 70-80ft sized wall where we would spend the day playing on the routes.

The climbing here was a beautiful new experience for me.  The rock is mostly conglomerate, meaning that it looks like all the sand on a beach just became stuck together and was then partially eroded by water and wind.  This left behind a base of sand with pebbles, cubes, and other funky-shaped rocks jutting out.  We would climb up by pinching these cubes, these chicken-heads.  At first I was super skeptical and not willing to put my weight on these fragile holds; it was a miracle that they were on the wall and it was unimaginable that they could actually hold my weight.  Yet after the first 5.7 climb something let loose in me and I was all for climbing on the precarious holds.  We climbed a 5.10d, then a 5.11a, another 5.10d, another 5.11a and as the grades went up so the routes were more aethetic, more clearly delineated and we ended the day on a beautiful exposed 5.11b just before a light drizzle moved in.

Definitely a place to revisit.  Ahhhh California!!!

Have you ever seen a ball of ladybugs?????????  Mildly freaky.


Setting up upon arrival:


Walking through the caves:


Part of the wall we played on for the whole day.  Look carefully and you can spy the encrusted pebbles we grappled to climb up.



A wide view on the way out:


A sweet lake view:


For more info on this area visit the Pinnacles site.


Project 2009

November 8, 2008
This is the Goal
Dec 2008/Jan 2009
592 59th St
Oakland, CA 94609
1. Head east on 59th St toward Racine St
0.2 mi
2. Turn right at Telegraph Ave
0.5 mi
3. Turn right at 52nd St
0.1 mi
4. Take the ramp to I-580 E
0.5 mi
5. Keep left at the fork, follow signs for I-580 E/Hayward and merge onto I-580 E
61.6 mi
6. Merge onto I-5 S
224 mi
7. Take the exit on the left onto I-5 S
60.4 mi
8. Take exit 161B toward Pasadena/I-210 E
0.4 mi
9. Merge onto I-210 E
24.4 mi
10. Take the exit toward I-210 E
1.3 mi
11. Merge onto I-210 E
18.2 mi
12. Slight right at CA-57 S (signs for CA-71/I-10/CA-57)
4.2 mi
13. Take the exit toward San Bernardino/I-10 E
1.0 mi
14. Merge onto I-10 E

Passing through Arizona, New Mexico
Entering Texas
761 mi
15. Take exit 6 toward Trans Mountain Rd/Canutillo/State Hwy 375
0.3 mi
16. Merge onto S Desert Blvd/Gateway W Blvd
0.3 mi
17. Turn left at Talbot Ave/Trans Mountain Rd/TX-375

Continue to follow Trans Mountain Rd/TX-375
12.3 mi
18. Slight left at TX-375 E
11.8 mi
19. Take the TX-62/TX-180/Montana Ave exit
0.2 mi
20. Keep right at the fork to continue toward Joe Battle Blvd/TX-375
102 ft
21. Keep left at the fork to continue toward Joe Battle Blvd/TX-375 and merge onto Joe Battle Blvd/TX-375
0.1 mi
22. Turn left at Montana Ave/US-180/US-62
12.1 mi
23. Turn left at Hueco Tanks Rd/Ranch Rd 2775/State Park Rd

Continue to follow Hueco Tanks Rd/Ranch Rd 2775
5.6 mi
State of Texas Parks & Wildlife Department: Hueco Tanks Historical Park
6900 Hueco Tanks Rd # 1
El Paso, TX 79938


November 2, 2008

So, my friends in the Gainesville climbing gym are familiar with my luck and now the trend continues on the west coast.

Today there was a climbing competition/fundraiser at the Berkeley Ironworks climbing gym.

And it was a party!

The sky covered up and it started really pouring just minutes before I got there, on time, at 6pm.  The comp was to go from 6 to 10, 4 hours of madness – I was hoping!

At 6pm there were maybe 10 climbers and I thought for sure this was going to be a flop.  But slowly slowly people started showing up, slowly but surely!  The next time I looked around the gym was in a Ruckus!!!!  An overwhelming ruckus most of the time, meaning that one had to shove oneself to the front of the line to climb the problems!  The environment was happy though so, despite the crowds, the gym was full of positive energy!

Positive energy and insane pulling down.  I look around and can’t help but thinkg “what the hell is Daniel Woods doing here????!!!!”.  Isn’t he in some remote awesome place like Rocklands???  I could understand that Natasha Barnes was pulling at the comp but DW… and a dozen other ridiculously strong climbers…  I spent a good portion of my time there in awe watching some of these kids go at the climbs.

With three categories only: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced and with the elite crew that was crushing in the third category I really didn’t feel bad signing up for Intermediate.  4 hours climbing pretty well but often surrounded by much better climbers did not make me expect the win of the Intermediate category!  And the ridiculously sweet Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15deg sleeping bag………   Holy sssshhhhh…..

Well, it was an awesome party and very well-intentioned event.  The comp had numerous sponsors, free food, great live DJing and the money raised went to help a local climber, Rowan Jimenez, who received a double lung transplant just two months ago.  At the end of the competition we watched a small video detailing some of his life and his struggle and we even had a good skype video conversation with the man recovering at home.