Time to Return

June 11, 2009

To say that I have done very little exercise in the past 4 months would be a gross understatement; I have done close to no exercise… I was focusing hard on finishing my PhD, working every waking hour, and it still isn’t done.  It still isn’t done but I’m back to climbing and working out because some things are even more important than that 7 year journey that the PhD has been.  Together with the physical inactivity has been a spiritual inactivity; the hours spent behind the computer are nothing less than soul-numbing.  The sitting position does not lend itself to good breath or good circulation… I’m surprised I didn’t get bed sores on my ass.

Last night I returned from an awesome 6 day trip which inaugurated the return to physical and spiritual aliveness.  This trip started with a journey from Oakland to Flagstaff for the wedding of two good friends, Matt and Corrie.

WeddingThe wedding was at the Snowbowl and, despite the strong winds, it turned out to be a beautiful wedding.

The day before the wedding we went climbing at a nearby spot called The Pit.  This is a nice crag with cool features such as tufas and deep pockets; we went up some easy routes and enjoyed the scenery.  On the way out I was informed that Priest Draw was only a few minutes away!!  Super psyched I spread the word and the next morning we returned for bouldering.

We were impressed by the area, particularly by how vast it was!  Seemed like there were more and more rock outcroppings and awesome roofs the further back we looked.  Not having much time, we decided to climb on some of the first rocks we saw.  The climbing here takes some adapting; it is mainly roof climbing on deep two finger pockets with powerful dynamic moves.  I am just getting back into climbing after a 4 month hiatus so my power was very low and my skin felt soft and sensitive; however, I played on an excellent V8 (V7 if you know the key beta) called Wife Beater (shown below).

Wife Beater 1Wife Beater 2

Mike Palmer slapping Wife Beater

Wife Beater 3Wife Beater 4

Me trying hard on Wife Beater.

That night was the wedding and Max Z. in time to perform his best man duties; he arrived fresh from the Bouldering World Cup in Vail, Colorado, and was pscyhed to go to Priest Draw the next morning.  At 9am we were walking around the boulder field; the temperature was perfect and the sky was sunny and clear.  We hiked about a bit, warmed up on a super easy juggy wall, and just as we were about to explore the boulder field we saw a super cool boulder and our goal of seeing many different boulders suddenly imploded… beside this one roof boulder we found an awesome piece of rock which housed the classic line The Egyptian.

The Egyptian is rated V11 and was first climbed by the one-and-only Chris Sharma in the movie Rampage; most climbers are familiar with the scene in which Chris hangs from a double gaston on roof pockets and then swings his feet to the lip and scrambles up the rock, leaving the onlookers amazed.  We warmed on up easier lines to the right of The Egyptian and then filmed and shot photos of Max attempting and sending the classic line.

Below is a video of Mike P. sending a line to the right of The Egyptian.

Here is a sequence of a failed attempt at the crux move of The Egyptian:

The Egyptian 1IMG_4373_2


And here is the video of the send:

After the short visit to Priest Draw I headed West with the family.   We went across Death Valley and to the bouldering meca that is Bishop; I was expecting to find scorching heat but still thought it would be a good place to visit, to show Ursula and Kale’a, and to camp.  We found unseasonally cool temperatures and plenty of rain but enough gaps to enjoy the rocks and to hike.

Enjoying the view:


Some morning yoga:


A morning hike on Iron Man:


After Bishop we headed up to Tuolumne Meadows, the Yosemite high country.  Our plan was to camp there and then drive to Oakland the next day but the campgrounds were closed… very very sad.

It is impossible to express how stunningly beautiful Tuolumne was… the air was pristine, snow blanketed much of the mountains and some of the meadows, the clouds rolled above us and there was plenty of wildlife.  We spent the whole time ‘ooohing’ and ‘aaahing’, stopping the car and making plans to live up here indefinitely.



We arrived safely at home and desirous to climb, camp, hike and just have a deeper involvement with nature… visiting it more often.  And personally, this marks the end of my 4 month leave from climbing; the membership at the climbing gym was unfrozen and today I started the return to fitness.

So stay tuned, more trip reports will be happening soon!


One comment

  1. Excellent trip report. I love hearing about the Gainesville crew climbing. Stay well!

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