Tuesday, April 29, 2014

27/27 Sent!

I climbed 27 pitches for my 27th birthday at Smith yesterday. We planned where and what we'd climb the week before and ended up doing almost everything according to plan. The biggest challenge was to minimize the transitioning time between climbs. We decided to climb as much as we could at three walls: Red Wall, Phoenix, and Morning Glory, which all have a lot of moderate (5.8-5.11a) climbs. When it comes to simul-climbing, simul-rapping, and doing anything else while belaying except belaying, these are varsity techniques/reductions of redundancy within the system and should be used with care. That said, yesterday was one of the most fun days I've had on rock!

We started relatively late because we got home late the night before. We were at the Red Wall by 9:20am. I had a double rack, stoppers, about 25 draws/slings, belay gloves, micro traction, a couple lockers, cord, and a grigri. We climbed with a single 70 and simul-climbed and simul-rapped to save time.

Moscow (5.6 trad 3P) Got scared leading this one.
Bay of the Pigs (10d 2P) I was at the top of my game! Such a fun route!
Super slab (5.6 trad 3P) So much fun!
Orgasmophoria (10c 2P) I'm tired. I'm hungry. "Max, I will belay you to the anchor and you can take the second pitch!" Not my proudest moment.

First pitch of Orgasmophoria

10 pitches done. Next to the Phoenix area. Max took over the leads and we were able to climb 7 pitches in two hours. We ate while belaying. And I also ate while climbing.

Phoenix (10a) Crimpy
Drill' em and Fill 'Em (10a) Wandery and crimpy. I'm starving.
JT's route (10b) One of the best 10bs in the park!
Hissing Llamas (5.8) Best 5.8 in the park!
Llama Enlightenment (10c) Angel onsighted this a couple weeks back. Juggy!
Wannabe Llamas (5.8) Short and most awkward 5.8 in the park. Not fun.
Entering relativity (11a) I'm not sure if this is really an 11a but it sure felt like it.

17 pitches done. Next to the Morning glory. We got 6 more pitches in and were at 23 pitches by 7:15pm.

Gumby (10b) Harder than I remembered. Getting hungry again.
Light on the Path (5.9) At this point climbs started melting together. I don't remember anything about the climb except that Wally came over and gave me a Sin Dawg while I was belaying Max. Thank you Wally!
5 Gallon (5.8) Super classic! Take a number.
9 Gallon (10c) Best 10c in the park! There are three sets of anchors on this route. It could count as three pitches. But since the extensions don't count I had to go all the way to the top. Angel put it up. I struggled with the first move. Getting tired.
Mike put up Magic light (11a) for Max and Angel put up Purple Headed Warrior (5.7) for me. My first lead at Smith!
Cool ranch (11b/10a) ...but we both skipped the crux by staying left. Hehehehehe.

Sin Dawg to the rescue! It has 1600 calories. Wally sent Latest Rage (12b), yeah!

4 pitches to go! We started the last climb of the day Zebra/Zion (10b sport/trad 4P) around 7:30pm. It's one of my favorite routes at Smith. Max led four pitches with one rack in one pitch. I'm impressed. We run the whole rope out which worked perfectly for what we were trying to do: be done before dark. I topped out sometime before 9pm. We took a picture, posted it, and scrambled down Cocaine gully in our climbing shoes.

The last pitch of Zebra/Zion, the best 5.9 crack at Smith.

Angel and Mike had left early to get 5 dollar pad thai (Mondays only) from Thai O in Redmond. We ate and hung out in the parking lot. I drove us to Eugene that same night and went to bed 1:00am. The end.

Oh, one more thing. I spent my actual birthday at the coast with Max's family and friends. Corrie and Thad had contacted my mum via fb to find out what kind of cake I like. Chocolate cheesecake was spot on! Thank you everyone!

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Krazy Glue Trick

I cut my finger on Cool Ranch (11b) last Sunday. It happened right before the crux and I had to climb up and clip the anchors to clean our draws. Blood everywhere. I cleaned the holds with my bandana and felt stupid for not having my brush with me. JV. Bring the brush, Emma, bring the brush. Taping the tip of my finger doesn't really work because the tape comes off. Fingertip sweat! But without the tape the cut wont heal and I can't climb. Krazy glue to the rescue!

Krazy glue + tape works!

The next day I glued the tape on my finger. And it worked! I added some glue mid-day and the tape didn't come off until we were done climbing. To give you an idea of how durable Krazy glued tape is, here is the list of the climbs I did. Top roped, duh.

Overboard Full (11d) Pumpy warmup, but once you get it wired, it's not that bad.
Magic Light (11a) Best 11a at Smith!
Cool Ranch Full (12a) Hardest move on the route is the 11b move.
Wartley's Revenge (11a/b) Classic trad! Next time I must lead it.
Shoes of The Fisherman (11b) Trad, Max onsighted, I hungsighted. Bird poop! A little loose at the top. Mikey Schaefer walked past us and was stoked to see someone on the route. Apparently it doesn't see many ascends and when he did it 15 years ago, he couldn't get anyone to second it.
Heresy (11c/d) Boulder problem with bolts.
3/4 of Full Heinous (12c) I got half way up the extension and run out of juice. If you blow it on lead, you might end up taking a 50-footer. That's a 15 meter fall. It impresses me that Full Heinous used to be protected with two bolts and gear. Thanks to retrobolting the 30-meter route is now protected with nine bolts. I wouldn't mind if someone threw a couple more in there.

I used the same Krazy glue trick yesterday too and sent Latin lover (12a) second go! The falls I took last weekend did the trick. It felt liberating to climb above the bolt and not be scared. On my first go I fell twice at the top, before the crux. I got psyched, I almost had it! I took a 15 minute rest. Second go felt relaxed and solid. Max, Wally, Scott, and Shcristophe were all cheering for me. I decided to take advantage of the awesome sending flow and give Cool Ranch a burn. Once again I got shut down by the crux move. ONE 11b MOVE. This time I brushed the holds on my way down. Humbled by Smith.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Whipper Challange

My goal for Sunday was to take falls on Latin lover (12a). It's a super fun route: balancy, thin, and sustained. The crux for me is to stay cool and climb above the bolt. None of the moves feel individually hard, just insecure, sustained and some of the clipping stances are not great. I tried leading the route a week ago and couldn't get past the third bolt because I got scared. This Sunday I climbed past the third bolt and took about five intentional falls before clipping the anchor. Progress!

Mike is having fun belaying me?

I'm getting after the Latin lover!

The route is 21 meters tall and is protected with 6 bolts plus the anchor so it's a bolt every 2-3 meters. It's standard. The headline for this post is a little misleading since my falls also are very standard. I just like to call them whippers because it sounds more rad. But they are just falls. Whipper is a long fall. I weight about 53kg and by adding a grigri, belay glasses, belay gloves, and a belay puffy I can make 54kg happen. Barely. If my partner takes a whipper I often find myself dangling right below the first draw. Max took a whipper on Heinous (12c) yesterday. He fell right at the 8th bolt so about 8 meters in the air (4 meters between bolts) plus rope stretch. I went up 3 meters. So it was a 11 meter fall plus rope stretch.

Next I challenge you! This pre-clipping epic was captured in the Cocaine gully Saturday evening. What went wrong?


Solution: pull the rope and stickclip the next bolt instead (the hanger was too small to fit two draws).

Sunday, April 20, 2014


There is so much sending going on at Smith right now. It's very easy to get excited about projecting around the people I climb with. I've witnessed two 14a sends the past couple days. It's always exciting to hike down to the park and see if anyone is on To Bolt (first 14 in the US) or some other hard route. Angel sent Vomit Launch (11b) today first go. She started working on it last summer when I was here. It was amazing to watch her climb. Max onsighted Latin Lover (12a) the other day. I'm working on it. I need to take a couple more falls on that one. Today was a rest day for me. I'm trying to be smart and not climb three days in a row. I did only one route today!

Vomit Launch

Shake off!


Eddy is tired of all the 4th class. I had a rest day so I went for a run while others were climbing.

Friday, April 18, 2014

27 pitches for my 27th Birthday

I'm trying to make it happen next Thursday. Very simple, climb 27 pitches in one day. Originally Angel's idea. I'm lucky because Max doesn't need much any convincing to do this with me. Here are the rules of the Birthday game:

1. I must lead 50%. My birthday, my 27 pitches. But it's more fun for both if we share leads. That's a lie. It's more fun for ME if Max puts ropes up when I get tired.
2. I don't have to send. But no pulling on gear unless it's aid. Aid counts.
3. Each pitch can only be climbed once. Area specific rules apply.
4. Extensions don't count. This is tricky and I'm still not sure if I agree with this rule.
5. Bouldering and gym doesn't count. Area specific rules apply.
6. Alan Watts has the last word on what counts as a pitch. Bring the guidebook!
7. Cake for lunch.

There is more than 2000 climbs at Smith rock so it's easy to find enough pitches. I'm thinking some kind of combination of Red wall, Lama wall, Dihedrals (Cinnamon slab area) Morning glory, and the Gorge would work best gradewise. It makes sense to simul-climb easy multipitch climbs as much as we can and then do single pitch climbs in two or three walls that have a lot of climbs close together. If YOU want to get some climbs in for your birthday, I'm happy to climb with you! Or if you want to tick 27 boulder problems, I'll spot you.

Moolack didn't happen last week so we went to Smith instead. Smith is a special place for many reasons. This time climbing made me think about the ethics of setting up new routes. Me, Max, and Mike warmed up on a new 11/11+ route next to Dreamin'. It starts with a couple insecure moves on crappy rock to fun slab/ledge climbing and finishes off with huge, manufactured jugs. The park has very progressive ethics when it comes to climbing. Read the history. I think the route is enjoyable and worth doing. Enough about that. Me and Angle went to work on our projects and both of us sent first go.

My shoulder is a little tweaky so I'm taking it easy for the next couple days. Right. I fly home in two weeks. Hyvää pääsiäistä kaikille! Säästäkää mulle mämmiä!

Angel sent Magic light (pic) and Blasphemy the same week.

Mike working on Scarface again.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

I have a couple projects

First, I want to become a rodeo clip -master. I don't want to be the sometimes-when-I'm-lucky-I'm-able-to-stick-it-7th-go-but-it's-probably-backclipped-so-I-better-get-a-stick-clip-anyway type of stickclipper.  It's nice to have the first draw clipped if the crux is low or if the first bolt is high. I have limited experience with other climbing areas but compared to the climbs I've done in Finland, mostly in Mustavuori and Viitapohja, bolting at Smith is more spaced and often times scary for me. If in doubt, bring gear. Kantti (10c) in Olhava in other hand seems like a Smith climb when it comes to bolting. And the position too is actually very similar to the Smith aretes. Anyway.

Like I mentioned before, Panic Attack is an exceptionally well bolted route. It had fixed draws because a local climber was working on it. I couldn't make the rodeo clip. But I could make the clip from the ground by jumping a little bit. Not as cool. I gave two lead burns to it and got the moves down with Wally's help. We stayed until sunset.

Wally rodeo clipping and getting psyched to work on the last climb of the day: Churning (13a).

Time to go home? Gotta brush the holds first!

Second, I want to get mentally stronger. My problem at the moment is that I love top roping. But at the same time I know it's not going to get me where I want to go.

This hat should set me up for success. Angel belaying Mike on Vision (12b).

Third, I want to send Panic Attack. It's a climb that got me so psyched that I don't mind trying it many times! I'm calling it a project. I've never had a project that I've worked on as consistently as this. I've tried leading it four times the past three days. Today my first burn included: two falls, one pull on a draw, and two takes. On my second burn I one-hung it. Crazy, eh! Though, one-hanging means just that. It does not mean I will send. But I definitely enjoyed the progress I made!

Mike on Scarface (14a)

The communal stick clips are sometimes tricky to find. Like this one. So tricky.

Now I need to rest for a day or two. I'm going for a run with Angel this afternoon and in the evening I'm getting a ride to Eugene. Tomorrow me and Max might go to Moolack. Cheers!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Three days of Smith rocks

Yesterday was day one. For me it was a pick-a-project day. I went to the park with Wally and Max. We started at the Christian Brothers. The warmup was called Blasphemy (11a awkward). I thought I hadn't done the route before. When I started climbing at Smith I could not remember the names of the routes. Now I'm familiar with most of the names, I just can't remember if I've climbed them or not. Blasphemy is one of those climbs I forgot. It's fun but a bit awkward. Next I hopped on (TR) the climb next door: Panic attack (11d/12a). Tricky stemming and very well protected. I've never seen bolts as close together at Smith. Fun climb!

Next to the Dihedrals. Max put a rope up on Heinous (12a) and I finally found a way to do the crux move! Progress! For me the crux of the climb is getting to the holds which lead to the crux. It's reachy and thin. I found a foot that makes the move doable. Next I tried a line that people call a girl climb: Latin lover (12a). Friends of ours were working on it so I asked if I could do a quick TR run. It's thin, crimpy, and balancy. I agree that it's probably easier if you have small hands. I fell while unclipping the last draw, right at the crux. Clipping would be scary. Latin lover felt much easier than Heinous since making the moves did not require beta and the holds were way less greasy. Just crimp the nubbins!

A year ago Max was working on Latest Rage (12b). He offered me a TR burn and beta. I spent most of the time hanging on the rope and skipped the hardest moves (every other move) by pulling on the rope. Yesterday I got closure. I figured out how to make the crux moves and climbed all the way up. Later in the evening I watched Mike work on Scarface (14a). I believe he three-hung it but I could be wrong.

My skin says, Emma I want to climb more!

Now I just need to pick a project. Max is working in Eugene over the weekend so I decided to stay in Bend and climb for another two days. I still have unfinished business in the Morning glory too. Let's face it, I only have unfinished business at Smith. There is too many fun rock climbs to choose from. And top roping is so much fun! Have a great weekend y'all!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


The drive from Zion to Bishop is about seven hours. We stopped in Vegas for groceries and got to Bishop around dinner time. Friends of ours, Angel, Mike, Cedar, and T, had already been there for almost a week and we shared camp site at the Pit with them. Two bucks a night per vehicle. For the next three days we went bouldering in the Buttermilks, the Happies, and sport climbing in Owen's river gorge. I was trying to take a rest day in between but failed to do so. Oh well. I rest later.

Camping at the Pit

First we did a full day at the Buttermilks Main area. I was overwhelmed by the convenience of the climbing. The boulders were close together, trails run through the area, and people are happy to share pads. Buttermilks' sharp, crystally rock (quartz monzonite) provides excellent friction but is hard on skin. The problems we did (mostly V2-V4) were crimpy, balancy, slabby, and some relatively high. Friends of ours had already scouted out the classics so we didn't have to spend much time reading the guide book. Here are some of the boulders and names of the routes I remember working on:

The Iron man: Iron Man Traverse V4
The Womb boulder: Birthing Experience V1
Green Wall Boulder: Green wall arete V1, Essential V2, and Center V6
Buttermilk Stem Area: Buttermilk Stem V1
The Hunk boulder: The hunk V2, my favorite!
The Tut boulder: King Tut V3 and Funky Tut V3
The Birthday Boulder: BD direct V3

V1 was the hardest grade. I did not send any V1. Instead V3s were perfect. My favorite boulder was the Hunk. It was crimpy, slabby, and tall. It felt like a sport route so maybe that explains why I enjoyed it the most. I never asked how to get down before climbing up because I would have gotten scared. The down climbing was not too bad but some of the boulders were high so it was committing and scary for me. Towards the end of the day I got used to it. If you want to send hard get your V3-5 down climbing skills in order.

Angel on the Hunk V2

Down climb

We spent the rest next day taking photos and bouldering at the Happy bouldering area. The rock at the Happys is very different from the Buttermilks'. It's volcanic tuff, much like Smith rock. It makes both crimpy, vertical and juggy, ovehung problems. Much better for skin. I tried a couple of problems and ended up giving way too many goes for a classic route called Solarium (V3-4). Too much fun, no sending.

Mike sent High plains drifter V7

Last day was a sport climbing day at Owen's river gorge. I was tired. The climbing is super fun which was unfortunate since we only had one day left. Most of the routes at Owen's are steep and juggy. My friends called it hero climbing. Some stuff is less steep and crimpy. Feet are everywhere and they are good. Routes are tall so single 70 is a must and even then you might end up not making it to the ground. Check the guide book before committing yourself.

Cedar on Sendero Luminoso (10b R)

I bailed one route (a five star 10c) because I got scared. Max did ask me if I wanted him to put up the draws and check it out. I said, I'm sure it'll be fine and took off. I had only 5 meters of climbing left when I realized that the move to the next bolt seemed a little too committing. I even got to the bolt, but I couldn't find a good hold to clip from. I down climbed (useful skill, eh) to the last draw and asked Max to finish the route. After TR the route I realized what I should have done: kept going because the holds were all there. Next time. I got about 7 pitches in that day. Max got a couple more.

We were done climbing around 5pm. Max's friend had invited us to spend the night at Mammoth Lake before driving back to Eugene. On our way to Mammoth we learned that the area would get a lot of snow during the night. We decided to keep going so that we would not be stuck in traffic the next day. Three hours later we were in Reno having a late night snack at In-N-Out. We spent the night at a rest stop and drove back to Eugene the next day. The end.

Since we got back I've been trying to let my skin heal. I've climbed some at Smith but nothing super exciting. Oh, I did hop on one of Max's projects (Kings of Rap) to see what 12d feels like. 12d feels hard. Mike just climbed three 14as (8b+) last week. The same day. He said he didn't send so it's not a big deal but I think it's awesome. And one more thing...

Hyvää syntymäpäivää Julia! Miun on sinua ikävä! <3