After dropping Paul off in Phoenix on the 10th, I booted it back out to Joshua Tree with thoughts of extending the time on the road by another few weeks.  Waking up in the morning without a partner, and ever dwindling cash reserves made me rethink things, and I set off for home.  I did meet some awesome Keen footwear employees in Josh who generously hooked me up with some new shoes.  Apparently that company treats their people well, as these chaps had high spirits, and were genuinely stoked on their employer.

After a relatively short evening drive, 17.5 hours straight the next day got me to Blaine, WA.  Probably the longest straight driving stint I’ve ever pulled.  There are mixed feelings about being home.  I’m certainly happy to see so many good friends, but I’ll miss the new folks you always meet on the road.  The strongest feeling of all though, is COLD!!!  Why, oh why did I come home in December?  Hah!

Maybe it’s how beautiful a sunrise looks off the back porch…


Or the projects left undone…

Or the recent passing of a pretty heavy torch…


Regardless, I’m back now, so it’s time to make the most of it.  I’ve already hauled two bags of trash out from the base of the local crags while scouting out new lines, so I feel semi-productive already in spite of merely pulling on plastic so far.

Happy Holidays!

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Queen Creek Canyon




Pocket pulling bliss!  I’d almost forgotten how to sport climb with all the crack over the last few months, and Queen Creek just rocks!


Volcanic rock, pockets, edges, great views, and you forget about highway noise as soon as you rope up.  Paul and I have both had a ton of fun, which seems to be novel in the last little while.  It’s a great way for him to end his visit to North America.  We’re sitting in a motel in Globe, AZ and Paul’s packing up to fly back home to Norway tomorrow.  I get left to my own devices for a while, and Misty the Magic MPV will suddenly feel more comfortable if lonely with the extra space.  Only thing I can think to do is use his laptop to check the weather in a few places, and set out again.  Maybe back to Josh.  Maybe home, but that just doesn’t seem so appealing.

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First stop was Homestead, a Limestone Canyon crag just outside of Globe, AZ.  It’s not an international destination, and the road in shows it.  After a couple attempts with our trusty, and much beloved steed ‘Misty the Magic MPV’, we gave up getting in on the road, and caught a ride in with some other climbers better equipped in the 4WD department.

It’s a beautiful little area, nice and quiet, but I sure would’ve liked to get the ol’ vehicle in there for some better camping.  It would’ve been a helluva lot of work to haul all our heavy car camping gear in the couple miles to the bivy.  Nothing to it but to return someday.  The climbing was great fun, with a myriad of holds including some tufas.  It was my first limestone experience, and I’m game to try again!


Paul Rapping off some .10


Sunset at the parking area

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Joshua Tree

After a brief stop in Bishop, we tried to go to Indian Creek, but rather stupidly neglected a quick check of the weather, and ended up turning south for Josh after a blizzard hinted that we may have chosen the wrong path.  We were partially rewarded however on the 6 heading North from Bishop when I pulled over to tinkle in the middle of a frozen wasteland, and Paul said, “Is that a mallet?”  But wait!!!  That’s not all!!!  It seems that some poor traveler’s entire tool box had exploded right there scattering along the highway, so we ended up with a bit of a haul!


Free stuff!!!

On arrival at night, Hidden Valley Campground was full, so we meandered on to Ryan, and ended up sharing a site with some folks there that set us up with all kinds of loot in the morning.  They were heading out so gave us milk, a whole roasted chicken, bread, danishes, goulash, and cantaloupe.  The generosity of strangers sometimes affirms my  of faith in humanity.  All the more reason to pass it on when you can!

After a couple days of cragging around we went out to the Joshua Tree Saloon for some $3 shots (that’s cheap to us Canadians, and more-so to Norwegians), and ended up running into Matt aka ‘Velcro Jesus’ who we met in Yos, and his two friends, Sam & Bill.  After a glorious night of debauchery, somehow managing not to offend our server, we decided to share a site…  Paul and I would move in the next day at #31 which has the Caveman boulder in the back.  Next day was a rest day, so we were lazing around in the sun trying to stay out of the wind when we saw a helicopter buzzing around.  It’s never a good sign out there.

Bill's news clipping

The above is the news story, but Bill ended up doing a running launch on his speed sail, the wind caught him (wind in Josh is unpredictable in my experience), and slammed him into a rocky cactus filled area.  He got off light (especially considering he wasn’t wearing a helmet) with a broken foot, and pelvis.  Matt and Sam were badass that morning.  Sam is a paramedic, and busted his ass out to look for Bill when they got moaned radio messages such as “help me”  and “I’m fucked”.  Meanwhile, Matt drove to get help, not realizing there’s an emergency phone at intersection rock.  Matt led rangers out to Bill while Sam took off his clothes in the freezing wind to keep Bill warm.  In the end 3 helicopters came out, and in spite of the Rangers standing there, Matt and Sam ended up hooking Bill up to one of the choppers to avoid wasted time.  Bill spent the rest of the trip in a Palm Springs hospital bed, and Sam somehow was his attending paramedic for the ambulance ride back home.  Bill’s going to heal, but it’ll be a few months in bed.

I really love the climbing in Josh, but Paul wasn’t too stoked.  Made it kinda hard to tick off all the routes I wanted, but oh well!  I still had a good time, found a few more stellar routes look forward to, and met a few more great people!


Connor on Hobbit Roof belayed by Paul


Night time Pigpen session. Matt climbing, Sam Sitting


Sunrise after a rain... The view from my sleeping bag

Connor on Touch and Go

Spider Line

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Ahhhhhhhh…  Yosemite!

Heaven on earth partially sullied by the excessive people, campfires, LEOs, and bureaucracy.  To secure a site in Camp 4, every person in your party 3 YEARS + OLD needs to wait in line.  The line to the camp’s kiosk is not to form before 6AM (though many sleep there), and the ranger arrives at 8:45AM.  Just think about that for a minute…  You and your significant other head on over there, and hop in line at 6AM to get a site.  You need to have your bratty 3 year old with you for up to 4 hours, but the park seems to have no problems with you leaving your newborn in the car for the duration, so long as it’s not in a cooler.

Because then you’d be feeding the bears.

As odd, and frustrating as the park service can be, the ditch is still awe inspiring, and climbing has nothing to do with it.  Ohhh.  The free shuttles score a solid point for the NPS.


Bridalveil Falls & Leaning Tower


Vernal & Nevada Falls

Why the black and white?  Long story.  We went to see Royal Robbins, and Tom Frost give a slideshow on the first ascent of the Salathewall.  Anyways, the shots were gorgeous, and those two characters were pretty amusing old fellows, even if Royal could hardly hear a thing.  Tom Frost said no one should shoot anything but B&W in Yos, so I figured I’d mess around a bit.  The most amazing thing occurred while waiting for the show to start… Tommy Caldwell brushed against my leg while talking to someone.  My heart fluttered, and my mind raced, trying to figure out how best to savor this literal brush with climbing royalty!  I did what came naturally, and thoroughly licked my pants clean where he’d blessed me with his touch as quickly as I could before commencing to stare at him.  He held my gaze for a while, shuddered with obvious affection, and backed away slowly.  I found out where he was going to be staying a few days later, and decided to accept his rather forward if wordless invitation for company from behind my zoom lens, and hit the meadows.

Creepin' on TC

Tommy Caldwell on pitch 9 of the Dawn Wall

We ran into yet more of the migratory climber crowd, and saw a few from Squish, including this fellow,

Rich on Bachar Cracker

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More Smith

In the last few months I’ve discovered just how easy it is to make friends.  You just smile, and wave.  If you don’t get a response from someone walking by, just keep smiling and waving.  Surprisingly… it works sometimes.  “You’re that waving guy, right?”

Self depracating ice breaking in action.

Yeah…  I’m that guy.  It may embarrass the shit out of the friends you’ve already made, but getting that cute girl walking by to wave back, and look totally confused is undeniably a step in the right direction.  It also immunizes your comrades to your other odd habits…

Womens long underwear are more comfortable... Discovered after the men's were sold out.

The friends you make may not be doctors, lawyers, or even employed, but they’re usually of open heart, and mind.  Good times are guaranteed.  Wandering down a gorgeous path with a wooden flute accompanying one on the journey is something special.

Not Larry


Joel... Bivy resident for 4 years.


Lee living in the dirt.

Jenni, and the camp host. The gator gets him all the girls.

In spite of a a few days of rain, and 30-40mph winds on another couple, some climbing did actually occur.  One of the highlights

The Gorge

Larry thinking "to chimney or not to chimney"

Cleaning a stellar .10 for Larry. Thanks man!

The Larry

……en route to Yosemite.

Mt. Shasta

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Smith Rock

Rain, wind, hollow rock, suspect bolts, and great people…. Reminds me of home.


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