In August of 2012, treat my friend Brian Spiewak and I ventured to Bridgeport to check out the Incredible Hulk. Our goal was to backpack in and climb the route Positive Vibrations; a 1200’ 5.11a. This route was a big deal to me because it was my first difficult route in the High Sierra. Positive Vibes takes an amazing line up the left-center of the Hulk. Directly to the right of Positive Vibes lies the route Venturi Effect. While Brian and I were fighting our way up Positive Vibes, nurse there was a team on Venturi Effect. Watching these two cruise up Venturi was inspiring to say the least. I was able to talk to the leader while he was at belays, and he said that the route was amazing and safe enough for the grade. This resonated with me and I began to think that maybe someday I would try to climb Venturi Effect. More »
My alarm went off at 3:58 AM, capsule beating Josh’s by 2 minutes and preventing a repeat of the previous morning’s wake-up: a barrage of small pebbles. I was so stoked for the day’s adventure that I skipped coffee, troche but not my typical camping breakfast of orange juice and Pop-Tarts. We topped off our Nalgene bottles, illness jumped in the car, and by 5:10 AM we were cruising down the Cathedral Lakes Trail. More »
One evening at the gym, Josh approached me excited about some crazy trip he wanted to go on. Apparently, all his usual climbing partners were otherwise engaged, and he realized that I, being a grad student, was infinitely available to drop everything, and disappear into the backcountry for over a week. On top of that, he knew I had recently finished my first 50 mile running race, so he assumed I was up to suffer. It didn’t hurt that I apparently have a reputation for smiling a lot: I smile constantly when I’m uncomfortable, and I’m always uncomfortable at the gym because there’s a crazy group of guys, running around in colorful spandex, groping each other. So, given my perceived ability to suffer with a smile, Josh was convinced I would be a good partner. I tentatively agreed to go, and Josh emailed me a writeup by Galen Rowell describing our climbing objective. “Netherworld”? Ok, I was in.
Camping out in Alabama Hills, LeeAnne and I were planning on heading back to the Whitney region in the next day or two but had no idea what we wanted to do. I was going through guides and the mountain project app on my phone looking for inspiration, and eventually came across a comment by Ben on the Star Trekkin’ page. From there I re-read his TR on star trekkin’ and with new motivation, by the morning it was decided we’d give the Star Trekkin’ – Mithral link-up car to car a shot. It had been a while since my last C2C day, I was overdue for another anyway. More »
For many people, the Mt. Whitney region is quintessential High Sierra, the end of the John Muir Trail and the highest point in the 48. For others, the Incredible Hulk, with Yosemite-quality climbing in the backcountry is the best the Sierra has to offer. Those more romantically inclined will name Tuolomne or maybe the Evolution range as the Sierra’s best for their incredible beauty. For many in Pullharder, Lone Pine Peak is the Sierra’s gem. But for some of us, the Palisades are synonymous with this great range. And the best way to take it all in is to climb ‘em all. More »
Tioga Pass opened today! So it’s a good time to hype Tuolomne, and especially the most bizarre and very amazing rock formation called Matthes Crest. When we put together the Pullharder High Sierra Favorites List earlier this year, I realized we didn’t have a report on Matthes Crest. Not because we didn’t love it, but most likely because it was “too easy” for a Pullharder writeup. But easy doesn’t mean unworthy. If it’s too easy, run it out. If that’s too easy, solo it. If that’s still too easy, solo it barefoot… More »