Uncharted Lines Trailer

Here is the link to the Uncharted Lines Trailer! I hope you all enjoy it! thanks for the continued support 🙂

Spain – 1/2

Wow, it has been quite a while since I have updated this thing. I have been meaning to be more adamant about trying to update but somehow time just keeps passing. Haha alas, I am going to start where I left off and begin with a trip recap from Spain.

I had heard about bouldering near the town of alcañiz for about 3 or so years now. Little hints here and there about a bouldering area very much undeveloped only 3 hours from Barcelona. With areas like albarracin and the incredible lime stone rope climbing in the area, i thought there was no way that an amazing bouldering area could have been missed. Every time I would hear about the zone, I would dismiss it as it seemed impossible for something so special to be so close to other world class destinations.

While in Iceland on a shoot for prAna, Chris told me about this area he had seen while driving down the highway in Spain. He told me of these back sandstone boulders that looked to be incredible quality and I had to come check it out. We looked on the map and sure enough it was right outside of the small village of alcañiz. I decided then that I had to at least go see for myself what this area had to offer.

Fortunately enough I had the opportunity to be in Spain for 4 days in December. At first I was apprehensive yet again. I drove to albarracin since I had not been there in a while. I’m not really sure why I went there, but for whatever reason, I did. I had a few fun days and was meant to go to Barcelona in a day or two. I thought about alcañiz and still didn’t know if I wanted to go. Thankfully i decided I had made my way all the way to Europe, I need to go see what this place has to offer.

I woke up early the next day and drove a few hours to the small town. I did not really know where to go once I got there. I drove down dirt road after dirt road and started to see black boulders everywhere. I hopped out of the car and began running up the hills to see how the quality was. It was identical to joes valley sandstone (for those who have not been to Joe’s, it is some of the best sandstone America has to offer!) I had left the door open in excitement but couldn’t be bothered with that and continued to run up and down the hills scoping boulder after boulder marveling at the color, quality, and line potential on each bloc.

I spent well over 3/4 of my day exploring. As the sun was about to set I ventures up this hillside to the very top. At the top was this small roof with a tall slightly overhanging head wall. I decided I had to do at least one Boulder that day so I grabbed my stuff and headed back up the hill to climb it. The line ended up being slightly harder than I had imagined. As the day was truly coming to a close, I knew I had to send fast. I luckily snagged the crux move from the bottom and climbed it to the top for my first first ascent in alcañiz, “odek” v10/11 (7C+/8A). As I watched the final bit of light disappear, I vowed to return as soon as possible!

#3: Burj Khalifa, Three Corners South Africa V9 (7C) (July 2015)

I spent the majority of my 2014 South Africa season climbing only within a stones throw of the car.  It was pretty incredible to have an area all to myself with hundreds of problems to attempt to open each day.  At the end of my trip, A local friend of mine told me about some possible potential in a close by valley.  I hiked up and came across another zone that blew me away.  I left South Africa that season and knew I would return the next year to develop this new zone.  I thought about this area almost every single day and finally the end of May came around an I made my way back to this magical valley.

I spent the majority of my days cleaning new blocs and climbing on them when the temps were good.  When I first set my eyes on this dark grey wall at the back of the canyon, I was transfixed.  I could not believe how perfect and pure this line was.  From the ground, I could not tell if the line was possible or not.  After rapping in, I was amazed to see that the line was not only possible but just enough holds to make it to the top.  I played out my pads and began trying.  the first move revolved around a pull on and jump from a really bad side pull to a sloppy edge high up on the wall.  the hold was at full extension for myself and the move deemed to be quite low percentage.

I eventually made the move and encountered the crux sequence which revolved around a crazy high step and a mantle on a near vertical wall to a small crimp high on the face.  I gave a couple of mediocre attempts but was scared but the potential big fall from this move.  Eventually, I got the courage and went for the lock off/mantle with all of my might.  I barely made it to the crimp and just grabbed it with my left hand.  From there I stood at about the 4 meter level and eyed the last few crimps to the top.  This terrain ended up being not that difficult and in no time I was on the top of a new 5 star line deep in the heart of the Cederberg Mountain range!

Picture: The crux mantle to the small crimper. (Video coming soon)

 

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#4: A Long Way Gone, V6 Zimbabwe (July 2015)

Since 2011, I had always dreamed of checking out this new area in the mountains of Eastern Zimbabwe.  A friend of mine discovered the area and after showing me pictures, I knew one day I would have to see it for myself.  In 2015, I finally got the chance and made the long enduring trek from South Africa, over the border, and into “real” Africa.

It took us 2 days of travel to reach our final destination.  We arrived at night not knowing what to expect the next morning.  When we woke up, there was no rock in sight.  My friend Dan assured me that on the top of the mountain was where all the rock lay.  We began the trek and a trek it was!  It took about 1 hour and 30 minutes to finally get to the first set of boulders.  As soon as I could see the first set of boulders, I began to walk faster and faster.  As far as I could see, there were boulders on every hillside; it felt like paradise.

On our first day of exploring I made my way through this large valley and all of a sudden saw this large boulder sticking out of the sand but itself.  I ran over to it and looked up at a twenty foot tall right facing rail up a slightly overhung wall.

At the time, I only had two small pads with me but decided to venture up the wall anyway.  I made it about half way up a few times and jumped of because I was not certain of where to go at the top.  I finally decided to give it an actual effort.  I set up m go pro on a rock (which eventually tumbled over) and made the first ascent of this incredible piece of rock in the middle of the African Continent.

Not many people have ventured outside of South Africa to find new rock and this experience is one I will never forget.  I cannot wait to get back there again next Summer and continue to explore the area more as the potential seems limitless!

Here is video of the send 🙂

 

Top 5 First Ascents from 2015

At the very end of 2014, I made 5 posts on Instagram at the end of the year commemorating my five favorite first ascents from that year.

I decided to continue with this now ritual and put up a post every few days until the end of the year with a little more in depth insight into each one of my favorite first ascents from 2015. I hope you enjoy!

#5: House in the Sky, V12 (8A+) Red Rock, Nevada (Jan. 2015)

Year after year, I find myself back in Red Rocks.  Each time I leave, I wonder how much more the area can possibly keep producing in terms of first ascents.  Each year I return, I am pleasantly surprised at how the boulders seem to be never ending.

On this specific trip, I spent most of my time following around Tom Moulin who at the time was writing the new guidebook and psyched to show me some undone lines he had previously found.  One of these lines was this tall slightly overhanging face high on this hillside above all of the other established areas in Windy Canyon.  When I first saw the boulder, I did not know if it was possible.  the top just looked like it may not have enough holds to get to the top.  I rapped in on the line and quickly deciphered a way that seemed possible but felt really hard.  I worked the boulder for days with this very weird heel hook cross beta that I was certain was the only way to get to the top.

After many failed attempts, I knew I was going to have to figure out a new way to get to the top.  I eventually found this very precarious heel hook that made the crux feasible.  From there it was a sketchy top with bad feet that stood between me and the first ascent.

I remember coming back after a rest day knowing that I had all the beta figured out, I just needed to execute.  I warmed up slowly, re chalked and brushed the slopes hands and feet at the top and made my way to the start of the climb.  The first time I made it through the bottom crux, I shut my brain off and fired the top section high above a scary landing.  It felt amazing to stand on top of this boulder with mountains and the setting Nevada sun in the background.  Another gem added to the multitude around Red Rocks!

Video at the end of this prAna video 🙂

 

~Australia~

After my first trip to Australia, I was not sure if I would return again. I had over 20 days of rain in a single month and didn’t know whether or not it was worth the travel to go there again and have my fate be the same. After talking to Jimmy, I decided I would give the country another chance and make the long trek back.

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I landed in Melbourne in a rain storm and watched the rain fall for the next two weeks climbing sporadically when it was not pouring. Thankfully the weather made a huge turn around and the last month of my trip was mostly amazing conditions in a new area that we found with some help from local, Dave Kellerman.

Having the Uncharted Lines film project looming over my head, it was a relief to find this zone and begin developing it! I have to say climbing and filming is hard work. I love both but it gets tough at times to do both well. I find myself always needing a creative outlet and that is why I do video. I am not obsessed with making sure I film all of my climbs, etc but rather take a completely different approach. I want to make climbing, these areas, the people I interact with, come to life for those around the world. I love sharing my passion for climbing and to be able to do that through video is a dream come true. Uncharted lines has been a dream of mine to make for some time and I am so excited to be working with all of my best friends on this project for the next 1.5 years.

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Alas, back to Australia. Running around through the new boulder field each day was awesome! The whole crew had projects and it was fun to support everyone on their lines and develop the zone. I have to say one of my most memorable first ascents of the area was “The Anvil.” When I first saw the boulder I knew I wanted to climb it. It is tall, proud, hard and has an obvious start and finish. After cleaning the top out I realized it was quite wet but wanted more than anything to climb it. After figuring out the bottom, I managed to make my way through to the break where you can either drop off or basically free solo the end (you can no longer have pads as there is a stream that runs by the boulder). The ending is not that hard maybe around v5 or 6 but it was wet. I gritted my teeth and decided to go for it. I was a bit pumped and each hold I grabbed my hands and feet got wetter and wetter.  There was no turning back now. Thankfully, I groveled my way over the top to make the first ascent, unscathed.

After a month of developing the new zone it was time for everyone to part ways. I am now off to Russia and then Switzerland for some recon and bouldering before I go back to the states to co tinge filming for Uncharted Lines in the southeast USA.

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Make sure to check out @uncharted_lines on Instagram and stay tuned! I can’t wait to see where life takes me next!

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