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Showing posts from November, 2009

Bonkers to Stairs, The Greatest Tour in the Wasatch

If you live or play in Utah and you aren’t backcountry skiing in late February and March, you are missing out! This is when it “goes off” in the Wasatch, if its ever going to. Granted, in some seasons, it’s just not wise to ski Bonkers and especially Stairs Gulch, but if the snowpack is going to get deep and strong enough, mid-to late-season is usually the time. March 8, 2009, was just such an occasion. To make it even harder to go to the office, and easier to skip out and go skiing, it was clear and calm, and there was a foot of fresh, windless powder icing the cake.
Given this textbook-perfect situation, it just made sense to head for the greatest ski tour in the Wasatch. Broads Fork and Stairs Gulch offer the best bang for the buck in terms of big classic lines. One skin trail, two epic runs! It's really ski mountaineering terrain, but thanks to a 100-inch snowpack, we did all the climbing with skins on. The enormity of these glacial-carved north-facing bowls and cirques, virtua…

Sundial's Global Warming Arete

Obviously pumped, but exuding his usual calm demeanor, Paul hoisted himself onto the spacious ledge below the final pitch of the Sundial’s spectacular Northwest (aka Global Warming) Arete. He’d just pulled through the slightly overhanging 5.8 “crux” and he looked relieved, stoked, and in need of a rest. The move involves a finger lock and a strong pull without much for the feet, to reach a hidden edge deep in a pod. However, to climb into the pod, you’d need to be 30” tall! Instead, one must stare down the exposure and look for holds above and outside the alcove. Not terribly hard, but a couple notches tougher than any other move on the mostly 5.6 route, also known as Eleventh Hour.

I call it the Global Warming Arete, because even when its 100 F in the city, this airy, shady, northerly climb between 9500-10,000’ stays way cool. I’ve never climbed it without having to put on a layer. Usually, I wear pants and a windshirt the whole way. Who says the Wasatch doesn’t have alpine rock? The …

Pain and Suffering...Life at Europe's favorite American Crag

Fall in Utah is amazing (as are the other 3 seasons.) But autumn is especially stellar when the yellow leaves of Aspen and Cottonwoods are juxtaposed against a backdrop of red sandstone cliffs. This feast of color is easier to appreciate when you get your feet back on terra firma after jamming them sideways into 2" wide, 100' tall, vertical cracks. This is Indian Creek: a paradise on earth, assuming you like crack climbing; i.e. assuming you like to suffer. But that’s what climbing is when you push yourself out of the "comfort zone:" suffering. Your success is dependent on your ability to suffer. No one actually LIKES it, but some people suffer better than others. These are the climbers who succeed, and everyone gets stoked on that!

- Tyson Bradley

Veteran crack-climbers drop their knee away from the crack, insert their foot sideways, and rotate their knee back in-line with the splitter groove. This locks the foot securely in place, making it a solid hold. It also hu…

New Beginnings

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