Monday, December 20, 2010

Southern Nevada Bouldering Review

It is not often that I am amazed by a climbing guidebook.  I have long felt that Matt Wilder's Hueco Tanks guide is the best guidebook ever assembled for lovers of our craft.  My wife Siemay and i recently traveled to the sandstone boulders around Red Rocks for some friendly bouldering with our long time friends Brian Capps and Christian Tartaglia.  On the sojourn, we met and climbed with Pete Lowe, Brandon from LA, Alex Savage, and Tom Moulin.  We also had a chance to see and use Tom's new guide to this vast area.  I bought a personal copy immediately.

So, It is with great pleasure that I review Southern Nevada Bouldering, a guidebook.

Southern Nevada Bouldering by Tom Moulin is a work of art.  This guide, also recently reviewed on Climbing Narc, is everything a guidebook should be.  I recommend seeing that review as well, since Brian is an adroit reviewer.

FULL DISCLOSURE:  I bought this book and was not asked to review it; I have no incentive for doing so.

Here's a bullet summary of my findings:

Amazing color photos, tons of images
Accurate descriptions and photos of boulders with people climbing often for scale
Ample history and narrative
Topographical maps of boulder locations
Bouldering area is spread out, but on par with Joe's for quantity and quality
Extremely well organized
It's right outside Vegas
updated route section online (
Numerous projects listed for visiting crushers
Few people at the newer areas

$40. - worth every penny though
Heavy, more of a coffee table book - tough to carry to the crag
So beautiful/expensive, you won't want to bring it to the crag! I am already planning to xerox pages before I go out again, or buy 2 copies (if you have money to burn.)
Many of the areas described do not have proper trails and are super dog unfriendly (cholla-mania).  The hikes can be long for mega quality problems but low concentration.
Some of the rock is silty and not as grippy as other sandstone Meccas (dirty south, joes.)  The rock is oftern similar to Moe's valley in St. George.
It's right outside Vegas
Crowded at the well established areas

All in all, Vegas bouldering areas are amazing with some really standout lines.  The guidebook is totally worth the money: go to Vegas bouldering to get a copy.  I have already spent hours reading through it, starring at the photos and planning my next outing.  Holding this book is holding a piece of art.  The amount of time it must have taken to create this is staggering!  My hands are sweating just thinking about the problems I left undone.

On my short trip, we never returned to the same boulder twice.  I managed to complete a few problems though, the best of which was "Wet Dream" from the obvious stand (I worked out the moves on the V11 sit and need to go back!)  I also did "Fountainhead" V9 (I started the stand as high as I could, one move higher than most people start, although the first move was very easy for me) and worked on the sit, and amazing V12 called "Atlas Shrugged" (of course.)  I was unable to climb the "Lion Share" an sweet V9, but watched PeteLowe come super close to sending the low start at V12.  I tried "Ambacamba" which was a difficult V9 that I could not do, so I did a first ascent just to its right that I called "Bad Cocoa" V8 which shares the same finish.  Siemay did the classic "Mr. Moran" V7 in a few goes. Capps basically sent everything.  Tartaglia and I went to "Stand and Deliver" V11 which was an epic hike, but so worth it, the problem is 3 stars and dreamy.  I did the crux several times, but stopped trying since my elbow began to complain.  Too many days on in a row!  Christian pulled it out of the bag with a last minute send that was epic.

Alex Savage was also on fire sending most everything he tried in a few goes, making difficult lines look quite easy.  Younger, newer model was the joke du jour.  Super nice guy with amazing psych and video skillz...

Speaking of videos, here's a tasty video of Ethan Pringle's "Wet Dream," candidate for top 10% of V12s in the world:

Ethan Pringle climbs Wet Dream, Black Velvet Canyon from SNB on Vimeo.

The Amazing "Stand & Deliver" V11

First Ascent of Stand and Deliver, Red Rocks Bouldering from SNB on Vimeo.

See many more Vegas bouldering videos to get you psyched:

Okay people, Get out there and destroy!

Seek perfection of character, respect others & Try Hard. Noah as usual

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Economics 102 and some climbing news

First, the climbing News:

Congrats to Joel Zerr on the 2nd ascent of Jesse Bonin's "Secret Weapon" V11.  I love this climb, but it got snowed out.  I am very close as well.  I May shovel it out soon.  Joel is also super close to the 2nd ascent of "Alcatraz sit" V12 (FA stand: Kaufman, Sit: Bonin)  I will be filming joel on this awesome climb in Carson City, NV for "Try Harder."

Congrats also to Jesse Bonin on his new V11 in Korea! for pics and video... Also, Jesse did an old Kim Lee project at around V10 and called it "Sandpaper Handjob."  Great name!  Here's a video of some South Korea climbing antics by our very own J. Bonin:

First Ascents in South Korea from Jesse Bonin on Vimeo.

Congrats to Brian Capps on making short work on "Stained Glass" V10 in Bishop.  This is one of the best climbs ever.  Also, Christian Tartaglia has fallen off the last move of the "Mandala" possibly V13 now after the key right hand credit-card crimp has broken and is worse (could it get worse?)

Economics commentary:

As many of you know, I have an interest in investing/trading the stock market and a basic understanding of what's going on in the world is definitely helpful for the agile trader.  Try this on for size:

"Mary is the proprietor of a bar in Dublin . She realizes that virtually all of her customers are unemployed alcoholics and, as such, can no longer afford to patronize her bar. To solve this problem, she comes up with new marketing plan that allows her customers to drink now, but pay later. She keeps track of the drinks consumed on a ledger (thereby granting the customers loans).
Word gets around about Mary’s "drink now, pay later" marketing strategy and, as a result, increasing numbers of customers flood into Mary’s bar. Soon she has the largest sales volume for any bar in Dublin.
By providing her customers' freedom from immediate payment demands, Mary gets no resistance when, at regular intervals, she substantially increases her prices for wine and beer, the most consumed beverages. Consequently, Mary's gross sales volume increases massively. A young and dynamic vice-president at the local bank recognizes that these customer debts constitute valuable future assets and increases Mary's borrowing limit. He sees no reason for any undue concern, since he has the debts of the unemployed alcoholics as collateral.
At the bank's corporate headquarters, expert traders figure a way to make huge commissions, and transform these customer loans into DRINKBONDS, ALCHOBONDS and PUKEBONDS. These securities are then bundled and traded on international security markets. Naive investors don't really understand that the securities being sold to them as AAA secured bonds are really the debts of unemployed alcoholics. Nevertheless, the bond prices continuously climb, and the securities soon become the hottest-selling items for some of the nation's leading brokerage houses.
One day, even though the bond prices are still climbing, a risk manager at the original local bank decides that the time has come to demand payment on the debts incurred by the drinkers at Mary’s bar. He so informs Mary.
Mary then demands payment from her alcoholic patrons, but being unemployed alcoholics they cannot pay back their drinking debts.Since, Mary cannot fulfil her loan obligations she is forced into bankruptcy. The bar closes and the eleven employees lose their jobs.
Overnight, DRINKBONDS, ALCHOBONDS and PUKEBONDS drop in price by 90%. The collapsed bond asset value destroys the banks liquidity and prevents it from issuing new loans, thus freezing credit and economic activity in the community.
The suppliers of Mary’s bar had granted her generous payment extensions and had invested their firms' pension funds in the various BOND securities. They find they are now faced with having to write off her bad debt and with losing over 90% of the presumed value of the bonds. Her wine supplier also claims bankruptcy, closing the doors on a family business that had endured for three generations, her beer supplier is taken over by a competitor, who immediately closes the local plant and lays off 150 workers.
Fortunately though, the bank, the brokerage houses and their respective executives are saved and bailed out by a multi-billion euro no-strings attached cash infusion from their cronies in Government. The funds required for this bailout are obtained by new taxes levied on employed, middle-class, non-drinkers who have never been in Mary’s bar."

Now, do you understand economics in 2010?

In the US, it was our housing market instead of Mary's bar.  We lent a lot of money to people who in no way could afford the loans they were getting.

The cool thing is that the astute investor/trader can take advantage of this to exponentiate her capital!  Some now famous traders saw this coming and shorted the hell out of the "DRINKBOND" (CDO, etc.) market making a fortune.  Sad but true.  Common sense is not as prevalent as one might wish, and we all owe big time for the irresponsibility of a few knuckle-heads.

Looking to the future, this type of bubble is bound to be inflated at some point again.  Look for it, be ready, and pounce and perhaps you can make a ton of cash (off other's misfortunes and stupidity.)

Thanks to my brother, Asher and his friends for this awesome analogy.

Seek perfection of character, respect others & Try Hard. Noah as usual

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Rocktober in Yosemite

Here's another great Scott Chandler video of our time in Yosemite this fall:

Rocktober 2010 from scott chandler on Vimeo.

The last line in the video is not in the guidebook either.  it is next to hexentric at cathedral.  Charlie told me to go check it out, he thought he had heard it was a V11.  This may be true for shorter climbers, but I felt it was V9ish for my body-size.  Also of interest is that the "FA" Quasimodo V7 that Scott does in the video apparently had been tried and maybe done several years back!  Scott and I re-cleaned this gem but broke a hold or two and found tons of moss...  Just goes to show, you never know!

Get psyched!!!

Seek perfection of character, respect others & Try Hard. Noah as usual