Sunday, October 27, 2013

Midget Tricks

"Midget Tricks" is a stout little V8 sloper line on a boulder of the same name in the parking lot for the Mountain Beavers way out at the end of S. Upper Truckee River Rd. This boulder has several stout, short lines that are fun if you are solo and only require one pad mostly. the climbing is athletic on very good stone and you can touch the boulder from the parking lot.

Here is a photo:

The line out the left overhang is "Midget Tricks" V8 and the stand mantle finish is V5.

The line on the right overhang, behind the tree, is "QuickTime" V7.

Both lines are quality. Good rock, short and sweet. I put these up three summers ago, mostly because someone had to!

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

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Burst Rock Revisited

I have been working a great little ED down in Sonora, CA and have had the opportunity to take in some of the local climbing including Columbia, Jailhouse, Columns of the Giants and Burst Rock.

I actually went to burst rock with my friends Jesse Bonin and David Outcalt many years ago when Anthony Allopena was developing the area.

Before getting into too much detail, here is a neat line I recently did there:

Skype (aka Supernova) V10

This line is bouldering distilled: One hard move to escape a steep wall from a seemingly impossible position to a tensiony slopey lip encounter with a cool exiting sequence.

Basically, it's fun as hell.

Burst Rock is... Rad!

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

Monday, October 7, 2013


Blue Lakes has alway been filled with meh little boulders and meh little zones that aren't quite worth the visit unless you are a local...

I put up a sweet line out there called "Blue Life" which is arguably the best climb out there at V7. It's maybe 2 stars.

So I was dubious when local developer Harrison Eberlin posted a pic on the local Tahoe Bouldering FB page. Sure the one bloc looked big and rad, but much of the quality of stone out at Blue Lakes is meh, as I mentioned.

Harrison's Lego bloc.

Always down for adventure, I rallied a crew to join the very sharing and psyched Harrison on a tour of Legoland. Dave Hatchett, Jon Thompson, Dave Schwisow, Wes Christensen and I hiked for 2 hours along side Harrison to this utopian bouldering spot way up above Meadow Lake, past Blue Lakes proper.

What did we find, you ask? Heaven. Amazing high quality blocs with numerous 3 and 4 star projects. Wow. WORTH THE HIKE!!! (Also, now that the lake level is so low, we have the hike down to about 1.5 hours mostly uphill going in and 1.2 hours out.)

"Pure" V9 - This is just one of many amazing problems opened by the crew. Everywhere we looked was something amazing. Harrison had already picked some plums, but so many remained! This pure line is crazy. Totally vert, perfect starting crimps, decent feet, long move to a dime sized crimp, mantle-press through a massive move to a crazy sloper at the lip. No other way. Pure. Here's a vid:

"Crazy Feather" V10. WTF! 4 stars. Hands down one of the best lines I've ever opened. Jon Thompson and I worked the beta out a few weeks ago, but we couldn't quite link. This climb is beautiful. Gymnastic pulls on good holds. Big throws and steep. It's a rare and amazing gem of a climb. A must do. This rig starts a full 7 feet lower down and left and offers a lot of steep climbing with incredible grips. Fun personified.

I wish I had pics of all the amazing lines. If I get pics, ill def update this post.

Dave Hatchett also opened an amazing 4 star line at V8 up a steep wall of diorite holds followed by a techy mantle that shut me down! ...I need to go back for this prize. Amazing Dave! Name TBD.

Last but not least, Harrison added a 4 star line to cap the day! At V7, the dead vertical techy crack with dramatic finish (name also TBD,) is mega. I need to do this one too.

We will all be going out on Tuesday and hopefully add some harder lines; I spied a few worthy candidates on this last mission.

Sure it's far, but that's part of the game and the beauty of the Sierras is an incredible reward!

Here is the funny part (you knew this was coming:) By the parking for Meadow lake lies a small group of meh boulders and meh problems. We ran into some older locals who told us about the bouldering they had been doing there for years and the 40+ problems that they had established. The rock is mostly junk, and the climbing is dull and uninspiring to the point that I had checked out the boulders years ago and written them off as "not worth it." Suffice it to say, we were asked to keep their boulders a local secret. I WILL HAPPILY OBLIGE. Legoland is the real deal. The goods. Epic. Like area A at Evans in Colorado.

Harrison Eberlin showed remarkable character sharing his find with the world. Without a massive ego to protect, Harrison chose fun and new friendships over prideful greed and secrecy.

I now extend his gift and example by sharing Legoland with you (with Harrison's blessing.) Please let Hatchett know the FA's you do: name, grade, description and GPS, as Legoland is on the map and will be included in Volume 3 of the Tahoe Bouldering Guides.

To get there simply follow carins around the North side of Meadow lake (you need 4WD to get to Meadow lake and high clearance,) to the dam almost, then up a saddle past two meadows then up a hill and south 1/4 way thru the big second meadow. Best to google earth it and prob get a tour. It's out there.

By the way, it's worth mentioning that there is another area out past the damn on the far side of Meadow Lake called "Far Away Land," but it's crap.


Now go and crush!

Most photo and video credit: Dave Schwisow

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


Burst Rock Revisit
Crossfire Hurricane
Midget Tricks
Benwood Meadows
Leaving Tahoe

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Mitch Underhill

Mitch Underhill was a pure soul. (above, right (legend Tahoe Todd left.))

I knew Mitch from work initially. He was an EMS provider, and I an ER doc, so he would bring me patients at Barton frequently. We would talk about medicine and the cases we shared frequently, but we would always digress into "so, man, what have you been climbing?"

It wasn't long before we combined energies and discovered that we were on the same wavelength in climbing as well as medicine. The years went by and we would infrequently hook up to climb; Mitch had many many friends and floated easily through the Sierra climbing circles: Bigwall, trad, sport, bouldering, Mitch was adept at them all.

Mitch taking an active spot of Travis Junkin on "Fat Man in a Little Coat" V9 at Burnside Lake.

What really brought Mitch and I closer together was having our sons. Over the last two years as Mason and Zun grew from wee little grubs into talking, fighting toddlers, Mitch and I would climb and talk fatherhood and the wonders of life. We put up hard boulders together including the very cool roadside Woodford's climb: "Deadbeat Dads," which we named, half-jokingly after the fact that our boys were being watched while we went out and selfishly climbed.

But we had to. We talked about that too. Medicine and work are stressful and climbing is the perfect way to sublimate; to blow off steam.

Recently, while out bouldering at Burnside lake he told me of the crazy call he took to rescue a half frozen women who got stuck with her beau during a freak fall snowstorm that trapped the couple in their car 6 miles up Burnside lake rd. The man had tried to walk out, post-holing and slogging through miles until he took off his clothes and succumbed to hypothermia... Mitch rode a snowmobile up sloshy melting snow until he got to the woman and saved her life. He was an unsung hero.

Mitch was the nicest guy I ever met. His son, Mason, was several months ahead of my son, Zun, in age, and Mitch was always giving me (asked for) perfect beta on fathering. Perfect advice on raising my little man.

Watching Mitch play with Mason always made me wonder if I was that good of a father and always made me strive to be better.

My memories of Mitch will not fade. He was a main character in my life. He is one of the men I truly respect and admire. His sons will grow up without him, but they will hear stories and know that their father was no ordinary man.

Mitch Underhill was my friend. His wife Sarah and his boys were lucky to have him, and his loss is devastating to their family in a way no one should ever truly be able to comprehend.

I was personally shaken to my core when I heard of his death. I want the world to know that Mitch was the best kind of teacher; the kind that taught by example. He was a good man and will forever be a part of Lake Tahoe lore.

Tears are in my eyes as I write this. It was too early to go, Mitch. You had so much left to teach your boys. I will tell them about you from my perspective someday. I will tell them how much you loved them and Sarah and life!

Goodbye, Mitch! We love you, buddy!