Friday, December 16, 2016

My best 16 first ascents 2016

Sungazer Traverse V6/7
Sungazer V6
Raindance Traverse V6
Mad Max V6
Goforth Arete V6
Sun God V6
Pothead Traverse V6
Spirit Bear V5
Cricket Face V4
Road Warrior V4
The Ritual V4

Climestone Cowboy 5.12a
Climestoned 5.11a
Bam Bam 5.10d
Flintstoned 5.10c
Rhinestoned 5.10b

Monday, November 7, 2016


The Green Cave aka Killer Green Cave
TOPO SECRET ~private~ Mayacamas Mountains, Sonoma County, CA.

* = below average / ***** = world classic - left to right:

1 White Widow V5*** scary far left steep roof with sketchy cliff edge landing zone CB
2 Green Heart V3*** scary jug line over tree with sketchy cliff edge landing zone CS
3 Green Traverse V5**** high into #8+#18, V6*** low into #8+#18, V7**** low into #11+#18 CS
4 Killer Green Traverse V7** #1 then high into #8+#18, V7/8** #1 then low into #8+#18,                 or 5.13/V8*** #1 then low into #11+#18 for the full length 100ft mega enduro link up! CS
or mega project ~~ V9/10/11? start #3 into #12 project!?
or V10/11/12? start #4 into #12 project!!??
5 Bobzien Machine V6*** sit start between #2 and #6 and go direct up steep roof RB
6 Green Machine V4*** low sit up into knee bar hole up left to #2 or Green Machine Direct V3*** up right to low pocket or Green Monster V4** stand start up to hueco or V5*** sit to hueco CS
7 Nicks Problem V3** dirty green jug line NL
8 Green Cave Direct V3*** stand start horns in center cave up right to big hueco CS
9 Verms Variation V4*** stand start mini hueco/#11 up left to big hueco V5*** sit JS
10 The Funk V4*** stand start mini hueco/#11 direct up left to big hueco V5*** sit CS
11 KGB V4**** stand or V5**** sit - original classic - up steep face on right side of cave from mini hueco past pocket to big horns drop off or traverse right into #18 to add a grade. JC?/CS
12 Kevins Problem V7*** low sit KJ or project V8/9? sit #11 into #12!?
13 Seans Problem V3*** sit SB
14 Seans Problem Direct V5** sit right variation SB
15 Mean Green Traverse V7** sit #12 traverse left low into #2 CS
16 Charlies Traverse V7** #15 into #1? CB
17 Nectar Traverse V5*** sit #11 traverse left high into #2 or V6** sit #12 CS
18 Upper Traverse V3*** full stand - high V4** low - into #21 CS
19 Warm Upper Traverse V2/3*** mid sit - high V3/4** low - into #21 CS
20 Green Velvet V2/3/4** stand/sit start above #19 CS
21 The Warm Upper V0/1*** stand jugs up right walk off or traverse jugs low V2/3** JC/CS?
22 Hair Tie V4/5*** sit steep face up into #21 CS
23 Hair Tie Traverse V5** sit #22 then traverse jugs low right CS
24 Simple Green Direct? V1/2/3** separate face on far right CS
25 Simple Green? V2/3/4** separate face on far right KA

Friday, October 28, 2016

Garberville Bouldering

*=below average / *****=world classic

The Benbow Boulders aka Curbshot
[South of Garberville off US101 near the Benbow Bridge bolted artificial sport routes.]
1   "Curbshot Arete"? V4/5**** highball slab arete finish or bail into tree FA=MN
2   "Crossbow V2/3*** left sit up right to jugs FA=CS (sit)
3   "Low Water Arete" ***? left arete.
4   "Riverside Face" center ***?
5   "Riverside Traverse"(s) **?
6   "Riverside Arete" V3/4*** sit V2/3** stand - right side FA=?
7   "Bendover" V2/3** low sit on rail mantle short steep bulge FA=CS?
8   "Deadwood Arete" V2/3*** right sit FA=SR
9   "Deadpool" V3/4*** center sit FA=CS
10 "Deadpool Direct" V4/5** left sit FA=CS
11 "Benbow Arete" V1/2**** left side FA=?
12 "Benbow Arete Direct" V2/3*** right side FA=CS?
13 slab face?
14 highball arete over water ~ tr!?
15 highball face over water ~ tr!?
16 face/arete!?
17 steep arete!?
18 high slab right?
19 high slab center?
20 high slab left?
21 ?
22 ?
23 ?
24 ?
25 ?

Road Warrior Rocks
[north of Garberville off US101]
Rattlesnake Boulder
(upper boulder)
1   "Rattlesnake Pliskin" V4*** upper face upper boulder(moss on top?) FA=CS{original FA}
2   "Snake Rails" V2/3** right rails up left into #1 FA=CS
3   "?" V?* ?
Road Warrior Boulder
(main boulder with best landing)
4   "Road Warrior" V2/3**** stand start or V3/4**** center sit FA=CS
5   "Road Warrior Direct" V4/5**** direct/right sit into #4 FA=CS
6   "Road Warrior Traverse" V7?**** sit left traverse right into #4 FA=?
7   "Mad Max" V6*** sit center up left into #8 FA=CS
8   "Mad Max Direct" V5*** sit left up left to top FA=CS
Hot Lips Boulder
(short lip traverse boulder)
9   "Hot Lips Dyno" V2/3** sit short dyno to lip FA=CS
10 "Hot Lips Traverse" V0/1** start left traverse lip up right to top of #9 ~warm up FA=CS
Riverside Boulder
(boulder next to the river)
11 "?" V?* ?
12 "?" V?* ?
13 "?" V?* ?
14 "?" V?* stand start loose lip jugs up to jug on slab over short steep corner(~sit?) FA=CS
15 "?" V?* lip traverse up right into #14? FA=CS
16 "?" V?* ?
17 "?" V?* ?
18 "?" V?* ?
19 "?" V?* ?
(large upper rock ~ TR or Lead!?)
20 ?
21 ?
22 ?
23 ?
24 ?
((random boulders!?))
25 ?
26 ?
27 ?
28 ?
29 ?
30 ?
31 ?
32 ?
33 ?
34 ?
35 ?

Avenue of the Giants Boulders
[north of Garberville and Road Warrior off northeast side of US101]
1 ?
2 ?
3 ?
4 ?
5 ?
6 ?
7 ?
8 ?
9 ?
10 ?
11 ?
12 ?
13 ?
14 ?
15 ?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Think Global Climb Local

LOVE Travel!!
also appreciate and cherish and eat up your local outdoor rocks like you would eat up your local fresh raw organic and cheerfully grown foods. Let your local rock climbing routes and boulder problems become part of your spirit, your DNA, your technique base and your overall skill set, the same as the food you eat becomes part of your body mass, and in turn, your heart and soul.

You are what you eat so you are what you climb!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

My Suggested Hard Local Sport Routes and Boulder Problems in Progressive Difficulty - North Bay Area CA.

Here are My Suggested Routes and Boulder Problems in Progressive Difficulty for the North San Francisco Bay Area for rising up from average 5.10-5.11 climbing into solid 5.12-5.13 sport or from moderate level V4-V6 up to solid more advanced levels of V7-V10 bouldering. Whether for the first time pushing into these higher grades ever or just locally or for coming back from injuries or time off. These are mostly climbs or boulder problems that I have done successfully or done first ascent of or at least tried and heard a lot about over the years. This list is my personal favorites based on easy public access and/or relatively safe protection or landing zones and fairly good to great quality rock and movement. The tried and true well trodden popular consensus graded entry level full value local must-do classic:
~~My TOP 15 Sport / TOP 15 Boulder - total 30:

Sport Climbs
5.11d - 5.12a/b
"Hot Tuna" 5.11d/12a Mickeys Beach
"Nancy" 5.11d/12a Mickeys Beach
"Courtney" 5.11d/12a Mickeys Beach

"Swallow My Pride" 5.12b/c Mt St Helena
"Sea Monster" 5.12b/c Mickeys Beach
"Sea Biscuit" 5.12b/c Salt Point

"Sex Porpoises" 5.12c Mickeys Beach
"Wet Dreams" 5.12c/d Mickeys Beach
"Pseudo Bohemian" 5.12d/13a Sea Crag

"Squid Vicious" 5.12d/13a Mickeys Beach
"Naked and Disfigured" 5.12d/13a Mickeys Beach
"Holy Mackerel" 5.13a Mickeys Beach

"Endless Bummer" 5.13b Mickeys Beach
"Dreams of White Porsches" 5.13b Mickeys Beach
"Judge Dredd" 5.13b Sea Crag

Boulder Problems
"Fort Rosstafarian" V6 Fort Ross
"Living A Dream" V6 Fort Ross
"SHP Sit" V6 Putah Creek

"Living A Nightmare" V7 Fort Ross
"Hellspawn" V7 Putah Creek
"Little Wing" V7 Stinson Beach

"Nat's Traverse" V8 Berkeley (East Bay)
"Welcome To Whinecountry" V8 Putah Creek
"Orange Buddha Arete" V8 Mickeys Beach

"Wicked" V9 Mt Tam
"Little Wing Sit" V9 Stinson Beach
"Grand Finale" V9/10 (aka Relentless) Fort Ross

"Open Mind" V10 Goat Rock
"The Hard Traverse V10/11 Goat Rock
"Relentless Traverse" (aka Grand Finale) V10/11 Fort Ross

Middle Ravine Boulders - Mt Tam 2016

In Rattlesnake Creek just downhill (about 2-3min) from the parking on the roadside next to the Ravine Boulder (Wicked/Bonum Vitae) and the parking for The Intuition Boulders. About 1/3 of the way downhill from the parking areas to the Lower Ravine Boulders on a shady yet semi exposed hillside/ridgeline. About 12-15 fun moderate lowballs VB-V6~!

1 V5? original short steep right side bulge sit on low right hand flat edge and low left hand side-pull.
2 V6? same short steep bulge sit as #1 then traverse left into #4 ~ pumpy sloper lowball classic! FA=CS
3 V5/6? start on left on side by side slot jugs traverse right into #1 - or V? add #4 pocket sit start!?
4 V2/3 stand left face - or V? sit left hand pocket and low right hand on same start hold as #1+2!?
5 ?

6 V2/3? sit start arete up into left slab face - or VB stand start slab face. FA=??
7 "Rock N Roll Arete" V3/4? sit start same as #6 up right into top of #9. FA=CS
8 V3/4? sit start same as #9 up left into #6. FA=CS?
9 "Rollie Pollie Ollie" V3/4? sit start with low right hand side-pull and left hand on lip slot and go up right side face. FA=CS
10 ?

11 V0/1 face/arete. FA=??
12 ?

Main Bootjack Parking Lot
13 "Acetylcholine" V2? face above trail above northeast end of Bootjack Parking Lot. FA=LVW
14 "Elfquest" V3? sit start overhang or V1 stand start next to bridge ~10min up Matt Lewis Trail from Bootjack Parking Lot or ~10min on deer trails up Rattlesnake Creek from Ravine. FA=CS
15 ?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Dos Rios / Northeast Mendocino County Climbing/Bouldering

Eel River/Dos Rios/Covelo/Black Butte/M1 Climbing/Bouldering

~In order from US101 east on CA162/Covelo Rd to Dos Rios - Covelo - Black Butte - M1.
Over 150 established boulder problems and sport/trad/tr routes with potential for 500+ total!
Only new problems and classics listed - for more info check out:
 Northern California Bouldering by SuperTopo

? Boulders (~10+ boulder problems!?)

The Glass Boulders (potential for ~25+ boulder problems!?)
Wobble Wobble VB/0
Shake It Shake It V0
Bulletproof V4/5
V1/2 DWS!

The Gold Vein Boulders (~10+ boulder problems!?)
Gold Vein!?

Straddle Monkey Boulder/(Tatu Boulders?) (~10+ boulder problems!?)
Straddle Monkey V2/3
Straddle Monkey Traverse V3/4

Upper Main Fork Boulders (~15+ boulder problems!?)

The Hideout (potential for ~25+ routes and/or boulder problems!?)
Christal Method V3R stand or V4R sit
Twisted V7/8
Twister V4
Fish Out Of Water V3/4

Deadman's Rocks (potential for ~50+ routes and/or boulder problems!?)
Mainline aka Deadman's Crack 5.10
Mystic Rhythm 5.11
Liquid Fire 5.12
Electric Eel V3/4 or Direct Electric V6?
Shock Therapy V3/4?
Chuanga V4/5
Brass Funky V6/7
Bronze Arete V2/3
Bronze Face V4/5
Mainline Traverse V6
Miniline V4
V3/4 stand or V5/6 mid stand or V6/7 low sit arete?
V2/3 mini sit?
V5/6 cave traverse?

Dos Rios Boulders (potential for ~25+ boulder problems!?)
Negra Modelo V2/3
The Principal V4 mid stand or V? low stand!?
Cricket Face V0/1 stand or V3/4 sit
The Ritual V3/4 stand
Pitfall Arete V!?
Mud Butt Crack V4/5
Stranded Boulders
Stranded V4
Stranded Arete V0
RawSafari V0R/W
Riverdance V3/4
One Tree V3/4
Scratchy Bush V4/5

Swallow Rock (potential for ~100+ routes and/or boulder problems!?)
Green Slab 5.9 3 bolts
Black Slab 5.11 7 bolts
Hard to Swallow 5.12 7 bolts
Covelocos Corner 5.10 trad
Bomb Ass Dookie V4 (harder since boulder tipped steeper in landslide!?)
Can of Whoop Ass V5 (harder since boulder tipped steeper in landslide!?)
Bomb Ass Traverse V6 (harder since boulder tipped steeper in landslide!?)
Bomb Ass Arete V2/3 (harder since boulder tipped steeper in landslide!?)
Tricks Are For Kids V5/6 stand or V8/9 sit
Skyhook V5 and Skyhawk V6
Firestarter V4
Firestarter Traverse V5
Jaded V4 - or V8 low
Gnar Gnar V7 sit or Gnar V3 stand
Shaded Traverse V6
Made in the Shade V5
Christal Gaston V4
V!? arete project

Goforth Creek Boulders (~10+ boulder problems!?)
Gopher Arete V3/4
Goforth Crack VB/0
Goforth Arete V5/6 sit or V1/2 stand
Goforth Face aka Flat World Project V6/7/8!?

Poonkinney Crag (potential for ~10+ routes and boulder problems!?)

Black Butte Bridge Beach Boulders (potential for ~25+ boulder problems!?)
Sendocino Arete V5
Sendocino Arete Direct V7
Sendocino V3/4
Sendocino Slab V0/1

The Falls (potential for ~100+ boulder problems!?)
Slick Willy Traverse V3/4
Vagabond V4/5
Vixen V5
Vampire V4
Run and Jump V3/4
V4/5 swimming hole boulder
V2/3 swimming hole boulder

M1 Area (potential for ~100+ routes and/or boulder problems!?)
M16 V4
Yellowbelly V5

Indian Dick (potential for ~20+ boulder problems!?)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

My TOP 15 unrepeated or rarely repeated first ascents ~ C'mon! !

With hopes for these climbs that I found and/or did first to get their first repeat and confirm the grade and/or just to be shared and appreciated more since they were either forgotten or are unknown. Here is a list of my unrepeated or very rarely repeated climbs or boulder problems that I did first ascent of recently or as long as ~20 years ago so they are near and dear to me:

If anyone repeats one of my unrepeated first ascents on this list I will buy you a pint of beer or a taco, maybe even a supertaco and I will love you and be your f'n bff!  :)

*****=world classic imo~

"Bump n Grind" V9****!? Unrepeated!?
Clark Canyon, Mammoth/Eastside

"Summit Fever" V8*****? Unrepeated!?
Clark Canyon, Mammoth/Eastside

"Stony Traverse" V7/8***? Unrepeated!?
Salt Point

"Tower of Power" V7/8***? Unrepeated!?
Sugarloaf Ridge

"Black Butte Direct Arete" V6/7*****? Unrepeated!?
Black Butte Beach Boulder, Mendocino

"Schoolhouse Rock" 5.12b/c***? Unrepeated!?
Schoolhouse Rock

"The Bird Is The Werd" 5.12b/c**? Unrepeated!?
Schoolhouse Rock

"Dark Christal" 5.12b/c*** TR? ~ V5/6R/X highball!? Unrepeated!?
Eel River/Mendocino

"Liquid Fire" 5.12a***? ~ maybe 1-3 ascents as of 2016.?
Main Fork/Deadman's Rocks, Mendocino

"Slapstick" V8/9****? ~ maybe 1-3 ascents as of 2016.?
Salt Point

"Bridge Over Troubled Water" 5.12d/.13a****!? ~ maybe 1-3 ascents as of 2016.?
Limestone Natural Bridge

"Pinch Hitter" 5.12b/c****? ~ maybe 1-3 ascents as of 2016.?
Limestone Natural Bridge

"Don't Call Me Squaw" 5.12a/b***? ~ maybe 1-3 ascents as of 2016.?
Squaw/Frogwoman Rock

"Resurrection" 5.12aR***!? Unrepeated!?
Squaw/Frogwoman Rock

"April Fools Traverse" V3/4R***? ~ maybe 1-3 ascents as of 2016.?
Pinnacle Rock, Berkeley

Sunday, May 15, 2016

TOP 12 Boulder Problems in Mendocino (outside of the Eel River/Dos Rios/Covelo/Black Butte/M1 area)

FA's(First Ascents):
CS=Me,  CB=Chuck Barrett, MN=Marcos Nunez, RE=Richie Esquibel, RM=Rob McKay
~in no particular order~ *****=world classic

"Boonedocks Highball" V7***** steep sit start into highball face top out FA: CB
The Boondedocks Boulders {access unsure}

"Dragon Fish" V7**** steep sit start into high arete FA: CS
The Boondedocks Boulders {access unsure}

"Booneville / Anderson Valley Crack" V3/4R****? highball crack FA: RM?
Booneville - Anderson Valley {access unsure}

"Low Gap Crack" V0R/X**** splitter highball crack (5.9**** TR) FA: ??
Low Gap - Ukiah {access unsure}

"Fuck Face" V4**** (5.12a*** TR) steep high face/crack FA: ?? / low sit V5**** FA: CS  
Low Gap - Ukiah {access unsure}

"Fuck Face Traverse" V6*** sit direct traverse up right into face/crack FA: CS
Low Gap - Ukiah {access unsure}

"Fuck Face Direct" V8**** steep high face FA: CB
Low Gap - Ukiah {access unsure}

"Land of the Free Home of the Brave" V3R*** FA: CS
Low Gap - Ukiah {access unsure}

"Orange Face" V6***** highball orange pocketed lichen face FA: CS
Haven's Nest - Mendo Coast {access unsure}

"Gray Arete" V4/5**** high gray pocketed sloper arete FA: RE
Haven's Nest - Mendo Coast {access unsure}

"Russian River Arete" V4**** sit start steep gymnastic fun arete FA: MN
Squaw/Frogwoman Rock - Russian River Boulder

"Russian River Corner" V4*** sit start steep high corner crack/arete FA: MN
Squaw/Frogwoman Rock - Russian River Boulder

TOP 15 sport/trad/top rope climbs in Mendocino County CA.

The TOP 15 sport / traditional / top rope rock climbing routes in Mendocino County, CA.
(and just about the only 15 rock climbs in the entire county ~ lol :)

FA's(First Ascents): CS=Me, JG=John Gruey, JM=Jordy Morgan, NL=Nick Lockwood
~no particular order~  *****=world classic

"Covelocos Corner" 5.10***** corner crack/dihedral {Trad} FA: JG(TR) / ??(Lead)
Middle Fork Eel River - Swallow Rock

"Hard to Swallow" 5.12a**** 7 bolts ~ arete FA: CS
Middle Fork Eel River - Swallow Rock

"Black Slab" 5.11*** 7 bolts ~ face/slab - ground up! FA: CS/JM
Middle Fork Eel River - Swallow Rock

"Green Slab" 5.9*** 3 bolts ~ face/slab - ground up! FA: CS/JM
Middle Fork Eel River - Swallow Rock

"Snakecharmer 5.11** short thin crack/face {Trad} FA: CS
Middle Fork Eel River - Swallow Rock

"Mainline" aka "Deadman's Crack" 5.10*** short crack {Trad} TR/lead/boulder FA: CS V1R/X
Main Fork Eel River - Deadman's Rocks

"Liquid Fire" 5.12a*** 4 bolts ~ steep face FA: CS
Main Fork Eel River - Deadman's Rocks

"Mystic Rhythm" 5.11*** 3 bolts ~ face FA: CS
Main Fork Eel River - Deadman's Rocks

"Low Gap Crack" 5.9**** splitter crack {Trad} TR/lead/boulder V0R/X**** highball FA: ??
Low Gap - Ukiah [access unsure]

"Braveheart" 5.10*** 2 bolts ~ short lead or classic highball V1R/X***** boulder problem FA: CS
Squaw/Frogwoman Rock - Brave Boulders

"Smoke Crack" 5.10*** boulder crack to gold corner finger crack {Trad} FA: CS
Squaw/Frogwoman Rock - Untamed Rocks

"The Shrew" aka "Shit Face" 5.11*** 4 bolts ~ slab face FA: CS
Squaw/Frogwoman Rock - Untamed Rocks

"Joint Effort" 5.12b*** 4 bolts ~ slab face traverse - ground up! FA: CS/NL
Squaw/Frogwoman Rock - Untamed Rocks

"Don't Call Me Squaw" 5.12b*** 4 bolts ~ face - ground up! FA: CS
Squaw/Frogwoman Rock

"Resurrection" 5.12aR*** 2 bolts ~ short steep bouldery runout face - ground up! FA: CS/JM
Squaw/Frogwoman Rock

Saturday, May 14, 2016

TOP 15 Eel River/Dos Rios/Covelo/Black Butte/M1 Boulder Problems

TOP 15 Eel River/Dos Rios/Covelo/Black Butte/M1 Mendo Boulder Problems - with variations & projects :)
FA's(First Ascents): CS=Me, MN=Marcos Nunez, KJ=Kevin Jorgeson, RB=Russ Bobzien
~in no particular order~ *****=world classic

"TheBestBoulderProblemInMendo" aka "TBBPIM" V6R***** stand start high face FA: MN or sit!?
Black Butte Beach Boulder

"Black Butte Arete" V4R***** stand start high arete or V5R***** sit FA: CS
or "Black Butte Face" V!? project!
Black Butte Beach Boulder

"BB Arete Direct" V7**** sit start direct high arete/prow FA: CS
Black Butte Beach Boulder

"Sendocino" V3***** sit start overhang to high slab FA: CS
Black Butte Beach Boulder

"Vagabond" V4/5*** sit start steep pumpy cave traverse FA: CS
The Falls

"Slick Willy Traverse" V3**** 50ft face traverse FA: CS ~undone 20ft start/end=70ft project!?
The Falls

"Tricks Are For Kids" V4/5**** stand start roof FA: CS or V8/9**** sit FA: KJ or low sit V!?
Middle Fork/Swallow Rock

"Bomb Ass Dookie" V4/5**** stand start center face/corner FA: CS
{boulder tipped in landslide ~ now harder!?}
Middle Fork/Swallow Rock

"Can Of Whoop Ass" V5/6**** direct overhanging face FA: CS
{boulder tipped in landslide ~ now harder!?}
Middle Fork/Swallow Rock

"Pitfall Arete" V5/6!?**** face to high right arete over water/rock pit. FA: ??
Dos Rios

"The Ritual" V4/5**** stand start face or low start(s)!? FA: CS
Dos Rios

"The Principal" V4**** stand start face or low compression crimps start V!? FA: CS
Dos Rios

"Electric Eel" V4***** sit start FA: CS or direct V6/7**** FA: CS/RB? or mega direct V!?
Main Fork/Deadman's Rocks

"Christal Method" V3R***** stand start or V4R***** sit start FA: CS
The Hideout

"Twisted" V7**** sit start FA: CS or low sit!? or "Twisted Direct" V!? project!?
The Hideout

"Christal Method" 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Science Friction Addiction

The science of friction for our climbing addiction.

Have you ever tried to sort dry papers with a dry finger and had to lick your finger to make it stick?Have you spit on the palms of your hands and rubbed them together until they feel sticky to get a better grip on the dry handle of an axe or baseball bat? If you have then you know how moisture/wetness, that we think would decrease friction and make things more slippery, can actually help increase the friction coefficient in many cases.

When taking a closer look at the friction skin on the palm area of our hands and bottoms of your feet as well as the surfaces of most objects under a microscope you can see that what may appear fairly flat and smooth is actually rough with many tiny peaks and valleys. The peaks between the valleys are called "asperites" and are what come in contact when the two surfaces touch. The more surface area you have equals the more friction you will have. So, you want more rounded or flatter asperites with less sharp peaks and less deep valleys so you get more surface area coming in contact and therefore more friction. In the case of climbing you want more friction between your hands and the rock or whatever surface you are trying to cling to. Moisture softens the skin and makes it more squishy and therefore it will have less jagged asperites with more surface area in contact and in turn, more friction.

I touched on the concept of moisture helping certain extremely hard to grasp "sloper" handholds about the year 2000 when I was woking on and finally got one of my hardest boulder problems, a local Bay Area sloper test-piece done first by world famous rock climbing star Chris Sharma named "Eco Terrorist" V10. It was V11/12 when first done and was not repeated quickly due to a dynamic at the time futuristic start move followed to an extremely sloper and for most people, condition dependent, and awkward lip crux. Strong local Jeremy Meigs finally got the first repeat of it in the classic old video West Coast Pimp. Then I was one of about the first 10 locals to repeat it. A few strong friends that had struggled on it asked how can I hang onto the notoriously heinous slopers with my notoriously sweaty ass hands. I thought about it the next time I was there and repeated it and also thought about it several other times over the years on hot humid days at castle rock and all along the coast on slick sloper rocks. The chalk sometimes would make a kind of paste like glue combined with my sweat or moisture on the rock sometimes and it was very complex to figure out exactly when too much or too little chalk was needed.

Charlie "Chuck" Barrett crushing the sloper crux of
"Eco Terrorist" V10 barefoot!
Castle Rock CA.

I started using rubbing alcohol to dry my hands prior to chalking up for hard climbs or boulder problems on warm/hot days when I would sweat a lot. It works well in extreme cases but pouring alcohol on your hands a few times a day several times a week is not the best thing and it would also dry my hands out on trips to arid desert rocks and I would often suffer long lasting deep splits and cracks in the skin of my hands from the skin being to dry. I also used to stay away from moisturizers. Once the cracks and splits became more of a problem than having soft hands for climbing I began to try moisturizers and didn't notice any major change at first. I think that if you climb with soft skin and go through a hard to handle break in type period where it wears out over and over, if consistent in the skin torture, in the long run this could give you very thick but still most almost normal skin on the palms of your hands.

Eventually "Liquid Chalk" came out on the market and I thought it might be the big solution to my sweaty hand friction problems, but not, after about a tube and a half of testing I realized it just made more of paste like mess for my sweaty hands and especially worse maybe in the humid place I lived. I could see how it could be great for me on trips to arid desert rock areas and for people who live there but I have since gotten into mostly just either rubbing alcohol (70-90% is best imo) when it is hot and just mainly, varied levels of chalking.

I have run the gambit on trying things to help climbing for my overly sweaty hands and after 27+ years of abuse and healing my hand skin feels and looks pretty normal, albeit a bit sweaty, and it works fine for most climbing I do except when it is hot and humid and at indoor gyms usually. If I travel to dry arid rocks with sharp holds I may need a short warm up period for my skin of maybe a day or two of climbing then a day or two or three of mostly rest to heal up the flesh wounds and my thick soft skin is usually dried up a bit and toughened enough to be ready for action on razor crimps. The soft skin works much better for me than having it overly dry all the time and trading everyday sensitivity and soft hand friction benefits on slopers simply for the rugged toughness of leather calluses for razor crimps or pockets especially for me since there are less of those types of holds on my local rocks - more jugs, slopers and features and less pockets and crimps.

Often it is hard to tell if it is better to dry the rock and hands with a towel and then chalk up or or some mix thereof might be better depending on three key points; texture of the rock, humidity of the air and temperature of the air which produces hand sweat from body heat and also heats the rock directly heating the hands as well for a double whammy.

The second time I heard about the sticky wet friction was more recently from a very strong local climber/boulderer/routesetter/first ascentionist Giovanni "G" Traversi and it inspired me to look into the science of friction for climbing even more. I found a few good articles touching on chalk use and wet hand friction. Mostly the study of friction for climbing is from places like the Europe/UK where it is very wet for most of the year so they get used to climbing in moist conditions. The Gritstone does happen to have the highest friction value of any rock in the world when dry so that is interesting to note. Giovanni mentioned that when he first tried and new problem that he and his older brother, the world famous Carlo Traversi put up it was a bit moist from a light rain/mist but he tried it anyways since it was steep and the crux was not too wet. G said he was actually able to hold the crux sloper better when it felt moist. Then he said he was there another drier day and tried to repeat it with his brother and they would spit on their fingers and then lightly chalk to get a purchase on the slick polished sloper crux hold of the old abandoned project of mine now a new test-piece called "The Hand of Perseus" V12 FA: Carlo Traversi.

Giovanni "G" Traversi eyeing the sloper crux hold of 
"The Hand of Perseus" V12
Secret West Sonoma County Schist

From what I have read online in the limited articles that only touch on certain aspects of these highly complex and cutting edge ideas and methods to achieve the best friction for your skin each different day on each different rock with different changing weather - rain/mist temperature/humidity is a tough thing to figure out exactly but knowing a few tricks can help you get past those extreme sloper cruxes a bit easier or though a day of less than perfect conditions. The inventor/innovator/pioneer of tough climbing moves in North America and the first climber to regularly use gymnastic chalk for climbing and bouldering, also the creator of the original American B-scale for rating difficulty of boulder problems John Gill was the first to achieve about ~V9/10 in the 1950's using chalk and his gymnastic training and his math professor brain to usher in a new era of climbing challenges. In about 2006 there was a post on the infamous SuperTopo forum titled "when is chalk worse than no chalk" or something like that and it had a few interesting posts from John Gill. Climbing guides at the Grand Tetons in the 1950's would practice climbing on the boulders near Jenny Lake where Gill was setting more difficult boulder problem challenges and remembers seeing them use pine sap and dirt before he began using his gymnastic magnesium carbonate chalk to get a grip on some of the sweaty sloper handholds. He also mentioned that spit from a cherry Lifesaver can help friction in some extreme cases :)

Simply knowing that soft hands can be good in some cases may also let you moisturize those crusty old dry calloused and cracked and split leather climbing mitts you've thought were the best for friction but are mainly only good because the skin is tough and rugged. There are so many variables though, such as, if the rock you are climbing is sharp and your hands do not have enough thick callused skin on them then they will at some point get at least minor abrasions if not even deep cuts. If your skin is too dry and callused and you are trying to hang onto a dry sloper hand hold crux on a very slick smooth rock on a cold dry day then chalk will likely decrease friction unless you are sweating out of your hands a lot then chalking up a little and wiping the excess off with a towel will probably be best or maybe even using a moist towel or spit and rub together could help achieve the needed friction.

Recently I found myself over-chalking before starting a long boulder problem I had just fell off of on my flash attempt with moist hands. It had a dynamic jump move to a huge sloper for the start. The jump move and swinging and milking rubbed all the chalk of my sweaty hands on my first go. On my second go I slapped more chalk on my palms than I usually ever would on a normal problem in order to have some still left on my hands for the crux at the end after wrestling through the start. The crux came right after the starting jump and it was too hard to stop and chalk anywhere so I dealt with the excess chalk and it paid off by having enough left on my palms to feel drier and less sweaty at the crux. So chalking up especially for harder levels of difficulty can be very complex when climbing on many different rock types, in different weather conditions and for different people skin types and levels of sweat or no sweat.

There are many basic variables to friction for climbing from what I have read so far;

And of course this is only hand friction, shoe rubber friction is a whole other ball game! I also learned a bit more about rubber friction when researching this article and the main point to remember for shoe rubber friction is that most modern climbing shoe rubbers are made to be their stickiest in cooler temps to be able to work at their peak performance level where the optimal kind of goldilocks zone happens with the balance of cool temperature (~ 30-50 degrees F) for the hands meets the prime stickiest friction levels of the rubber. So climbing when it is cool is not only good for the hands to be drier and more like leather and therefore more tough and resilient to abrasion but also less sweaty and maybe needing more chalk, which both sweat and chalk can decrease friction overall.

Chalk dries a sweaty or moist hand but it does not create its own better friction in most cases. Too much chalk and not enough moisture can make a thick layer of callused skin that is good for sharp crimper edges, sharp pockets and rugged crack jamming but that hard dry skin will also be more prone to splitting and cracking so it is up to what type of climbing you are doing and and on what rock type and how sweaty or dry you and the environment are.

Slick rock, sloper hand hold may be better to have a slight amount of moisture either before chalking or in extreme cases maybe even instead of chalking like when you spit on your hands and rub them together to grab a dry handle.

Moist hands are less abrasion resistant and on sharp rock can be cut more easily than dry calloused or chalked hands in most all cases.

Sweat and spit and other liquids can be a bit oily or filled with things like sugar or salt etc that do not help friction so pure water is usually the best to use to create stickiness for gripping most dry smooth surfaces.

People that do not sweat as much out of their hands and/or do not push the extreme levels of difficulty (~ 5.12/13+ or V6/7+) and climb at arid dry rocks often will not need as much chalk and in some cases maybe no chalk at all.

Chalking too much can hinder you in certain instances such as very rough gritty rock like 50 grit sandpaper where the chalk will fill in the rough texture and make a smooth surface without the tooth like bite. This and filling in edges and pockets with chalks are the most common reason for brushing the holds between tries or at least after a lot of chalk buildup. The friction skin on the palms of our hands (and the bottoms of our feet) also have the same thing happening but at a much less noticeable level with the ridges of the fingerprints getting filled flat and smoothed over with chalk. So with too much chalk on dry hands it is like the chalk becomes ball bearings between your skin and the surface you're trying to cling to decreasing friction in almost all cases.

Sloper testing at Vertex Climbing Center.
Left hand no chalk / right hand chalk.
Not a major difference this day on this hangboard.
~Inconclusive. More tests to come.

Overall Summary:
Get up and go climb with or without chalk or even worrying too much about conditions! For all you know that V12 you are working on only dry cold days with only the best pure magic pixie chalk on your hands may be better in warmer moister conditions and with less chalk. Maybe. Or maybe you need to chalk the hell out of your sweaty paws and slap most of it off in a big cloud of dust depending on the problem and the day and the person. My friends and I will keep trying these moist hand sloper techniques and theories out in the field and report back any updated findings.

~ May 1 2016

Climbing friction science articles & forum posts: - Friction Science

Physics - Atomic Friction

SuperTopo - When is chalk worse than no chalk? - Mysteries of Friction - Best when it's cold?



Also found in: ThesaurusIdiomsEncyclopediaWikipedia.

tack·y 1

adj.  tack·i·ertack·i·est
Slightly adhesive or gummy to the touch; sticky.

Some more random unedited ideas about friction - edits and updates coming soon.!?:

the peaks and valleys get filled in with liquid which creates more surface area coming in contact and the surface friction / tension(??) helps create more friction. 
*i sweat a lot when i exercise and so my hands sweat a lot when i climb. i live near the pacific ocean in northern california where it is a redwood rainforest that can be a bit humid and often foggy and misty staying wet for many months. my sweaty hands combined with the moist rocks create an unusual challenge for me and others that sweat like me or live where it is humid. climbing on sloper handholds, mostly on short difficult routes or boulder problems requires holding either very small crimpy edges or very slippery sloping lumps and features. after 27+ years of gripping or slipping i came up with pretty good ideas for getting my hands to grip the rock. i found that for certain very hard boulder problems and some short hard routes (hard for me anyway - V7-V10 or 5.12-5.13) with bad sloper handholds in a few rare and extreme cases it can be better to try different levels of moisture to get a better grip, ((??add to article;; such as when you spit on your dry hands and rub them together to get a grip on an dry axe or baseball bat handle or lick a dry finger to get purchase when sorting dry paper) and/or at least not think that it will hinder you as much as it would seem to climb on some moist holds or with sweaty hands. once in awhile the sweat on your hands or the moisture on the grips can actually help to get a better purchase on some slippery slopers with correct conditions.
the in the slab-vertical-slightly overhanging angle since steeper routes usually have endurance routes with bigger sized hand holds or with a short hard crux near the ground i would use the rubbing alcohol prep+wet towel+then different levels of chalking depending on the heat and humidity and sweat levels and the type of hand holds. for crimps if it is hot i am just screwed but the rubbing alcohol prep and then chalking up combo help. for slopers it is the rubbing alcohol and dry + then moist towel and rub together until they feel sticky then chalk if needed and then stick like glue and crush it! :)
for most tough crimpers, cracks and certain slopers people with sweaty hands in hot humid/wet conditions may want to consider using rubbing alcohol to prep the skin by using it to close the pores for a few minutes and stop sweating depending on temperature and how much you perspire out of your hands. you can add a bit of water on damp towel to create the exact tackiness you desire and then either no chalk or the precise amount of that as well, anywhere from a finger tip dip to the full blown crushing of chunks between the palms and clapping a dust cloud into the air~! 
people with dry hands in cold arid/dry conditions may not want to use rubbing alcohol prep since they are already dry it could lead to cracking and splitting of the skin.
of course most skin is soft and like soft rubber it may be very sticky on frictions smears with maximum surface areas and for the hands on big slopers on certain textured surfaces but on sharp edges or for overall long term abrasion resistance the softer it is usually the quicker it wears out or is actually cut or pierced. 

FrictionLabs - Frictile Dysfunction :)

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Eel River/Dos Rios Boulders

The Original/Main Dos Rios Boulders
{40+ boulder problems so far and counting ~ VB-V5/6+}
Located between the parking near the bridge on CA162/Covelo Rd on the beach on the Middle Fork of the Eel River next to the conjunction of the Middle and Main Forks of the Eel River in Dos Rios, Mendocino County CA.

I first established bouldering here ~2000. Since then many of these boulders have gotten taller due to the sand and rocks washing down river opening up many new low starts and making these fun old problems into challenging modern day classics ~~ until the river changes the landings again in the future!? :)

The Ritual Boulder {water can be under #5-14 in winter~spring}
1 VB up/downclimb.
2 El Slabbo V0/1 stand start left slab/face.
3 Negra Modelo V2/3 black polished right slab/face.
4 The Principal V3/4 white face stand or V? sit!?
5 La Blanca Arete V3/4 high white prow or V? sit!?
6 Habitual V0 high stand start/jump start off right hand pinch or V3/4 sit or V!? direct left sit!?
7 Cricket Face V3/4 low right stand start to #6.
8 start #9 up left into #6!?
9 The Ritual V3/4 diagonal up right to jug buckets.
10 direct face to jug?
11 up left to jug?
12 Pitfall Arete V5/6!? face to high right arete over rock and water pit!?
13 ?!El Jefe!?
14 mega sick cave project ~ direct or right!?
15 VB/0 slab/face right of #14 left of #1.

El Segundo Boulder
14 Knee Me V4/5 sit right knee mantle.
15 El Directo V4/5 sit right direct center.
16 El Traverso V4/5 sit right traverse left into #17.
17 El Segundo V2 low start or V0 high stand start.
18 Mini Me V0 mini sit boulder.
19 overhang left?
20 overhang center?
21 overhang right?
22 lip traverse?
23 ?
24 ?
25 Chupa Arete V3 arete low sit. {water can be under in winter~spring}
                                          #1-5 (l to r) and #14-18 (r to l)

                                          #4-12 (l to r)

                                          #6-14 (l to r)

                                          #19-22 (l to r)


The West Boulders
West Pillar
26 V0/1 sit pillar to direct top out.
27 V0 sit pillar to left top out.

West Boulder
28 Los Lobos V3/4 sit steep face to smooth mantle.
29 west side bulge?
30 ?

                                          #26-30 (r to l)

The Shady Boulders
East Pillar {water can be under #31-32 in winter~spring}
31 Morning Shade V2/3 sit to left arete or low right sit traverse V?
32 Morning Shade Arete V2/3 stand or low right sit up into right arete V?

Shady Cave
33 Sunny Lip V0/1
34 Shady Face V4/5 low sit compression.
35 Shady Cave?
36 Shady Slab?

                                                    #31-32 (l to r)

                                          #33-34 (l to r)

Trailside Sculpture Boulder
37 left?
38 left center?
39 center?
40 right?

Cricket Face

Adam - El Slabbo

Adam - Negra Modelo

Liz - El Segundo

 Los Lobos

Adam - Knee Me

The Principal

Adam - West Pillar

Liz - West Pillar
West Pillar

The Stranded Boulders
4x4 Campsite Boulders
r to l
1 big boulder right face bulge!?
2 big boulder right/center face!?
3 big boulders backside right?
4 big boulders backside center?
5 big boulders backside left?
6 overhang scoop?
7 stem scoop?
8 left hand arete?
9 V0 right hand arete. FA=CS
10 V3/4 arete start up left into center face. FA=CS
11 V2/3 stand center face. FA=CS
12 low left start?
13 left meatwrap bulge?
14 right sit bulge?
15 V2/3 left sit bulge? FA=CS

Rawsafari Boulder
1 VB/0 Rawsafari. FA=A
2 ?
3 ?
4 ?
5 ?
6 ?
7 ?
8 ?
9 ?
10 ?
11 ?
12 ?
13 ?
14 ?
15 ?

Goforth Creek Boulders

Goforth Creek Boulders
1 Gopher V3 left hand arete or direct/no arete face!?
2 Goforth Crack VB/0 corner crack - up/downclimb.
3 Goforth Arete V2 stand V5/6 sit.
4 Goforth Face aka The Flat World Project ~ V6/7!? mantle slab face dyno!?
5 arete/face?
6 right face?
7 center face?
8 left face?
9 double arete?
10 slab crack corner?

Upper Goforth/Poonkinney Creek Rocks
1 left cliff slab?
2 left cliff arete face!?
3 left main face?
4 main face center?
5 main face right?
6 main face/arete?
7 ?
8 ?
9 ?
10 ?