Sunday, December 28, 2014

3 Days in August : The Mohave Desert : Long Distance Training

3 days in August, long distance training, bike, hike, paddle
Map - 3 days in August, long distance training, bike, hike, paddle

This is a story, not of excitement or heroics, but just of grinding out long distance across natural terrain using only muscle power and wit.

Mountain Biking, Hiking, and Paddling:

Friday, December 12, 2014

Speed Ascent : Half Dome Regular Northwest Face

Tenaya Valley (Upper Yosemite Valley), Summer 1987
Tenaya Valley (Upper Yosemite Valley), Summer 1987

Undoubtedly those few square miles of planet earth where Half Dome sits is one of the most striking, one of the most beautiful places on the planet. The photo above only hints at its grandeur, you have to go there to experience it.

I've climbed that sheer wall, that north face of Half Dome, three times. Twice I guided it, once with some Navy guys and once with some Army guys, and once, the very first time I was up there, Paul van Betten and I were climbing it as fast as we could. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Endeavor Team Challenge : Race Report Team Ryan Ross, Robert Finlay

Team Endeavor Challenge 2013 - The Finish, Ryan Ross, Robert Finlay
Team Endeavor Challenge 2013 - The Finish, Ryan Ross, Robert Finlay 

Alpine, CA - 7, 8 September 2013

The first mention I saw of this event was, in the words of the organizers, two former US Army Rangers, “the Endeavor Team Challenge is a monumental test of fitness”. Paraphrasing the descriptions of the event I found on their website and Facebook pages - teams of 2 would face 30 plus hours and 40 miles of mountain summits, obstacle courses, lake and stream crossings, physical challenges, multiple long movements of undisclosed distances of 10 to 20 miles, climbing and rappelling, kayaking, mental challenges and stress, memorization/recitation, problem solving, false finish lines, extra equipment to carry, limited sleep, day and night orienteering, culminating in something called a Sole Survivor run, and at an undisclosed place and time teams would face another challenge, something called the OPT Battle Drill, a crossfit torture test programmed by Crossfit Games Champion James Fitzgerald.

Well, that sounded like a good time to me. Immediately I contacted Ryan Ross to form a team. Inadvertently we had already been preparing for this event because well, that's kind of what we do. Both Ryan and I have years of adventuring racing experience under our belts. Now supposedly we would need only to fine tune ourselves to the specifics of this event.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My Times on Dream of Wild Turkeys, Red Rocks, Nevada

Manipulated image showing me soloing Dream of Wild Turkeys
A manipulated image showing me free soloing Dream of Wild Turkeys, top of the 2nd Pitch

Dream of Wild Turkeys: Black Velvet Wall, Black Velvet Canyon, Red Rocks, Nevada

Dream of Wild Turkeys is a 1400 foot rock climb. Back in the day, most climbers considered it 5.9 with maybe a move of 5.10a. It is a ten pitch climb. Pitch is climbers talk, it is the distance you can go on a rope before needing to stop and set up a belay. 

It is a spectacularly fun climb the whole way with plenty of climbing adventure. There is finger and hand crack climbing, there is easy off width climbing, there is water polished face climbing, there is sharp edged face climbing, there is exposure with big air below your feet, and the climb and the setting are beautiful everywhere you look, there are great views of the canyon below and of the desert beyond, and of cliffs left, right, and above.    

I think I've done the route 6 or 7 times. Of those times, I've soloed it 4 or 5, I can't remember. 

I do remember the first time I soloed it...