Archive for October, 2011

Empty Nest No More

Posted: October 31, 2011 by bcbuzzards in Uncategorized

Tris is all smiles in LCC

This weekend brought the arrival of Tris to the the great Salt Lake Valley.  Sure he may have arrived with very expired temporary tags, no license plates, and a full hobo collection of his worldy possessions loaded in and strapped to his red Suby, but he has arrived.  With his arrival psyche is riding higher than ever and it may be perfect timing as the forecast is predicting that we have some significant snow by the weekend.  But that’s the weekend and many days away.

In the meantime, we got right to it.  With a very late night arrival on Saturday, we made it a point to get out and enjoy the sunshine on Sunday and explore Little Cottonwood Canyon and get some trad routes in before the weather turns this week.  I’ve only recently rediscovered my appreciation for gear routes so I still somewhat unfamiliar with where the canyon’s fine gems may be located.  This inevitably led to us wandering the talus fields, pointing at features, and eventually with some bushwhacking we arrived at our stated destination for the day, The Plumb Line.

The Plumb Line (5.10-, Little Cottonwood Canyon)

Clocking in at a moderate .10- it was a great and aesthetic route to run some laps on to get used to it all over again. It was really great movement but also really warm in the sun, I may be one of the pickiest weather based climbers out there when it comes to this stuff…too cold, NO WAY….too warm, DON’T THINK SO!  I’m the Goldilocks of the crag but I still manage to have fun.

Arthur running another lap on The Plumb Line (5.10-)

We were both able to get a few laps in and then I decided to cast off on a route I believe is called Zog (11d/12a R) next to Plumb Line, after being very perplexed and totally shut down low on the route I felt a little better when a climber walked by and said “How’s it going on that 11d/13b route? I don’t think that thing goes!”  With his strangely encouraging words of impossibility I gave up on my sequences of thumb gastons, palm smears, and invisicrimping on ghost edges and headed around the corner for a another great route, Boomerang (5.10-) which was really fun and a good size for me (fingers), Tris gave it a run as well and after a few laps we decided it was time to go in search of something that’s been on Tris’ mind for years, and which he has never actually seen.  The hike to Trench Warfare was underway.

Trench Warfare is maybe one of the more famous off-width cracks in the country and recently had some attention after the UKs Wide Boyz recently flashed it, then extended it, and then solo-ed it in the space of an afternoon.  If you’ve ever seen the crack, you’ll know that the accomplishment is mind boggling and the boyz deserve a tip of the hat and probably a pint or two.

Trench Warfare (5.12d, Little Cottonwood Canyon)

Trench Warfare (5.12d, Little Cottonwood Canyon)

Trench Warfare (5.12d) is located across the river in Little Cottonwood Canyon beneath the Hanging Slab and the boulder that makes up the “roof” of the route can be seen from the road.  Having never been there we decided to go straight towards it and figured we’d learn the trail on the way back.  Discovery in reverse.  It took us a little while to get out there and with a few slips and trips in the stream beds and woods we stumbled upon what is for sure one of the most impressive looking wide cracks (maybe any size cracks) I’ve seen in my travels.  You could instantly see the gears turning in Tris’ head as he tried to wrap his mind around what would be required to make this happen.  I’ll let the video speak to the exchange at the crag.

So there you have it, a new buzzard in the nest, psyche at an all time high, snow in the forecast, gauntlets thrown down, and even a little actual climbing to boot!  What a weekend.

Happy Halloween!



From Week 1 to Weak One.

Posted: October 26, 2011 by bcbuzzards in Skiing
Tags: , ,

Fall on Millicent

Moving from week 1 into a weak one has been a de-evolution of a ski season. Initially, when the last (only) big dump to hit the Was-angles range this season was coming in I was totally going to sit it out. I had plans for the weekend. I was going to Jerry Joseph Thursday and Friday. I had class early Friday morning, and a big drive down south for the next show, and still had to drive home for the Ute game Saturday.

Besides, people get hurt and equipment gets destroyed that first big storm. “Last thing I need” I told a co-worker “are headlines reading LOCAL IDIOT PHIL and then the description of my various self sustained injuries.” No, this one I would sit out. Until Thursday came around that is. Then I decided it was seriously GO time. I dragged out my gear from it’s hiding place of 5 weeks and decided to begin my ski season Oct. 7th, with a little bit of “tour-lite”.

Making their last stand

Steal your line right offa' yo face...

I went up to Brighton, thinking the whole way that this was a poor idea. Little to no snow greeted me all the way up BCC, but tracks were in and Brighton locals (high-school drop-outs no doubt) were already dragging more foreign objects up the hillside to potential injur themselves on. I’ll assume because the chance of hitting rocks/trees/detritus wasn’t low enough with a 0” base. Two laps up the Crest Express chair left me feeling that my goal of ¼ of million feet vert. ascended this season might just be doable. The skiing wasn’t too bad, and that coupled with the fact one could almost make 0 turns following my route made for a pretty good day.

God's Lawnmower, lookin' good, if all you wanna do is look...

Arthur and I would find our way back up Sunday, a pre-work lap for me. I joyfully rapport that I will be off the Sunday AM shift making it now a PM one, meaning that instead of getting up at 5am for a pre-work lap I can get up at 5am for 3 pre-work laps. Brighton has installed some new snowmaking pipes, and there were large open holes about 3 feet around, and 3 feet deep exposed on the hillside. I pointed these out to Arthur was we toured up in the cover of darkness, then proceeded to unintentionally sail directly over the top of one coming down. The only thing that saved me from injury was my complete lack of self-control in keeping my speed in check, as I had promised myself I would.

bcbuzzard Arthur on the way up

Tuesday would find us back at it again at Alta, aka Traverse Mountain. Skiing was decent, and Baldy Main looked ready to go. But no, I summed up enough reason (well mostly Arthur did) to tell myself it is far from chuting season. The run out is low, and that’s how you hurt yourself.

bcbuzzard Arthur on the way up x2

Cue Arthur following me up a chute on the east side of Baldy Wednesday. I mean, really, you all saw that coming. I’m happy to report that about 2-3 feet of solid wind buff with a creamy layer on top was found, and rocks, tons and tons of rocks sticking out. This was the stuff chute-dreams are made of. It’s even easier to take chances like that when you don’t care at all about you gear. I mean I care, but my Karhu Storms have seen much, much better days. Namely, those better days ended last December off the backside of Brighton, when I clipped a rock fin under 8” of fresh at mach 3.5. One blow edge and two compressed edges resulted in my first pair of rock touring skis.

bcbuzzard Arthur on the up x3

Kiss the mountain air we breath

A lot of people (well Andrew M.) talk around here about how their skis aren’t talking to them after that first day or two of torture. My skis are quite different. We haven’t spoken since it hit 70 again in the valley and I threw them back down into the basement in disgust. Weak, weak, weak frickin’ sauce SLC. I tried to look at those first 4 days as just a bonus round. Now I’m glad I hit any days at all in October. Still the leaves are falling fast, and it’s always only a matter of time.

Soon, once more I shall beat the sunrise.

Winter is coming…

Posted: October 25, 2011 by bcbuzzards in Uncategorized

Sorry for the cheesy title post but I can say I really do like the Game of Thrones and winter is really coming.  Deployed the propane space heater for today’s session at the Hell Sector of American Fork.  Wasn’t able to push my high point any higher than stabbing at the slot I’ve been going for the last few times.  I am happy to report that despite the number of attempts I’ve put in I am still having a ton of fun on Inferno.  Maybe it’ll go and maybe it won’t but I’m still getting stronger on it every time.  I’m posting up a video of today’s effort to give you an idea of what I’m up against (gravity and garbage holds mostly) but also to give me an idea of what I’m doing right and wrong and as always, to stoke the psyche.

In amazingly awesome and somewhat related news, Tris will be arriving in UT this weekend to take his place atop the pile of new comers who one after the other have proclaimed, “This is the place!”

Slow start to the day but what a day it’s been. Drove out to the Hell sector at American Fork with Travis to try to finish up Inferno (5.13b). New highpoint but no send. The one hang is creeping ever higher up the wall. I may yet sneak this one past the guard station this season.

I love when everyone comes out to exploit the season and today was prime. I think no less than 16 people were out tying to get it done with very little overlap at all. I’ll head back out on Monday and hopefully put it to bed so I can pack away the ropes until the spring.

The cars made this place seem en vogue for sure.


Lot to learn in some 60ft of steep limestone.

After the climbing and a great shower (our hot water is finally functioning), I headed down to the Pray for Snow party at 800 S and Main to meet up with Phil and Wally and his wife Holly to shoot the breeze and get excited for the winter.  We were met with a Motely Crue tribute band and a paltry showing of supporters.  Some laughs were had, some brews were drunk and it capped off a good day of effort and socializing.  The bonfire was to be my capstone, but at least during my tenure no old skis or boards were burned.  There is always next year…

The beginning of something new

Posted: October 21, 2011 by bcbuzzards in Uncategorized

Today marks the day that we’ve decided to go forth and commit to this new project.  We’ve registered our domain and started spitballing ideas as to what we should try to make this site and what we should try to get out of it.  Right now we are thinking we should focus on trip reports, aspirational goals, photos, some video (this will likely be a weak point for a bit until we figure out how to do it), musings, gear reviews, and a way to stoke the fire for anyone who reads this.  I think I also want this to be a memoir of sorts that I can look back on and put a smile on my face thinking about all I’ve done, all I’ve seen, and of course the people I was able to do it with.

We’d love to hear about what you think should be on the site.  We may also end up tinkering a bit with the themes, fonts, and styles until we find something that works well for what we are trying to achieve.


Every journey begins with a single click

Posted: October 21, 2011 by bcbuzzards in Uncategorized

I guess I’ll be the one to get the ball rolling as Tris is (hopefully) currently crushing the Palisades Traverse in the Sierra before he moves out to Utah to join the other Buzzards for the remaining months of fall and an epic winter to come. I believe Phil is working on some school work and possibly checking into the veracity of a report that Method Man may be playing a Halloween show here in SLC. I could easily see that becoming an evening where we may indeed end up protecting our necks. On the agenda in the next few days is a Utah Avalanche Center block party downtown being touted as the Pray for Snow party and preceding that I’m hoping to close out my sport climbing season by finishing up a project of mine called Inferno (5.13b) at the El Diablo wall of American Fork Canyon. There is only so many times you can not succeed I suppose…

Me and Phil ended up doing some skiing the other day and it really got me thinking about the way I’ve been experiencing a lot of my pursuits lately, and how it is not the way I want to experience them at all. I know it’s cliche to say that you have to enjoy the journey and not the destination but when you are trying things at your limit it really does feel like most of your days are met with failure. There is something heavy about failing as often as I do. It almost makes the successes feel somewhat empty and hollow because they are such an anomaly to the every day experience. I will really try to focus myself on enjoying the process so that I can go home successful every time I get out. What a fresh feeling that would be, success every time I try, and believe me, I try a lot.