We picked up Jon in Merced and headed in late on the 23rd September. We spent the first few days in the Upper Pines camp ground. From the first view of the valley I had to retract everything I’d ever thought about how much being there would suck! It is so beautiful and I admit I was SOOOO wrong.

The obligatory half dome shot

The obligatory half dome shot

Leaning Tower

Leaning Tower

Flaming sky over half dome

Flaming sky over half dome

DOUBLE RAINBOW!

DOUBLE RAINBOW!

Guide book scoping

Wall scoping

Given we didn’t know we were going to get kicked out after 6 days of climbing we started out just cragging and tackling a few ‘easier’ multipitch routes (ha ha ha!). I can confirm that 5.8 chimneys put up by crusty old men wearing gumboots with no appreciation of sunlight are not much fun……

Right, this is the last time I believe you boys! After we were safely back at the pub they admitted that both  Jon AND Sean O'Leary (one of the best crack climbers in the world) were benighted on this climb!

One unhappy Anna after thrutching through one too many pitches of 5.8 chimney

…..but still addictive – and that, my friends, is the problem with granite climbing in the valley – just like mountaineering, it brings tears to your eyes while you’re doing it but you’re already planning your next trip by the time you reach the car.  Along with the horrid climbs there has been plenty of fun  – here are a few pictures from the adventures….

View from Braille Book

View from Braille Book

Mr Permagrin

Mr Permagrin

shoes......

shoes……

The pitchfork

The pitchfork – Jon on outer limits

Not sure what Matt is doing with his wooden leg....

Not sure what Matt was doing with his wooden leg….

We went to a talk given by Mayan Smith Gobat at an event called Yosemite Facelift – the woman really is a legend – and much more a rock star over here than she is at home. She’d climbed the nose that day in 4.22 but has since got that down to 3.30! 33 pitches – most people take around 3 days.  Her talk included lots of compliments about New Zealand and I’m not sure she gets enough credit for her role as an ambassador for the NZ climbing scene.

This is Bertha's Butt and Peter Crofts car - I'm told this is cool......

This is Bertha’s butt and Peter Crofts car – I’m told this is cool……

After dissing everything Yosemite we decided it was time for the full experience and camp four was to be our home for the next three weeks (how wrong we were!)  Camp Four for those who don’t know is historical home of big wall climbing. Where all crusty climbers aspire to be.  The climbers have a tumultuous relationship with the forest service and consequently there has been very little money put into camp four for many years – here is a link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_4_(Yosemite) and a few pictures from our time there;

finding out about reservations - fully full bro!

finding out about reservations for the campgrounds – fully full bro!

Which means that it’s time to muscle up for an attempt at getting in to camp four….

Here are the rules for the process of scoring a space

Here are the rules for the process of scoring a space

....and here is the scene at 3am in the morning just after we turned up....

….and here is the scene by around 5am in the morning – we were near the front of the line (but not first) having arrived at 3.15am….  (Jons photo)

We found the Gore climbing club boys at camp four

We found the Gore climbing club boys there

Sharing with five other people you often come back from a days climbing to find this scene in your site....These guys were off to aid Zodiac the following day

Sharing with five other people you often come back from a days climbing to find randomness in your site….These guys were off to aid Zodiac the following day

Then we got word that the government were fighting and the park was going to close the following day – we didn’t really believe it initially but it was true….

Says it all really

Says it all really

Jon and Matt managed a quick trip up Rostrum the day before we were due to be kicked out

Rostrum - 5.9 pitch - Jon Sedon's picture

Rostrum – Jon Sedon’s picture

Jon taking photos of himself - when he should have been belaying :-)

Jon taking photos of himself – when he should have been belaying 🙂

Matt seconding the 10a off-width

Matt seconding the 10a off-width

At the end of the Rostrum day we were stopped at a road block and ousted by a heavy handed ranger who was simultaneously arresting someone else and bullying us into leaving the same evening – we buckled and drove out around 10pm to stay in El Portel.

Since then we’ve been sifting around waiting for ….. something ….. to improve but alas it’s Jons last day here today and there’s been no improvement. We have managed to see some cool places – we headed back to Bishop and climbed at Owens River for a few days and now we are staying in Strawberry at the bottom of Lover’s Leap near Tahoe so there’s no real reason for complaint. The locals here (and US visitors to the area) have been really friendly – allowing us to camp in the lodge grounds for cheap. “Squirrel” the guy who owns the general store was really great – loaning us a guide book, letting us camp on his lawn and even offering us his truck!   Last night we had a fun time in the lodge around the fire chatting with a group from Sacramento who offered us a bed if we headed that way. (Hi Rick and Cassandra!)

So finally here are a few pics from the last week of sifting around the borders of the park

The boys heading back from a days cragging at Owens River

The boys heading back from a days cragging at Owens River

Camp fires are the best thing about Owens - and the wood is Pinyon pine and smells devine while burning

Camp fires are the best thing about Owens – the wood is Pinyon pine and smells devine while burning

Camping near Bishop

Camping near Bishop

The plan from here is to drop Jon off on Monday in Sacramento and start the process of selling Bertha. Then we’ll see if we can get back into the park for more thrutching. If not we’ll be home sooner rather than later…….I’ve got to admit the idea of a real kitchen with a TOASTER is getting more and more appealing!

Time to get outside and find some sunshine!

 

Hi all!! So it’s been a while and we’ve taken so many photos recently I’m splitting the latest in to two posts. After we returned to Maple Canyon from Park City, we had another 6 days at Maple. The weather changed with lots of flash flooding and wet rock – which meant that we decided to move on. Our first stop was Bryce Canyon, A really beautiful fairyland of pink towers and coloured mountains.

Beautiful colours and great skys

Beautiful colours and great skies

Fairyland

Fairyland

White Rim trail

White Rim trail

I was so disappointed to not see even one rubbertoothed bulldog or hen laying softboiled eggs!

I was really disappointed to not see a single rubbertoothed bulldog or hen capable of laying softboiled eggs!

Next was Las Vegas baby! What a place!  …….  If this is what the rest of the world is striving for, the human race has already jumped the shark and we’re on the way out (the quicker the better says the planet!). The city reminds me of Easter Island before they consumed everything; more and more building of weird things in order to appease the gods and calm the soul……didn’t work there, pretty sure there aren’t many happy gods or calm souls in Vegas either. But it does have very cheap good hotels so we stayed and wandered in awe around two of the casinos and gambled away an extravagant $8 – the budget was $10 but we got bored after $8 and went home! Maybe we weren’t doing it right! Here are two terrible photos but you’ll get the idea

One of the squillions of places to drink within the casino - terrible pic but I get show you my new hat! Keri Addison - I think of you every time I put it on - you are the master of hats.

One of the icky pillions of places to drink within the casino – terrible pic but I get show you my new hat! Keri Addison – I think of you every time I put it on.

Yip - we're in vegas baby!

Yip – we’re in vegas baby!

From Vegas, we retreated back into the biggest National Park in the US – Death Valley.  It is so much more beautiful than we had expected.

What you can't tell from this picture is the 15-20 knot 42C wind which accompanied the scene.

What I couldn’t capture in this picture was the 15-20 knot 42C wind which accompanied the scene.

The colours were amazing - note the dust storm on the left hand side of the picture - we had to drive through this a few minutes later. Bertha was a legend.

The colours were amazing – note the dust storm on the left hand side of this shot – we had to drive through this a few minutes later. Bertha was a legend.

As we emerged from the dust storm we met Wiley!

As we emerged from the storm we met Wiley! Super cool to see a healthy specimen well away from trash.

From Death Valley we headed on toward Bishop but stopped in Lone Pine and hung out for a really lovely evening at Alabama Hills. We hear that this place is like Joshua Tree used to be before it got popular.

Oh I so want to label this picture 'Pricks' - seems so funny it's almost worth it - but he isn't at all!

Prickly things…….Troubles what I’m in 🙂

More old granite - love the states for this stuff!

More old granite – love the states for this stuff!

There are shot up cans all over the place.....it's the wild wild west out here

There were shot up cans all over the place…..it’s the wild wild west out there

Pretty sky

Pretty sky

Early the following morning we found we had a stow-away in the van when Matt jumped up and said “I think a spider just ran over me” and I saw a mouse bum scuttling into the cupboard. This meant our planned climbing day morphed into a massive cleanout of the van to remove the now named “Percy” from the vehicle.

"Percy" hunting in Bishop

“Percy” hunting in Bishop

Then came Tuolumne Meadows. I’ve been baahumbugging Yosemite National Park for months thinking I didn’t want to climb there, that it would be too hard, too busy, too full of hard YOSAR self-important climbers and massive RVs – I was right on all counts – and none of it mattered – it was still by far the best surprise of the trip.

More acres of granite

More acres of granite

Long shadows and cold - at 9945ft

Long shadows and cold – at 9945ft

Here’s where our Yosemite adventure begins (and ends abruptly) all in the next post……..

Hello from a beautiful Park City, Utah!

We are basking in the luxury of a hotel today on account of a skype meeting with some people who are looking to get some software written in New Zealand. I’ve had three hot tubs, two saunas and several showers in the last 12 hours – yes, I resemble a little shrivelled raisin now.

Since we left Lander we’ve been mostly at Maple Canyon. With a lovely stop at Moab and Canyonlands for a few days R and R after the wind rivers.

Bertha reigns supreme at Potash Road

Bertha reigns supreme at Potash Road

Another from Potash Road just outside Moab

Another from Potash Road just outside Moab

Arches National Monument was a bitter sweet experience. It’s incredibly beautiful, but SO touristy with big roads throughout the area. We both felt quite separated from the landscape and chained to the asphalt. It prompted us to reread Desert Solitaire from Edward Abbey. Here is one of my favourite rants of his relating to Arches…..

What can I tell them? Sealed in their metallic shells like mollusks on wheels, how can I pry the people free? The auto as tin can, the park ranger as opener. Look here, I want to say, for godsake folks get out of them there machines, take off those fucking sunglasses and unpeel both eyeballs, look around; throw away those goddamned idiotic cameras! For chrissake folks what is this life if full of care we have no time to stand and stare? Take off your shoes for a while, unzip your fly, piss hearty, dig your toes in the hot sand, feel that raw and rugged earth, split a couple of big toenails, draw blood! Why not? Jesus Christ, lady, roll that window down! You can’t see the desert if you can’t smell it! Dusty! Of course it’s dusty – this is Utah! But it’s good dust, good red Utahn dust, rich in iron, rich in irony. Turn that motor off. Get out of that piece of iron and stretch your varicose veins, take off your brassiere and get some hot sun on your old wrinkled dugs! You sir, squinting at the map with your radiator boiling over and your fuel pump vapor-locked, crawl out of that shiny hunk of GM junk and take a walk – yes, leave the old lady and those squawling brats behind for a while, turn your back on them and take a long quiet walk straight into the canyons, get lost for a while, come back when you damn well feel like it, it’ll do you and her and them a world of good. Give the kids a break too, let them out of the car, let them go scrambling over the rocks hunting for rattlesnakes and scorpions and anthills – yes sir, let them out, turn them loose; how dare you imprison little children in your goddamned upholstered horseless hearse? Yes sir, yes madam, I entreat you, get out of those motorized wheelchairs, get off your foam rubber backsides, stand up straight like men! like women! like human beings! and walk – walk – WALK upon our sweet and blessed land!

Still, plenty of photo opportunities – here are some of the pictures

Park Avenue, Arches NP

Park Avenue, Arches NP

Balanced Rock

Balanced Rock

ah Hem......

ah Hem……

Next stop was Canyonlands which was amazing.  We had expected it to also be full of big RVs and fat people videoing from their cars, but it was actually reasonably quiet. The landscape fully deserves all the accolades it receives! You get such an incredible sense of geological time looking into the canyons.

Canyonlands Arch

Canyonlands Arch

White Rim - excuse the photo - it's so hard to capture the depth of the canyon.

White Rim – excuse the photo – it’s so hard to capture the depth of the canyon.

Canyonlands White Rim Walk

Canyonlands White Rim Walk

Springing man - Canyonlands

Springing man – Canyonlands

We spent most of a day trying to paint the landscape (not very well of course!)  but a good excuse to stop and watch the light change – and take far too many pictures again!

Canyonlands RnR

Canyonlands RnR

Ahh, confession time, I fell in love with a Raven during our painting day. I spent loads of time harassing the poor thing – he never flew too far though, very tolerant!

Damn it's hot!

Damn it’s hot!

Would someone call the police - I have a stalker!

Would someone call the police – I have a stalker!

Sorry folks! He was mesmerising!

Sorry folks! He was mesmerising!

It has taken us a while to get used to maple canyon again. It’s a pretty place nestled in the heart of full Mormon Utah http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephraim,_Utah

In all honesty, the surrounding area is a shitehole – full of god fearing folk and suspicious outliers. The outskirt smells of dirty, frightened turkeys (on account of the intensive turkey farming) and there are plenty of people driving quad bikes and carrying guns in order to kill things for fun.  But, we aren’t here for the town and maple canyon is still a great place to get fit and pull on cobbles.

outdoor indoor climbing at Box Canyon, Maple

outdoor indoor climbing at Box Canyon, Maple

Matt has been cranking (I’m not allowed to give you any more details – he’s being shy!). Sadly, I am still climbing with the grace of a moose wearing rollerskates but (also sadly!) continue to be fully addicted to trying to improve.

Oh, and maple is also good place to harass some more birds – these ones were a little less accommodating!

Still!

Still!

Turf wars

Turf wars

Next stop, after a few more days back at Maple for a final onslaught we are on our way to Yosemite! Look out Jon Sedon!

Big problems!

Big problems!

Hi everyone!

Firstly, thanks so much for the feedback on the blog. We’ll keep it going then!

From where we left off last time……

We had a couple of weeks at ten sleep which is such a great place! The rock is pocketed limestone again but the routes are much longer than Wild Iris. We were  both beaten up by the climbing – the rock is full of fossils and some of it resembles cheese grater.  At the end of the day, even playing with a potential hold sends ‘let go’ signals back to the brain. Sharp holds apart this is a great sport climbing destination with a 5 star guide, climbing and camping – go there if you can!

The story of the queer name.....

The story of the queer name…..

Ah, Ten Sleep Saloon - home of good steak and terrible wine

Ah, Ten Sleep Saloon – home of good steak and terrible wine

oh, and lovely wall art

oh, and lovely wall art

Cool old sheds line the way back to the canyon

Cool old sheds line the way back to the canyon

Hard to believe there is world class limestone just around the corner

Hard to believe there is world class limestone just around the corner

View heading up the canyon

View heading up the canyon

the old canyon road

the old canyon road

Our TSS home

Our TSS home

We found that the majority of people were not hugely friendly in the canyon – they were all busy earnestly running between projects and avoiding being shot by each other.  Things changed when we got our own possie with Tim, Carol, Paul and Terri turning up, complete with dogs and crossbow.

Here are a few pics of our time with the crew………

Lilli and I

Lilli and I

The crew at play

The crew at play

Timmy at the World Domination Wall

Timmy at the World Domination Wall

Crossbow action

Crossbow action

The lefty

The lefty

What is everyone having for dinner? Shall we share?......Seems we all like tasty bites! I'm sending this in to the company....

What is everyone having for dinner? Shall we share?……Seems we all like tasty bites! I’m sending this in to the company….

Holding onto the cheese grater

Holding onto the cheese grater

Wild fires make for some cool sunsets.

Wild fires make for some cool sunsets.

Matt and Natika - matching outfits

Matt and Natika – matching outfits

We also made it to a music festival in Ten Sleep called NoWoodStock. Fun!

We also made it to a music festival in Ten Sleep called NoWoodStock. Fun!

Sister Monica Parker - she can sing!!!

Sister Monica Parker – she can sing!!!

We left Ten Sleep two weeks ago and headed into the Wind River Range for a 9 day stint of climbing and hiking with Tim and Carol.  We are both in agreement that it is possibly the coolest alpine rock destination we’ve ever been to.  Acres of precambrian granite, beautiful lakes and relatively easy access. We climbed some classics such as the south buttress of Pingora, and the boys had some adventurous times on the Lost Temple Spire.

More pics…..

9 days food with climbing and camping gear is HEAVY!

9 days food with climbing and camping gear is HEAVY!

Loads of pack horses taking gear up for people

Loads of pack horses taking gear up for people

Early morning start towards Pingora

Early morning start towards Pingora

Our tent is under the pine trees down there somewhere

Our tent is under the pine trees down there somewhere

Matt on the top

Matt on the top

Just before the real climbing starts

Just before the real climbing starts

Lonesome Lake

Lonesome Lake

Permagrin affliction

Permagrin affliction

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5.8 at the top called K-Cracks - such clean rock!

5.8 at the top called K-Cracks – such clean rock!

More from the K-Cracks

More from the K-Cracks

The moment when I realise I'm not going to fall off today - feeling quite stoked!

The moment when I realise I’m not going to fall off today – feeling quite stoked!

Snoozing

Snoozing

More from Lonesome Lake

More from Lonesome Lake

East ridge of Wolfs Head - it's 5.6 but looks impressive!

East ridge of Wolfs Head – it’s 5.6 but looks impressive!

9 days is too long without a bath!

9 days is too long without a bath!

Tim, Carol and Matt at Wolfs head lake

Tim, Carol and Matt at Wolfs head lake

My hiking buddy - and body heater!

My hiking buddy – and body heater!

On the way to Deep Lake for more stunning views. Acres of granite!

On the way to Deep Lake for more stunning views. Acres of granite!

More granite

More granite

Campfire cooking

Campfire cooking

Haystack

Haystack

Matt wanting to roll eratics down the hill

Matt wanting to roll eratics down the hill

IMG_1988

Oh great – Two Matt’s!

Cool tree

Cool tree

A lot of neck craning went on - line spotting and talking about some really hard climbing

A lot of neck craning went on – line spotting and talking about some really hard climbing

Someone has a cool eye for comfort! We found this camp set up on the way down

Someone has a good eye for comfort! We found this camp set up on the way down

Tim and Matt in front of the Lost Temple Spire (the column separated from the highest ridge in the background). By all accounts the most 'adventurous' climbing of the trip. Complete with descending in a thunderstorm.

Tim and Matt in front of the Lost Temple Spire (the column separated from the highest ridge in the background). By all accounts the most ‘adventurous’ climbing of the trip. Complete with descending in a thunderstorm.

Late night water filtering

Late night water filtering

Looking back from deep lake to the Cirque of the Towers

Looking back from deep lake to the Cirque of the Towers

Clear Lake at sunset

Clear Lake at sunset

More Clear Lake shots

More Clear Lake shots

Another view of the Lost Temple Spire

Another view of the Lost Temple Spire

Last day in the park

Last day in the park

Wow!

Wow!

We loved having the dogs with us.  Matt and I could (and did!) spoil them rotten with no fear of the consequences!   We said goodbye to Tim and Carol yesterday which was a bit sad as they are such great people to hang out with, but we’re hoping we’ll see them again on a rest cycle back in Sandy, Utah.

The plan from here is to head out of Wyoming and back into Utah for the next month.  We leave Lander today and head towards Mill Creek and Potash Road near Moab and then another stint of sport climbing at Maple canyon.   Following that we’ll be heading on to Yosemite (assuming it isn’t still burning as it is just now) where we’ll meet up with Jon Sedon.

Now, what goss from New Zealand?  We’re both missing you all, and would love to hear from you – so please send news!  If there isn’t any please make it up.

Hi All, We decided that we’d try a blog instead of bugging you all on your facebook pages with a load of photos only immediate family may appreciate – and even then I’m not sure! We’ve been a little slack on the uploading of photos so far but I have loads to share today. In the six weeks we’ve had some really great times – and some ‘can we go home now’ moments to keep us appreciating the good bits! Highlights so far: Buying Bertha – our home for the next while.  She’s fat and moody and swims all over the road whenever she damn well pleases – but she is really comfortable, is great at chugging up hills (we even pass some people!)

She's ugly but we love her

She’s ugly but we love her

Berthaface

Yip, she’s ugly – people run!

IMG_0960

The team in Wyoming

speak to the hand

This is my right side, right?

IMG_1017

Bertha’s innards – kinda distorted but you’ll get the idea!

IMG_1030

This was a major selling point!

The Darwin Fish – more info here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parodies_of_the_ichthys_symbol.

IMG_1110

This one is for you Peter Evrard!

Climbing at Maple – although it was way too hot – nothing to do with the plastercine arms we bought with us after too much ignoring the requirement to actually climb in preparation for a climbing holiday!

My 40th

My 40th

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Maple Canyon

mattatmaple

Matt at maple

20130702_180914

After a week or so we headed back to Sandy, Utah to hang out with our friends Timmy and Carol.  We had our 4th July celebrations there.

4th July celebrations - sandy

4th July celebrations – sandy

20130704_084200 - Copy

Kona and Matt. As you can see Matt has become a little eccentric recently – opting to give up climbing in order to train his parrot to play the piano!

The boys went on an uber long hike which included 18 miles of hiking and 10000ft of vertical gain – oh dear, is it time to come home? – lets try that again……Tim and Matt went on an uber long tramp which included 29 kilometers  of tramping and an elevation gain of 3050 meters. Meanwhile Carol and I went to the spa at Snowbird to hang out in the hot tub, steamroom and sauna in the ski resort – Treble Cone eat your heart out! We had planned to head back to maple for another stint of climbing there, but the 40C temps had us heading north and higher instead into Wyoming.

On the road

On the road

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Red Canyon

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Big Sky

IMG_1023

Anyone care to tell me what this means?

Landerlandscape

Lander outskirts

on the road

More road – there is lots of it here!

seedskadee

Just outside Seedskadee Wildlife Refuge

We spent the next two and a half weeks at Wild Iris which is just outside Lander. It is a really beautiful place – much cooler at just under 3000m.  It’s hard pocketed limestone with great camping.

Camping at Wild Iris

Camping at Wild Iris

sunset light - undoctored!

sunset light – undoctored!

My hold is occupied!

My hold is occupied!

slabby

slabby

IMG_0991

OK Coral area

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Looking for climbs

Looking for climbs

Down the valley there is Lander which is a friendly town full of big cowboy hats and guns I tell you – lots of them! We were stopped outside the car parts store a few days back and watched two boys loading and unloading some kind of rifle (sorry, I’m ignorant of these things!) just outside the store. Matt managed to contract an infection in his leg which meant we needed to take a few days off climbing last week while the antibiotics kicked in so we headed to the tetons (near Jackson Hole) to do some tiki touring. We had a night at Brook Lake then did a bit of walking up towards Grand Teton (amphitheater lake) and into Yellowstone. There were plenty of signs to ensure tramping was not a relaxing experience – but we saw no bears! IMG_1038 IMG_1042 Brook Lake is really picturesque, consequently I took far too many pictures….IMG_1041IMG_1046 IMG_1058 IMG_1071 IMG_1078 IMG_1085 IMG_1088 IMG_1099 IMG_1116 Yellowstone was unbelievable! So many cool critters – but the species that were the most entertaining were the modern hominids! We finally realised though that you only need to head away from the main areas about 5 minutes by foot and you have most of it to yourself. Again there were way too many pictures taken so here are even more! IMG_1150 IMG_1190 IMG_1185 IMG_1179 IMG_1177 IMG_1171

Traffic Jam

Traffic Jam

IMG_1289 IMG_1301 IMG_1292

art via mineral

art via mineral

IMG_1353 IMG_1280 IMG_1243 IMG_1244 IMG_1253 IMG_1272Phew! WAKE UP! It’s over! The plan for the next few weeks is on to ten sleep for some more limestone pulling, then back to Wild Iris where we’ll meet up with Tim and Carol again. By then we’re hoping the mosquitos will have cleared out and we’ll head into the Wind River Range for some mountain time. PS: Be great to hear what you guys think of this format for keeping in touch…….