HP40 II!! and Getting Traditional in the Gunks
Finally! It’s up! Please enjoy, like, share, etc. etc. etc.
Also, we finally did it. The social media trifecta has been completed, and we now have a Twitter account. Follow us at @thervproject, or else…
Looking down the list of posts, it’s been a while since we updated you on the whats and wheres of our trip. In the spirit of keeping an online, public diary, let’s lightning-round our way through the past two weeks.
Vikki and I departed Farley and drove to Providence. We met my parents, my grandfather and his wife, and my brother on Friday afternoon for the first in a series of massive, delicious meals. Throughout the weekend I indulged in many mortal sins, including gluttony, lust (college campus, nuff said), and envy.
This was the second graduation in two weeks for us. We are a few years out of the college scene, and it was interesting to think back on my own college years and imagine the sense of infinite potential, of a whole world ahead that was dark and mysterious, like the part of the Starcraft map you haven’t explored yet. We saw students excited about the future, nervous about the future, and students who totally deny that the future even exists. I can relate: I never ever wanted to leave college, and I will probably go back to school when this road trip ends!
On Sunday, May 27, 2012, Eliot walked across the stage and walked off with a diploma in hand. I’m afraid I don’t have any photos for you, so you’ll have to take my word for it. Congratulations Eliot!
On Monday, we packed up and hit the road again. With no particular destination in mind except, eventually, to Indiana to pick up our trailer, we headed a few hours southwest and ended up in New Paltz, New York. On the way we spent the night in New Haven with Vikki’s cousin Vlad, a student at Yale Medical.
In New Paltz, we met up with Ken Murphy (Murph), whom we’d met in the Red. Murph owns a large Chevy 2500 with a bed in the back and handbuilt storage drawers underneath. He typically works hard for 4-6 months of the year, then lives on the road climbing the rest of the year. He currently lives in New Paltz, and on days 1-4 of our stay, he was our tour guide. We also ran into Matt, a guy I’d met while spending a semester in Australia in 2006, who just happened to have moved to New Paltz a year ago. Another fellow, Tim Bolger, started chatting with us and we ended up camping together that night.
On Wednesday, Murph showed us the Carriage Road boulders, where most of the classics reside. Temps were not the best and the humidity was a little rough, but we still had fun with the Gill Egg, Clune Crank, Andrew Problem, Boxcar Boulder, Susie A, and others. With the full spraydown from Murph, I managed to flash Buddha (film coming soon).
Carriage Road is home to 2 problems on the Urban Climer Top 100 Boulders list, Susie A and Marrakech Express. Susie A is a really fun face with horizontal seams spaced 3 feet apart. I don’t think it merits top 100 status, but it’s a good problem and it’s not as bad a selection as Marrakech. Marrakech is an Ivan Greene V6 that starts on a jug and traverses right on a rail to top out another problem. The reason this climb is a top 100 escapes me, and I will be posting soon a separate post about how bad this problem is.
Anyway, enough griping. The next day we went and roped up in the Trapps with Murph and Nyle. I don’t remember the name of the route I took Vikki up, because I was too busy trying not to die while fumbling with a rack full of cams and nuts. You see, it’s been a long time since I’ve plugged pieces, and Vikki’s never had any trad experience, following or otherwise. It all turned out great, though, despite a sudden drop in temperature that left Vikki and I freezing our butts off on the second pitch.
The Gunks was made for trad climbing. Firstly, there is very little actual crack climbing involved. It’s all horizontals, which widen enough for Aliens and Camalots to fit. Secondly, you get on some spectacularly exposed and exciting terrain, even in the easier grades. You’ve obviously heard of High E, the classic-est 5.6 is all the land, but it’s one of a handful of classic, exposed routes below 5.8. Ours was a 5.8 and included not one but two roofs, total hero climbing. In short, the Gunks is where any weekend warrior can find a place to pull a Cruise 100 feet off the deck. (“That cam won’t hold three people! Cut the rope!”)
We’ve been at the Gunks now for about a week and a half, punctuated by a brief trip to New Jersey to witness our good friend from back in the Santa Barbara days, Jeff Dunbar, get hitched to the lovely Laura Kiken. You might remember Jeff “Poundcake” Dunbar from his appearance in Top Rope Tough Guys. Also in attendance were Andy Patterson, Will Wolcott (also of TRTG fame), and Travis “T-Dog” Madsen. All in all, you could say this was a gathering of the “Who’s Who” in Santa Barbara climbing 2005. Aww yeah.
After the wedding, Travis and Will rolled up to the Gunks and we formed a foursome of traditional destruction. We managed to make it rain by bringing metal into the sky, which electrolyzed the moisture and caused it to condense by some unknown mechanism, the discovery of which will earn someone a Nobel Prize.
What really happened is that it’s New York in June, and the weather is fickle. One day, we got to the cliff, racked up, and as we were putting our shoes on, the rain came. After hunkering (we weren’t calling it quits, we paid $17 to get in!), the sun came out and we eagerly awaited the drying of the cliffs. Several hours after arriving at the crag, we climbed adjacent routes (Baby and Easy Overhang), and as soon as we topped out, it rained again.
This was one of four days where one of us went up the wall and got soaked on the rappel. And this is why we think we create our own weather patterns.
So now the boring bits. We’re in New Paltz but soon headed back to Indiana to pick up the trailer. And we’re psyched, because we’re off to Colorado. Remember the Colorado Boys, including Brad Jackson? We’re staying with them in Fort Collins, where Brad has built a crack machine to train for The Century Crack, his goal this fall. He wants us to help document the whole process, as well as take us climbing in Vedauwoo and around north-east Colorado. Finally, as part of his development of Summit Strength Training, he’s going to help turn Vikki and I into ultimate power machines. I’ve made it my goal to climb a 5.14 before 2012 ends, and an asskicker of a summer should get me on the right track. For her part, Vikki would like to lead a 5.11 sport route, and boulder V7. Stay tuned!