Wednesday, September 26, 2012

New Stuff

Found a grip load of boulders near a frequented area yesterday while grouse hunting.  The weekend will see us there for some cleaning, first ascents and exploration. 

In other, less important news:  the Lolo blog has come to fruition.  The Lolo Bouldering blog is where most of my posting will be from now on.  It's sort of like the great folks over at Montana Bouldering.  Levi, Justin and I will be contributing to it with photos, libel, and beta in the near future.  It's sort of under construction at the moment but there are a couple of posts up. 

Friday, September 21, 2012


New problems have been going up all around the forest.  The season is here and it feels fucking great.  We have been seeing more cars up at the boulders which is a good thing.  People need to get out and explore those woods!

Exploration and discovery is an integral part to this sort of 'adventure' bouldering we have in Lolo.  Thick forests and a real lack of drivable roads lends itself well to the adventurous climber.  This isn't for the lazy grid bolters or gym rats.  I know this because I was once a lazy gym rat.  Fortunately Levi's drive for new stone is infectious and it clearly has rubbed off on me.  This climbing is not a 'game' as some people see it.  This is work and you damn well better clock in your time card and reap the rewards.  Or as Guru says "I put in work and watch my status escalate."

Expect a fair amount of Lolo beta coming to the internet soon.  We've been considering posting a few areas, directions and beta this winter so people can get excited for the spring season.  But don't wait until spring.  Go seek the unknown, shred your tips, shoot guns, drink some beers and fucking enjoy it.  Lolo in the fall is unreal.

Iskra and I are rolling out today to shoot my new pistol and check out adventure bouldering 2.0.  We are spoiled for choice.  Photos next post.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Gunning for a birthday send of Cosmic Damage.  Here is Levine before his first ascent.  Photo by brolo Iskra. 

Lolo 4 days in a week?  Fall sessions! 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Season

Levi did Cosmic Damage.  

School started.  For the 6th time.  Fortunately my last year.  Enough said on that topic. 

But with school starting, more leisure time allows for more climbing.  Starting Sept. 1st I'll be carrying my gun along with climbing shoes in my pad.  Upland bird season and climbing season coincide so well together, making the best days in life:  bagging a limit and scoring some points on the sharp Lolo batholith. 

The next few months will be dedicated to school, painting, a wedding, bird/elk hunting in Lolo, deer hunting in the Milk and Missouri rivers, and of course flailing.

I fucking love this place.

Friday, August 17, 2012


A quick little blurb on Lolo:

New problems and projects are happening even during hot temps.  This summer has seen action on problems hard, tall and long.  A few:

Riverbloc Boulder (Granite Creek Rd.)
A renasiaance of the river boulder during the heatwave of summer has led to many projects.  One in particular that Levi is really close on involves steep crimps, slopes, underclings, heelhooks and massive tension power endurance.  Most likely V11, this problem will certainly be the hardest and one of the best in Lolo when it's done.  A few other V12+++ projects exist on the boulder as well but will see minimal action at best in the near future.

Alchemist Low

The natural low start to the Alchemist.  Very doable but very finicky.  Stand is V9, low will probably be around a 10.  This is certainly my fall goal.

Hideout Arete

Levi sent a new techy hard arete in the hideout-ish sector.  Apparently rad and hard.


A new one on the Corridor boulers.  A stretchy, dynamic gym type problem.  A variant more or less of Fuckin' Cheeseball (a classic and rad V8/9, now broken).  Happy to call this one my own.  Low end V6 for me.

Cosmic Damage

One of the most aesthetic problems in lolo.  Likely V10ish.  A true overhanging stunner in the Opium Den sector.

Fall was here temporarily on Wednesday.  Iskra and I enjoyed goodish conidtions on Granite Ridge.

The 45 feels vertical at the garage.  Can't wait to get some more power from the 55.  Getting some new holds and a large box of chalk ordered on Monday.  This place is perfect.

Reasons why the garage is better than Freestone:

You can drink beer
You can smoke
You can set problems
You can climb whenever
You can climb with rad folks
You can climb steep terrain
You can do dips, pull ups, hangboard, campus board, bands and weights
You can listen to profane, outlandish music
You buy a set of holds and can climb forever.  A set of holds ia Freestone's monthly payment, btw.
You will get strong

Come and get it, dickheads.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Lately there has been zero Lolo.  Occassional evening sessions at the riverbloc keep us sane.  We built a woody (another one) at Levi's this weekend.  The garage is miles beyond Freestone.  Let's face it, a pile of my dog's shit is miles beyond that junk show.  Now complete with a 45 and a 55 this place is an epic training facility. 

Iskra, Parchen and I are looking for interns.  People who are excited about training and climbing on actual rocks. 

Calling all interns. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Lolo Update

With the gate open at the quarry, Lolo has been seeing more action.  Though the weather has been pretty shit, the core group continues to clean and get out during the quick breaks of weather.  I'll take a rainy Lolo day over plastic anyday.

Justin and Levi got the 4th and 5th ascent of the Alchemist a couple weeekends ago.  Certainly the only time Levi will get a 5th ascent anywhere in Lolo.  Justin's friend Rob? put up a new problem on the Euro Stone to the left of the Alchemist as well.

Dean, Justin and myself got out yesterday to Elk Rock and the Beautiful Boulder.  A great day with excellent conditions.  The Clamshell face and arete saw sends as well as the right line on the Ponderosa Boulder.  We hit up Hooray for Boobies and tried Not in Public but deemed the day shot after popping out of the mono several times.  I forgot how excellent the dyno on Hooray for Boobies is.  Easily one of the best moves and problems I've ever tried, seen or will see.  Stellar to say the very least.

The past week seems like a preview of the summer.  Woody sessions during the week and Lolo on the weekends.  Accompanied by 40 hours of painting it should be a busy summer.  Victoria started today at the Oregonian in Portland.  Sounds like she is going to busy in the city of post grad privledge.

Now it's time to wait through the epic Montana thunderstorms.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Lolo - Photos and Video

Sunday saw good temps and a solid crew up at the Hideout.  Gate is still closed, but the extra 10 minutes of hiking is easy and flat.  Justin, Levi, Dean and myself got to the gate at 4200 before 11, fairly early for these guys.  Things were a tad bit wet, but we managed to get some climbing in.  Levi got the long awaited first ascent of the Viking Project.  Once was a one move wonder, but Levi found some micro slopes and divots on the arete and managed to float his way up it.  Got video of the send down below.  Some photos:

Hideout Fire

Iskra on the funky delicate first move of the Rabbit

Iskra trying hard on the ridiculous compression moves

The Rabbit has teeth.

Levi on the Viking Project

Tenuous footwork

Iskra trying the OG beta

Callie enjoying the endless maze of Lolo granite

Endless terrain

Here is the video of the send:

Sunday, April 29, 2012


 Lolo season is back.  You'll know where to find me.

 Callie likes Lolo

Tryin' hard on Hieroglyphics

The Hideout

The Rabbit, still hard.

4200, pads and the new rig.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Lost Horse

Rolled out with Levi "maverick" Parchen to LoHo in the early a.m. today to beat the 80 degree forecast.  Managed to be at roadside by 9:30, the earliest I've ever made it there, an alpine start for sure!  Warmed up on the circuit, did a new problem on the gladiator boulder, though it may have been done before.  We were thinking around V6/7, though it's height dependent and there is two ways to do it.  Levi in all of his core strength was able to match up the terrible slopers while I managed a neat moon-kick to a flat crimper.  Pretty cool line.  Similar movement to Montana Meathook, but quite a bit harder.

We checked out Seemingly Impossible, the worlds most sandbagged V6.  Levi pieced the moves together but no send.  I flailed, naturally. 

Since the weather had been warm all week, we decided to drive up the canyon to test out my new rig and to see how far up one could get.  We managed to get up 4 or 5 miles until the snow pack got a little too deep and soft.  We were going to check out a talus field I have been scouting but being day drunkish at 2 pm when it's 70 out leaves something to be desired.  A nap, specifically. 

A stellar day out in the woods.  Lolo season is fucking close!  I would imagine 4200 is still a bit snowy but if this weather prevails for a little longer, Lolo season will begin.

In other news, but not "news" we saw maybe two parties out climbing today.  I know all those university superstars were tearing up some sicky gnar plastic today.  What a waste of a day.  I guess plastic and 5.8 Mill Creek choss prevails.

I was at the Bridge Pizza this evening in my quest for obesity and overheard some bros talking about climbing.  I love overhearing climbing discussions, especially when they are so blatantly idiotic and out of touch.  A good one:

"You ever been to Pipestone Pass?" "Yeah man, they have really awesome gear sales there!"

-Forever an asshole


Monday, April 16, 2012


Geography degree = excuse to talk about climbing academically.

"One might think of Mt. Everest as the pinnacle of wilderness, vast and empty.  But ironically it’s also the world’s highest burial ground.  Some mountaineers won’t attempt to rescue injured summit bidders, as the potential for more death increases considerably.  This could be regarded as extremely selfish and ill mannered, but the act of climbing mountains is inherently selfish and egotistical."

Cultural Ecology Research Paper, Page 6 of 15.  Thanks for being so storied and fucked up, Mt. Everest culture.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Quick Update

Photos are posted from Bishop.  It was an excellent time, getting away from the bubble of Missoula and all of it's shitness.  Felt good going to an area where we didn't know anyone, except for a random gym rat Dean who is on a long road trip from Missoula.  I forgot how deafening the desert really is, just wind and sun. Chapped lips, sun burns, and dehydration - check.  Had a couple good sends, as did Victoria.  Tried a lot of problems, have a lot of projects to get back to.  Of course.  I forgot how glassy everything is down there which was a MAJOR drawback.  Trying hard on glass in 75 degree heat with 30 mph winds certainly didn't make for the best conditions, but we made the best of it.  We left early because of tornado like conditions and relaxed at Victoria's parents house for a couple of days before getting back to Missoula.  We ate like royalty which was a nice change from desert dirtbag life. 

School is nearly over.  Only a month until Victoria graduates.  Levi tells me Lolo is starting to clear up.  New areas are calling.  The weekend looks stellar for sending conditions.  The plan is to go check out a some new boulders near Kootenai this weekend.  I've been scouting digitally and as one can imagine, the Bitterroot is endless.  I know people have their own little boulder areas that never get press, but it's still amazes me that more areas haven't been developed.  I'm not sure if thats because peole are lazy and unimaginative or if it's that they are ignorant, having no idea such fruitful areas exist close to Missoula.  Expect photos from the new area this weekend.  I have a good feeling about this area, as it sits in the mylonite shear zone of the Bitterroot and the terrain lends itself to steep climbing. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Flailfest with SPARKER

I picked up Sparker Thursday for an afternoon of flailing down at LoHo.  Warmed up on the usual shit at Roadside, then I showed him the Snowbound project.  We tried it for a bit and deemed it too sharp and hard, so we moved on up to Girlfriend's Best Friend boulder.  Tried the 9ish project for about an hour, I couldn't do anything on it, as usual, but Scotty had some good goes on it.  We then tried the much harder, weirder, kind of contrived arete on the backside of the boulder.  More flailing ensued.  Photos:

Keep that foot on, Scotty!

It's all choss.

Setting up for the first move deadpoint.  

If this problem were to have a few more feet on it, it was probably be V5, fortunately there is dime edges facing the wrong way.  Probably one of the last best projects in LoHo proper.

In other news, I'm getting a new car in a couple weeks.  Pretty excited.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Wowzers, school just got fucking REAL.  Shit is cray.

I started working again, already logged 16 hours in a couple of days.  One day was spent at Sorella's Day Spa, painting the downstairs, which was great because I actually got to cut and roll (and bitch prep work).  I spent a solid 7 hours crouching so my right thigh looks like this:

I canceled the Freestone membership, it's great not to spend $60 a month on garbage.  I also think I've been outside more this year than most climbers at Freestone have in there life.  Feels good to get outside, goddamn!  On that note, Victoria and I went to LoHo for a couple of hours this past Saturday so I could shovel off some boulders and flail on projects.  It was pretty wet, as it had snowed 3 inches the night before.  AND we actually saw around 15 elk before the resort and heard phantom wolf cries down the canyon.  An odd day for sure.

Tomorrow looks fucking prime.  Sparker has been resurrected from the dead and we are going out to LoHo around noon.  See you out there?  Probably not.

Photos to come.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Masochistic March

Yes, it's that time of the year, the last minute diet, tendon wrecking work outs and finger sweating video viewing.  I look forward to shedding a few pounds, but that's hard when PBR was 25 cents at the Palace tonight.

Just a few things to touch on, because I didn't get a chance to get outside this weekend as I was making some money photographing a wedding out in Columbus, MT.  It was a great event, fun to shoot and I got to spend some time with family in Billings.  Namely my grandmother, who is 90 this year, was great to chat with.  It was my first actual "grown up" talk with her and I learned a bit of family heritage.

I'm 90% sure of canceling my membership at Freestone in the coming days.  Don't get me wrong, it's a great place for the climbing community of Missoula, filling in a serious void that has been lurking since the Rock Garden closed 4 years ago.  That being said, it's not worth $60 a month for Victoria and I to climb.  Terrible setting and a constant, never ending stream of gumby dickheads cloud visions of getting stronger.  I realized today that I went from V5 to V8 in a matter of a few months at the woody and I haven't made any progress at the 6 months at Freestone.  Campus board and woody sessions begin tomorrow, needless to say.

Another thing to speak on:  Iron Man Traverse in Bishop.  I was talking to Slamarama Dogan Johnson on the phone today about his excellent and successful trip to the land of Bishes and we got talking about projects for when Victoria and I go for spring break.  He suggested I hop back on Iron Man Traverse, a climb I tried briefly 3 years ago.  It's odd that he mentioned it, because I've been watching a lot of videos to look at projects and there is always the Iron Man Traverse in them.  Wills Young from the Bishop Bouldering blog said it might be the most often tried V4 in the world.  That's probably true.  Clearly it's known as a classic, but why?  Sure, there is great history behind it, but does that warrant 4 stars?  I don't think so.  This is why climbing is so great, it's one of the most subjective sports/activities/hobbies ever.  To me, I don't see a 4 star line, I see a dumpy, lowball TRAVERSE, that barely climbs up.  This is the exact opposite of what I look for in lines.  But that's what is great about bouldering.  If you are into highballs, traverses, eliminates, dirt-diggler starts or all of the above, there is bound to be something for you.

Weather is looking "meh" this weekend.  Maybe, just maybe, stone will be dry.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

President's Day Weekend

I managed to get out to Lost Horse on Saturday with Victoria and little dog.  A bit of snow the night before soaked the majority of boulders we visited, but we got some of climbing in.

Slushy boulders

I finally got to try the crimpy face on the Snowbound boulder, but unfortunately the top was soaked and covered in ice so I couldn't try the final dyno to the lip.  I figured out the first 3 or 4 moves from the start, which involve 1/4 pad flat crimps and get smaller and much worse as one progresses up the boulder.  I think I should be able to finish it off next session if the top is dry.  Not sure how hard this one will be because the dyno will certainly be the crux, but probably anywhere from V6-8.

Tiny crimps = lots of blood/skin loss, photo by Victoria

Little dog looking very disapproving of my branch breaking.  The start is shown below my head on the flat cube flake and moves up and left.  Photo by Victoria.

I also got lucky with the weather on Monday, so I took little dog out again and looked for dry rock.  We ended up at Upper Roadside and I did Ender's Game and tried to low start to Travis' Problem.  Ender's Game would be a really good problem if the tree was gone and if it was harder.  I ended up dropping from the top as once again, the top out was pure ice.  Next stop was Big Chuck area to try the low start to Big Chuck.  I fired off "the move" pretty quick from the stand but ended up bleeding profusely from my left pointer tip, pooling blood in the tiny crimp slot needed to gain the edge shown in the photo.  While the sit is pretty cool, I don't think it warrants another grade.  The moves are no harder than V3, but then again, this problem is fairly easy for a person of my height.

Screenshot on Big Chuck, Callie ignoring me.

Frustrated and bloody, I went down and finally did the tiny turd that is Undertow.  Ended up traversing out left on the top out and stepped off because of ice.

I really need to bring a shovel with me.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Lost Horse Snow Circuit, New Motivation

Victoria and I headed south to LoHo on Saturday to meet up with Erich, his girlfriend Jessie and her little brother Sam.  We headed out of Missoula around 10:30, driving through at least 4 different snow storms until things cleared up around the junction of Skalkaho and 93.  The road is still pure ice past the resort but we managed to make it all the way to Motherload later in the day.  

We met up at Roadside to find every problem soaked or seeping.  We made the best of it, sampling the classic overhang, twilight*, and bug eyes.  Afterwards we drove to Motherload, climbed on the soaked beautiful people, better eat your corndogs and the slab between those problems.  I tried the low start to corndogs and found it absolutely impossible.  I think it is supposed to start on the terrible flat underclings right below the sloper, but I could be wrong.  Either way, the full line is graded at V8, when in reality, the first move is at least hard V8 in itself.  I think a hard V9 is a more realistic grade, from the underclings.  Does anyone know of anyone doing the low start?  

*  It should be noted that Twilight of my Youth/Benjamin Button ARE the same problem.  To say there are two separate lines would mean they are both contrivances and eliminates(unless that's your thing, lame ass).  I think that we should just view this as a single boulder problem.  It should also be noted that this problem is an utter lowball turd, but makes for an excellent warm up for cold fingies.  

Afterwards we headed to the Tanganyika boulder, sampled gib mir pfeffer, the traverse, red headed step child, the V2 layback, some random eliminates and the tiny v1 on the mini boulder.  All in all a solid day for being snowy and wet.  Not quite the project slaying session I hoped for but circuits/tours are just as fun.  I'm starting to enjoy climbing on moderates more and more.  I think my new goal is climb at least 30 points every time I go outside.  That certainly is subject to change during project mode, but I think it is a good benchmark for a day outside.  

In my nearly 5 years as a student/missoulian I've never owned a Lost Horse guide.  Certainly an advantage to be a "in the know local" as the guide book says.  I borrowed Levi's guide and found a number of problems that I'd wanted to try and some projects.  I found out that this boulder is actually the snowbound boulder and there is a "v-hard" problem in the center of the face.  I'm going to assume that it hasn't been done, unless someone else knows the history of it.  I also found out where Seemingly Impossible is, an elusive boulder that I have heard about for a while.  A proud Justin Pettersen first ascent that goes around V6.  

Snowbound Boulder with the "V-Hard" problem in the center of the face.

For a long time I struggled with the idea of Lost Horse being the "go to" place for bouldering.  After a year or so I had climbed most of the lines that were appealing and with in my means.  With new places being developed like Lolo and Butte it was really hard to want to climb at Lost Horse.  But after new motivation and knowledge, Lost Horse is now entering a renaissance, in my eyes at least.  The easy access to an unlimited amount of immaculate rock is almost unmatched in Montana.  The areas of concentrated rock outside of Lost Horse-proper number in the hundreds.  As soon as the snow begins to melt in the higher elevations I think it's going to be hard to climb anywhere else.  Besides Lolo, of course, because everyone needs a dose of humble pie every once in a while.

President's Day weekend looms ahead of us, hope y'all are getting outside.  I know SAM is, fuckin' bish.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Bitterroot Blue Bird

Easily the most beautiful day I've ever seen at Lost Horse was today.  40 and not a cloud to be seen.  There is still quite a bit of snow in the open parts of the forest, the roadside has around 5 inches of crusty snow and the road after the resort is solid ice.  I would imagine you could get to the bridge in a 4x4 or all-wheel drive rig.  Warmed up on Bug Eyes, scouted some boulders and tried some harder stuff before the resort.  Got completely whooped by everything I tried.  Had the whole place to myself, which makes me wonder about other climbers in Missoula.  Maybe they were skiing the gnar or roping up at Mill Creek or Kooter.  Probably they were in the gym, working some shitty problems.  More for me I suppose.   

Callie, soaking up the sun. 

Callie and the powerful Bug Eyes

Anyone know what this boulder is?  Looks rad/thin/hard.  The arete is probably V1-2

Plan B project, Girl's Best Friend Boulder.  Upon further attempts, I think the main line will go around solid V9

The other side project, V12? at least.  This thing is absurd.

This boulder problem is the future of Missoula/Bitterroot bouldering.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Lost Horse

A good looking forecast for Hamilton this weekend.  The best it has been all winter.  I checked a couple webcams yesterday and Hamilton has zero snow in town, so a quick call to the resort at LoHo for snow depth should clear things up a bit.

Excited to work some projects, specifically the one pictured below.  Thanks for the photo Schmechel.  

This problem is a beauty.  Thuggy underclings for a start, extreme tension for the move to the slot and a dynamic finishing move to the jug.  Classic 3 move boulder problem.  Conditions are looking prime on Saturday and I can't wait to get my ass kicked on this thing.