Spring Round Up, Summer Excitement

It’s been a great spring on the coast here in Squamish.  My girlfriend Jo Bulmer and I got started early, climbing Freeway in late March.  For me, the best way to get fit for the summer season is to repeat all my favourite established multipitch classics.  Its gets me in tune on the granite climbing routes below my limit, relearning how to weight my feet on less-than-vertical terrain.  And beyond that, I just love Squamish’s long classics:  they rate alongside the best granite freeclimbs in the world in my books.
In May, Sonnie Trotter, Peter Cross and I went to Yosemite.  Peter is my designated attorney, and old friend from high school- not much of a climber, but perpetually game for anything.  He just finished a long push at Law School in Calgary so he was stoked to shelve the books for a bit and climb a couple routes.
Sonnie and I went spirit-questing on El Cap.  We discovered some cool pitches, but in the end, got shut down on some technical copperhead seam that seemed over our heads to free.  Who knows, though- Tommy Caldwell never takes no for an answer on that sorta stuff, which I think is the right idea on El Cap free climbing.  It’s always a joy to be up there nonetheless, swinging around, deciphering sequences.  Its a place where you can let your imagination run wild.
It got blazing hot in the valley so we putt-putted the old purple van north to give Grand Illusion a try.  Grand Illusion is a wildly overhaning corner first freed by Tony Yaniro in 1979.  At 13c it ranked as perhaps the hardest route in the world at the time.  And it is one hell of a gem.   Perfect sierra granite, burly jamming, at a stellar crag that we had all to ourselves.  I managed to do it with pre-placed gear.  Sonnie, who had suffered a crack toenail in Yosemite, made many valiant efforts in the one climbing shoe/ one approach shoe combo, but came up short when his approach shoe curiously blew off the slick stone.
Since I’ve been home I’ve had a blast climbing at the this new crag called ‘The Longhouse’.  The Longhouse is a remote bluff set way behind the Slihannay on the Chief.  Charlie Long, Paul McSorley, Josh Lavigne and Colin Moorhead started developing the cliff and visiting Brit Hazel Findlay added a cool 5.13 pitch she dubbed the Adder Crack to the mix.  I was happy to repeat the Adder Crack and add a new pitch: a 13a I called “Sacred Hunting Grounds”.
The highlight of the spring season came last weekend when Jo and I ventured up on the University Wall.
In 1982, Hamish Fraser, Greg Foweraker and Peter Croft freed the U-Wall at stout 12b.  They deeked out left in two spots to avoid some blank looking corners.  The lower corner, in particular, is jaw-dropping.  From the pub to the post-office, this pitch calls out to be climbed.  In ’87, Croft onsighted that corner, which hasn’t been repeated first try since despite attempts from some heavy hitters like Caldwell, Honnold and Trotter.  I held my horses for years, waiting for that distant day when I felt fit enough to give it a solid first try.
Last year, I finally went up there, and fell off at the top.   And that was the end of the dream.  Last weekend I tried again, but with far less pressure. Focussing on the subtle granite movement, I chimneyed my way to the top of the pitch.  Croft’s upper Shadow pitch proved more of a battle.  The clouds were folding up on each other like an accordion to the south.  The pitch was covered in that black slick Squamish lichen and crawling with little silverfish, or rock lobsters, as I like to call them.  It was a classic gear battle- firing in small wires, willing my feet to stick, all the while getting pelted by fat raindrops, terrified that the deluge would begin any moment.  I was really content to finally climb the Shadow on U-Wall to the Dance Platform without falling:  perhaps not for the pure difficulty of it, but more so because it was a long-held dream.  And the archetypal Squamish weather only added to the experience.
Next week I’m off to the Bugaboos to hopefully complete this project that Matt Segal and I spent all last summer bashing our heads against.  I first saw it with Chris Brazeau in ’08 and I’ve been obsessing over it since.  I can’t wait to drive down the old logging road and and start the march into the mountains.

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The Old Grand Illusion.

 

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Jo at the roof belay on Freeway.

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Sonnie spirit questing.

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A new pitch at the Longhouse.  Sacred Hunting Grounds, 13a R.

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The Shadow.

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5 Questions with Tim Emmett

(Tim in it to win it, Helmcken Falls, BC)
“Take a good run at it, mate…”  Tim teaching Jo the finer points of wingsuiting at the Villa, Squamish BC.

I first met Tim Emmett in the Bugaboos in the summer of 2009. He was running around Applebee campground, camera in hand, snapping photos of the towers, saying “alright…mate, alright” over and over again in his southern UK accent. With blonde curly hair, and a smile that seemed to wrap the whole way around his head, Tim was, in a word, STOKED.

 

His reputation preceded him. Dangerous headpoints in the UK, a huge new route on the Kedar Dome in the Garwal Himalaya with Ian Parnell, ice climbs, BASE jumps… Tim had seemingly done it all and been everywhere. He has an immense appetite for life: climbing, people and places, and a charisma that everyone gravitates to.

 

Tim had semi-relocated to Squamish with his wife Katie, and we became fast friends. We climbed the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore, cragged in Squamish, and eventually met up in the UK for some gritstoning. That trip didn’t end so well, and Tim piggy-backed me down the Burbage hillside after I decked out from a considerable height. Tim, good friend that he is, even smuggled some Famous Grouse into the hospital for me while I nursed my broken foot.

 

He’s giving a slideshow at the Vancouver Mountain Film Fest on Feb 8, and it’ll be a blast.

 

Q1: You’re well known as a very fired-up person. Have you always been ‘well-psyched’?

There are lots of things to get excited about Mr William, cool people, cool places and full value entertainment if you choose it. I like doing fun stuff, with people that enjoy doing the same. I also like espresso too! So I guess the answer to that is – Yes ;-)

 

Q2: I’m impressed that you can switch from cutting-edge ice, to terrifying headpoints, to BASE jumping. Does mixing it up continually keep you ‘well-psyched’?

I love the variety that climbing and mountain sports offer, it’s like the changing seasons, love it.

 

Q3: Can you describe one moment when you’ve been scared? In the mountains, or the rock, wherever…

Yeah when you landed next to me after ripping off the flake on Parthian Shot! You landed so hard, for the first few moments I wasn’t sure if you were were going to be OK.

 

Q4: After all these years in the vertical, do you still have some pipe-dream projects that keep you up at night?

I have to say this trip to Trango is the ultimate dream for me and one that has been in the back of my mind ever since the first time I went to the Himalayas. Climbing in this environment is always hard work, especially 5.12d at 6000m but the thought of getting to the top and putting our wing suits on and then flying in formation through what’s probably the most impressive mountain scenery in the world, is definitely my pipe dream.

Will’s note: Tim spent a sizable portion of last summer in Pakistan, but conditions were not optimal, and the team came up short on the goal. The dream remains…

 

Q5: Describe a perfect day starting with coffee and ending with evening cocktails. Can include rocks, ice, flying, whatever.

Anything that combines good coffee, fine weather, my wife, amigos and lots of entertaining adventures is a perfect day for me. Especially if I can get a sunset wingsuit flight down and a raging party after. You know the score Mr Stanhope ;-)

 

 

Monkey off the back

Over the course of three and a half days I managed to repeat the Prophet, making the fourth ascent of the route.

It was a major battle, perhaps the toughest for me.

I recruited “Big Wall” Dave Allfrey for the mission, and he hauled the lion’s share of the weight.  Perhaps most important was his relentless enthusiasm, and positivity when the chips were down.  He’s been scorching his way through Yosemite’s wall in the last few years, setting a stack of speed records.  I won the lottery having him as a partner.

This year I took one different variation: Nik Berry’s “Devil’s Reacharound” as opposed to Leo’s gigantic sideways dyno.  I had led Leo’s variation last year, but in the end, the dyno proved too low-percentage, and I hedged my bets on Nik’s way.  The fact that Leo could consistently stick the dyno is testament to his ninja-like ability.  Nik’s way turned out to be tougher and scarier than I had originally given it credit for.  I led this way using two ropes to alleviate rope drag so I didn’t have to split the pitch up.

On the evening of day three I found myself underneath the A1 beauty once again, a deja-vue experience, as I had found myself in the identical spot last year.  And, like last year, I was starting to feel deep fatigue setting in.

I couldn’t possibly conjure up in my head, if I tried, a wilder finish to a wild route.  A laser cut finger crack, bordered by a razor-sharp arete; in my books, it doesn’t get any better than that.  It captured me when I first laid eyes on it.  My friend Matt Van Biene rapped in to snap some photos in the magic hour, just as the rock was turning a gold-pink colour.

My first try I performed poorly, burdened by nerves and expectations.  The next try went better, and I soon found myself at the rest before the heading left on insecure sidepulls and terrible footholds.  I could hear Tommy Caldwell and Jonathan Siegriest hollering encouragement from over on the Dawn Wall, as well as Jasmin Caton and Evan Stevens in the meadow.  I knew this was a special moment and that it was time to give it everything I had.

Somehow I managed to do it, digging deeper than I ever have before.  After I clipped the anchor I slumped onto the rope, absolutely spent.  Dave lowered me, embraced me in a bear hug, and we had a King Cobra each to celebrate.  The next day still had the “final defense” pitch in store for me, 5.13a R, but there was no way in hell I was going to let that stand in my way.

I didn’t sleep much that night, instead just blinking at the stars from the portaledge, enjoying being up there.  I felt enormously grateful for all my friends that helped me along the way.  Leo Houlding and Jason Pickles, for the inspiration in the first place.  If it wasn’t for those two brits, the Prophet wouldn’t exist.  And Sonnie Trotter, for ropegunning the route last year.  He took the leads when I was having serious doubts, terrified of re-breaking my foot.  He never made me feel guilty about anything, instead he just gently took over the sharp-end, and showed me how it was done.  The night seemed to drag on forever, but I was ecstatic, savoring every minute of darkness, high on the wall.

The “final defense” went down in a few tries the next morning, then we winched the bags over the top.  We shared the last Cobra in the late-morning, then staggered down the trail.  The Prophet was a done deal.

Dreamer pitch, Tom Evans photo.

Pitch 4, Tom Evans photo

Lowering off A1, heading back to the ledge for a much-needed King Cobra.

Leo and Stanley stop by for a guide’s meeting atop Prophet after climbing the Nose.

 

 

Cheers!

 

 

 

It’s the Prophet, mate.

Alright.  So I’m back in Yosemite, trying to finish off this line called ‘The Prophet’, which I tried last year with Sonnie Trotter, who eventually succeeded.  I came mighty close, but alas, mighty close isn’t quite good enough, so I’m back swinging around on this very proud chunk of stone, hoping to seal the deal on one bad to the bone route.  And not just in the figurative sense of the phrase- the Prophet actually shares sections of the route ‘Bad to the Bone’, which is fitting, because to do this route, you have to want it deep in your bones.

So there’s a lot of hiking, a lot of swinging around, alot of groggy starts and big days.  I’ve been crashing in a little cave at the top of the route that also is home to a few squirrels, and some animal that Leo calls “Old ring tail”, and Sonnie calls a “muskrat.”

This year I don’t have a certified rock crusher like Sonnie to swing pitches with me, so I’ve got all of them to myself.  It’s an intimidating project, not without a hefty gulp! factor, but I’m hoping for the best, and trying to enjoy the whole process, and not get too wrapped up in the end goal.

Cheers from Yosemite!

 

 

Taran with the Leo hat, trying to summon the British “Don’t let go!”  attitude.

And a few from the summer while I’m at it:

Dad, improvised raft.

Andy Burr’s snap from the glacier, Bugaboos.

This young man is fired up.

 

A long time coming

Since I got back from the Bugaboos the weather has been perfect.  I’ve been guiding a tonne but getting out almost every evening, climbing a stack of pitches and trying to stay fit.

Last week while guiding I texted my good friend Jer Blumel, begging him to give me a belay on the Gunslinger, first climbed by Ben Harnden this spring.  I’ve never tried a pitch as many times as this one.  Zack Smith first tipped me off that this might go, and I spent lots of time on it in the last few years unlocking a sequence that would go free.

Jer, good buddy that he his, loyally swung into Murrin in the late evening to give me yet another belay.  Leading this pitch has always freaked me out.  The gear is good, but it isn’t a tall climb, and a fall from the top could be really bad.

This time it all clicked, and I topped out the wall, elated.  As for the grade, this climb is the antithesis of my style:  really bouldery, 5.13d R perhaps, but for me this was the most demanding single pitch I’ve ever climbed.

Ryan Olson photo from a couple years back, Mike Shannon at the helm on one of my first lead attempts.

Nuggets along the way

 

I thought I’d write a little update on this project that Matt Segal and I have been trying in the bugaboos.

We spent alot of time on it this summer, basically augered into Applebee campground for close to a month.  A tonne of days swinging around and trying to find a completely free line up the east face of Snowpatch spire.  I first eyed this line on my first trip to the bugaboos in 2008 with Chris Brazeau

This sort of freeclimbing is a trying game.  Its sorta like a little glimpse into what a guy like Tommy Caldwell is going through on a much, much, much harder and longer line like the Dawn Wall.  We’ve been dead-ended many times; chalked holds that led to nowhere, wasted skin on fruitless variations.

It’s all about the process.  Everyone always says it, but its a lesson I need to continually relearn along the way.  Its not so much about the ‘pot of gold’ at the conclusion of a project, but the little nuggets along the way.  When we finally found a series of crimps along the blank granite we were hooting and hollering  on our little mini-portaledge.

There’s a tonne of awesome routes to climb in the bugs, so its kinda funny how we’ve been bashing our heads against just one line for a whole summer.  But this is the one that’s captured our imaginations, and we really have no choice but to follow the path and see where it leads.

But infatuation has its perks- like finding a line of crimps, one by one, across a blank wall.  Almost eery, perfectly spaced apart, pretty damn close to the limit of our abilities- like some higher power was saying “push harder, and you can make this happen!”

 

 

 

 

A line revisited

Segal clips into the anchor point on the project, and we both stare up at the splitter.  Nothing on either side for fourty feet, plumb-straight, 2 pitches long, white-gold granite.  Basically, as good as it gets.  We jostle around on the old pink cordalette I left here two years ago, hopping our little portaledge around to best get suited for a go.  Two summers ago my partner and I rappelled down this crack.  We replaced some old slings, beefed up the ancient pin anchors, and slithered down the ropes, mouths agape.  In the past couple years lots has changed; I had a bad injury, I rehabbed, I asked myself the big questions.  I wanted to hike in here but couldn’t because my ankle was too fucked up.  But this splitter never left the back of my mind, a big itchy question mark that wouldn’t go away.  And the pink cordalette and mini-biner is a definite, real-life reminder that I was indeed here two years ago, that it wasn’t just a dream, though that day feels like a decade ago and yesterday all at the same time.
At the top of the pitch hangs Kyle, new to the mountains and eager to get some footage.  I met him a couple years ago in Yosemite and immediately liked his enthusiasm, so I asked him to come along on this trip.  He’s got his blue static line all coiled up and viewfinder trained on me, so I lace-up the boots tight and prepare to drop into some seriously insane rock climbing.  I’ve got the heebie-jeebies now:  might be from the building electrical storm, might be from the exposure.  Sometimes I think I’ve kicked the spine-tingling fear that comes from climbing in an ultra-exposed posititon.  What’s your problem, Will?  The gear couldn’t be more bomber.  But its where I am:  one laser cut crack in a sea of blankness.
Time to cut adrift.
So I start climbing up from the gear, like some granite mariner so far from home, heading into who knows what.  Then all of a sudden, my perspective changes from macro to micro, and my stomach settles, and the fear fades away.  Little grey and black crystals latticed into each other.   The bite of the crack on my first knuckle. The subtle pressure of rubber on rock. Be gentle on the feet.  Not too much pressure on the toes, just enough. I can feel the wind whistling behind me, and as I peer under my shoes while spying footholds, I see the glacier nudging against the wall.  Then suddenly I’m pumped and way above the gear.  The perspective changes again, and the “where I am” factor comes flooding back in.  Gravity wastes no time in ripping me from the wall, and I’m rocketing down the face, arms windmilling, waiting for the rope to catch me.  It does, and we’re all okay, but we scream anyway because our hearts are racing.
Back at the belay we look up and dark clouds are swirling around.  Then it starts pouring.  Then things go electrical.  Big thunder crashes.  Kyle hasn’t seen anything like this before so his eyes are alight with excitement and fear.  We zip down the soaked fixed lines, gri-gris hissing like snakes.
At camp the sky has been pacified, and the sky is blue again.  I grab the water bottle full of bourbon and pour the team a couple fingers each, pack the mugs with snow then slice up a couple limes, squeezing the fruit with chalky, chapped hands, hands still shaking a bit.  Stir the mixture up with a tent peg and hand ‘em out.  The adrenaline starts ebbing, my hands stop shaking, and we stare at the wall, then each other, grinning, shaking our heads, and laughing.

The UK Hardman Post (Part 1) : 5 Questions with Dave Pickford

When I first thought of doing some interviews on my blog, I brainstormed a few people that I thought would be interesting to fire some questions at.  High on the list were Dave Pickford and Tim Emmett, two characters from the land of England.

Dave is an accomplished climber, photographer and currently is the editor of Climb Magazine.  Dave’s interests include Porsches, sea-cliffs, poetry, photography and travel.  He is one of the most interesting guys I’ve ever hung out with.  A couple years back, a group of us were pondering our options in the south of Spain after a savage rainstorm.  We were taking care of a horse named Joseph, who didn’t like us too much, and liked the rain even less than he liked us.  In between drying out Joseph’s horse-coat, Dave introduced us to Georgian chant-music, and often recited poetry.  The chips were clearly down.  But Dave, ever the optimist, said that we should “get some beer, and just have it!”  So we went to the crag, and did just that.

Dave is a forward-thinker, and perpetually interested in a variety of different things.  He will be here this summer and I can’t wait to climb some granite with him.

Below are some questions with the man himself.

 

Climbing and travelling.  Intrinsically linked?
There’s no question for me that climbing and travelling are deeply linked. Climbing is an adventurous extension of the special curiosity which led humans to populate the entire land surface of our planet. And climbing’s also a way of reconnecting of that old, old human experience of being completely lost in a wild place and then finding your way out, making your way back to the tribe. Whilst we may travel to climb, all the time, we also climb in order to travel to places inaccessible to the large majority of people in the Western world. In that respect, and in many others, I consider myself very lucky to be a climber. 
Can you describe one moment when you were scared?


I’ve been scared a lot of times over the course of my climbing life. But I guess dealing with fear is just something I’ve become accustomed to. I don’t seek out dangerous climbs as I once did, but I’m glad that I can deal with risk effectively. Climbing often seems like really hard work for people who have trouble dealing with risk. Just recently, Tim Emmett and I did this little new route on our local sea cliffs of Pembrokeshire in Wales. It was an afterthought, an escape route from a harder line we were looking at. There was about 30 metres of great 5.10+ dihedral climbing, then the rock turned to baked mud with large limestone blocks stuck in it for the last 6 or 7 metres. It took me about twenty minutes to do the last 4 or 5 metres, raining debris down past Tim all the time,  shifting my weight all the time like an insect trying not to break the surface tension. Then on the last move – a mantelshelf on a collapsing, ovehung ledge – both my footholds disintegrated at the same time. I thought that if the ledge collapses too, which it very well could, then I’d be in for a 25 metre fall down a slabby corner. I sort of rolled over the top somehow, and when Tim arrives we laughed about it. It’s funny how fear produces these very powerful effects in your body. It’s like a massive drug rush, all that adrenaline. And it’s highly addictive, particularly for young guys. I’m glad I don’t feel the need for a monster adrenaline fix every week these days like I did when I was 20 or 25! But I’m also glad I’ve not lost that core ability to deal with risk and fear. 



What are you reading right now?

I’ve been re-reading David Hinton’s beautiful recent translations of the wilderness poetry of ancient China. The collection is called ‘Mountain Home’. Hinton concentrates on representing the so-called ‘rivers and mountains tradition’, which is arguably the earliest literary engagement with wilderness in human history. It’s powerful stuff.
What do the seacliffs of England mean to you?  I remember you telling me how special of a place they are.  Can you elaborate?
English and Welsh sea cliffs are my Ithaca, the place I always think of when I’m away on a trip and think of home. The sea cliffs of Britain contain by far the greatest collection of climbs in the British Isles, and they are a never ending source of adventure, both for repeating established classics and pioneering new climbs. I love climbing new routes, and there are literally thousands of brilliant new climbs still to be done on British sea cliffs. Many are in the harder grades, above 5.12+, which is very exciting for the next generation of British trad climbers. 

 
What is one area that you haven’t visited yet, but would like to.  And why?
There are a lot of places I’ve not been to and would love to visit. I’d really like to climb a new route on the Tepuis of Giuana – the whole Gran Sabana strikes me as one of the world’s best places for full-blown adventure rock climbing. And I’d love to go back to the Himalayas, somewhere in the Pakistan Karakoram this time, and do a big new rock route with some really solid, hard climbing that finishes high up – say at around 5500 – 6000 metres. One of the most extraordinary things about climbing as a sport is the range of its inspirational possibilities. I’ll continue to be inspired by climbing in all its forms until I die. There’s no question about that.

 

 

Good friends, New Routes

I was going to write a blog about a couple new routes that Hayden Kennedy and I put up in Indian Creek this spring.  But then, when I started writing, I realized that, at the core of it all, the new routes were just a small part of the story. I’ll do my best to write a little about the trip.

When I’m at Indian Creek I get a real kick out of walking the bases of the walls, looking at the cliffs, and looking at the plaques at the base.  Little scratches in the sandstone saying that someone else was here, too.  It gives the place a unique sense of history.  One of my favourite things to do at Indian Creek is trace the base of the walls, glancing up at splitters, and poking around for new stuff.  And behind every plaque there’s a name and a story.

Hayden managed to finish off the 4×4 Wall project, which was amazing to witness.  I had tried the line a bit two springs ago, and while it seemed possible, it was clear that it was very, very hard.  Hayden, blessed with an abundance of strength and height, polished it off quickly.  The day he did it, I was wrestling with the idea of trying to lead a project at the Battle of the Bulge, beside Ruby’s Cafe.

Hard gear climbing is a test of physical and mental strength.  That is obvious, I guess, but I sometimes forget how full-on and scary those experiences can be.  Its been over a year now since I broke my talus in England, and I’ve been pretty gun-shy ever since.  I’ve tried to throw myself back into the fray by trying routes like the Prophet, but my head has always felt a bit shakey.   I’ve tried to force myself back into it, but it takes time.

So I sat down on a rock at the 4×4 wall after watching Hayden dispatch the project and mulled over whether or not I was up for this new pitch.  The crux is a few dicey and insecure moves over to Ruby’s Cafe, with a potentially rough fall onto three equalized knifeblades.  Basically, there was no two-ways about it:  it could be bad if I fell.

But, after watching Hayden send, I started getting really excited to experience the route- and not just sending the route.  I wanted the whole thing:  to feel the sharpness of the rock, the runout, the fear, the feeling of pushing myself.  It had been a long time since I could honestly say that.  I told myself that lots.  But to actually want the experience is completely different than pretending to want it.

So I started to get really excited.  Matt Segal, Hayden, Andy Burr and some other friends generously trudged back up to the Battle of the Bulge to give me another belay.  Friends are so important on these types of missions.  When you’re on the cusp of deciding what to do, a trusted friend at the belay makes all the difference.  Matt and I have swapped belays on loads of heady routes, and we will gladly hike to wherever, at anytime, to help each other out.  And I’ll never forget some of the climbs we’ve swapped belays on like the Cobra Crack and Musta Bin High.  We’ve got alot of history together, and its nice to have a familiar face on belay who knows what I’m going through in my head.

After the sun had set, I laced up and led it.  It was an awesome feeling to be back at it, on something new, and really going for it.  At the mental crux I felt very alert, not too scared, not worrying- just present in the situation.

I named the route, ‘Down in Albion’, which is a Babyshambles Album.  Albion is an ancient name for England.  The name refers to lessons learned from that whole UK experience.

Below are a couple snaps that Andrew Burr took.  Andy Burr is a top-notch photographer and all-around great guy.  Check out www.andrewburr.com

And a shot of Pete Doherty, frontman for Babyshambles, a bit of a hooligan, but a very talented artist nonetheless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Questions with Hayden Kennedy

First of all, I’d like to say that I stole this idea from Jonathan Siegreist’s awesome blog:  www.jstarinorbit.com 

I thought I would ask some friends of mine some questions… and see what they had to say.

I’ll start it off with my good buddy Hayden Kennedy.  Hayden, at age 22, has amassed a gigantic ticklist of hard sport climbs, alpine routes and everything in between.  Son of legendary hardman Michael Kennedy, Hayden is a climbing omnivore, and will devore whatever sort of rock is put in front of him.

But, beyond the superior climbing skills he possesses, Hayden is a light-hearted jokester who makes me laugh all the time. He’s also one of the few people even lankier than me- but, I may add, I have him beat by five on chest-hair count, which I’m very happy about. For the last week we’ve been noodling around on a few different projects at Indian Creek.  New-wave undone climbs, and old testpieces…  it doesn’t really matter.  Every day we’ve had a blast, and climbed till dark, gotten covered in sand and drank many 3.2 percent Utah beers.

So, without, further ado, here’s a little interview with a young man that’s been dubbed “The Future.”  Hayden pulled no punches in his answers, so I’d like to warn the viewers that this blog post is probably PG-13.

 

You put up a route in Rifle called ‘Waiting for 21.’  Elaborate on what that means.

HK: When I put that route up I was 17 years old and hanging out in Rifle all the time, where drinking beer and climbing are a match made in heaven. I was underage and didn’t have a fake ID, so it was hard when all of my friends would go to the bars, forcing me to drink alone. This is a hard time in every young man’s life: when you can die in war but you can’t enjoy a beer…the Land of The Free!

(Matt Segal question) When bivying in the mountains, how close is ‘too close’?

HK: I have found that when climbing in the mountains, it’s not gay if you are in a first-light tent, on the side of a scary mountain, and in a two man snuggle bag. Its all about keeping warm and psyched when the times get really rough. With that said, it’s very important to make sure that you beat your partner up afterwards to make everything ok.

What’s next on the chopping block?

HK: I am going chop Matt Segal’s hair and I am going to fill the Cobra Crack in with cement.

You’ve been detained by the Argentine Police for giving Cerro Torre the chop.  First of all, I’d to say “Respect.”  In my books, that makes you pretty tough.  What happened in jail, and do you want to talk about it?

HK: Alot of things happened in jail.  But mostly we just drank tea with the police officer and watched ‘The Dark Knight.’  I am going to get a tattoo about the experience, like Tupac.

Thanks buddy.  I hope we can climb these projects soon.