First things first... check out the video we put on youtube (this should also show up on the video bar on the bottom left of this page.)
Alright. After two weeks on the road our hopes at regularly updating the blog have proven premature. Things have gone thus far without a hitch. We kicked off the trip with Oktober Fest weekend in the Bavarian theme town, Leavenworth, WA. Rainy weather limited our climbing, but the discovery of a Das Boot Stein kept spirits high (the bubble at the end of the boot does exist). Several key additions to the trip included Farmer as our new Nutrition Expert (3 decades of eating leaves no doubt to his expertise), Ross as our Expert of Extreme, and two Das Boot steins (including "The Danger Boot"). Huge thanks to everyone for coming out to visit (Ross, Kim, Farmer, Erin, Casey, Kelly)...perfect way to kick off our trip.
After a quick night in the Wesseler home, we drove down the coast to spend four days at Smith Rock, located just outside of Bend, OR. Most of our climbs there involved warming up on some amazing sport routes. By far the most memorable climb was four pitches on "The Monkeys Face" (check the video for some sweet line jugging action into the monkeys mouth), an unbelievable tower of rock that we summited just as the sun was setting. Getting off the tower involved the longest free rappel that either of us have done (close to 180 ft), under the desert stars.
After Smith Rocks we moved further south with a quick stop to climb "The Ogre" at Castle Crags State Park, CA. The weather held wonderfully through six pitches to a knife edge summit with an awesome view of Mt. Shasta in the background. We also received a free dinner in the tiny town of Dunsmuir, compliments of being recognized as the "PBR Climbers" from Smith Rock, OR (the legend of free beer is spreading quickly).
Brett calling out his next
climb just like the Babe.
The Monkey's Face is the
tower on the receiving
end of the call-out in the
Currently we're living inside the self-contained bubble of Yosemite National Park (going strong on 10 days). We've been here for about five days, and we've got another five to go before heading out. The sheer scale of the rocks here is beyond compare. We've mostly been ticking off smaller climbs that involve minimal walks to approach. One noteworthy achievement was topping out on an eight pitch climb (Snake Dike, 5.7) which tops out on Half Dome, combined with 15 miles of hiking (close to 8,000 ft of elevation change over the day)... all of which made for one of the most exhausting days so far.
One unexpected challenge in Yosemite has been dealing with the overwhelming black bear population, which can only be compared to the raccoon infestation on Biscayne Key, FL. The bears make regular rounds through the night slamming the metal food lockers at each camp site, almost as if they're playing out long drawn out drum solos. Most notably, Phil woke one night with a particularly large black bear halfway inside the back of the 4runner with Tim's day pack in its mouth. After a short chase across the creek we luckily retrieved the pack and its contents (minus several Amazing Grass energy bars).
We'll be leaving the park on 11/4 in preparation for Brett's final paramedic test in the San Francisco area. We're currently hoarding a lot more video, but the slow internet in Yosemite has made it a struggle to post the bit we have so far.... hopefully once we hit San Fran more will be forthcoming.