Friday, December 31, 2010

sunset in Hadan area of Busan
training at Hadan wall

Got back from Korea on Tuesday. Can't seem to get my sleep schedule back on track. I'm all over the place. My trip turned out to be really fun and productive. I met a lot of great new friends which is my favorite part of traveling abroad. The crew in Korea is very psyched and truly a pleasure to climb with. The video First Ascents in Korea got a good reaction when played at the Reel Rock Tour event in Seoul. Local Koreans were excited by the development being done in the Busan area.
Before I left I got to help develop some brand new boulders in the Hadan Area. Thanks to Aaron Hefty and Robin Kimmerling for opening the door for me. This area was a short walk from Brenna and Christoph's houses. The rock quality was amazing and it seemed like that mountain could hold more potential. I managed to put up a few good first ascents there which include The Hadan Shuffle v2, Thorn Killer v5, Thorn Killer Traverse v7?, Fruit of the Vine v3, and Vine and Dine v3. These problems were all awesome additions to Busan. I left behind a few open projects for the locals to send. One around the corner from Thorn Killer is on the highball boulder and goes up a tall face via hard moves on sharp crimps; wouldn't be surprised if it's about v7. The other is my obvious dyno project on the Vine boulder uphill near the crag. Last I saw Matt Palmer was getting very close to sending.
I feel like all in all, I did not really touch the surface of the amount of bouldering that could be in Korea. I have a feeling that Seoul may have more developed areas that are bigger. Busan, however, is the new place with lots of potential to be discovered. The area I was most impressed with was Yangsan. Yangsan has perfect rock in an amazing asianesque setting. With Hangul characters etched into the boulders, temples on the approach, this was definitely my favorite. My favorite line there was Listo el Pollo v9. I got the second ascent after Christoph Lindenberger. The line was very unique movement, uncontrived, and on perfect river stone.
Truthfully most of my time in Korea was spent training on plastic. Something I've fallen behind in the past few years. It was nice to make an effort to get better and to feel the ability to pull through holds using pure power. The gyms I went to were just what I needed for good training. I found it hard to keep up with local talent, but they are kind of machine like in their abilities to just crush plastic climbing rather quickly. I was inspired by their raw power. Thanks a lot to Young Wha Kim of Family center for helping me train on a bunch of climbs I could never do. And thanks to the other Mr. Kim of Hadan Industrial Wall for letting me train at his facility.
Now I am back in the Sierras trying to get my bearings for the next 6 months. I am leaving for Bishop tomorrow for New Years and plan on hanging down there for a bit before going on to Moe's Valley, UT and going to check out all the awesome bouldering around Las Vegas. If things work out I may go a bit further than that. So many problems that I want to do this winter. I am very excited to see if all of my hard work training will pay off. In the least I am going to have a great time. I hope everyone has a great New Year's.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

South Korea First Ascents

First Ascents in South Korea from Jesse Bonin on Vimeo.

Here's the first video of South Korea bouldering. The other day I went with the group to the Nabi Bawi area of Busan and saw the famous Kim Lee Project. Supposedly Kim Lee only tried this one day but several others have put in quite a bit of effort from what I hear. I have to say that this thing looked impossible upon first glance. But after figuring out all the tricks it was surprisingly doable. I did the first ascent and named it, after Matt's suggestion, Sandpaper Handjob. I do not know what the grade of this would be. It, like every problem in the world, will feel different for everyone. My best guess is v9 or maybe 10. But who gives a shit. It's a great line with high friction on bad ass slopers, finishing with a tough mantle. Taller people may find this mantle a bit bunchy but there is another method to topping it out after working through the power crux. Props to Kim Lee for envisioning this thing. And thanks so much to the Busan crew for showing it to me. I hope everyone enjoys the video and that it gives a good visual on what the bouldering in Korea is like.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

South Korea

working the FA of War of the Worlds v11, photo: Andy McKilliam

I've been here in Busan, South Korea for a little over a week now. It has been a real change from the lifestyle that I'm use to. I've been staying with Brenna in the red light district of this city. I have to say that personally this is the biggest city I've ever seen. Although supposedly it is not really that big with only 3.8 million people. It's been really nice hanging out with Brenna again and meeting all of her friends here. They are really cool people and fun to hang out with. I love seeing new cultures and trying new foods. Here the food is very interesting to say the least. They love their kim chi here. They put it on the table with every meal, they put it on pizza and even burgers. Generally I'd say that I'm enjoying the Korean food.
What's more interesting is the fact that 4 days after I got here this country became on the brink of rekindling a war that never officially ended with its neighbor, North Korea. It feels a bit on edge here now as the shit could hit the fan any moment. I'm not worried yet but I hope I don't start seeing explosions in the near future. Hopefully these two can work it out and keep the peace.
I've spent most of my time here training. There are a lot of indoor gyms around here that are really fun training spots. I've been to a few of the better ones and plan on regularly training indoors as much as I can. The Koreans are strong indoors and it will surely be a challenge for me to try and keep up with them. As for the climbing outdoors I have only been to two areas. The Cable Car area is right in town close to the university. This area is ok but does have a real Busan classic called A Language Older Than Words v5 which is an excellent sloper problem on granite with a ton of friction. This area however pales in comparison to the new hotspot the locals have been kind enough to share with me. Yangsan, about an hours drive away, is a park with many temples with a beautiful setting. The rock has no friction and is almost bullet proof. The bouldering is set in a riverbed with pools of moving water surrounded by awesome stone. It is a new area with a lot of potential. I've repeated some area testpieces such as Solid Snake v4, Starkissed v5, and the One Legged Frog v9. This weekend I was lucky to get the first ascent of what might be Busan's hardest line to date. I did a roof link up that climbs a v9, does two hard transition moves, and finishes on a fuckerish v8 with a really sharp crimp at the end. In honor of the turmoil in the country I named the new line War of the Worlds and think it's about v11. The line took me three days to do and I had to dig really deep for the send. There are many more lines that can go in this area, all with excellent quality rock. I am very thankful to the locals for showing me around. Next they are taking me to Nabi Bawi to see Busan's most famous undone line dubbed The Kim Lee Project. This line is supposedly a serverly overhanging compression problem with a tough top out. I can't wait to check it out and see how it goes. Until then I intend to keep training as hard as I can in preparation for a possible winter road trip that will start in Bishop. I have been taking video of Yangsan but need more footage before I have a full movie post. Here are some pictures for a visual.
Hadan Area, city of Busan

The "Amazing Burger" at Breeze Burns
Local powerhouse Christoph on the Spider Project, Yangsan

Monday, November 15, 2010

Off to Asia

I'm on my way to visit Brenna and hang out in Busan, South Korea. I've heard about a lot of great bouldering here and I'm looking forward to seeing it for myself. I also plan on checking out some climbing gyms and doing a bit of training before the winter season. On my last weekend in Tahoe I took my friend Alex Savage out climbing while he was in route to Yosemite. We did a warm up day at the Ronin Boulder where we repeated some of the awesome lines there. I did the first ascent of the sit start to Hidden Dragon v7. It basically climbs Secret Weapon but finishes sooner with a equally desperate exit. I called it Double Dragon and is maybe v11. Another great addition to this area. The next day Alex won the prize when I took him to Noah's rad Tahoe classic Ground Control v11. Alex did the second ascent in about 6 tries. It was really awesome to watch it get done in person. Check out the video to watch Alex do this rad climb.

Ground Control V11 from Savage Climbing on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

More Activity

Fall is my favorite time of year. Colors everywhere and crisp air. All these things set a perfect arena for great bouldering.The Ground Control area has been getting a lot of local attention these past few weeks. Other problems are being found up the hill that are turning out to be pretty damn cool. The lower problems are settling in with consensus grades and getting a lot cleaner from all the traffic. Still no repeats on Ground Control yet. A few of us are close but it's kind of a mofo. Everyone gets only so many tries on the crux deadpoint before the crimp slices your finger. Up the hill from Ground Control we put up three new lines with a bunch more in the area. This awesome orange patina face overhangs a downhill gully of kitty litter and provides good shade and killer holds. This problem is super good! The three new lines are Gullible v2 *** Fa Dan Draeger, Choose Your Adventure v2 ** FA Adam Young, and Short Stack v4* FA Dan Draeger. Pretty bad ass. I managed to do the low sit start to Gullible which has two really hard moves. Getting off the ground and deadpointing a small crimp from a finicky heel hook seems to be the crux. Next is either a throw or a hand/foot match lock off to a good hold that puts you into the v2. For grade probably somewhere around v10/v11. We have come up with a name for this new spot with Ground Control. We are calling the area Outer Space, due to the fact that it is just outside the Space Invaders crag. So far this place has about 13 established lines with lots more to come.
Another new area being developed is the Beavers. A few years ago I put up a problem called the Beatdown v12 and developed some problems near it with Jason Hogan and Brenna Fischer. The other lines were a good v4/5, a v0 arete and a crimpy dumb v3. We attempted to search the area for more boulders ,but as it was spring , we were shut down by a raging creek filled with downed trees and debris. Our walking ended there. After the Beatdown I wrote the area off as probably done. One year later Frank Lucido wondered on the other side of the creek and found everything I missed which was only 40 more yards. You never know what could be waiting around the next set of trees. This area is very pleasant. Lots of shade in a dense forest with a creek near by giving this place a kind of swiss feel. Very nice bouldering being developed here with a few classics already established to make the first trip worth it. A few of the problems are One eye Willie v7,Spice of Life v6, Race Against Time v6, Avoid the Wart v9, and Wild Pack of Family Dogs v6. All of these are really cool. When this area is fully established it will have one of the raddest circuits in town. Get psyched. Props to Frank Lucido and Jarrad Wycoff for finding and doing all these awesome lines.
Lastly, at the Ronin boulder new problems have taken place. I did the sit project to Jarrad Wycoff's classic v6 My Shit's Custom. I called the low start My Sit's Custom and think it's about v9 but really fun steep climbing.I also added a new problem next to Secret Weapon. It starts on a flat undercling left and decent pinch edge for right and does a hard move to a sloper with a pocket in it and heads leftward towards jugs. I called this one Year of the Rat v7ish. Noah Kaufman also added a couple of problems with cool big moves. Hidden Dragon v7 and Last Samurai v7 are great new additions to this awesome boulder.
It's more fun to put these climbs into perspective with visual aids so I've made a new video to go with some of these new problems. The video features Gullible(from a v8ish start skipping one move on the harder sit start), Dude Where's My Pipe v5 which is a classic at the Freaks; Beaver classics, One Eye Willie and Race Against Time and ends at the Ronin.
I have been doing a lot of bouldering and training. I'm getting ready for my next trip to South Korea where I'm going to visit Brenna and check out the climbing in her new town. I'm very excited as I leave on November 16 and it will be my first trip to Asia. New experiences are rad.

More Activity from Jesse Bonin on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tahoe Activity

I've been busy in Tahoe. Working full time construction during the week and getting all the climbing I can in after work and on weekends. The fall temps have started to creep in and the climbing is feeling pretty nice here. I've been visiting a lot of different Tahoe areas recently. Around the Sugar Pine area I got to see some really good lines on the west shore go down. Flight Risk v5, Black Torpedo v4, and Prime Directive v4 are all must do classics. I even manages to add a couple new ones to SP 5 with the Squeeze G v7, and another v7 near Flight Risk. Props to the West shore crew for opening up all these instant classics. This is definately one of the raddest areas at the lake.
Likewise there is still much bouldering developement going on in the south shore area as well. It seems like every weekend about 10 good first ascents go down no matter what. A notable send worth mentioning is that of Ground Control v11. Noah Kaufman bagged this gem the other day, check out Noah's site for the video and blog entry in his own words This send is another big one for the south shore. Complete with bomber rock, rad moves and holds, and a high finish to cap it off. I'm pretty psyched to start giving this thing some serious tries real soon. Nice job to Noah.
Lastly, this past weekend I got to do a really cool first ascent that was showed to me by Frank Lucido. The boulder was rad and had this one line on it that Frank thought I would like. Sure enough, it instantly made its way to the top of my list. It was a long process hitting all the moves the first day and I feel like I got a bit lucky nabbing the full FA on day 2 some 2 weeks later. The name we gave the problem is Secret Weapon and I'm suggesting a grade of v11. There are some really cool moves in it. One in particular crux has a deadpoint to a pinch off a mono and then a crazy cut loose swing off these 2 holds. From there bunchy lock offs lead to this hard crossover at the finish. The problem is steep and seems to be about power endurance. I thought it was really cool. TO accompany this blog entry I have included a video that I threw together rather quickly of just a taste of the recent action going on around the tahoe area. I hope you enjoy it.

Tahoe Activity from Jesse Bonin on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Here it Comes

I've been going as many places as possible the past few weeks and honestly there is just too many places to talk about all of them. I recently visited the Burnside area for the weekend and did a few noteworthy ascents. I did a rare repeat of Frank Lucido's hard line Feldsparring v10. This problem was a true challenge. Bad holds and bad feet to a techy, insecure finish. A remarkable endeavor by Frank. Next he took me to the Lucid Dream wall which was amazing. Totally on par with the Whale Shark boulder. Two of the lines, Bela Cula v6 and Lucid Dream v9 were amazing. I managed to pull the first ascent of the sit start to Lucid Dream which weighs in at around v10/11. I recommend any one who hasn't seen this wall go check it out.
David O and I also did a day at Sugar Pine. Dave Hatchet took us to Sugar Pine 4 where I got a good spanking on the technical rock climbing. The moderates there are really hard for short fellas like me. At the end of the day I did manage to do the second ascent of Joel Zerr's line Free Loader which was awesome. Hard compression up perfect stone to an insane top out. Really cool. Props to Joel on the FA.
In Between I've done a few things that were pretty awesome as well. David O's line at the Fox and Hound, Foxy Lady v8 is an awesome afternoon mission. With beers and burgers just 40 yds from the problem you can't beat this one for a drunken night sesh. The line is really fun and truly challenging for the shorter people. The sit start proj into this line is very futuristic. Probably v13/14 I'm guessing. I was also shown a semi-secret area on the East side of the lake which hosts many great moderates in a tight consolidation. Jay Sell, along with Brock, Don, Larry, Joe Bob and others have been hard at work all summer preparing this area for the masses. It will be a moderate climbers' mecca. Along with the great moderates here I added a harder option when I did the sit start proj to the Bear Cave. This new line was v11 with my beta, that's the official grade I'm proposing but it is highly likely (though not for sure) that taller people may find a solution that is a bit easier than mind. But only time will tell. With Fall just around the cornor, Lake Tahoe bouldering is once again about to go ape shit. Don't miss out on the action when the cold windy temps start becoming the norm. Here are some pics to wet your appetites.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Derailed and Black Shadow

Ian Cotter Brown's video is on the prowl and wheels are in motion. In the meantime here's a few sections from the video.

Monday, August 23, 2010

the Rocklands File

I'm back bouldering in tahoe and it's great to be home. New stuff everywhere. Met a climber named Vitaly the other day at Erratica who found a new amazing line. In Erratica, down and behind the Hoedown, Vitaly did the first ascent yesterday of WereBird v10. I did not get pictures but this line is an instant erratica classic. I look forward to trying to repeat this great addition.

I know you guys want to see some Rocklands action from this trip so I've included a short video I made during the first two weeks of our trip. Ian Cotter-Brown's video is in limbo as he searches for sponsors but I'll keep you updated but for now check this out.

The Rocklands File from Jesse Bonin on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Return from Rocklands

The Rocklands trip was a great experience. Like all big trips it had its ups and downs. It was complete with strange characters, hard sends, hilarious antics, and even a bit of cabin fever. When you live in the middle of nowhere for a long time you start to go a little bananas, but in a good way. This is an amazing place. The rock is really good and there are so many good problems that it's hard to tell where you want to begin. There are many FA's to develop if you look around enough. The established problems are incredible as well. The hard things here are some of the best and most fun lines I've ever seen. I feel like even just the famous hard problems are enough to keep me busy for quite a while. I can't wait to come back again. I'm already thinking about the next trip out here. To be honest I did not feel like I sent that many problems out here considering how much time I spent. The climbing here is really powerful, and as a result, you rest a lot more than you'd like to. This, however, seems very neccessary for me. Especially if you want to avoid injuries. Despite this the climbing that I did do I was really happy about. I did several problems here that I was really stoked about. One was Leopard Cave, which I've always wanted to do. This is an amazing roof climb that has a very unique crux move. After the second session, I pulled out a hail mary send on my last go and just barely pulled it off at the end of the day. Next was Black Shadow. This is one of the raddest power endurance boulder problems in the Rocklands. It has big, friendly holds and seems to get progressively harder as it goes which makes for an epic link up. The second day I fell at the last move about 2 times. I ended up falling there every single try for a few more days. It got kind of mental but in the end I snagged on day 4. This climb is one of the best I've ever done. Totally worth the epic.
The big one for me of the trip was Derailed. Daniel Woods put up this climb a few years ago when the Americans were first developing the 8 Day Rain Sector. It is a compression problem with slick edges, a crazy swing and a heart-breaking last move. All in all, it climbs this slick, overhanging belly in about 6 moves. It is rated 8B+ (v14) and it was a lifetime goal of mine to reach this level of difficulty in bouldering so I was really pleased. It fit my style really well. No crimping, just squeezing, swinging, and lerping. I'll never forget the feeling I had when I topped that thing out in the dark. I usually don't get too vocal, but I kind of lost it. It was probably pretty funny to watch.
Near the end of the trip I got really commited to sending Steakhouse v12. I love this roof. It has some crazy horizontal moves on good holds and ends with a crux throw off of two rad pinches. The last move alone felt about v10. I dedicated the last 3 weeks of my trip to sending this thing. However, the weather was really hot. After trying it for about 8 days in total over a few weeks and falling at the last move 26 times, I never completed the climb. I guess we all have to leave something behind. This climb will haunt me until I return. I really wanted to do it before I left but sometimes you have to accept defeat. So bravo Steakhouse, you totally kicked my ass.
All in all there is just too many stories and characters to tell about. But I love this place and cant wait to go back. At the same time I am really happy to be home in Tahoe. I missed this place a lot. I am stoked to explore for some new boulders and maybe try some things that I never did last season. There is really just too much to do. Unfortunately I did not get many pictures of this trip. However, Ian Cotter-Brown has made a bad ass video of our climbing there. I'll keep you updated on what he's going to do with it. It is complete with a lot of hard sends, nature shots that are laugh out loud funny, and all the goofy things that come with a good bouldering trip. For now, we'll have to wait but I'll keep everyone posted on the video. I could keep writing forever but I am severly jetlagged and have to sleep. In case anyone's curious. Here is my ticklist for the trip.

White Mazda Clan v10
Lisa's Arete v10
Rasta Roof v11
Cry Baby v10
Tromboli v10
Umbuli v11
Leopard Cave v12
Stretched and Pressed v10
Green Mamba stand start v11
An Amal v9
Question of Balance v7
The Rhino v8
Spider in the Roof v11
Black Shadow v13
In the Middle of the Ass v12 ( 2nd try)
Derailed v14
Day of the Jackal v10 (2nd ascent)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My trip to Rocklands is going amazing so far. I'm only half way through and already I've had the time of my life. This place is really incredible. There's as much rock as your eyes can see and most of it is excellent quality. All the lines are straight forward power problems. I've been living in a cottage in the Cederberg Mountains with 4 amazing people. We are all having the best time so far. Between the five of us we've been sending almost everything. I came here with only six problems in mind for sending. These are things that I've known to be some of the best hard lines in the Rocklands. I've already done two and have hit all the moves on the other four. There will be a lot of video uploaded after we all return to the states where internet communication is a bit more advanced.
The lifestyle out here is to be dreamed of. Rustic, simple, cheap, great food, and all the climbing you could ever want. I am currently taking a prolonged rest to properly recover from the severe beating my body's been taking from constantly climbing on steep, powerful lines. I have about 6 weeks left here to complete my other projects. It seems like plenty of time but with all the rest days it doesn't equal too many climbing days. I'm not too worried though because I intend to come back to this place where these projects and many others will always be waiting. It appears the World Cup in South Africa has scared many others away. It is not very crowded this year at all. This trip it feels like we just about have the whole place to ourselves. The weather has been very good as well. We've had about 4 days of rain total in the last month. The temps couldn't be better. I'm excited to end my days of rest and get back to climbing again. At the same time, I'm really enjoying these rest days. It feels like I am really on vacation when I'm just waking up on a beautiful day with the intention of doing nothing in particular. I spend my rest days hacky sacking, chopping fire wood, reading, stretching and editing climbing footage. It is always fun to follow around the group to watch your friends get psyched to send there projects. I'll give a more detailed update on the climbs I've been doing while here after I get back to the states. Tomorrow is a town day. We're going into Clanwilliam to use internet, eat lunch at Koffe Cafe, and going shopping at our favorite store, the Super Spar. It will no doubt be a productive rest day. In the meantime, everyone have fun in Tahoe and I'll be in touch as soon as I get back.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ian Cotter Brown and I just arrived in Rocklands. We're now in a hotel in central Cape Town waiting for our third amigo, Kenyan Smith. We are staying at a hotel called the Savoy Lodge. Upon first glance this place kind of seems like a dive, with a locked gate, small rooms, and not too much going on around the vicinity. However, after about 15 minutes our attitude changed when we experienced a sense of customer service and hospitality that just does not happen in the U.S. The owner of the hotel realized that we arrived here tired and hungry with no food and actually drove us to go get food and beer in his own car. The three of us went to eat at a cheap burger place and got to know each other. South Africans are really kind, down-to-earth people. I've never seen that sort of generosity at any other hotel. It was really nice. The place is small, but safe and has a very cozy feel. Like your crashing at a buddy's house. I would have to for sure recommend this place if you need to get your bearings after the hellacious ride getting here.
The airplane travel getting here is brutal. Fifteen hour plane rides, sleeping on cold, airport floors surrounded by loud noise, over-priced food, and the service of Delta airlines are all things that make this approach totally suck. But, once you're here you are here, and you know that soon you'll be in the solitude of the Rocklands area with nothing to do but boulder hard all day and drink hard all night. It is for sure worth the hassel. We're going to chill for the night and then head out early in the morning for the last leg of the trip which is the 3 hour drive from Capetown to Rocklands. We are super psyched and ready for our first day of climbing tomorrow. The weather forcast looks pretty decent for the next week and we plan on taking full advantage of it.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


I am chilling at Noah Kaufman's enjoying great hospitality and the world's coolest woody. Ian and I have been hard at work training our skills for the Rocklands. Preparing to leave has proved to be a bit of work, but, having been there already, it is totally worth it. In the past couple of weeks, a lot of visitors have been coming up to the Tahoe area and climbing a bunch of the hard classics. Here's a list of impressive feats that have been going down:
- King Kong v8 FA Noah Kaufman ( White Kong area )
- Moses (from the Bay) flashed Pimpjuice v9 and PJ Tight v10 back to back, also did the second ascent of Downtown Brown v12
- Charlie Barrett did 2nd ascents of The Mofo v11 and Hellamental v12
- Ian Cotter Brown and Walker Emerson did 2nd and 3rd ascent of Higher Ground v10 and The Repossesion v11

The list goes on much longer but these are the most noteworthy happenings. I also did a link up at the Basement that does a v5/6 roof problem into Downtown Brown. I called this new link Brown Sugar v12. The pump factor made the finish harder but not enough to warrant a new grade. Thanks to Walker Emerson and Frank Lucido for doing a lot of work to make this new link possible.
So after training and working and being a weekend warrior for the past 8 months it feels really good to finally get back to my real life. Personally I only feel like my life is being lived properly when I am just climbing and not working at all. Rocklands is the best place I've found for me to set these wheels in motion. I am excited to do a lot of projects while there and mostly have a good time. In the meantime here's a little entertainment for while I'm away. Everyone have a great summer and enjoy the new video. P.S. White Kong....go there!

Winter Visitors from Jesse Bonin on Vimeo.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Balls To the Wall

For the past 8 weeks I've been back in Tahoe, trying to work through my hardest projects. One in particular has finally gone down. The first time I took Noah Kaufman to see the Shade Grove boulder in Erratica, one line caught his eye right away. I had looked in the section of the boulder he was checking out many times and never saw a line there. But when he showed me this line of holds it was crazy how awesome it was. This project fit my style but did not fit my body. It is full extention for me from the low footholds to stick a sharp crimp sidepull. This move, which is really hard for me but maybe easier if you're tall, is followed by some hellacious footwork to do the crux move. This involves a long deadpoint off the sharp crimp to stick an open handed ledge. After this the upper move is an odd core-dependent deadpoint to crimp. Unfortunately avoiding a dab on this move is a
big part of the crux. A definate heart-breaker in the full link up. This line has spit many good climbers over the years and was always thought of as Erratica's step up in difficulty.I managed to do this line on Saturday. I have been trying this line a long time, probably three or four seasons. Until this year I've never been able to stick the first two moves. It was really a good feeling to put this line to rest finally. This coveted project has been referred to as Balls of Steel. I've renamed the full sit start Balls to the Wall and I'm thinking that this climb is a v13. Only time will tell, but for me it is surely one of the hardest climbs I've ever done. In the meantime I am preparing to leave Tahoe for the summer to go back to South Africa. I'll be going to Rocklands for the season to climb some of the coolest sandstone I've ever seen. Besides training, and working, getting my affairssin order before I leave is taking up some mental energy. Between then and now I plan on climbing as much as I can in the area before I leave. There's a problem at Pie Shop to the left of Diamonds Are Forever that caught our eye the other day. Walker Emerson got the first ascent on Friday with me soon following. He named the line Live and Let Pie and suggested v8. It was really fun. A rad dyno move from two bad slopes, really classic. I'm really psyched to be leaving ultimately. Rocklands is truely an awesome experience for any person that is obsessed with bouldering. I have many climbs there that have been burned in my mind since my last visit there. I'm psyched to go there with some great friends and have a vacation from constantly working full time and climbing full time. I'm only 2 weeks away from departing for this adventure. It is going to be sick. My main focus before I leave will be visiting the Basement to get some power endurance. Walker and I opened up a possibility to extend all the lines to make for some more pumpy link ups. You should check it out. Very rad. In the meantime, check out Ian Cotter-Brown's video of the latest sending going down in Tahoe.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Erratica Video and new climbs

After spending this past month bouldering at Erratica, I realize that this is the season for the hard climbing here. I managed to do a few new lines this weekend. If anyone has heard of Element of Surprise v11, it was an old FA of mine from last year that never got repeated. One day last summer Fernando Motta broke a key hold off the beginning crux section making it seem impossible. The other day I pulled off the new FA and redubbed the line Hellamental v12; it is definately harder than it was. The first move is a really long windmill up a steep wall to deadpoint a pinch. From there a short v9ish finish awaits.
The next day I went out with Jason Hogan to do some filming for more FAs. I did the first ascent of the sit start to Global Warming. This new start takes it up to solid v10 probably. Crimpy and powerful in the start to its classic technical finish. We finally have our warm up problem Noah. After that I hiked up the steep trudge to the Shade Grove Boulder where I did the second ascent of Josh Neuman's line Balls of Steel v12. This line was hard for me and I've been working on it for quite a while. The sit start is still a major coveted project which I came really close to sending. After multiple attemps the razor blade hold started to destroy my skin and I had to save it for another day. I can't wait to go back for this one. It is truely a hard classic.
Most of these FAs were caught on film. Jason Hogan filmed the latest lines and they will most likely end up on either vimeo or in the Mikey Weir film, Green Rush. I got some of the early FAs on tape and have made a video showcasing winter bouldering in Erratica. I hope everyone enjoys it. Despite new snow falling soon. I plan on spending a lot of time out at Erratica trying the sit start to Balls of Steel. This climb will be a big send for me if I ever do it.

Winter in Erratica from Jesse Bonin on Vimeo.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Upcoming vids and Prison Hill repeats

Here in Tahoe the weather has been great for hard bouldering. If you can get around the snow in the mountains or the constant hight winds in the desert, you're good to go. Since doing the Mofo in Erratica I've been out repeating some of the old lines at Prison Hill. I repeated 25 Minutes To Go v6, a Noah Kaufman line from last year that is a classic pumpy traverse with a gymnastic crux at the end. A really fun problem for anyone interested.
Next, I stopped over at the Marble Boulder and climbed an FA of mine from last year called Diamond Thief v11. It is hard to figure the grade of this climb. It is only three moves but feels very desperate. It is steep with bullet-proof rock, one good start hold for the right hand and a series of three left hand moves in a row to horrible glassy slopers with bad feet. This line is not very tall, but the quality is very high and the climb is steep and burly. This boulder also has a cool v3 and a really hard project.
When I went back alone today it was windy as usual. My goal was to repeat Death Sentence v10. When you look uphill above The Prisoner, Electric Chair, and Firing Squad Boulders, it is the shiny gray line with a green line diagonaling all the way up the middle of it. Death Sentence starts with the good flat right hand sidepull edge and the left hand on a low shallow pinch about 2 and half feet off the ground. Hard moves on glassy slopers lead to an odd top out around the right side of the bulge.This climb is very high quality. Prison Hill still has a few gems lurking around I think, but the developed ones seem to be where it's at.
I plan on spending the weekend at Erratica, the Meiss Boulder, and Twin Peaks. Many more problems await. I am getting excited as well to go on my second trip to the Rocklands in South Africa. Last summer Ian Cotter-Brown and I spent 5 and half weeks there and loved it. This year we are going for 2 and half months. Hopefully that'll be enough time to send everything, but I highly doubt it. haha. The place is kind of shit-stacked with the goods. After that I plan on doing some climbing/working in Tahoe before going to South Korea to visit Brenna and check out a new place. After that who knows. One of the great things about the bouldering lifestyle isthat I find myself always going in new directions to do my thing. I don't really know what the point of bouldering is or why I love it so much. I do know that I'm always excited about it and it has landed me in some of the most beautiful places and led to friendships with the coolest people ever. I'm psyched to keep going forever.
Last, there will be another video online in the next week or two. David Outcalt and I got footage of the Mofo on the day of the first ascent. I'm waiting until we all go climbing this weekend to get more footage. It will be all Tahoe winter bouldering. I'll post it on the next blog when it's done.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Videos and New Climbs

My three week stay in Bishop, CA was awesome. I got to see a lot of friends, and watch many rad climbs go down. I managed to send the Happy's classic Kill On Sight v12. This climb was hard for me. I found some tricky beta that was good but very stretchy for me. After three days on the stand and 3 more days on the sit I finally got the bastard on the seventh day of work. I projected this line with my good friends Ian Cotter-Brown and Ryan Held. It was fun to finally have a project to share with some friends. Other than that I finally got myself to do the Hulk v6, a problem I've meticulously avoided for years do to it looking super reachy. It was, but not too bad. All in all a great time.

I also took a ride with my friend Zack West on a quick weekend trip to Moe's Valley, UT. The quality was mixed but everything v6 and up is spectacular. I was really impressed with this area. It had a lot of great hard problems. I did not send anything hard but did some cool moderates and had some good times. I would have to strongly recommend this spot to anyone that hasn't been here yet. It is a really fun place with a good vibe.
This weekend back in Tahoe, I went to Erratica to revisit a project of mine from late Summer. The Mofo finally went down. This problem is on the Painter Boulder in Erratica near Kirkwood, CA. This project is to the left of Element of Surprise v9 ( the old v11 sit start broke and is now a much harder project waiting to go). Originally I thought this project would end up being a v12/13 but upon finding better beta I was able to unlock a sequence which made it go slightly easier. I gave it v11 and let it keep its alias as The Mofo. A great new classic at Erratica, one of the harder ones too.
Lastly, I recently uploaded some new videos of my friends climbing in Bishop. I took a lot of restdays while working my project. On those rest days I tried to make the most of it by filming. I caught a lot of great things on camera and edited some videos for all to enjoy.

Bishop part one from Jesse Bonin on Vimeo.

Bishop Part two from Jesse Bonin on Vimeo.

Monday, March 1, 2010

I've been here in Bishop, CA for about a week now. It's been really fun hanging with the crew out here and having some good times. I've been working on my big goals for the rest of the season. Trying to do Scanner Darkly in the Buttermilks, and Kill On Sight in the Happy Boulders. Both lines are really good in their own ways. I've got both the lines in two parts but putting them together seems to be the hard part. I'm having a lot of fun working on them. Zack West and I took a break from Bishop this weekend and went on a quick 3 day trip of the Moe's Valley boulders in Utah.
The climbing in Moes was very fun. Not everything with chalk on it is solid so you have to be very selective when choosing your lines. Some lines caked in chalk were absolute death traps. Lots of loose, big hollow holds ready to kill. Mixed in however are some really awesome problems on great sandstone. We got a great sample of what the climbing was like out here. The problems that are good are really good. The layout of the area and conveinence were a plus. Everything is easy to get to and town is not very far away if you feel like getting frisky at night. St. George seemed to have everything you could want for food or entertainment all a short drive from the bouldering and camping. I'd recommend a trip to anyone who wanted some different climbing not too far away. It took us 5.5 hrs to drive there from Bishop. Not too bad.
On a side note, I put together another climbing video for anyone interested in a new one. I have a video of Ryan Held, Ian Cotter-Brown, and Kenyon Smith bouldering in the tablelands. Footage of 2 classic v11s and the establishing of a new worthy area in the tablelands called the Pink Cliffs. One rest day I went to film a highly motivated crew who got lots of classic new first ascents, mostly highball and proud , at this new small gem. It was a blast watching my friends put up these awesome problems that may one day go down as mega lines. The video will be posted on the blog and/ or vimeo shortly.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

After a long period of crappy weather and lots of indoor training, I was happy to get back on real rock. I started the weekend off by visiting a project at Prison Hill that is just to the right of Prisoner on the Roof v9. This problem shares the start hold of that line with the left hand and the right hand is on the other side of the feature on a bad sidepull. From here a series of short slaps to bad slopers and pinches lead to a heinous move to a slick, slopey crimper. From there the top out is a fun headwall that is probably v5 or 6. I named this new line Juvenile Delinquent and gave it v12. This problem is slightly an eliminate as it does not use the juggy underclings on Prisoner on the Roof or the top out holds of Prisoner on the Roof. Using these holds to do this line would reduce the difficulty by a couple grades. However, in the interest of making this line feel unique I did not use these holds. All in all, the new problem is cool and climbs very well.
The next day was full of adventure as we tried to climb at an area at high elevation that is typically saved for the hot summer months. With massive amount of fresh snow everywhere, we began the uneasy hike into the backcountry. The walk itself was filled with excitement. At every turn there seemed to be a deep, snowy gully or rushing creek bed that had to be crossed. Navigating our way to the area also took a lot of time. Everything looks different when it's covered in 10 feet of snow. Sure enough though, we found the boulders and hiked up to the Basement. Here my goal was to repeat one of my problems from this summer, Downtown Brown, for the camera. With snow surrounding the cave there was the best dry, cold temps possible. I was able to link up this hard climb in 2 goes, having remembered all the beta from the summer season. All in all, it was another awesome weekend bouldering in the Tahoe area. It felt fun to realize that snow can't due much to stop the determined.

Snow or No from Jesse Bonin on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The following weekend at Prison Hill was much sunnier than the previous. Frank Lucido, Jarrad Wycoff, David Outcalt and I did many ascents on the areas classics. The send of the day was the Electric Chair v6. Jarrad was the first to cap off the 2nd ascent of this tall classic. Then David and myself followed.This problem is the super shiny arete uphill from The gully near Solitary Confinement. I has a tricy beginning, solid rock, and a heady topout. In addition to David's third ascent of this line, we also got footage of some of the other area classics from the north side of Prison Hill. The footage came out a bit washed out and the lens needed a good cleaning. Just for fun though I decided to add this to vimeo for anyone to enjoy. There will be more to follow but now the snow is heavy. Climbing in the Tahoe area for the next week or two may be kind of spotty. I have a lot of possible winter projects in the area as well as things I need to go do in the Buttermilks in Bishop. Looks like the next few days will have to be dedicated to either intense resting or intense training, hopefully a good mix of both.

Prison Hill, part 2 from Jesse Bonin on Vimeo.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Prisoners in the Fog

When I woke up Saturday morning in South Lake Tahoe, I didn't think bouldering was going to be a possibility. The entire town was engulfed in a thick, wet fog. But I thought, what the hell! So David Outcalt and I spent the weekend at Prisoner Hill. Both days that I drove down I passed through the inversion coming down Spooner. It was foggy at the top, foggy at the bottom, and sunny as hell in the middle. It was a neat moment passing through there each morning. When we arrived the whole area was in a very thick fog. There was a spooky vibe with the mist. The boulders just appeared out of it throughout the entire trecherous hike. The first day we climbed on the north side and did all the moderate classics with Jason Hogan joining us. We did Reno 911 v0 , Cocaine Blues v3, Congical Visit v3, and 15 Minutes to Go v5. Then we hiked all the way over to the south side of the big hill over to the Watchtower Boulder, home to Noah Kaufman's awesome power-fest Alcatraz v10. I worked on repeating the sit-start and David worked the gem. At first we were both flailing pretty hard, but then we got psyched and they both went down. David Outcalt caught the likely 6th ascent of Alcatraz v10, a proud moment for this was his first of the grade. I managed to unluck the beta that made the sit-start doable and sent just after David.

The second Day we spent the morning warming up on top of the south side. In this spot the rock is mostly crappy at the top and good at the bottom. So we spent a little time riding the choss wave. But the gripped factor did us well as we warmed up. Next , we went over to Alcatraz to do some filming then went straight over to a possible project wall that was killer. Sitting only about 50 yards from the Watchtower this awesome face had two plum lines on each side. It looked like they've never been done but you never know around here. David caught the likely FA of the right line which he dubbed What Are You In Here For? v6ish. I did this line just afterwards and it was killer. Next I got the left line and it was about v7. But then David broke a hold in the middle that may have made this climb slightly easier. He pretty much ran laps on the crux to the heady top out. But it was at the end of a long weekend and we both ran out of juice for any more lines. But it was a great time and we look forward to going back next weekend if the weather is good...or if it's fog. We made a short 5 min. video of some of the coolest lines. I hope you enjoy the video.

Prisoners in the Fog from Jesse Bonin on Vimeo.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Old Footage

I had some old video footage on my computer of a few climbs. Bordem set in last night and I decided to put together a random video just for fun. Making short climbing films seems to be the thing in the industry right now. This is awesome for me because I love surfing the internet and watching the new bouldering videos that come out on a daily basis. Perhaps this is the climber's version of watching Monday night football. I've really been enjoying all the good short videos that have been coming out this season. DeadPoint magazine appears to have it on lock down. My short video does not compare to most of the good ones but I figured I'd put it on for people to enjoy. The video mainly features the Geode. This unrepeated v11 has pure moves up a slopey prow on high quality rock. The FA took me a while but in the end it all came down to perfect conditions. At the time of the ascent it was about 20 degrees out in early winter. I hope you enjoy the short movie. Unfortunately this problem is definately out of commission until late spring, so you might not get to try it for a while.

The Geode from Jesse Bonin on Vimeo.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


My Bishop trip over the holidays was a sucess. I hung out with my good friends there, ate good food, drank beer and climbed a lot of great stuff. I managed to finally do the Rorschach Test v11 on Christmas Day. Felt more like a 12 to me but ?? I also made a quick send of Bubba Butt Buster v11, Acid Wash v10, Bubba Gets Committed v10 and the Iron Fly v9. The Iron Fly was an interesting send. I've tried this thing before with the dyno method and had no luck. One cold day I tried the other way hitting the sloper and hit it in a few goes. I was pleasantly surprised. Ian and I made a short video on of Rorschach Test and the Aquarium. The other good memory of the trip was bouldering campfire-side at this secret location in Bishop and doing a bunch of easy highballs in the dark. It was a great time indeed. I'm looking forward to a possible short trip to Utah coming up soon which will hopefully pan out. Now I'm back in Tahoe for more training and, possibly, digging some great local projects out of the snow for sending.

Zack West on Hit the High Hard One v9