Sunday, December 16, 2012


Most of the past few months have been a bit stale for me since South Africa. About 4 weeks ago, work suddenly ceased for me out of nowhere. The winter weather combined with the holidays tends to put a pause on construction work in the mountain towns. But rather than complain I've decided to embrace it. I've used this free time to train for my winter project and hopefully send the Martini Right in Hueco Tanks. I've been mostly training at Push Fitness in South Lake Tahoe where I've also been working as a route setter. It's nice to finally have a place to train in my local area. All of this training paid off when I sent a cool new problem in the Mountain Beavers the other day. The problem was known mostly as the River Project. This is one of the best problems I've done in a while. I named this new problem Solilasit. It was the sit start to Noah Kaufman's Soliloquy. The sit start add 4 tricky moves into the stand. I'm sure everyone wants to know what I graded this mega line that took me days to complete. For the sake of the game you have to grade shit something. For me the first 4 moves and the last move were the cruxes. The beginning moves fit me like a glove and they are still hard for me yet balancy and not steep. The bottom feels hard at first and then becomes easier to repeat with time and memorization. After the learning curve it felt like it was all about nutting up for the committing dyno at the end when you are pumped and crimped out. .Hard to make a call on the number, but I guess v9. All bullshit aside, what we are talking about here is a problem that is a diamond in the rough. The number is not important, it swings itself 4 grades to either side depending on if you ask Dick or Jane.  I don't how many stars it is but probably a lot. This problem sits in the river low in the lower Mountain Beavers. From Guardian of the Myth follow the trail downhill for about 50 yards to get to Soliloquy and Solilasit. There is also a new project opened starting left hand in the weakness and right hand on a crimp that will be a tall man's direct version of Soliloquy, likely reachy. If you can take the cold, go check em out.

Solilasit from Jesse Bonin on Vimeo.

Monday, November 12, 2012

My buddy Ian is at it again. This time taking his camera and climbing skills to my local spots. This stuff was all filmed in Fall of this year, mostly in South Lake Tahoe.  Here is an excerpt from the video Deep Blue. Which has Ian sending the Sugar Pine testpiece Polar Opposites and one of my problems from years back, Downtown Brown. You can purchase the video from Ian's website at I wish I had news for myself of epic shit going down. But it's on a more boring level inconsistant with the climbing theme of this blog. I've just been working and training on plastic. I'm in the mode now where I feel like I'm waiting for something great to happen. In the meantime I'm just going to get ready for it.   

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mammoth Bouldering Guidebook

I wanted to do a quick post to point out that my friend Charlie Barrett is putting out the Mammoth Bouldering Guidebook. This guide will include topos to a couple of my favorite spots in the eastern Sierra's. Hartley Springs and Way Lake are really great areas to visit in the Spring and Fall. They are also a good alternative for when the weather in the Bishop area is a bit hot. This guidebook will be out in September 2012.The book describes over 1000 problems and 16 areas total. It is also complete with 300 color photos. With the Fall season approaching, I recommend that any climber pay these areas a visit. The bouldering is good on excellent rock with typical and spectacular mountain scenery. With the Mammoth Bouldering Guidebook, you'll have no trouble finding these classic boulders. You can purchase this guidebook at this link

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Project Part 2

 After my last post about doing Steakhouse a lot has happened on the trip. In particular I got my self right into another epic project almost immediately. I began trying this problem called the Arch at the Old Campground area. In the old Rocklands movie it is the first problem in the video which is done by Fred Nicole. After some years the Italian Christian Core came out to repeat it and broke a few holds. This breakage made the line harder than the original and Christian Core reopened the line. This year in particular, the Arch saw attention from many strong visiting climbers. Although, it seems that I gave it a lot more attention than most. I had been trying this climb on and off since May. I chose it because of its amazing position, great movement, and the fact that it is extremely safe. The Arch is in fact a roof that forms a rainbow like arch feature over a running creek. It is a very beautiful line with water flowing right along the climb. There is a lot of different beta to work through this problem. In general, it was obvious that this one's not easy if you are short, big surprise. It took me quite a bit of days to figure out the moves. Even after I figured it out I changed my beta about 4 times. The Arch starts with some easy fun moves on good holds. But somewhere in the middle it gets hard and then it stays hard until you are standing on top of the boulder. Unlike most climbs in Rocklands, this one actually has a hard, slopey top out. This problem was definitely a step up in difficulty for me.
      Starting in July I began to do my usual ritual of project marching. If I was climbing from July til late August, it was only on the Arch. Many people find this way of climbing kind of strange. It is just the way it is for me. I refuse to give up on things once I know I can do them. Honestly, it is the only way I can get things done. Projects like this turn into something deeper. Sure it is just a rock climb. But, for me personally, it becomes a story. Deciding to take on the endeavor is like opening a book. It starts off rather boring and a bit hard to follow. There are moments of frustration and then moments of joy. Once you hit all those moves and start to do small link ups, then you're in it. You have to know how this story ends. This all gets so exciting to me. Then intensity builds as you get closer to the end of the story. It is at this point when tenacity, doubt, desire, and frustration start to collide. It is the best and worst phase of projecting. Every try from the bottom is a potential end to the epic. I get shaky, nervous, and manic. The days begin to rack up, day 9, day 11, day 12. Day 14 I lose my shit. I curse, I throw my shoes, I wonder what the fuck I'm doing all this for. It is all so hard, but I have to know how this story ends. These projects are stories indeed. I learned this trip after many days on the Arch, that these stories don't always have a happy ending. Sometimes you give it everything you have and it's just not enough. You lose. However, defeat can be just as poetic as victory. Even when I know I'm going to lose, I don't care. Really you can't lose if you don't give up. I do not go down without a fight. It is just the way it is for me. This is my life, this is my climbing, this is my strange little world of battle that gives me a purpose. Day 15 makes day 14 look like a good day. New found optimism is quickly lost. Close to the end of the story I realize that maybe this time the hero dies. Day 16 hysteria sets in. Only a couple of pages left and it's over. After try number 4, I exhale, then laugh. You can't win them all I suppose. I accept whatever happens. I realize that I'm going to lose this time, but I also realize that I don't give a fuck. I'm going to give myself a chance. I don't know how this ends but I know that I'm not walking away from this. Try number 5= shit, try number 6= shit. Half of this story's ending is in my hands. The other half, who knows. I decide right then that I love this shit. Being outside, the anticipation, hearing the running water under me while I climb, seeing that tiny fucking bird that always flies right up and chills with me while I'm trying not to go insane, the gecko that thinks he's hot shit doing push ups on my top out, going back and forth between sun and shade trying to figure out if I've rested enough for another go at this pile. No matter what happens this is all so awesome. On try number 7, I climbed the Arch.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Everyone hits a point on an epic project where expectations fade away. Even frustration becomes rather boring. You stop caring about the end result and realize that maybe you just picked this project because you like it so much. It took me a long time to get there on Steakhouse. The other day I went up there completely alone. I did the 35 minute hike with two pads, a camera and all of my gear. The first three tries went as they always do, falling off the last move just barely. Then I decided to work out some more micro beta on the last move and found a small foot adjustment that seemed to make quite a difference. At this point it was getting late and I was a bit tired. Since it wasn't yet dark I decided to give it one more for the road. And, after an estimated 20 days of effort and 78 falls on the last move in the link I finally got it right and sent the bastard. I was so excited that I just could not stop laughing and could not believe it. This could have been the most epic project that I've ever had that far from home. They say that life is a series of moments, and that was one moment that I will never forget. I took a raw shot of the send for my own personal use. I want to be able to go back and watch it when I'm 70 and smile. That was a feeling that I will take to the grave.
   There is usually a lesson to be learned with a big project. Most of the time people are afraid to open up a can of worms with one rock climb. And maybe they are right in doing this, I dare say I don't recommend it in one sense. But then again, testing your tenacity is a great tool for finding out what you are made of. If I only did things that were easy for me and fit my body/style, I honestly never would have progressed as a climber or a person. But when you stick out a challenge to the bitter end, now matter how rediculous it feels, well, let's just say that you get what you pay for. I've heard this described by a great man as "a war of attrition". You win because you refuse to give up. A bouldering or route project can beat you a thousand times, but you only have to win once. And honestly, those things can't elude you forever. Eventually you relax, muscle memory will take over and the inevitable happens. What a great feeling this is. So I suppose, in a way, I do recommend this. Go out there and find something you "can't do" and attack it. You might just surprise yourself.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

   Once you've been to a place you love enough times, it starts to feel like home. Even though the Rocklands is so far away from where I work and live, in a way it kind of feels like that now. It is my third season here in the past four years. I've been seeing so many familiar faces and at the same time making tons of new friends on a daily basis. There is a very strong sense of community here for me. And basically I'm really enjoying this trip in particular. Things are very different here than they are in the states. This is nice because you really can feel like you are somewhere far away from what you are used to. So far the experience this year is 5 stars for me. Every morning I wake up and trot around the campsite, talking shit to everyone. We have coffee, breakfast, a few laughs and then it's time to get out to the rocks. The hardest part of everyday is deciding which amazing area to visit next. After climbing till dark, everyone gathers again around the campground bar for beers, brandy, and a good brai. We all get drunk and laugh late into the night. Somewhere around 1 am it's time to stumble back to the tent, take a giant gulp of murky tap water and pass out. Reset.
   It's no secret that the bouldering here is on another level of cool. I've spent my first few weeks here getting warmed up to the style here again. I can only describe it as powerfull. If you can pull hard, far, and for a long time, you'll do well in this place. The first climb I did this trip was the last thing I remember touching before I left. There is a climb called Arch Baby that Ian Cotter-Brown and I got the shut down on our last hot day here 2 years ago. I decieded to come full circle and take that shit down. It did not come easy for me though. An entire day of replicating my signature move of falling repeatedly at the end of a rock climb. Next day went better and I took this one down first burn of the day. I was psyched. The next climb I did was one I thought I'd never do. There is a climb called Teatime at the old campground. I used to get sucked in to giving half ass burns on this thing out of sheer boredom. I know how to crimp, but really I don't like to. But once again I gave it some goes. It was going bad as usual till my friend Caroline, a shorter climber like me, hooked me up with some midget beta. Then what do you know it went down with the thunder. I felt so surprised, which is one of my favorite feelings in bouldering.
    But despite all I love about this place, I am a bit closed minded at times and tend to hone in on a singular goal. Even at home I tend not to look for an area or group of climbs so much as I look for that one perfect problem. No eliminates, or contrivences. A pure line is one that really strikes me. There is a lot of them here. But truth be told, I actually came all the way around the world for one problem. It's called Steakhouse. Everyone who knows me well knows that this climb has been the one for me since I started to epic on it two years ago. The entire last month of my previous trip was dedicated solely to climbing this 7 move beast of a roof out of the Madiba Cave at the Roadside area. Everyone loves what they love. I love roof climbs. This one for me is really special. Wild gymnastic moves lead to a heartbreaking throw at the end. No matter how many times I do the last move, I can never really put my finger on what makes it go and what doesn't. I have fallen at this last move in the link more times than I can count. After a couple of weeks here I started to revisit this line. At first it did not go so well. But, before long I was right back where I left off. Again, falling at the last hard throw. It has become somewhat of an internal struggle. A battle with a bully who is bigger and meaner that me. I am just ready for that special moment where I pull a George McFly on its ass. As is my custom, which many don't agree with, I have shut my brain involuntarily to all hard climbing here until I complete this one. We all must choose our battles. I'm happy that I've found mine. I know for sure that I am going to do this climb. The anticipation of it has sparked a fire in me that I have never felt in bouldering before. A new level of committment, psyche, and desire. All I can do now is try as hard as I can and wait for it. I'll keep you posted.......

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Quick Roadtrip Edit

I did an ultra quick roadtrip edit of some random footage and random areas on my trip. I wish I could say that this video is awesome, but it sucks. I went for speed on the editing because I just don't have any time to make it good. The video is very speratic. The areas in the video are Hueco Tanks, Kansas City, Moe's Valley, and Joe's Valley. The climbers featured are myself, Mike Wickwire, Ian Cotter-Brown, Kenyon Smith, Matt Arnold and Henry Schlotzhower.
    I am really busy packing and getting ready to leave for the Rocklands in 2 days. I could write about all the awesome shit I've been doing lately like remodeling bathrooms, trying to figure out how to fit 10 lbs of shit in a 5 lb bag, doing long endurance circuits in the gym for training, constantly texting, but honestly all that stuff sounds pretty lame now that I'm seeing it written down. So I'll just keep it curt: Going to Rocklands, super busy packing, very psyched for sending, enjoy the video, and last but not least Metolius and Evolv are the best sponsors ever!!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Browse Boulders from Shibidaang on Vimeo.

Here is a video my friend Isaac posted of an area I briefly visited in Utah. All problems shown are really awesome.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Home Sweet Home

                                                  It's great to be back home.

     After 5 and a half months on the road I've finally returned home to relax for a bit. Traveling and living in a car for that long really takes it out of you. Some recovery time is going to be nice. My last month in Utah was interesting to say the least. Joe's Valley gave us some good weather. I spent most of my time just having fun and sending moderates. I did manage to get a couple hard ones before I came back home. I also did some cool newer ascents in the St. George area. I helped my friend Isaac establish some awesome new granite lines at a little known area north of the town. After cleaning this steep thuggy project, we figured out the beta and put down a hard new gem. Isaac named it the Velvet Glove and we thought about v10ish. I also repeated some of his other classics that were really good. The climbing was very gymnastic for granite which was awesome.
     Next I hit up Bishop for a few days to hang with some buddies. One day at the Sads, Matt Arnold showed me an old project of his right between Cowskull and Enter the Choss. We started trying it and realized the difficulty, which revolved around this desperate reach back move that has a vicious swing with high dab potential. It started to feel possible but very hard. Eventually, out of nowhere, I sent the problem while doing a crazy one armed catch into a double helicopter, somehow, by a miracle, not dabbing. It was a very memorable move for me. I called the line Catch Me If You Can v8. Matt Arnold repeated this problem a few days after. I was psyched to add another great new line to this awesome area. Now I'm back home chilling out for while. I have to now start getting ready for my trip to South Africa this summer. I plan on doing about 5 weeks of training, while of course trying some of the great outdoor problems Tahoe has to offer. I've been to South Africa for two seasons and this will be my third. I really like that country and the climbing that it has to offer. I'm hoping to spend the last bit of the trip there living and climbing in Cape Town, which will be an awesome, new experience no doubt.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Out of Hueco and Onto Joe's Valley

I reached the end of my Hueco Tanks trip last week and escaped the decadent vortex that is El Paso, Texas. January offered good temps while I was starting to get into shape, but February was unusually warm this season. The hot weather made it quite difficult to get any hard problems done. Unfortunately, my first season trying the famous power endurance line Martini Right ended in failure. After getting this line in two parts I was ultimately shut down on the link. It was still quite an honor to get to try this iconic boulder problem that has a reputation for making even the strongest climbers pay their dues. I was happy to put in my first season of hard work on this beast. It left me with a hunger to come back stronger next year to give this rig another try. One day I'm going to send this thing so long as the park doesn't close down the cave. El Techo did not go as well. This one was a bit reachy for me and offered up an extra challenge. All the moves went down though proving that even for a short fella it is still possible.
    I noticed that Hueco Tanks can ironically have a lot of distractions that I fell into. The food is so good but seems like it is all cooked in lard. Even chicken burritos kind of leave you feeling like crap because of the tortillas fat content. They also have really good pasteries that taste great but really weigh you down for that next climbing day. The popular camping area, The Hueco Rock Ranch is sort of the "animal house" of this bouldering mecca. Staying here one can find that you end up drinking heavily a bit too often i.e. every fucking day. All these things combined get many climbers into bad habits and, like me, you find that too much of this stuff can lead to you getting weaker the longer you stay here. But damn what a good time. I think next visit I will go in December when it is colder and stay in the park where you can keep to yourself and hopefully drink less and eat a bit healthier. If anyone is planning a trip there that would be my recommendation. Keep yourself in control, it will be boring but you will climb way better as a result. Fun times but lesson learned.
   I have moved on to Joe's Valley, Utah. It is nice to be free from the regulations and distractions and have a plethora of great sandstone at your disposal. Isaac Caldiero put out a great guidebook that will get you around the area to the best problems. This guidebook has been very useful in locating the good lines and even gives some beta for those who are interested. You can purchase the book for $30 at the local grocery store called the Food Ranch. Which by the way has butterfinger donuts, just saying. And, no, I haven't been eating them, I swear...
    I've been enjoying my stay here and plan on staying another week or so before continuing west to Moe's Valley to get another chance at my project from last season. It will likely be too hot by the time I get there to try it but you never know. I'm hoping that southern Utah will get a late cold spell in April. I guy can dream right? In the meantime I feel like some sending might go down here as it is supposed to be cold this week after the next snow storm hits. I'm really looking forward to some sunny 30 degree days. Ah...friction.
    In case anyone wanted to know my ticklist from Hueco Tanks in the two months I spent there here it is:
Barefoot on Sacred Ground v12
Schwer Gustov v10/11
Wonderhole Dyno v10
10-10 v10
Theater of the Absurd v10
Julio and Me v9
Glas Roof v9
Choir Boys v9
Dragonfly low v9
Paleazoic v9
Big Nose Milley v9
Something Different v8
Ultra Mega v8

There is more but I can't remember. These are the ones that stick out in my mind. I doesn't seem like very much for 2 months but I'm getting back in shape so you do what you can. Feel like all this steep crimpy stuff definately tightened up my game a bit. I'm excited to test the new skills out here in Joe's.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

More Hueco Tanks

I am most of the way through my trip to Hueco Tanks, Texas. At this point I feel like it has been a good trip. Hueco is a great place to get fit, and I feel like it has helped get me into better form. The other day I took out a couple of nemesis problems for me. I sent Theater of the Absurd v10 and Barefoot on Sacred Ground v12. It felt good to put these projects to rest. Many days of effort and some good support from friends goes a long way.
This past weekend, some friends and I participated in the volunteer Hueco Clean Up Day. Various groups were guided around the mountains building trails, picking up litter and glass, and washing excess chalk off the popular problems. My buddies,David and Kenyon, and I were assigned to the Icarus Area. We cleaned chalk off the warm ups and the famous 99 Heroin Balloons. After washing off chalk, our group picked up about 6 grocery bags of broken glass litter from around the small area. It felt good to help out on a rest day and make a difference to the cleanliness of such a great area. Afterwards, volunteers gathered around the Hueco Rock Ranch where there was all you could eat burritos and Shiner Bock on tap. The party went into the night, ending, as it usually does, with a bunch of drunks by a fire all talking beta. Good times.
With about three weeks left, I definately feel the pressure to take down the other 2 problems I really want to do here. I am close on the Right Martini and on El Techo de los Tres B. Both these lines have been epic for me so far. I'm sure I have up to 6 days this year on each of them. They seem to be great training tools for getting back in good shape. Even when you don't send hard lines you still get stronger just by trying them. None the less, I'm really hoping to send these two before I leave. From here I will take a short trip to Joe's Valley, Utah. Weather will be cooler there when it starts to get too hot here.
This whole trip has been good so far. I'm psyched everyday to see what waits for me around the next corner.

                                                 Me falling on the last move of Shake and Bake v11 photo: Kenyon

                                                  A typical sunset at the Hueco Rock Ranch

                                           Theater of the Absurd v10, a nemesis for me

                                            A huge crowd assembles for the Hueco Clean Up

                              Kenyon Smith and David Outcalt clean chalk off of 99 Heroin Balloons v9

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

mountain beaver segments

Brad Perry got some video segments out from our favorite area of the 2011 Summer. The Mountain Beavers was found by Jarrad Wycoff last Spring. After a lot of hard work by Jarrad, Brad Perry and myself, the area turned out to be quite the South shore spot for people who didn't mind a little hiking. We estimated that a total of 70 problems were established that summer. Here are Brad's videos of some of the gems that got done.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hueco Tanks

It's nice to be back at Hueco Tanks. This place is special indeed. It has many cons such as waiting in line, limited access, highly restricted bouldering; the one pro is that the bouldering here is unbelieveable. The area lends itself to steep, powerfull climbing. It is the perfect recipe for hard boulder problems. I've spent my first 7 days here climbing as much as I can trying to get into Hueco shape. After only a week I feel like I am getting back into the flow. Yesterday, however, I kinda started to get sick. Recently progress came to a hault as I am trying to get over this cold. I have my fingers crossed for a quick recovery but time will tell.
     As in the past year or two I wish I could fill this blog with news of super hard sends, but I'm still actually waiting to get back on the wave. I guess that's how it goes. The climbing I have been doing is fun as hell though. Most of the climbs I've done have been repeats of things that I did in years past. There have been a couple of exceptions. There is a 50 foot long overhanging traverse here called Mop Boys. I spent my first couple of days epicing on this really long problem that has about 5 tricky crux sequences. I went from having it in 10 parts to chucking laps on it for endurance. This problem is given 3 stars in Matt Wilder's Hueco guidebook. Despite many naysayers who complain about it being low, dabby and stupid, I will have to agree with the three stars. Not everything has to be deadly tall and reachy to get stars. Some things are cool based just on the challenge. I love long rock climbs and this one was bad ass. I had never done this line before and it was bad ass.
     There was another line I did the other day called Shower Cap. In previous years, I always had an epic on this one and thought that maybe it was a bit to reachy for someone 5 ft tall. It is a roof with an opening move that is full extention from an undercling with no footholds, none that I could reach anyway. I watched my buddy Matt Arnold do it rather easily using his long arms and legs. Matt assured me that I could send using his beta. Well, he was right and wrong but mostly right. I had to improvise a little for the first bit by having both hands and feet in the same zone. This seemingly silly-looking tactic payed off and I stuck the big move. Even though I hadn't been able to do a single move on the problem after an hour of work, somehow after sticking the first part I screamed my way through about 7 more moves that I hadn't done. Sometimes when you get lucky, you stay lucky I suppose.
      On a bit of a different note, I have to give a little info about a new Metolius pad I've been using called the Recon. This pad is my new favorite from Metolius. My favorite feature is the size. It is a little bit smaller than it's bigger brother the Colossus. When this pad is folded on the back it is very narrow at 22 inches wide, which is really usefull in Hueco where you have to constantly squeeze between tight corridors. I am also a big fan of how quickly it packs and unpacks. It only has one buckle that holds the tri fold together. My saddle bag of bouldering gears easily wraps around the outside. By doing this I avoid stuffing all my gear inside the pad, thus increasing the life of the foam. I've noticed that I'm always the first one to have my stuff packed up or unpacked. This saves more time for climbing, if only about 15 seconds per stop.  Basically it is one of the most unique and efficient designs I've seen in a crash pad. At a price of $249 it is not the cheapest but it is not the most expensive either. Seems like a fair deal to me. Props to Metolius for thinking outside the box and finding new ways to make crash pads better.

    I have 2 months left here in the Tanks. This should give me ample time to work out some of the classic hard lines that I've always wanted to do. In the meantime, I hope all the folks out in Tahoe continue to get their boulder on. Sounds like I picked the wrong season for a winter trip. But I will have plenty of time there soon enough.