Archive for the 'Climbing' Category

December 12th, 2017

Made this video for a friend who was asking for pointers how to climb this finger crack in the Icebox at the gym. He shot the video of me climbing it at the end of my 45 minute block session. I try to annotate the nuances that made the differences (from not being able to […]

November 7th, 2017

My favorite form of climbing is following multipitch climbs. The emphasis is on following. I love how I can be completely lost in the art of climbing, solving the puzzles that each climb presents, without needing to worry about the consequences of a leader fall. I’ll be happy to follow all day all the time. […]

October 20th, 2017

The reward after a special day, a day I finally set aside my fear, anxiety, and self doubt, and led every pitch (linked all in 8 pitches) of Astroman. At the summit, while I took in the mystic view of the valley created by the special effect of smoke (wish my camera had captured the […]

September 23rd, 2017
February 3rd, 2017
July 23rd, 2016

Today is going to be special. I am on my way to Yosemite to climb the Regular Northwest Face on Half Dome. It will be my first big wall. And, I will be climbing it with a total stranger. (Half Dome, viewed from Washington Column.) I have left the Bay Area early this morning and now parked outside of […]

June 19th, 2016

No Mountains too high, for you to climb All you have to do is have some climbing faith… My expectations for Yosemite are low, very low. I’m talking about my up coming vacation. Remember E, my once life partner and now best friend, a key non-player in my recent off-topic Astroman trip report? Well, he offered to […]

April 30th, 2016

Postscript: After a month, I posted a modified version of this same report to SuperTopo (link). To my relief, the comments have been positive.    Ever since I came back to outdoor climbing in October last year,  I’ve been dreaming about returning to Astroman, one of the crown jewels of Yosemite free climbing. And now, I’m […]

March 20th, 2016

Please add me to the list of men and women who onsighted Twilight Zone.   I took a leap. After all, I am a gym climber and here is the apparent evidence.   I don’t know what got into me — when it comes to leaping over anything, I’m usually like this:     No, no leap […]

March 6th, 2016

My Supertopo Thread (which did not receive much love). :p We climbers in the Bay Area are fortunate to have access to the carefully crafted cracks at the three Planet Granite gyms: San Francisco, Sunnyvale, and Belmont. I’ve visited gyms outside of the PG Bay Area system. While some of them offer a few interesting […]

October 17th, 2015

A trip (trip?) report was asked of me. Busy with work and sleeping, I have not had a chance to write a report yet, although I wanted to. In summary, life is like a box of chocolates. My sequence of events goes like this:  Renee, the PG owner, shutdown my secrete aid climbing practice at […]

March 15th, 2014

Late Thursday night, Mr. Mud said Chris was thinking about a possibility (among others) of going to Yosemite for a day trip to do Serenity and Sons, except that he didn’t have a partner yet. Then a light bulb went off in his head and he said me “you can follow him up the climb.” […]

July 4th, 2013

Our friends Jeanne and Iztok invited a few friends to join them at Courtright for 4th of July, and friends invited friends… when the day arrived, we apparently got an Occupy Movement going — okay, not quite, but we got 15+ who showed up taking up four campsites along with the hardcore dispersed campers. It […]

June 17th, 2013

Beautiful day climbing with Steve. He knows the area well. He took both of us up a 4 pitch climb called Aloha Patrol (5.11b), and then when Mr. Mud took a break, he took me up a 4-pitch arete climb (5.10+). For both climbs, we did (by linking) in two pitches.Photos from Steve’s camera:   […]

April 29th, 2012

The weekend started on Friday afternoon. Made a last minute decision that I would ride over the hill to meet up with Mr. Mud so we could ride up B-OO-B (Bohlman – On Orbit – Bohlman) together. I had to carry our tent poles in a backpack hoping to get them fixed at Mel Cotton […]

March 15th, 2012

On the forum, a user by ID CruxLuv started a thread, How did you learn “the ropes”? It lured many interesting stories out and are all worth checking out. (My lame story is in there too.) But I just wanted to repost Mr. Mud’s account of “the early days” because I found the story very […]

March 3rd, 2012

Erik’s birthday was in the week. But unlike the other 12 hour days Erik spends at work (including weekends), his birthday had an online training class scheduled that started from 7am (east coast class) and ended at 3pm, so he took it at home. It happened to be my work from home day and my […]

July 24th, 2010

In the hindsight, I probably should have stayed home for the weekend. Our friend Brad needed Erik’s help both days for his Sonora Pass Climbing Guide Book effort and I know that they would be hiking around crags and pointing at climbs — not my cup of tea. If I had stayed home, I could […]

March 21st, 2010

Our friend Mike’s wedding brought us back to Yosemite. Initially, Mike asked to climb with Erik on his wedding day just like how Erik climbed The Rostrum with Steve the morning of his/our wedding. However, when we got to the valley, Mike was no where to be found. It turned out that he was so […]

August 22nd, 2009

Mr. Mud wanted the first trip for his new ride to be special, and what could be more special than taking her to his favorite place on earth, the Pinnacles? It was a smooth ride indeed, and Mr. Mud thoroughly enjoyed the USB port that even my CR-V does not have. (I’m envious.) After his […]

May 24th, 2009

This is Erik’s trip report on the forum: Went to the Pins today.  Fantastic weather, warm in the sun with a cool but not cold breeze.  The breeze was not strong enough or cold enough for it to be chilly while in the shade.  Still a few wild flowers out. Wet Kiss, Big Pucker TR […]

May 10th, 2009

My friend Jeanne and I are both in the market for a new mountain bike with around 5″ of travel. We spent Saturday trying out various bikes at Santa Teresa County Park where Trail Head Cyclery is holding a demo weekend. The two husbands were there too. I couldn’t have asked for a better place […]

April 4th, 2009

April 4 – Rockpile Rendezvous at Pinnacles National Monument A beautiful day. Jim, his brother Bill, Mud, and I carpooled over and arrived early (~8:10am). Saw Bruce and Clint at Moses Sprint parking lot setting up their display before they were headed to Discovery Wall for some rebolting. We spent the day at Discovery Wall […]

February 25th, 2009

Figure 9 is my favorite rappel knot because I believe it offers following advantages: low profile (maybe arguable depending on what you compare it with) quick to tie, stands flat when pulled over a rock, easy to untie when loaded, works well with ropes of different diameters. Some of these traits are shared by other […]

January 31st, 2009

The twisted story was posted to the forum. The real story is, Jenny, knowing that her husband would prefer climbing with friends over a romantic getaway for his birthday weekend, invited Erik and me as part of the surprise. While researching on climbing at St Helena, I contacted Jerry for the most up-to-date topo and […]

December 31st, 2008

Actually it all started on my Skeggs ride. While waiting around for everyone to get ready, Charlie threw an unexpected question at me, “What did you get Erik for Christmas?” Huh? It was only 8:30 on a late December morning and I started sweating. To describe how I felt at the moment, I would use […]

September 21st, 2008

Day 1: La Honda, CA to Roseburg, OR Day 2: MTB North Umpqua Trail: Tioga and Mott segments out and back Day 3: MTB North Umpqua Trail: Panther and Calf segments out and back Day 4: MTB McKenzie River Trail out and back Day 5: Eugene, OR to McKenna, WA Day 6: McKenna, WA to […]

August 31st, 2008

(Skip the trip report and jump to Beta Section) On the Saturday morning of this Labor Day weekend, we drove out of the bay area and headed straight to the Rostrum. Recently, our friend had tried to remind us that there were other climbs in Yosemite. It’s not that we had forgotten that; rather, the […]

August 29th, 2008

We are thinking about doing a road trip up to British Columbia mid September with climbing at Squamish and mountain biking at Whistler.  Following are just a few links I found about climbing at Squamish . I’m collecting them here so I do not repeat the effort later. […]

August 17th, 2008

I had to take a pause and put my cup down on the 50-foot walk from the break room to my desk this morning because my fingers could not bear the burning pain from carrying that cup of warm water. Every finger tip is glowing red with unusual fullness. In a day or two, they […]

August 10th, 2008

We climbed five pitches on the Rostrum and six pitches on Kor-Beck; hence, incomplete (as the title suggested). Maybe we are getting old because getting an early start seems to get harder and harder. When we arrived at the top of the Rostrum at 8am, I thought for sure I would see a line of […]

May 11th, 2008

Erik and I had been away from real climbing at Yosemite for so long (two years?) and were itching to get back on some multi-pitch climbs. We were having a hard time picking one though because his favorite, the Rostrum, was still closed in order to provide privacy to a few big birds making babies, […]

April 28th, 2008

Not having time to pack on Friday before work, so we decided to leave on Saturday morning. It’s been a while since we visited Yosemite last time, and I had forgotten how long of a drive it was. We didn’t arrive at Ron and Liz’s Yosemite Blue Butterfly Inn until past ten. It was a […]

April 6th, 2008

Because we returned home very late from yesterday’s ride, we had a late start to the Pinns this morning. Having had to stop at Mud’s work did not help either. It was a short day for us at the Pinns because we wanted to get home at a reasonable hour to get important stuff done […]

March 31st, 2008

The day started out dicey — cloudy, gusty, with occasional drizzles. In the afternoon, there was more sun and it warmed up a little. Finally, the day ended being spectacular.F4, Mud, and I were joined by the Landshark family at Discovery Wall. In the morning, we were almost ready to call it a day after […]

March 22nd, 2008

It is a beautiful day. I can’t believe that we almost decided to stay home this morning when we woke up an hour after our alarm went off. It felt so comfortable to just lie in bed and maybe even go back to sleep for a little longer. But since we told Uncle Stinky on […]

March 1st, 2008

[Note: This TR was first posted to the forum.] JT is a friend of mine whom I met at Lynn Hill Climbing Camp three years ago. Ever since then, we have kept in touch. He became a close friend of Lynn. Over the past couple of decades, he has climbed all over the place such […]

February 17th, 2008

[Note: This was first posted to the forum.] It was a lucky day for us because we found parking at the East side Visitor Center even though it was past 11am when we arrived there. We went straight to the Monolith. Mud led Cantalope Death (CD) and ran another lap on it before he got […]

February 9th, 2008

This TR was first posted to the forum. We were the first car there and last car to leave. But that’s not because we spent the whole day climbing. However, we were not slacking either. No wet kiss is allowed on Wet Kiss. Mike A now-whats on Cantalope Death. Mud now-whats on Yo Mama Step […]

January 28th, 2008

Climb at Pins on Saturday and ride Hamilton on Sunday. That’s what would have happened if it had not turned out to be another rainy weekend. Instead, Strom went to work on Saturday, and I sank into our couch whole day and worked on my website. To balance it out, I designed a full day […]

January 19th, 2008

[Note: This trip report was first posted to the Pinnacles Forum.] F4, Squiddo, Strom, Debby and I piled into F4’s car and we arrived at the upper parking lot on the west side around 8:15am. Wow, we were the first car there! A few minutes later, Mike A. showed up. F4 and I had only […]

August 7th, 2007

My friend Casey went to climbing in China this summer. While there, she sent out two emails describing her experiences. With her permission, I posted her emails to our forum. If you click on that link, you’ll see some pictures of the climbing area she visited. Part One: so after a long flight and even […]

November 19th, 2005

Erik was acting weird. He took out his camera and snapped a few shots of the highway, the cup holders in the car, and the dashboard etc. (see  photo gallery). When I started wondering about his sanity, he let out a statement that made me almost drive into the central divide: “Today is the most […]

November 5th, 2005

Tim, Dave, and I had been talking about going climbing at Owens River Gorge and had even made plans, but well, plans can fail, and they did. This weekend, I had planned to climb with Debby in Yosemite Valley. But on Thursday, Tim and Dave informed us we were going to Bishop. There went OUR […]

October 29th, 2005

All I know is this place is somewhere in Northen California. I was blindfolded, spun several times, and led through bushes and trees. When my eyes are finally uncovered, I am standing below a straight crack in a beautiful corner. The rock is granite that is familiar to me. The climb is almost 100 feet […]

October 16th, 2005

Yes, I did it again, and better 🙂 Remember how excited I was when I did it last time? after two unsuccessful attempts, finally I managed to get up Generator Crack. However, I had to start off the tree because I couldn’t figure out how to get up the first five feet or so. But […]

October 9th, 2005

Updated in 2017: For more elaborate beta, check out my new post (12 years later): What I know about Astroman… unsolicited beta Actually Astroman is perfect the way it is — it doesn’t need improvement. But we do, and we did improve. Erik and I got back on the climb again this Saturday. We both did […]

October 2nd, 2005

Updated in 2017: For more elaborate beta, check out my new post (12 years later): What I know about Astroman… unsolicited beta How many hard 5.11s can one handle in a weekend? Let me make it clear: That was Erik’s idea; I had nothing to do with it. I was too normal to come up with […]

September 25th, 2005

Oh, my gosh! I was on the brink of freaking out. Well, maybe not that bad, but I did toss and turn for more than two hours on Wednesday night worrying about this trip. East Buttress of El Cap is a long route. The crux move on the route is rated 5.10b, my limit in […]

September 18th, 2005

Lucky Weekend by Debby My good friend Mei and I decided to go climbing together for the weekend. As was typical, we agreed on the weekend, but didn’t bother to finalize any details about location, time, or anything else. Thursday night, we decided that we should go up late on Saturday (so we could have […]

September 5th, 2005

It normally takes me two hours to pack neatly for a weekend’s trip. If I simply pile everything in the trunk without evaluating what’s really needed for the trip and what should go into which bag, it can take as little as half an hour to finish. Of course, I might end up carrying stuff […]

August 27th, 2005

It is not looking promising. I need a climbing partner for this weekend, but I’ve been crossing out one name after another on my list. Erik will be on a wall, Bill wants to leave on Thursday, Debby needs to pack for Burning Man, Nate is leaving for Beijing, Hamid found a partner while I […]

August 21st, 2005

Erik had to work this Saturday, so we made an extended day trip to Yosemite — drove out of the bay area on Saturday evening and returned on Sunday night. The trip was short but the route was long — we climbed a 15-pitch route: Chouinard-Herbert on Sentinel Rock. I posted following report to Supertopo. […]

August 14th, 2005

      Yes, I did it! I had tried to toprope Generator Crack twice starting off the tree. Despite the best effort I could give at the time, I probably made three feet of progress the first time and five feet the second time before being shutdown by the crack. But today, Aug 13 […]

July 31st, 2005

On Saturday morning, when my climbing partner Allen and I headed out for the The Third Pillar of Dana, I was aiming for speed. But the plan was soon doomed when Allen decided to “just relax a bit and enjoy” when we arrived at the plateau. I thought it was not smart to offend a […]

July 9th, 2005

“I can’t find a hold anywhere.” What do you mean? There’s a hand stack right there! — Odub, Album Offwidth, thats me What has happened to this woman in front of me? She has the tan of the rich people on Miami beaches, but the scabs on her nose, cheek, and forehead are those of […]

June 25th, 2005

It all started from a message on a climbers’ Internet forum, SuperTopo — this guy, going by username climberweenie, expressed interests in training for a physically demanding classic climb, Steck Salathe (SS), and was looking for a partner. I responded to him before I regretted. was I really going to climb with some total stranger […]

June 20th, 2005

Man, that was the best climbing trip I’ve ever been on! When I think about this weekend’s trip to the Needles, I somehow have a cartoon of Hamid bubbling out those words with excitement. They are my words, but they sound best coming out of Hamid’s mouth — if you know him, you’ll know what […]

May 30th, 2005

Debby informed me that it was my turn to write a trip report, so here I am, pulling my hair out. It suddenly feels hard. The trip was too uneventful. Don’t get me wrong. The trip was fun. In Alex’s word: “Great climbing, great company and awesome food! Can’t ask for more.” Debby and I […]

May 15th, 2005

What make a climbing trip perfect? Compatible climbing partners Climbing abilities match (or not as you get to follow hard routes or do more leading) Personalities complement each other (or match) No need to turn on the radio in order to fill in the uncomfortable silence in the car When one did not get chance […]

May 2nd, 2005

It’s been a couple of weeks since the camp. This trip report is overdue. For the past few days, I have been feeling like someone in debt. Not that I owe anyone this TR, but the memories of the camp are so fond that I feel guilty if I do not put it down and […]

April 6th, 2005

It was not an easy decision. Going to the week-long camp required taking time off from work, and five days is one third of my yearly vacation quota, but I really wanted to join the camp to spend some time with the legendary climber, whom I had admired since the very early stage of my […]

February 26th, 2005

Can you have it all? I had committed to this trip more than a month ago. But as the date approached, the knot in my stomach grew bigger and bigger. It would be my first time taking a trip in a private plane. I had known Tim, the pilot as well as one of my […]

February 6th, 2005

This Saturday, I went to Castle Rock with Hal, whom I met at Pinnacles last weekend. Not being able to raise Robert on the phone, we left Palo Alto around 10:30 AM. It was a late start by my standard, but Hal’s driving made up for it. Our first destination was Indian Rock, only 5 […]

January 30th, 2005

After two nights of partying and hanging out with friends, I was ready to get out. Mike from the gym has one more seat in his van, so I happily hopped on. On Sunday, Mike, Kent, Charlie, and I left the bay area around 6:30 AM and found ourselves at the Discovery Wall at 9:00 […]

December 31st, 2004

It’s been a while since last time I put up a trip report. I did climb, but only got too lazy to type. We went to Gold Wall a few times and Jailhouse once — all were short trips. Sometimes, we went to Gold Wall with friends and there was lots of chatting and socializing; […]

October 31st, 2004

Next time if you wonder why Allen is ___ (you fill it the blank), just remember that he was born on Halloween and hopefully that would explain everything for you. A group of friends are coming out this Sunday to Grotto for climbing, for Holloween, for his birthday, and for partying. Since we have to […]

October 10th, 2004

By Friday, my back was hurting so much that I planed to read my book at the campsite over the weekend while Allen climbs with other friends. It started with me rolling on two tennis balls on Tuesday. The exercise was recommended by a friend and was supposed to help loosen up those tight muscles […]

October 3rd, 2004

I spent Saturday afternoon at Lost World climbing with Slate and Erik. It was overcast and drizzled a little, so we ran laps on Peaceful Warrior (5.10d, thin crack) and Green Monster (5.12a, sport, I had to hang on this one) that are on an overhanging wall sheltered from the rain. I returned to Lost […]

September 26th, 2004

I had been having a knot in my stomach for a few days – ever since Allen brought up we should go to Cookie Cliff this weekend. Cookie is famous for its hard crags, but am I up for it? Well, up for it or not, we spent two days — two afternoons since we […]

September 12th, 2004

This is the theme of the gathering at Royal Robbin‘s Cabin on Pinecrest Lake. There is abundant wine brought by Lani and her hunsband from their winery. I don’t drink — I lack the enzyme for alcohal — but seeing people, their faces glowing, pouring all kinds of wine glass after glass, I wish I […]

September 6th, 2004

It’s 4:40 AM on Saturday, Sept 4. We wake up to a cloudless and windless morning at Big Pine Campground. I guess it’s a GO then. Yesterday, the High Sierra was blanketed by threatening and discouraging low clouds. We decided to play it by ear — if the weather would get better next day, we […]

August 22nd, 2004

On Saturday morning, we arrived at Bunny Slopes at 11 am. Surprisingly, there was only one party on the right side, and we went left. Wild in the Streaks (5.7) was supposed to be easy, so I picked up the sharp end (i.e. I took the lead). Looking up, I couldn’t see a bolt until […]

August 15th, 2004

No, I was not on this trip…it was just too hardcore for me. Allen and Steve attempted it and finished a good half of the traverse, but they ran out of time. From what I heard, the approach took 6 hours. The heavy packs they were carrying made moderate climbs at the high altitude feel […]

August 7th, 2004

On Friday, I cheerfully announced to Allen, “Supertopo says the approach to West Ridge of Mt. Conness is very confusing, but don’t you worry, because I’ve received beta from four sources.” Intimidated by the warning given by Supertopo, I had asked Gary and Ed, whom I met on On the Lamb, for information because I […]

July 25th, 2004

It turned out to be a perfect weekend. I do not use the word “perfect” casually, so there is no doubt that this weekend was perfect. It first started out with me driving all by myself on Friday evening after work for four hours from the Bay Area to Tuolumne Meadow Campground to meet Allen […]

July 4th, 2004

Spiderman at Matthes Crest I have not been to Tuolumne Meadows (TM) this year, and I can sense the itch inside me. But knowing that TM is a popular tourist destination at this time of the year — the July 4th weekend — I am about to settle for somewhere else. However, on Friday night […]

May 31st, 2004

It is the Memorial Day weekend, which means I have an extra day off, which means I can watch a movie on Friday night and still climb. Troy is the movie we watched and I almost cried my heart out over Hector’s death. Hmmm…I can be pretty silly sometimes. Expecting crowds every where especially in […]

May 23rd, 2004

Having Friday off, Bill, Janelle, and Allen headed to the Valley on Thursday night. On Friday, they enjoyed themselves at Pat and Jack’s Pinnacles where Allen found a diamond ring sitting on a tree branch. Later he posted a note at Camp 4 which reads: “Found Ring! Contact Smiegel at 510-xxx-xxxx for more information.” (Note: […]

May 15th, 2004

The weather was too nice, so we had to get out of the house. How about Yosemite? Allen and I jumped on Serenity Crack. The first two pitches were a foot killer. The pin scars provided nice finger locks, but my feet were screaming at the crack. Imagine this: place your big toe, and big […]

May 2nd, 2004

It was the beginning of May and the weather in the Valley was wonderful. On this beautiful weekend, I climbed with Ricardo the East Buttress of Middle Cathedral and Super Slide. Unfortunately, only later did I find out that Super Slide was “off limits due to peregrine closure.” I was actually wondering why we didn’t […]

March 21st, 2004

So far the climbing I have been doing is called free climbing, where you only use your hands and feet to gain elevation while the rope and gear only serve as a safty backup just in case you fall. There is another category of climbing called aid climbing, where you would have to or choose […]

February 8th, 2004

Jon, Allen and I check out Consumnes River Gorge on a nice day. We meet Dave at the crag. He is a very friendly guy. We take it easy for the whole day, but still I get plenty of climbing in. Mei leading Dinkum, a short 5.9 finger crack. She’s not as flexible as it […]

November 29th, 2003

Sunday 11/23: driving out of Bay Area Monday 11/24: sport climbing at Dogg Wall Tuesday 11/25: Geronimo, 4 pitches, 5.8 Wednesday 11/26: Crimson Chrysalis, 9 pitches, 5.8 Thursday 11/27: short trad stuff at Straight Shooter Wall and Brass Wall Friday 11/28: Levitation 29, 7 pitches 5.11 Saturday 11/29: Driving back home Sunday 11/23: driving out […]

October 18th, 2003

One night in the dark This is the first trip report I have ever written. Didn’t mean to make it so long, but the words just kept flowing out of my finger tips. Ricardo wrote a trip report on his 7 day solo ascent of Zodiac for his first big wall. 7 days, and his […]

October 5th, 2003

Ahh… This weekend was perfect. By perfect, I mean it was really perfect. The weather in the valley was perfect — not cold nor hot. The climbs we did were awesome. And most importantly, we got chance to hang out together! On Saturday, Allen and Steve sent Astroman, one of the best and hardest multipitch […]

September 29th, 2003

Does it look fun? Or does it look scary? Well, check out a local climbing gym and find out for yourself! Allen working on a hard boulder problem Mickey’s Beach is a nude beach — officially called “clothing optional beach.” Sunset is always beautiful.

September 20th, 2003

I spent a steaming hot day with Steve, Florence at Reed’s Pinnacles and Generator Crack. Florence on Stove Grove at Reed’s Pinnacles Florence hugging a tree after struggling in Generator Crack Steve high on Lunatic Fringe at Reed’s Pinnacles Mei attentively belaying. Mei getting higher and higher on Stone Grove at Reed’s Pinnacles Mei trying […]

June 18th, 2003

It is my birthday. So doing a climb that I’ve heard so much about and have always wanted to do sounds like a perfect idea for this special day! Snake Dike is an easy climb on the side of Half Dome (note: it’s not the same as the hikers’ cable route). The approach from the […]

August 17th, 2002

Following are my old photo reports. These were from the early days of my website when I didn’t write much.  But they marked the beginning of my outdoor adventures. May 24-26, 2003 Climbing: Lover’s Leap Apr 5 and 6, 2003 Climbing: Gold Wall and the Grotto Feb 16, 2003 Snowshoeing: Badger Pass in Yosemite Jan […]