Cake
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    • The weather was terrible. In the mountains the wind was blowing over 100 MPH at ridges, and it was dumping snow. Rather than suffer, we stuck to climbing and camping in the Owens Valley. Here's a storm rolling in:

      Owens Rivers Gorge is this incredible area for climbing with hundreds of routes that is well protected from bad weather as it sits in the middle of a high-desert valley. All the walls of the gorge are near vertical or overhung which makes for some exciting climbing.

      Getting to the climbs is a bit of a pain. The approach starts with a class 3 scramble.

      And lugging gear is no fun, but we had to do it.

      The river bottom is quite gorgeous:

    • Alex is quite the climber. Here he is calmly sending a 35-meter finger crack that is 10 degrees overhung.

      I climbed this route first, but I burned out at halfway from lack of endurance. I should have trained more. We sent Zeno up next to finish the route so we could get our gear back. He got 1 bolt father.

      That's when we had to send in the cavalry, Alex, to retrieve our gear. He swiftly climbed it with no falling.

    • My sister is newer to climbing and had not led a climb outdoors before this trip. Here she is on her first lead, a 5.8 face.

      She didn't finish it, but wanted so badly to finished a lead that day, so we found an easier 5.7 blocky route. She made it 2 clips, then freaked out because the bolts were 10' apart. If you fall 10' above a bolt, that usually results in a 25ft fall due to the static fall distance plus rope stretch.

      So I got on the route, and set the quick draws for her.

      I also draped the climb in alpine draws (the longer slings hanging from every bolt), which reduced the distance between clips by a couple of feet, giving her some added security.

      Sadly she still didn't finish the route.

    • Unfortunately, she didn't finish a route that day. The next day 4 more friends arrived. All of them beginner climbers. So we went to this crag called La Escuela, which was developed for beginning climbers. The routes were slabby and far from vertical. Here's the base of the crag.

      I was the rope gun for those that didn't want to lead. I'd climb it then set a top rope. Here's me sitting at the top of a climb as I watched others climb. Because, why not?

      Zeno, who can climb far harder than these climbs, got his Alex Honnold on and took some risks. Here he is drinking a beer while climbing in 30 MPH winds with 20 ft run outs. He made me a bit nervous, but it was comical.

      The views in the canyon were spectacular:

    • Some more photos...

      Here's Zeno, stoked to be reading the new ORG guidebook. It has all the intel needed to pick great climbs for everyone with every skill level:

      Me getting bored belaying as I was waiting for Zeno to finish resting:

      Here's me letting my sister belay me on an outdoor 10c lead. She is new to belaying leaders outdoors so I made sure to pick something I wouldn't fall on.

      The views were absolutely epic at the top of the gorge:

    • Wow, thanks for the awesome write-up and pics! I’m not a climber but I’m fascinated by it.