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I am a great fan of J-tree and have climbed quite a few routes there over the past ten years. Although I have 15 years technical rock clmbing experience, I realize I still have new things to learn to make me a better climber.
I've developed and bolted several new routes (on lead) in Canyon Tajo, just south of San Diego in the 90's. Also, I've helped develop several new sport routes in the high desert of CA.
My first climbing experiences were in Red River Gorge, KY (before the sport climbing revolution there---climb on that rock?!). We lead serveral new crack lines including "the onyx" 5.10a and "Where's Carmen" 5.8 offwidth.
When I started lead climbing I bought a small rack of friends, stoppers and hexes, and set off to do all the 5.4s and 5.5s in Red River Gorge!
I suppose I was very lucky to have a great teacher (an alpine climber) in those days and followed many a trad route before leading on my own. This enabled me to learn how to set gear proprerly in cracks and set good multipitch anchors. Too bad this type of climbing is rather lost in comparison to today's sport climbing trends.
J-tree has allows been a favorite since I came to CA in 1990. I've lead "Illusion dweller", "Run for your life", "Double Cross", "Loose Lady", Touch and Go", "Rubicon", "Sweatband" and others. There are so many routes in J-Tree, I also realize I could climb a new route for the 10 years and never repeat one--although I have my favorites!
I particularily enjoy finger cracks as my hands are small and my fingers fit just right in tiny cracks (There are advantages to being a smaller female!).
I do also enjoy sport climbing and I've found that working the harder routes has raised my crack climbing abilities to harder routes also. I like to supplement my climbing with light weight training as I find my muscle mass stays longer (we females, at least for me, don't hold the muscle mass as long and it takes more to gain it compared to the guys---beta for new climbers?!)
I've also enjoyed several long routes in Red Rocks (Prince of Darkness) and have climbed "the Regular Route" of Half Dome and "La Jolla" on The Throne in Canyon Tajo. La Jolla turned into an epic and we wound up staying the night on top while using our ropes as blankets. Thank god for matches as we kept a fire going all night.
I haven't done El Capitan yet, but would like to do so at some point. I'd like to someday climb "the Lotus Flower Tower" in Canada sometime.
While I used to climber for the higher "numbers", now I just enjoy climbing for the beauty of climbing (ZEN Thing--you know), going to lovely places and hanging out with cool people.
Anyway, I hope I can contribute some good beta to other newer climbers, although I realize many of you folks have tons more experience than I. I've found that there is always something new to learn with each good climber I team up with.
As a side note, I tend to be very conserverative and have refused to do long multipitch routes with a folks who refused to set decent anchors. I have also backed off a few climbs at times, which I learned from an aquaintance of mine, Fred Becky, a rather famous alpinist. Wait for the right time! He has never had a serious accident in his 70+ years of climbing new routes--patience is one of his strong points!
Incidentally, I took Fred sport climbing, yes---sport climbing-- in the high desert a few years ago. At the age of 73, he lead a 5.9 sport route and had an awesome time! I hope I have his zeal when I get that age and the open mindedness to flow with the evolution of the sport.
Enjoy and be Safe!
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