maandag 28 maart 2011

Sun! Sun and more Sun!

Lots of pictures! Hell yeah! Last days were awesome! I’ve met a whole new group of people to climb with. It was a lot of fun. Now half the group left bishop because of different reasons. Work, real life, friends or other obligations!

Last rest day I went to the natural hot springs near Mammoth (a famous ski-village) with Niels, a nice guy from Utah. It was awesome; this was the first time in my life I’ve been in a hot spring! I ate 500 gr of carrots with some hummus and drank some homebrew beer from Niels! What a nice rest day!

Last two climbing days where painful! I tried ‘Stained glass’ V10. I fell on the last move really close on my second try! I tried it 3 more times and then my fingers were fucked like you can see on the picture! I didn’t try it anymore to save the skin!

In those days I did a lot of beautiful more easy classics to save some skin. I woke up every night from the heartbeat in my fingers! Really annoying! I flashed a lot of V8’s. The nicest one was Checkerboard in the Buttermilks! Perfect high line! I love high boulders!

I’m too lazy today to write a whole story so enjoy the pictures!

Top class boulder in the buttermilk! V1 sitstart in a hole. Don't need your shoes for this, just your ass! It's called the 'Birthing experience'!

This one above is a nice but really hard arrĂȘte V6 next to the famous boulder 'The Mandala'!

On our new campsite at the Buttermilk we only found one tree. So my Van was the second tree and we could tighten it easy by driving forward!

Here my fingers after only 5 try's in Stained Glass! Super sharp!

This is Stained Glass! Super small and sharp crimps who ends in a dyno to a sharp jugg!

Three pictures above: Niels and I in the amazing hot Spring in the middle of nowhere! Still lots of snow!

PS: We were not naked!

This was my lazy blog post!

woensdag 23 maart 2011

Wonderfull Time in the Buttermilks!

Picture above: Steve Marcil
Again, over and over again, I have so much new stuff to tell you! I’ll start again where I ended my last post! Last Friday the Red Rock Rendez-vous started in Red Rock. I stayed there one day and then left at Saturday to Bishop, California, because of the windy weather in Red Rock. I arrived in Bishop late at night and had another rest day because of the rainy weather. Really disappointing. But last two days we could climb really well!

I went to the Red Rock Rendez-Vous where I met the sales-rep’s of Five Ten and Petzl. All really friendly people. Five Ten could put me on their athletes list so I could enter the Rendez-Vous for free! Thanks for that Five Ten. The Rendez-Vous is a famous event here for beginner climbers. A lot of brands come to this event to represent their brand, they all take some athletes whit them. During the whole weekend the beginner climbers can get lessons in different climbing disciplines from pro athletes! The different disciplines are sportclimbing, trad and bouldering. They learn the beginners different techniques like how to place cams and nuts in trad climbing, how to climb a crack and way more. I think this is one of the nicest events for the development of the climbing sports! At night there is a lot of free beer and some party’s ands slide shows!

Saturday morning I woke up at the Rendez-Vous with a lot of wind, I was normally going for a climb at Mt Potasi but it was way too windy up there! So I decided to leave to Bishop! I felt like leaving so I did that same day! I said goodbye to the friend I made over there and left. Mike and Tom where already in Bishop and I was joining them again! Before Leaving Red Rock I met some really nice climbers at the Rendez-Vous. I have some good contacts now for Indian Creek! I’m looking forward to it.
Five Ten just made a new crack climbing shoe. It’s called the Supermocc. It is a better version of the Moccasims. It has soft rubber on the top of the toe for jamming it into small cracks. I’m going to test those shoes in Indian Creek! I’m psyched!

The drive to Bishop was 6 hours! My car drives really well now so I could drive like another car, no more trucks that pass me like the flying devil! It also uses les gas after they had put a new air filter and more new stuff in the engine.
So the drive was nice, I drunk some coffee in my King Mobile, ate some cookies, listened to some good music and I arrived at the boulder Mecca before I could imagine! The last 2 hours of the drive where going through the mountains, it was already dark and unfortunately I was running out of gas! Quite an adventure! I still had my extra gas bottle next to me but I didn’t want to stop in the middle of nowhere without one single human being and fill up my gas tank of the car in the dark. I was so happy the last 10 miles before the next gas station were downhill, so I didn’t need to touch the gas pedal anymore!

Next day we woke up with a shitload of rain so we spent our day in ‘The Black Sheep’, the local climber’s coffee shop! Because we (Mike, Tom and I) were bored really fast we went to the buttermilks for a walk. We drove with my car when we suddenly saw tons of snow on the road, I tried to go through it but my Van(hee) master didn’t want to. We stopped where the car was stuck and made a nice but short walk through the snow. I concluded: The buttermilks are awesome! After the walk I drove the whole dirt road backwards!

The next day the weather was better. I woke up in my van (aka pimp mobile) with my backdoors open and the sun in my stupid face. This was also the first time I really saw how beautiful the environment was! We camped near the Sad boulders in nature! This felt so amazing! After sleeping in parking lots for three weeks this felt like sleeping in my little heaven! The three nights we slept there I slept really well and have much more energy as last weeks.
Picture right: Steve Marcil

So the first climbing days we climbed in the Sad boulders (also called the table lands). I didn’t like it so much. It looked like a bad Hueco Tanks. Yesterday the weather was good so we could go to the Buttermilks! This is the area where Bishop is famous for. It is a beautiful place between big snowy mountains! I loved it! This is the best place I’ve already been to in the states! Just look at the pictures! I can’t describe it! Waah, I’m so excited when I’m writing this now!

I tried Evolution, a V10 on the biggest boulder I’ve ever seen! The V10 problem stops at the lip and then you need to drop off. The V11 problem goes up the whole boulder! I might try the V 11 version!

This place is wonderful, it’s just so mind blowing!

Now it is bad weather again and we are taking a rest day! Drinking coffee and we might go to some Hot Springs in the mountains!

Right Picture: Steve Marcil

More pictures on Tom and Mike's Blog!

Me, on top of a 5.9! The right side of the boulder, on the left side is the scary downclimb.

This is how I woke up with that supid face in the sun!

Where is the Chevy Van?

Schoolbusboys burning their bacon because they like it!

vrijdag 18 maart 2011

Real Shit Bro!

Time is going fast hé? A sign things are going well! Already 5 days ago that I wrote something on my blog! I had some great times last days. Everything is coming together.

What’s up Ho? Mount potasi is going on!

Tuesday I went with David Gibbons, an awesome guy who lives now in Vegas, to Mt Potasi. It’s also near Vegas. It’s is a big limestone cave on the top of a mountain. The dirt road to it is really aggressive; I don’t think I can drive there with my van. Or I need to change to a redneck with too much money and put huge tires and hydraulics underneath my Chevy. If I do that I also put a nice tattoo of a wolf on my back and carry a shotgun. :)
So where was I …?
Suddenly we needed to stop Dave’s Honda Element and walk further. The walk in total was one hour. In this one hour, 40 minutes is steep uphill. We were only dying a little bit.

The cave is really big like you can see on the pictures! (pictures are coming) A lot of the routes are chipped. The style was really bouldery with lots of pinches. It took me a while to get used to the limestone again. This style reminds me to Rifle, so it felt quite hard. I prefer the sandstone and crimpy style in Red Rock! I had an easy day and just did a 7c and a 7c+.

SMOG Master becomes SMOG Buster!

Monday and Wednesday I drove my ass around with my smoggy mobile to do something about that smog issue and to get my license plate!
Monday I brought my Van to a garage where they could do something about the smog, so now I passed the smog test! The engine has a lot of new stuff in it. He uses less gas too now!
While they were working on my Van I went doing some Frisbee Golf (Frolf) with Tom and Mike. Such a funny sport, I suck at it so I’ll keep on climbing.

Wednesday I went to the DMV office and received my Nevada license plate! Yeah, I’m so happy now! Driving around without worries (I hope). Just climb and live!

Just win a comp, whatever! :)

Wednesday night there was a boulder competition in Red Rock climbing gym in Vegas. I met a lot of nice new people and found some new climbing partners because my Colorado friends Mike and Tom left to Bishop. I won the comp by doing almost all the hardest boulders in the gym. I don’t know what happened but I’m in good shape! I won a hundred dollars, good because I needed it for the car! The climbers here in Vegas now know the Belgian! (That’s how they called me at the comp.)

Doing routes from left to right!

Today I went climbing in Red Rocks with Heather and Chris, two nice people I met on Mt Potasi and on the competition. I had such a funny day, laughing and when I wasn’t, I climbed! That’s how it needs to be!
We went to the Trophy wall where I did almost all the routes. Started with 7b and 7b+ on sight. After that I did a 7c flash and a 7c+ third go. Yeah last one wasn’t so good. Then on the end of the day I did another 7c+ on sight and one 7c+ flash with only 5 minutes rest between them! Awesome training/sending day! Have nothing else to do anymore here.

Couch surfing!

For the moment I’m staying at David’s place. He’s living together with some nice other climbers. Really guest free. It feels good to watch television, sit in a couch, cook on a real stove and the best …. take a shower.

Tomorrow I’m going to try a roof crack trad climb in Red Rocks! I’m psyched!

zondag 13 maart 2011

Climbing - Car - Climbing - Car - C...

It has been a week since I wrote a new blog post. The climbing last week was as good as that last day when I posted something. I climbed with Mike last week because of Tom who left for a week back to Colorado because of his foot injury and his waiting girlfriend. It was a nice week and we did a lot of good climbing. Almost every climbing day we went to a new crag with new routes. The rest days where really shitty because of some car problems.

Chevy Van SMOG master!
(I’m not proud of it)

Let’s start with the bad news of the car. I’ll start with the very beginning.
I bought the car in Texas, where I first was planning to register and have insurance. That didn’t work out because as a foreigner I wasn’t able to register in Texas. I could have a temporary license plate every 30 days but then I couldn’t go out of the Texas state. I made some research on the internet until I found a good insurance company in Nevada, where I was planning to go to. Insurance and registration most of the time needs to be in the same state. I took the Nevada insurance for the car and called with the registration company DMV. They gave me a temporary Nevada license plate so I could drive over to Nevada. Now I’m in Las Vegas where I’m trying to get a real Nevada license plate. I have an address here of a friend I use to register the car.

So now the problems are coming. To get that Nevada license plate I needed to do a smog test. My car failed for this test because of two reasons. The first reason is that the car doesn’t have an air pump, what causes more smog. But this car was officially made without an air pump so if I could prove that to the DMV smog-lab that was no issue anymore. The second reason why the car failed the smog test is because is just has too much smog. Simple! I went to the DMV smog-lab where they were really unfriendly first. They told me to go to a garage to do something about the smog and to get an emission label that says the car never had an air pump and don’t need any. So I went to a Chevrolet garage where they wanted to give me a new air pump and wanted to charge me 160 dollars only to make research. When they told me this I jumped really fast in the smog machine and drove away really desperate. I decided to go back to those unfriendly people at the smog lab. With a really desperate face I went inside and told them the problem. Finally they were friendly enough to give me that emission label themselves. They were too lazy the first time to do an effort to give me that label. So one problem was solved.

Now I needed to do something about the smog itself. I went to another garage where they were really friendly from the beginning. They first asked 100 dollars for the research, I agreed with this and decided to wait until it was done. After 1.5 hours they told me they needed to take out the front seats of the car because of the engine that is completely inside and under the car. For this they asked 200 dollars. I didn’t saw another way out so I was ready to pay this amount. I also told them the whole story that I’m travelling, just only for 5 more months and that I want to register to travel around the country. After one more hour they came back to me and told me it was going to cost over the 1000 dollars, maybe even thousands of dollars if I wanted to do something about the smog. So they gave me some new advice to register the car somewhere else. They saw that I was just a bum without so much money and they told me really friendly to sign some papers and get my poor ass out of there without paying. I was really happy with this and at the same time I could cry. :)

So after all this waiting and crying I went to my DMV agent and told him the whole story. So now I have two options:
1. I go to a garage and offer them 100 or 200 dollars if they give me a receipt that I paid them 450 dollars for doing something about the smog but it didn’t work. The law here is that you need to past the smog test to get the registration. If you fail you need to spend at least 450 dollars for your smog. If you tried to do something about it and can prove you paid at least 450 dollars they can give you the registration for one year. So that’s one plan.

2. The second plan to go to Kingston, Arizona, on my way to Indian Creek. In Kingston, only 1, 5 hours from here, they don’t have smog tests. The only possible problem would be that they want me to have also Arizona insurance. If this is going to be the solution I hope the insurance is not a problem.

So this was my Chevy Van story. I’m getting a little bit sick of it right now. Today it is Sunday so I can’t do much. I’ll do my best tomorrow again!

Happy climbing is my sport!

Between all the hassle of the car, believe it or not but I climbed! Almost every day we climbed in Red Rocks we went to a new crag with all new routes to try. Only last three days we went to the same crag, called the 13 wall. Because there are a lot of 13a’s and harder. I did every day an 8a or harder.
I on sighted almost two other 8a’s, instead I did them second go. Then I tried a route called ‘Where Is My Mind’ graded 8a+ but really hard. I’m wondering if there is nothing that broke in that route. It felt like the hardest 8a+ I’ve ever done. But it was really nice. The long crux was really boulder with some extreme movements. Although is felt really hard I did it on my third go. On the end of that day I also on sighted a 7c+, ‘Ambushed’. The 13 wall is a nice overhanging wall with two 7c+’es, two 8a’s, one 8a+ and one 8b. I tried the 8b but apparently the holds are worse than before and it wasn’t even so nice as the others on the wall.

So last days I had some good days and enjoyed the climbing a lot! Now I’m looking for a trad climbing partner to explore the trad climbing over here.

zondag 6 maart 2011

Back to sportclimbing buisness!

In total I’ve climbed only two days and a half in Red Rock. It is just great. Coming from the desert right into another desert with more shape is a nice switch. I just love how quiet it is here. I already said it after climbing in Krohntal, Vogezen or Annot but I love climbing on sandstone like this. I like the small crimps and the nice ledges! The moves in those kinds of routes have so much variety.

Today I had an awesome climbing day. It has been a long time ago. I climbed like I did long time ago. Not too much stress, just chilling and going A Muerte!
I did ‘Monster Skank’ 8a second go and then I did ‘Sunsplash’ 8a/+ on sight! If this last one is 8a+, what the locals say, I did my first 8a+ on sight! It was just a great feeling. The end of the day and I was still so motivated, I just wanted to work out the moves for tomorrow but I climbed that thing! I needed to fight for it what gives me a really satisfying feeling. Thanks to the Colorado boys Tom and Mike for the good encouragements and vibes! Read their blog!

I just love this style so much. The rock is soft for the skin, lots of crimps and slopey rails. The style is defiantly really technical. It's all about good body position and good footwork. This area is really highly recommended!

Because 8a+ is the hardest thing here in Red Rock I’m planning to do some trad climbing in a week. It really motivates me; I already found a nice roof trad climbing project I want to try!

vrijdag 4 maart 2011

Sea of experiences

It has been only 5 days ago that I wrote on my blog. But all the information I want to share with you is huge! I saw a lot, I did a lot, I thought a lot and enjoyed a lot. Actually I experienced a lot!

Road kill!

The day after the Hueco Rock Rodeo when I wrote my last news was a lazy hangover day. Good, sometimes I love those days. In the evening I searched on the internet for the best way to go to the Grand Canyon and from there to Las Vegas where my Colorado friends, Thom and Mike, where waiting on me to crush the red sandstone.

Monday morning at 4 am I left the Hueco Rock Ranch with a Slovenian guy, Gregor, in my Van to bring him to the airport. Always lots of fun with those Slovenians!
After I dropped Gregor at the airport I bought a map and a lot of gas and I was ready for the road! I first drove up to Albuquerque (New Mexico) and from there to Flagstaff (Arizona).

It took me the whole day to do this drive with my car. I drove between 55 and 60 ml/h (70 and 100 km/h) to save my car from braking down and also to save some gas. A normal car would drive this distance in 8 – 9 hours. It took me 15 hours with some stops and rests! But I’ve the time and enjoyed the landscape during the ride!
The scariest thing on driving alone is the fear that the car is going to break down. But I take care of my car; I changed the engine oil and checked everything! It is going to hurt in 6 months when I’ll need to sell my car.

Another scary thing are the big trucks that passed me all the time, they drive 75 ml/h (120 km/h) or more! You can see this on the pictures!
Once I arrived in Flagstaff, I parked in front of Wal-Mart and slept well in my king-size bed!

Being a real tourist in Grand Canyon!

The next morning I made my porridge, search my way out of Flagstaff (beautiful city by the way) and left to the Grand Canyon. I was so psyched!
When I arrived to the gate of Grand Canyon National Park I could get in for free with my National Park Pass I received from Bart Den Das in Leuven! Thanks for that Bart!
This national park even has an airport, school and little village. This was all really nice. When you drive through this forest everything is so flat! But suddenly you arrive at the canyon and you’re in a complete different world! Because I already drove a lot those days I took the bus tour to see all the viewpoints. I also walked a lot between the viewpoints, it was just beautiful. On the bus I was the only young man, the others where all grandpa’s and grandma’s! I took a lot of pictures as you can see, it was amazing.

At 5pm I jumped back in my Van and drove straight to Las Vegas. I arrived at 10 pm on my destination! It was mind-blowing when I was on the hill and had a view of whole Las Vegas! I was getting way too psyched behind the wheel.

On some strange and lucky way I found the Colorado school bus boys on a nice parking lot. They just gave me the street name and I found there bus without a map of Vegas or anything. It was a street who went through whole Vegas, so I had good luck to find the right parking lot. We chilled out at our vans and went to bed, I was tired of being a tourist.

Red Rock Rules!

The next day we left to Red Rock with a lot of motivation. I hadn’t climbed in three days so my hands where sweating whole night. Red Rock is just outside of Vegas, we could see it from the parking lot we slept on. It is really red, fire red! Amazing structures to!

We did some sport climbing. It has been one month and a half since I’ve been sport climbing. But my endurance is still there, I did a couple of 7c’s and 7b+’es on sight! I feel I gain some power in my body! The style suites me to! The structure reminds me to Krohntal but nicer! A lot of flakes and crimps! Love it!

Las Vegas night life!

Sounds great ey? Night life! But I couldn’t taste of this too much because I’m only 19 and they always ask your ID! After the climbing we went to downtown Vegas where we stayed in a hotel! Two friends of Thom and Mike came to Vegas and rented a room in MGM Grand. This was a really nice and huge hotel and casino with a big pool and everything on it.
Like you can see on the pictures. I parked my van in the garage of this hotel and slept in my van. But they let me stay and hangout in there room to. So I could use all the possibilities of the hotel. Thanks for that guys!

So that first night we went to the casino of the hotel and those guys gambled a little bit. I couldn’t gamble because of my age. But I didn’t care too much because it didn’t attract me. It was just really nice to be there and see in real life what all this gambling is. I see why it is really addicted. Once you win money, you think it’s easy and you want to win more! Once you lose money fast you thing you’ll be lucky for once and try to win your money back! I saw people losing some hundreds of dollars and still playing. Really special world. After that a guy offered us a free entrance to a nightclub with a free ride in a limousine. Two of our group did it. Me, Thom and Mike stayed at the hotel. I just wanted to ride in a limousine, which could be nice. I wasn’t really psyched for the nightclub.

The next day we hung out at the pool (like you can see on the pictures). In the afternoon I decided to walk through the city together with Mike. We saw hotel and casino New York New York, the fountains of Bellagio, the small Eifel tower and way more! Take your time and look at the pictures. Really funny culture here. When you walk on the sidewalk there are at every intersection at least 8 people who give you flyers and publication for nightclubs, strip clubs and hookers. After a while you get used to them and ignore them. After the culture walk we went back to the hotel. A friend of Thom could get free VIP tickets for all of us to go to a party on the roof of a nice hotel. You could also drink everything for free! Too bad I’m only 19 and needed to stay at home. It was a great opportunity. Instead of going with them I took my van, drove to a parking lot and had an easy evening.

If I need to summarize Las Vegas it would be like this. It is all about money and the needs of people! Las Vegas includes everything the new but weak human being wants. Las Vegas is one dirty trick and uses all the weaknesses of humans to earn money! But on the other side I don’t think this city is going to last for a long time. It is all fake and for the eye.
I can say more but I’ll definitely keep that for myself. It was a nice experience to see what money does to people!

Now I’m waiting on my hangover friends to go climbing!
I need nature and rest back again!

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