Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Just Around The Corner

Bring Your Own Water Dihedral 5.10b/c

Just around the corner lies an oasis of rock sprawled out for miles among Manzanita and Scrub Oak. As progressing climbers, we are always looking for the new line, boulder, or potential project. With enough time and energy you can find the line you're looking for. It just takes some determination. My buddy Buck Branson is one of those guys who's been hunting these lines for years. Last week, Buck invited me to check out this amazing new 50ft dihedral he found.

 After a sweaty 30 min hike we stumbled upon his warm-up boulder area where I watched him send a pretty sick new line up a seam. After one potential fall onto a bad landing, we decided to put a TR on it. Buck sent it right away. The top out was for sure the business of the problem. I tied in and sailed the the V1 rail to the top where I was abruptly stopped by the thin V5ish top out. After some grunting and groaning and hearing Buck's encouraging yell, I scrambled over the top. Congrats Buck on a gnarly FA.

Buck on his new line I call "buckit Seam" V5ish

After moving on from the boulder, we bushwhacked our way another 15 mins up the trail to get our first glimpse of the dihedral. It was the most aesthetic crack climb I'd ever come across.  The weather couldn't have been better: warm in the sun and cool in the shade. 

Top to bottom view of "Bring Your Own Water Dihedral" 5.10b/c

After sizing up the crack and racking up, Buck sent me up the unknown. I knew I'd get pumped at some point and have to take, I just didn't know when. With little offwidth crack climbing experience, I took up what little info I knew and my determination to succeed. After a few steps into the crack and a few karate chops, I was in it to win it.

Cruisin' the bottom section until my first placement (BD #3)

Once I got to the ledge, the midpoint of the climb, I was able to get a knee-bar rest and place my BD #5. At this point I was amazed I wasn't pumped yet and didn't have far to go. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. After a decent rest and placing a high BD #1, I was off to the races. This was the crux. With a combination of stemming and liebacking I was able to reach the last placement just before the top.

At the overhanging crux looking for jugs

At this point of the climb the crack gets a bit overhung and powerful. Your only option is to reach your hand around the rock for a wrist/fist lock, with a secure left hand you quickly place a BD #2 and clip. This is where I felt like I was going to lose it. Fortunately, I made a risky move for the top and stuck a bomber jug. I was so psyched and pumped at the same time. I set up an anchor and belayed Buck up the beast. He cruised the bottom half until he got to the crux where he accidentally pushed the BD #2 deep into the crack. I could tell he was getting pumped while he was fishing for the buried cam. Finally he pulled it out, clipped it to his harness, and made it over the top to congratulate me on a solid lead.

Short video..
  Bring Your Own Water 5.10b/c (Enhanced) from John Daniels on Vimeo.

Congrats Dan on the FA.
Thanks Buck for the 2nd ascent onsight!

The "Bring Your Own Water Arete" and "Grey Boulder Huecos"

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Three Amigos

Call them what you want, but the three amigos have been crushing! Nalle, Dave, and Daniel  have been taking down some bold routes and problems lately. This is one of there latest trips to Norway. Enjoy...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Backyard Bolting

Two years ago I came across Cougar Crag, a climbing area just east of Fallbrook, CA. It had several top rope routes and a few boulder problems. The Cougar Face in particular was one that grabbed my attention. It's beautiful steep 50+ foot wall offered tons of potential for new sport climbs. A few months back, Cameron, Jason, and I talked about bolting it, nothing came into fruition. At this point, I figured if I wanted the face to get bolted I'll have to gather up the equipment. I called my buddy chuck for a hammer drill, ordered 3/8x3in. bolts and hangers from Fixie Hardware, then gathered my gear (rope, harness, grigri, atc, quickdraws, carabiners, hammer, wrench, pipe cleaner, blow tube, duck tape, drill bits, slings, and hardware bag).

Once I had all the gear it was time to get started. First thing I did was drill and bolt the anchors. Next off I rapped and climbed the route several time on TR to find the perfect bolt placements, which I marked with a duck tape X. I then started the bolting process. Drilling, cleaning, hammering, then tightening. The whole process took about three days= 6hrs. two days after I finished bolting/cleaning/ and prepping the route I led it for the First Ascent. It was a pretty amazing feeling and a lot more heady and exposed then it felt on toprope. I don't have a name or a grade yet. I would say its harder than a 5.9 and easier than a hard 5.10 I'd say its around 5.10a/b!

The break down.... A V2/3 first move gets you to a quick rest to get feeling back into your fingertips. After your brief rest you're off on a combination of micro crimps and decent edges to the fifth bolt. Once you make it to the bulge, your at the crux and steepest part of the climb.If you can figure out the beta, your home free! Have fun....

Thanks, Jenny, Nate, Cameron and Jason for your dedication to the area!!
Congrats Cameron Carlson for your onsight 2nd ascent of the route.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Chris Grant

Chris Grant is one of the nicest guys I've ever met. In addition, he's one of the best photographers in San Diego County. Chris always seems to have the right composition. It's not just about capturing the subject, it's about capturing a feeling. In order to capture a feeling, you must include everything surrounding the subject. Good lighting, exciting subject, a level horizon, fast shutter, and a interesting foreground are a few of the details you will find in a photograph taken by Chris! The photo below was taken at the South Jetty in Oceanside Last month. To view more of Chris's work, go to

Monday, February 27, 2012

Punta San Jose 2012

Every year Jenny and I go on a surf trip to Punta San Jose in Baja. We took the past few years off so the drug  cartel drama could cool down. This was our first year back and it was a good one. We had solid surf the first few days and then just relaxed the last day. This video is just a taste of what goes on during this trip. Everything about this adventure is wild, we are miles aways from any kinda civilization or medical facility. We are really on our own out here...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dani Andrada

This is a Video of Dani Andrada, Spain's most influential climber. He has helped make sport climbing what it is today.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Michele Caminati

The first time I saw Michele was in the movie CORE. I just came across another video of him showcasing his power and technique!

Thursday, January 5, 2012


On the last day of 2011 Jenny, Alex, Justin and I took a trip out to Culp Valley to check out the scene. It turned out to be a quiet, but very fun filled day. We spent the morning working on some area classics untill I sliced my finger open and we burned out. We needed a quick break and a recharge. During the afternoon we focused on a few boulders that seemed to be unclimbed. One of those boulders was an awesome overhang that required an open-minded approach. I have to give Justin the credit for the starting moves. You will see all the climbs, including our new project ALEX HAS PROBLEMS V3!

John Daniels @ Culp Valley from John Daniels on Vimeo.