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Author Topic: Brad's Tour of Mud (TR)  (Read 1441 times)
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« on: January 15, 2013, 11:36:58 PM »

A Tour of "All" of The Pinnacles: A day to celebrate a new National Park
(Don't forget to scroll to the right to view panoramas)

On January 14th, 2013 I woke up at 3:30 AM. My level of restlessness was soon to be off the charts. I know that going to sleep at 9PM is rarely a good idea for me, but the night before I was forced into the post-trip immersion back into the often harsh reality of home life. I just  couldnít find anything positive to do with myself after I dropped a friend off at her home after a pleasurable but slightly tense weekend at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival in Nevada City. So here I am awake, I could have made a wise choice to delve into my current reading obsession, Greg Childís ďThin AirĒ or paint, but I made the other choice, grab the iPhone. Iím instantly gratified by the fact that one of my friends was also restless and awake.



I knew I needed to do something all-consuming with my day to push myself through the real reason I was restless. I knew I needed to head to the Pinns, and Brad Young's visionary Conditioning Tour had been on my mind especially with the impending raptor closures only a week a way. For those of you who don't know Brad outlined a day of 13 summits in Pinnacles that would take you to all parts of the Pinnacles; the day promised, hiking, pristine nature, bushwhacking, route finding, and a little 2nd class - easy 5th class climbing here and there.  But it had never been attempted before. The concept can be found here http://www.mudncrud.com/forums/index.php?topic=1769.0



There is nothing like soloing choss to clear your mind. I knew it seemed like a lot of work but what was the other option, go work on my ASCA re-bolt Resurrection Wall project while icicles pelt me from above? Both options seemed bad, so I tried to go back to sleep. An hour or two passed with almost no sleep and some extra internet surfing and no reading.  I knew I had to go for it, so the light came on, I dug out the Rubine guidebook (since my Brad book is MIA), printed out Bradís list, assembled the necessary gear (plus extra gear in case I lost interest), and emailed Brad for some info to fill in the gaps in the Rubine guide.



I left home around 7AM. I was immediately filled with grandiose visions of how I would not only do Bradís tour but also add another dozen climbs along the way.  Ultimately Brad's list seemed too short and easy. everyone had made it sound like it would be an easy jaunt on The Mudín Crud forum. I should have thought twice since I hadnít been on 11 of the 13 objectives.  

I filled the Coffee at a Coffee shop in Aptos, and I wasnít surprised to find that Brad had already sent me photos of the gaps from my Shriveled Purple Book. I wanted to add some other climbs ďin the muddle of the dayĒ, so he provided me with needed beta on these endeavors. The beta was basically, Youíre crazy donít add on Old Original. Forgot the rope its wet on the descent.







I continued on towards The Pinns, and this was a very special occasion, so I bust out the U2 singalong playlist. Before I knew it the volume had increased to 46, which is really loud to the point where everybody I pass also hears the U2. I know its lame to blast the U2, but I have to do it at least once a year.  I usually do this to get me across The Central Valley. Might as well get it out of the way early on this year. To purge my sins I cranked the 90ís grunge revival playlist for the last 20 minutes of the drive. By the time I arrived at Bear Gulch I decided I shouldnít add on any extra climbs and would remain true to Bradís vision, this turned out to be a wise move.

The Straightaway



Some Cows



I left the car at 9:04 AM, with two liters of water, bread, cheese, avocado, 3 Clif Bars, sketchbook and watercolors, puff jacket, etc. It was pretty cold. I pooped but the toilet was frozen and wouldnít flush, sorry to whoever came next...

The bone chilling cold was not welcome. The gloves went on as I hustled toward the sun that was so tantalizingly close on the Ignorable Cliffs looming just above. For some reason my thoughts turned towards my art and how I had been striving to capture not what was on the surface but what lies inside.

My first observation was that everything was frozen, yet was luscious and complete eye candy. But photographing with an iPhone in such conditions requires the removal of gloves. I remembered Havenís suggestion and used my tongue instead to operate the camera. The beauty of the place slowed me down.









At 9:25 I was on top of Tiburcioís X. I had been there many times before so no surprises here.

(Don't forget to scroll to the right to view panoramas)


Icicles at the Upper Crust approach



I moved towards the Sisters and found myself on the right (incorrect) side of the Sisters. I found my way around to the correct side and to the top of Second Sister via one the NW Chimney Routes and than down the other. 9:54 AM





Then I head to the first unknown climb, Gertieís Pinnacle. The 4th Class North Chimney was fun and would set the tone for the type of climbing to be expected, loose and always harder than its rated. The time is 10:24 AM. I descend the easy South Chimney.



I travel the familiar trail along the reservoir towards The Hand and drop my pack before heading away from the creek towards The Frog.





The Class two South Side Shuffle on The Frog was pretty wild. A committing boulder move above a two-hundred foot drop got me on top.  This was the first potential you fall you die move. Seemed a little more like Class 4, which usually means 5th class moves up to 5.7 and almost certain death if you fall. But Iím more familiar with the Sierra Nevada rating system, so I didnít make my judgements yet. Either way the view was awesome and I take note of The Neglected Valley and what I think is Little Flatiron. My first thoughts of ďWhat am I doingĒ start seeping in. My legs are starting to feel tired and I begin to wonder about my sanity. 11:03 AM.



The journey up The Neglected Valley was one of the highlights of the day. That is a really special place filled with special delights.













I finally spot Little Flatiron and end up bushwhacking around the base to get to Northside Chimney.



The route ends up being pretty sketch. I break some knobs off on the upper headwall which thud the ground quite a few moments latter then I expected. Seems borderline, maybe die or maybe not if you die, luckily the aforementioned bushes would maybe break a fall. I focus and climb the choss like there is a tomorrow. This is four points of contact terrain. Iím not psyched to down climb the same way so I down climb some harder but more solid terrain on the Eastside. I think I climbed Little Flatiron but now that I look back on it maybe Iím not so sure anymore. Whatever it was it was close enough. Felt more like 5.5 most definitely the hardest climbing of the day. 12:06 PM.



I start the hike up the ridge towards Beak Peak and Possibility Pinnacles. I end up taking the right side of the ridge and find myself in the bush for a few sections. It sounded so easy in Bradís description, but I had to resort to the brute force, swimming, and raw crawling tactics. My years of bushwhacking experience came in handy for sure. To be a real climber you need to be well rounded and 5.12 bushwhacking skills are often a necessity at Pinnacles. Itís a sport of mind, body, and momentum. I turn on some Ziggy Marley on my iPhone. Keep My Faith is my them song. I pass The Shaft and know i've got to come back at some point.



I email Brad to let him know what I felt of this Tour so far.



Nearly an hour passed before I find the summit of Possibility Pinnacle at 1:10 PM. Killer view up there.

(Don't forget to scroll to the right to view panoramas)


Feeling a little tired



From here I charge through more bush and Iím pleased to see the rest stop at the High Peaks trail.



I charge along the trail towards Spikeís Peak and thoroughly enjoy the Kermit Route. It was super fun and finally some solid feeling rock. 1:44 PM





I look at the book and Bradís list and assume that Frothy Flake will be a quick tick since its not far away. But I crest the hill near Smokestack and read Rubineís description of the approach ďapproached via roundabout gulliesĒ this took a while and I ended up spending some extra time in the scarred and confused mindset.





I summit the very exposed Frothy Flake at 2:16 PM. This is a potential you fall you die route. The drop is over 100 feet off the fright at the crux and off the left it is a break most of your bones situation. Iím glad I didnít fall, Brad was the only person that knew what I was up to and I  didnít want to subject him to another heinous Pinnacle rescue. The interconnected chasm and chimneys around Frothy Flake could have easily consumed my body never to be found. But as a reassurance I did have the foresight to bring a down jacket in case I did break myself and needed to spend an extra night out in freezing temperatures.



Iím getting nervous about time and the potentially lengthy and confusing bushwhack towards The Citadel. I begin the descent towards the Westside of the park with the knowledge I'm leaving my car on the otherside and a long hike will be required to return. I only end up getting into one icy-moss down climbing pickle. But all in all it wasnít too bad getting to The Citadel.



I took Bradís advice to heart and make it to The Citadel without much trouble. There is a cool view but The Balconies and Crowley towers look really far away. I enter an animalistic mode knowing Iíve got to power myself with some extra determination and desire to make it to the end. I convince myself that  I wont fail unless I fall, no time for distracting thoughts about Haven now. the effort has wiped my mind and reduced me to a raw organism only concerned with survival, which means staying alive and avoiding embarrassment in front of The Crud Heads.  



Feeling pretty worked



I find that the summit book has been destroyed and keep find pieces of it surrounding all sides of the rock for the next 20 mins, but am moving with too much urgency to collect trash. I thrash my way down wet and icy slopes to the base of the rock. I went around to climbers right but in retrospect left might have been a better way to get to the base. Oh well, more scratches on the arms and possible Poison Oak.





My legs feel thrashed as I work down the very welcome Juniper Canyon Trail. I hit The Citadel Boulder, drop the pack, and hustle up the side drainage to Penny Pinnacle.  I canít find the supposed Penny that Rubine talks about, and I really donít have any time to look. But I do note Iím feeling unfocused when I know Iíve go to stay in the game. Itís 3:33 PM, I tell myself Iíve got two hours before complete darkness. Keep it together, Damn it Brad, this is a Pinnacle Marathon!!!



Icicles near bouldering rock.



As I near the Balconies at 3:55 PM I question, who in their right mind would be starting towards Crowley Towers at this time. But I know the beauty in this Tour is the journey. The climbs are insignificant, the challenge lies in the required endurance and then keeping the focus to not plummet off some class 4 bump. I was also really motivated by the view and the late day sun that was illuminating everything with an ethereal glow.



I drop the pack and brag the headlamp and an extra layer of clothing and hurry off of on the pleasantly well beaten trail into the golden light. I feel weightless as I pick a fast rhythm to hold over each unpleasant rise of the land. I know this was the make or break moment. Having been there countless times before I know this is just a mind game. The body tells you it wants to stop, but just turn it off and let desire take over.



Eventually Crowley Towers came into view.



I spent a good deal of time trying to climb Tower 1 thinking it was Tower 2. Eventually I just decide to climb whatever tower I could. So I moved on and climbed what I now think is Tower 2. Once again I didn't want to down climb the same way and head down some slightly more solid other way. It was a by the skin of the teeth kind of moment. I really should check out all sides of a rock before I decide to head up. I thought Iíve learned this before, most recently on Little Flatiron. 4:31 PM



I was so confused about Crowley Towers that I decided to skip Tower 5. I took JCís advice to skip one step to avoid the unlucky 13. That was all the justification I needed, since I had already determined this was about the journey and Tower 5 just felt too close to be a real objective since all the other climbs were at least 30 mins apart. I cruised back down to the trail feeling suddenly hungry but not guilty about the missed Tower 5.







But there was one more objective, the only Class 5 on the Tour, The Smiling Simian! And it finally came into view.



I became a Smiling Simian at 5:08 PM just as the sun left Machete Ridge.

(Don't forget to scroll to the right to view panoramas)


I descended with much care and wasted no time cracking my motivation for the long hike back to the car, The tall can of BLL I had been carrying all day!  I never thought I would be so happy to drink BLL, consequently it gushed uncontrollably down my face and wetted multiple pieces of my clothing. But it didn't matter, I was now officially conditioned!





I decided some motivational music was in order as I hiked a solid 3.5 - 3.75 MPH pace down Chaparral Creek Trail to Old Pinnacles and then back up the road to the car. I peered over at the Old Original Descent of Machete Ridge and see that it would have been a quick descent down that Ice Chute, thanks Brad!



It was a trudge but I stayed motivated with Pearl Jam, Alice and Chains, a little Nirvana, and even a little Bush. My arrival back at the car happened at 6:34 PM. Car to car it took 9.5 hours. It ended up requiring a  Sierra Peak skill set (minus the altitude) and less of the climbing mindset.



Iím not sure what was in Bradís head when he envisioned this tour or how much thought he gave to the creation of it. But the more I think about it, the more I know that for many reasons this is a brilliant tour of Pinnacles created by a real ďMaster of MudĒ. It truly is a visionary journey thorough all of The Pinnacles. I really hope that I am not the only person to ever do this. I would like to know that there are others who are as crazy if not more so than me.  

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« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2013, 07:51:19 AM »

That's one of the finest trip reports I've ever read. Adventure, uncertainty, and enough humor to almost make me lose my Cheerios a few times.

Although I've done all these summits, and I've done all the cross country movement, I've never done the tour. You took my idea and turned it around to inspire me. Thanks.

I'm planning on it in November for sure.
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« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2013, 08:13:04 AM »

Sik!
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« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2013, 08:17:59 AM »

I just had to Lime myself at the end. The guy at the gas station gave me a pretty weird look when he sold me the BLL at 8AM.
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« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2013, 08:26:06 AM »

He'll get used to it.  Cheesy
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« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2013, 08:33:21 AM »

I haven't been home since yesterday morning, so I haven't checked email. Did you get me an address - 'cause we really really need to get you a book.

If I read your report right and you went down around the east side of The Citadel, all I can say is "holy sheep dip!" I did that descent once, when I was looking for a reported Richards' route (I never found it and don't believe it exists). That way is nightmare of brush (hands and knees type brush).

Check out page 266 of the '07 book regarding the descent; it's easy around the west side of the formation (Katie and Tricia have done that descent with Bob; it was easy enough that they just left me in the dust, coiling the rope).

As loathsome as the substance is, I have to admit that the BLL was a nice finishing touch.
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« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2013, 08:50:36 AM »

I believe that if a party was to take a rope for this adventure it should be done in old-school Smoke Blanchard style, bring only a short shoestring and tie in with a bowline on a coil.
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« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2013, 08:53:24 AM »

address sent
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« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2013, 09:11:56 AM »

I believe that if a party was to take a rope for this adventure it should be done in old-school Smoke Blanchard style, bring only a short shoestring and tie in with a bowline on a coil.

good idea!

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« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2013, 11:14:42 AM »

Amazing Adam. What a treat to read. Thanks!
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« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2013, 11:56:11 AM »

nice
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« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2013, 02:59:30 PM »

I love it. As I was saying to Munge last night at the gym- what seems great about this is it might be as close as we can get to a High Sierra day without leaving the area. Way to get out and get some.
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« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2013, 05:08:46 PM »

This is Vicki: Now I can tell you "Welcome to a Walk in the Park with Brad." ( A "Walk in the Monument" just doesn't have the right ring.)
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« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2013, 05:32:44 PM »

So why go to the sierras??

See Mr Mud is right....
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« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2013, 06:43:03 PM »

that was a good read.
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« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2013, 07:34:36 PM »

very cool
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« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2013, 09:40:02 PM »

Adam, in response to your sense that South Side Shuffle was harder than class 2, here's a correction from the sticky thread "Author's Corrections to the New Guidebook:"

13. Correction, Page 137 (route 337, ďSouth Side ShuffleĒ): This route ends on a high point just north of The Frogís highest point. The formation high point isnít accessible by class two (the highest point is the part of the formation that looks like a frog from the north, that is, from on the approach). The farther-north high point where South Side Shuffle ends is a ďgathering spotĒ where walk offs from almost all Frog routes join before moving down this route to the ground. For some forgotten reason, there are two old bolts here.


And here's a related post from the sticky thread "Newly Established and Found Routes (Since the '07 Guidebook):"

336.9  The Frog - True Summit  5.4   The Frogís actual summit appears to have been climbed (probably years ago, to reach the high point).  Move 75 feet up South Side Shuffle to an oak tree.  Twenty feet farther look for a slot on the left.  Walk up this slot 20 feet to the base of a bulge.  A few moves of fifth class up and left across the bulge and into an obvious, watermelon size hole lead to easy ground.  No summit anchor.  FA Party: Unknown.   FA Date:  Unknown.  Source(s):  Brad Young, Bob Walton, Josh Mucci, Jennifer Wang, inspection and ascent of route, November 15, 2008.


So, actually, you went above and beyond!

I'll be in the office tomorrow and send the book then. Well deserved.

P.S. I think I've got Gavin talked into doing this tour with me in November, wanna join us?
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« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2013, 10:02:22 PM »

At this point I don't want to join you, but ask me again this fall and I'm sure that the pain will have faded enough to give it another go around.

Thanks for the extra beta. It would have benefited by having a copy of your book along. It's funny now because the difference between your beta and Rubines became blurred in my head somewhere midway through the day.
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« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2013, 10:04:13 PM »

Why not just go for the tour this weekend?
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« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2013, 06:46:11 AM »


At this point I don't want to join you, but ask me again this fall and I'm sure that the pain will have faded enough to give it another go around.


Yeah, good point.
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« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2013, 06:50:05 AM »

Why not just go for the tour this weekend?

I was at Pinns Saturday and Sunday, and then Tuesday and Wednesday. Now I'm leaving this coming Wednesday for a week in Joshua Tree. I desperately need a weekend at home with the family in between.

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« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2013, 08:25:30 AM »

J-tree? That sounds nice. If the weather stays good I may be open to the idea of meeting you down there. I've been wanting to do some paintings there.
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« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2013, 08:46:07 AM »

Now I'm leaving this coming Wednesday for a week in Joshua Tree.

Killin' me! I wanna go!! Unfortunately I have this 4 letter word that prevents it.
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« Reply #23 on: January 17, 2013, 02:33:29 PM »

Killin' me! I wanna go!! Unfortunately I have this 4 letter word that prevents it.

Pins
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« Reply #24 on: January 17, 2013, 03:28:13 PM »

lol!
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« Reply #25 on: January 17, 2013, 08:24:12 PM »

I think I know which 4 letter word you refer to, but there are some others that might fit too...
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« Reply #26 on: January 22, 2013, 12:56:01 PM »

Holy crap, man. 

We're lucky someone of your story-telling caliber was the one to tackle it.

Nice.
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