Action Packed Report!

OH YAH, back home again, chill’n like a villain, for the whole day, well, most of it anyway.  It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post, sorry ’bout that, but it’s been hard to log on lately.  Thank god.  The internet is a life sucking (sometimes useful and usually entertaining tool) but if you don’t have to be on here reading this dribble right now I encourage you to get off immediately, go outside, get your heart rate up, dangle from your tips, explore a new trail, find a new cliff, bolt some new routes, have yourself a picnic, whatever.  If you have no choice but to be stuck inside, working, or otherwise, then okay, you have an excuse, you may read on:))

E-mails have been coming in lately, some people want to know where I went and where I’m going, others want to know if I can guide them this summer up something beautiful, and a few of them want to know how to improve finger strength.  I’ll start with the first…

1. – On March 21st, I flew to Las Vegas, Nevada where I met up with Boy Wonder, some of you may know him by his real name, Alex Honnold.  On May 23rd, Andrew Burr rolled into town in his Toyota Tacoma, which would soon be missing a front tire, but that’s another story.  We drove for more than 24 hours into the heart of Chihuahua, Mexico to climb El Gigante near Basaseachi Falls, near Copper Canyon.  It was an adventure to say the least, but even more, an experience.  We probably should not have gone, we were warned about the dangers multiple times, and after being there, I suggest any interested climbers wait for the green light, there is a lot of chaos going on right now, and nobody can predict how the drug wars will unfold.  I won’t be going back for QUITE some time.   A pic from belay number 16.  Nice cankles eh!  Swell much?

In the end however, we didn’t get shot, we saw some guns, yes, and some marijuana fields, but all in all the folk we met were kind, hospitable and interactive.  If it weren’t for the conflict going on, this place would be like a second Yosemite Valley, for perspective, I feel it’s much, much better than El Portrero Chico, and definitely more wild.  Huge walls, deep gorges, raging water falls, towers galore, a truly majestic place.  Around every corner I expected to see a Unicorn or Teradactyl.   Right now Andy Burr and the Black Diamond team are working hard to help bring this story to life, so I’m not going to say too much, just that we had the best time ever, and we free climbed Logical Progression, 5.13a, 28 (long) pitches, five stars, 15 hours.  I was actually quite shocked that I managed to keep up, considering I haven’t tied into a rope since November.  The ultra sustained climbing wore hard on my body the first day, but my partner Alex was all confidence and my motivation to free climb such a massive beast was strong.  It’s good to feel tired and great to say it’s over.

Andrew Burr Photography pic, Critter Bivy Ledge, day two of our onsight attempt, pitch 18.

2. – I am leaving this Friday for Chicago, IL, to do a slide show at the patagonia store (click on this link).  If you are around, please come out, I’ll have some pictures from Mex, and some video clips from the fall season.  I will also be doing a slide show in Columbus, Ohio the following week on April 23rd for the Ohio State Mountaineers Club.  It’s truly an honor to be invited by this organization, and I can’t wait to meet the members and share these new adventures.  More about that tomorrow. until then, click HERE.

3. – This weekend I had my first Squamish Guiding client of the year, a lovely lady from Vancouver who has never climbed outside before.  I took her to the Smoke Bluffs and gave her a proper tour of the park.  We talked shop, life and I put her on some stiff 5.10’s.  From a season in the gym, she had good strength and balance, but getting used to real rock took some time, not to mention hand jamming and finger locks.  Near the end of the day however, she looked a lot more comfortable, and I could see in her eyes that she’ll be tearing it up this summer.  I look forward to coaching her along.  On that note, I’ll have some time this summer if anyone is interested in learning the ropes, climbing the Chief or working on technique.  Guiding is a great way to spend time on rest days, and I love being busy.  Slots are filling up already, so contact me sooner than later if your interested.  Oh and on a side note, someone stole my quickdraws from an anchor on Sat, I left them there for a reason, NOTE: PLEASE DON’T TAKE ANYTHING THAT DOESN’T BELONG TO YOU, it’s called stealing and you will go straight to hell for doing so.  And if not hell, then maybe a close second, a crowded beach in China.

4. – To improve finger strength, and your overall climbing ability, you gotta do deadhangs.  I’ve said it so many times before, and I’ll say it again, spend more time focusing on your finger tips than your arms and you’ll improve dramatically and develop more confidence on small holds.  The more times you can hang from a small edge, the more prepared you’ll be.  If you can’t afford a decent hangboard, then buy a used hockey stick from a garage sale for a dollar and chop it up into 5 inch pieces.  Sand a few of the edges down so they slope, should take you about 6 minutes.  Then, start dangling and don’t let go, fight like a dog.  Work open hand, closed hand, your first three fingers and your last three fingers, do some pull ups if you’d like, some lock offs, but squeeze the snot out of that piece of wood, rip it off the fuggin wall and you’ll be sending harder than ever,  I swear to you.  If it doesn’t work, you can always try doing this…

  • Steve Traversari

    Gald to have you back. I’ve beein checking in several times a day waiting for a next post – I’m a desk jockey during the day, so your post are a welcome break from the action or monotony. Did Alex run-out the pitches? What do you suppose makes him the Boy Wonder – I think it’s his ability to control his mind to focus on the climbing and shut out any thoughts of exposure/fear, rather than strength and ability. What do you do with the 5 inch pieces of hockey stick – nail then to a wall like a campus board or hang them like a trapeze bar? I could go on but I think duty is calling.

  • flow

    great post – you guys rock! keep it up 🙂
    best wishes from germany, flow

  • Dave

    Only 5 bricks? LIGHT!

  • Nancy

    Somehow, I knew you’d go to Mexico, and I am so glad you had a great time, saw some amazing country, got in some superior climbing, and got out alive without any new orifices caused by speeding bullets…which, of course, you are faster than! 😛

  • Lars

    Look Sonnie! I thought you’d enjoy this…. Your “fans” have been busy in your absence…..hahahhahah


  • Jared

    Hey Sonnie

    Thanks for the update.
    When your not too busy, it would be really great if
    you could post some pictures of the exercises recommended
    above, just for visualizations sake.


  • Great update – but you forgot to tell us how much you won in Vegas!

  • Hey Sonnie,

    Great update – love checking in on your blog. Had a great day climbing as well. Looking forward to hearing about your next adventures!

  • Chris Johnson

    I can do those bricks with just one finger each hand, seriously… just sayin’