Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pinnacle Peak

Where: Pinnacle Peak - Scottsdale AZ
When: March 26, 2010
Who: Solo 
Description: Pinnacle Peak is a rock climbing and hiking area on the North East corner of Scottsdale. It doesn't look like much from the freeway but the a guidebook I have describes some great routes...on granite rock!

This area is one of many I have marked in the local climbing guide books I have collected over the years.    At the last minute Friday morning I decided to spend a couple hours exploring the area/routes and practice placing trad gear (climbing gear for fall protection) and build some anchors.

 Quick Photo of the East Face of Pinnacle peak...just below the parking area.

 The main trail is about 1.75 miles long and ascends about 1300 feet. It is extremely well maintained and very crowded...even on week days.  I hiked the trail around to the West face and then scrambled off trail to the base of the climbing area. There are several small steep trails labeled "for climbers only" that I found on the way back down :)

Looking down from the East Face back towards the parking area.

 Omega Pacific Link Cams - The best cams that I have ever used...are also just about the only cam's I have ever used. They have the range of approximately 3 standard cams and are simple to place...especially in a hurry. I found that for just about any fingers or small hand size 4 link size cam's could fit in one of the 3 configurations.

 Ahh...when I began Trad climbing, this is the type of gear I used. Much cheaper and a good Hex placement just feels Bomber!!

 The newest addition to the Zitoman Trad Rack. The Metolius Super Cam...this funky cam has the range of approximately 3 larger cams and begins where the Omega Link Cam's range for those larger cracks...this is the one.

Looks like I should have used a larger cam here...this .5 is on the border of being opened to wide...

Anyway, had a good couple hours messing around and getting more comfortable with Trad gear. Anyone up for some of these routes?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Supes Hike/Run - Peralta Trailhead to First Water

Where: Peralta Trailhead to First Water - Trail Run/Hike
When: March 13, 2010
Who: Solo
Description: Another Superstition Trail run...Peralta Trailhead to First Water Trailhead is approximately 12 miles. About 1600 Feet of elevation gain in the first 2.5 miles, then a lot of downhill. The trail can be really rocky in spots and this time of year all the streams are running.

I have wanted to do this point to point hike for a few years and have been planning on a backpacking trip through here in the fall. Several co-workers and friends of mine will be doing it with a possible midway camp on the top of Weavers Needle. I wanted to through hike this in the spring while the water is running and get to know the route much better.

Still love the Garmin 305..This is a good elevation map for this hike. The first hill is some serious elevation then only a few smaller hills...spread out pretty good.

Google Earth capture...bottom left is Peralta Trail...over Freemont Saddle and on to First Water Trailhead.

I joined a "Crossfit" gym...Leiftime Fitness...and have made more progress in my fitness in 6 weeks than I have in the past 10 years. I workout there 4-5 times a week which never really include more than 1 mile of running per session...but is killer cardio and strength. So, long story short, with my success running Siphon Draw trail a few weeks ago I thought I would double the distance and run this hike as well.

Thanks to my Super Sweet Wify for following me to First Water to drop the truck off and then shuttle me around to Peralta to start the run....THX Babe!

Gearing up...camel back fanny pack with water, 2 hand bottles with accelerade, 1 GU, and a granola bar...iPhone with some good Tunes.

First 2.5 miles from Peralta Trailhead to Freemont Saddle. Great view of weavers needle and looking down to bulldog canyon. 45 minutes.

A minute at Freemont saddle to tighten the shoe laces and then began heading down. This view from Google Earth is looking back up towards the saddle with Weavers Needle on the left.

Excellent trail signs at the major junctions. Peralta Trail 102 is overgrown in several spots with lots of it was great to see these signs just to give me confidence I was still on the correct trails.

The trail guides I read for this trip recommended planning 5-6 hours going either goal was to roll in to First Water in under 3...didn't quite make it. 3 hours and 5 minutes. Definitely got pretty warn down towards the end but could have pushed a bit harder I think if I would have known the trail a bit time.

I think it will be a while before I double this distance in a trail run...would like to find a trail marathon for sometime in the fall to work towards...

I crossed streams and mud puddles about 15-20 times and didn't quite stay dry on all of them. The green in the desert this time of year was worth the wet shoes!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Gear Phreak Part 1 - Climbing

By most Trad climbing gear collection is just a starter kit. I have been into rock climbing off and on for the past 15 off and on I mean almost "OCD" on...then none...then "OCD" back on :) I have been collecting gear for the past few years with a few recent additions and thought I would get a post together for it. (I also like to be at the top of Loree's Links to the most recently updated blogs she follows.)

Rack-o-Gear: This is most of the current gear I bring on climbing trips. I have several other harnesses, shoes, ton's of webbing etc not pictured.

My favorite type of climbing involves hiking in to less "traveled" trad routes where bolts are limited to none and the amount of people are the same. For those of you not thoroughly versed in climbing verbage...

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Traditional climbing
, or Trad climbing, is a style of rock climbing in which a climber or group of climbers places all gear required to protect against falls (pitons, etc.), and removes it when a passage is complete. Characterizing climbing as "traditional" distinguishes it from sport climbing in which all protection and anchor points are permanently installed prior to the climb.

From Top Left moving right: Slung Hexes, Tri-Cam's, Omega Pacific Link Cams
Bottom: 2 sets of nut's ranging from large to "never take a fall on these little guys" sizes.
Other Gear: Mammut Tusk 60m Dynamic Rope, Metolius harness and rope bag, helmet etc...

Omega Pacific Link Cam's - (I must first thank my sweetnes Loree...for these babies!!!) Finally dropped the $$$ for some cam's. These cam's are about double the price of most others but have a range that is 3x greater than the others as well...making it easier in those desperate situations when arm's are pumping out, legs a dying, and I really need to get a piece of protection far I love em'.

Carly...8 years old and a rockin the Trad Gear...maybe another year or 2 before she is out leading the Praying Hand's route :)

Check out those gun's! Although she did wonder how I climb with the "ton's of gear."

Step 1: Flake the rope out in a random pile
I really like the Metolius rope bag. A good way to store a rope without adding a lot of twists and bends that a tightly coiled rope gets over time. The bag also acts as a tarp at the crag to keep your rope off the ground.

Step 2: Push the pile into the envelope at the bottom...fold in the sides.

Step 3: Roll up and fold over. If you have several rope, there is a little window at the top for your to quickly view what rope is in the bag without having to open it...slick.

No, the Trad rack does not go quietly into the plastic box under the office gets hung up for me to see it flex the cams and provide the love and care they greatly deserve!

So, this is the climbing gear...anyone want to go?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Siphon Draw - Trail Run/Hike

When: Feb 20, 2010
Where: Superstition Mountains - Siphon Draw Trail
Who: Solo
Description: Best hike in the Superstitions...approximately 5 and 1/2 miles from parking lot to the Edge of the Flat Iron with about 2700 feel elevation gain...mostly in the last mile and 1/2.

I love the Supes...terrible to hear the state will be closing Lost Dutchman State Park in June due to "lack of state funding" is the main entrance to reach the trail system in the Superstitions. There are other entrances but just not as convenient. With luck they will just close the bathrooms, board up the buildings and still allow hikers to access the trail head.

I have always enjoyed hiking alone and especially trail running. The other day I heard some people I didn't know discussing that they were going to go hike siphon draw. I had used that trail to access the Flat Iron for camping with good friends in December...but thought if I only had a camel back and some light running shoes...maybe other clothing as well...I should probably be able to get up and down much faster. There is not much of it that you could jog but there was definitely I got the gear out Friday night and was out the door at 6:00am.

Distance with elevation changes...Garmin 305.

If you don't camp at the state park, you are required to access Siphon Draw trail by a different trail head/parking area. It adds about 2 miles to the round trip.

A little sweaty and cold...but at the top of the Flat Iron in 1 hour 33 minutes. Temperature was dropping fast and a rain storm was moving in. I stayed at the top for about 5 minutes and headed back down.

Always love the views from the top of the Supes!

Back at the truck in 2 hours 36 run/hike with breaks. Pretty slow time for flat ground...but the hills definitely slow you down :) Good Times! I wish I could do this route a couple times a week...but I am sure my knees couldn't handle it.