|This buck was really intent on watching Beth run. “What is she running from?”|
|Beth, so excited to be running!|
I’ll get around to editing all of my photos from Asia, but right now I’m piecing together through some different shoots I did while there. I don’t shoot with a lot of fashion models, and when I do they’re usually running or doing something active. But when I met Chrissi I knew I had to shoot with her in a little bit more traditional style. Although Chrissi says she’s never modeled, I have a hard time believing her since she was super easy to work with.
I met Chrissi while she was working at the Green Climbers’ Home in Thakhek, Laos (a fantastic climbing area that everyone should make an effort to visit. I’ll have more on GCH later). Originally from Germany, she’s been living and working in SE Asia for a while, working at the resort and getting strong climbing most days in the crazy overhanging limestone cliffs.
The river runs through this cave which provides the climbers with a much needed method of cooling off after getting ridiculously hot climbing in the humid climate. And it sits only about 100 meters from my tent! I shot in this cave the most out of anywhere in Laos.
Chrissi agreed to sit in the cold water and model for me only a few hours before her and I both left GCH. I headed to Cambodia and Chrissi left for Thailand. Enjoy the photos of Chrissi and let me know what you think!
I’m looking forward to this new year; I can’t wait for what new adventures are to come! Hope you’re guys are psyched for 2016 too. Glad I get to share all of this with you!
I did this with my current Accelerant at Madelife , Bryn. I love her excitement for photography and her desire to learn.
Alex Vidal and I finally made a trip out there a few weeks ago. It was great! Perfect weather, great climbs with awesome people.
We pulled into the campsite just before midnight. I slept on a picnic table covered by a small roof, and in the morning I saw a GMC pickup pull up and suspiciously look around. Neil Longfellow found us. He’s been living in his truck wandering around the desert for a few months.
The climbing is similar to, but shorter than, Indian Creek. After spending quite a bit of time struggling up incredibly stout and powerful climbs in Vedauwoo this summer, the desert hand crack style felt so “easy” and precise (for the most part). After a short, but fun warm up we jumped on an offwidth 5.9 called Junk Corner (given one and half stars, but I had so much fun I climbed it twice). I did junk up the skin on my left elbow pretty good.
|Alex squeezes up the chimney on Junk Corner, 5.9|
|Alex prepares to climb TH Crack (5.8) at the Cabin Area|
There’s a lot of vandalism on these walls. People who can’t hit broadside of a barn have to use cliffs as target practice, putting scattered pockets in puzzling locations up the walls. Below TH Crack someone carved a huge “TH”, hence the name. The climb is another awesome warm up.
It was getting hot so we took a break, went back to camp and jumped into the creek. Well, Alex and Neil did. I hate submersing myself in cold water – it was surprisingly cold.
|The evening light from the Interiors area overlooking our camp and a bunch of climbing not listed on Mountain Project.|
|Alex losing his soul.|
One of the best parts of camping in the desert is the incredible star-lit nights. I finally got some photos of the milky way I’m proud of.
|Neil’s homemade rooftop tent silhouetted against the skyline|
We climbed the second day at the Interiors Area again. We warmed up on Unknown I (5.9) which starts out as an overhang roof that you have to pull with offwidth moves, once on top of the roof it goes to extra wide #6 slab crack. Right where it gets desperate you’re able to grab the start of the 5.10+ crack and jump up to a small platform to the bolts.
|Neil Longfellow got this shot of me testing my flexibility. I need to do more yoga. He just missed the really amazingly awkward shot of my head being stuck below the roof.|
From our campsite we were eyeing the Keyhole route, a 5.10a splitter small hands .75 splitter with “keyhole” pods. The movement through the pods is really awesome, and it was really the first indian creek style crack – uses mostly one size cam the majority of the way up – climb I’ve led. Especially in the size that wasn’t just perfect hands the whole way up. Super-tight hands and fingers is all technique, and if you don’t have the technique it’s next to impossible. If you do it can be like climbing a ladder. Dealing with feet on these kinds of routes is probably hardest part. In the crux of this route I was able to lieback through the thinnest section and paste my feet on the slightly uneven crack.
|Alex climbs the brilliant Keyhole route (5.10a) at the Interiors Area|
|The top of the route opens up to perfect hands.|
|Neil Longfellow snapped this photo of me climbing Key Hole.|
The Interiors area is called that because of two routes that are in a cave created by a detached pillar. To get to the routes you pass through Pinball Chimney 5.9+++R. It only has one confirmed send, but didn’t stop Alex from playing around on it.
|Neil Longfellow took this great shot of me on The Shaft|
|“Well, that might hold a wet cat”…tipped out with mud on one side. – Alex Vidal. Photo by Neil Longfellow|
I had definitely never led anything like this. I had to fight my way up 20 feet before I could place my first piece, a tipped out #6, the widest cam. I had to worm up, finding body positions that pinned just the right part of a knee or elbow or head or shoulder to keep me from sliding out and landing on the rocks below. The positions where it’s possible to move upward are the positions where it’s possible to fall out. The body positions where you’re locked in to the point of relaxing and taking a breath, I found it all but impossible to move from. Getting in and out of those two main positions I found to be the crux of the route. It’s a full body battle agains the rock to move and keep you in it at the same time. I bumped the #6 higher in the crack till it was finally good enough that it might have held me if I statically took on it, and pulled myself out of the offwidth crack onto a small ledge before the rest of the climb up 5.8 crack and slab. I huge sigh of relief and a proper mount of exhaustion. Now. Now I was ready to go home.
|Dave Roetzel warms up|
|Katie Bono fly’s out the roof in a cookie monster costume.|
|Waldo was found climbing The Lighning. Chris Snobeck|
|Katie took one of the biggest whippers I’ve seen. Huge swing, but she was pscyhed to have come off the wall with both of her tools.|
It was a super fun day and the first annual Vail Veiled. Can’t wait till next year!
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