Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Scene

Nope, not about the climbing video.  And yep, haven't seen it yet, but would definitely sit down and watch it while there isn't any climbing action coming up in a while.  The gym should fill the void in the meantime.  Asian Beach Games too will be coming up.... time to do some training ...  maybe a lot of training ...

In the meantime, I've done a little bit more of photo screening.  There are videos cooking in the oven as well.  I'd rather be out there hacking it, but I've left the only crash pad I have in Baguio.  It will find the boulders up there a better home than fattening up around here.  I'll try though to make a new one and come out bouldering just in time for the season.  Meanwhile I might hang on the rope, shoot some more, stay local for a while ... I think I owe the local crag a good footage!  We'll try to get on that "Diamond Head".  Shoot and gun the rope for a nice burn.  There may be some more lines possible up that headwall.  I feel I might have sharpened my eyes already and possibly spot some progression up there! Psyched !

Here's a few more edits from the last trip !

Monday, January 23, 2012

5 minutes too late . . .

Me on the 2nd Ascent of "Baguio Boys" in Ambongdolan.  FA - Xtian Guerrero    
Ambongdolan still spanks !  Made it to the area again this January 21st just in time before it closed down for the day !  Brand new lines left and right.  Sad though, the traffic along Marcos Highway was too too slow that it took a full hour's delay to get to the crag.  At least the dying daylight served only to inspire a bit more energy out of me to finish off the last two new lines for the day !  More on Ambongdolan in March !  The Baguio Boys are looking into organizing a local RocTrip late March to inspire new lines and new ascents in the area.  It will be good to keep up with the news on that !  Wasn't able to shoot too many climbing photos in Ambongdolan because of lack of time and the rapidly dimming conditions.  At least though Xtian took care of my rig for a very nice photo on "Baguio Boys", one of the many nice new lines in the area.  To the right of "Baguio Boys" is also a new problem taken down during the trip.  I think I'll dub it "2 Crimps, 2 Minutes".  It starts on a good jug very low on the boulder's right side and moves up to two heinous crimps.  The problem finishes the same way as "Baguio Boys".  Sadly I don't have photos of this fine line.  It feels amazing finishing the old Chinese year with an FA !!!  Two more new lines on Ambongdolan:  "Far" - FA Xtian Guerrero and "Len" - FA Alex Espina.  Sorry no photos :( 

It was great though to have been able to bring a lot of kids to the crag early this  year.  I'm really hoping to be able to bring as many kids as possible cragging.  Not really to go all out climbing or bouldering but to at least have them experience scrambling and running around at the crags.  

Two days later, we made a trip to the Benguet Capitol Boulders.  Conditions felt very right !  We hopped along the trail a little bit late but we spent the few good hours we had crushing !  Crisp crimps and nice texture provided by the cool temps helped us take down one of the standing projects in the area.  There's this arete.  Here's the spoiler:  right hand underclings the scoop right of the arete, left hand to a thin pinch to the left, start with the right heel on a match with the right hand on the scoop, left foot low toeing a small friction foothold.  First move - cross right hand to a thin crimp, 2nd move - right heel higher up on the right side of the arete and scum left toe a bit higher, 3rd move - bump right hand to a slopey pinch (a bit of a stretch if you keep your feet too low), 4th move - match hands... 5th, 6th etc. will be just to finish of on holds constantly getting better.  Voila!  A new ascent for the new lunar year - "DRAGON NEW YEAR".  It's one of the better problems in the area. Another must try is "Kate Sanchez" - a roof problem with 3 long moves under a roof arete.  A bit short but definitely quality moves.  Also check out "4th Street".  Mhick Tejares burned some of the boys on this one, hehehe !

Reporting on the wide angle lens . . . it's usable but like I said, compromise.  I really had to push sharpness by using f-stops from f13 to f18 forcing to me use ISOs ranging from 300-500 to get faster shutters for stoping action.  A good lens can keep sharpness even on relatively wider apertures which allows for faster shutter I'm convinced I have to get that 10-22mm.  DAMN !  

Benguet Capitol Boulders

Benguet Capitol Boulders from the trail.

Mhick Tejares warming up at the Capitol Boulders
Dennis Diaz under "Kate Sanchez"

Alex Espina making short work of "Kate Sanchez"
"Kate Sanchez" - FA Xtian Guerrero

Xtian Guerrero taking 5 with the new kids on Capitol's Boulders
Full view of "Dragon New Year"
"Dragon New Year" - FA Dennis Diaz
Xtian Guerrero on the 2nd Ascent of "Dragon New Year"
Alex Espina on the stretch of "Dragon New Year"

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Not good enough . . .

Yep... I guess I got too carried away with being too super positive on the capabilities of the old wide angle extender.  1st a wide open lens blurrs the majority of the you're forced to stop down, use a smaller f-stop.  This becomes very difficult in very low light conditions and taking action shots.  There is a huge compromise on ISO and apperture . . . I hate compromises !  2nd under bright light the lens is subject to huge amounts of glare.  It does become challenging to balance.  On the lighter side, it does present some character that can't be expected from top notch lenses.  It will for sure be a demanding piece of equipment.  I'm not about to throw it away just yet. I still think it can be made use of aside from paper weight.  On hind sight... it's either it's not really good or I'm just sour graping because I still suck on making it work. More practice !  Practice ! PRACTICE ! Better work on it before the Ambongdolan trip !  Here's a few snaps for practice...

Monday, January 16, 2012

S u p e r W I D E !

Late night clean-ups do have rewards!  Found an old super wide macro extender lying around.  X.42 mounts on 58mm, just right for the new 28mm. , result . . . a super wide angle complete with spherical deformation on the edges for the right amount of effect !  I've been contemplating on getting the Canon EF-S 10-22mm.  Looks like that might not be necessary for a while.  I'll be taking this baby for a spin and hopefully get it really fired up on the Ambongdolan Boulders in a few days, 3 days and counting !  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Alex Espina ballin' on "The Messenger" - Project

High Ballin' sounds a bit intimidating.  No, not sounds like ... it is!  While the likes of Alex Honold, Steph Davis, Dean Potter and a number of other climbers have taken the level of climbing up ginormous cliffs to their own respective levels, some of us have elected to remain greatly earthed to the self preserving nature of human kind.  Most of these highly evolved climbers have truly taken great leaps in terms of extending comfort zones on the edge.  Breaking through your best climbing form of latest isn't very easy.  But I'm looking up to them now and I feel it's time to breathe fire !  Welcome the Dragon Year !

The last trip to the crags have again reminded me of the next steps I need to do to break through those self-imposed blocks.  There are still some projects left undone.  One spectacular line that I'm looking at is this one we've dubbed "The Messenger" project.

Looking at it from this vantage point, on the screen of my laptop, it doesn't look so high at all and from the last visit to the area, I felt the holds not so heinous at all.  The crimps felt better and pulling on them felt lighter. The conditions aren't right as of yet.  The rock is continually wet and one crash pad doesn't seem to help my mind get out the bend.

Fats Niones on the stretch on "Bed Weather" 
The following day, I've taken the trip to the gym and started pulling down on crimps.  Continued crimping intervals and finally a crimpy problem to help boost the good feel.  

I've also made a pact with a Xtian Guerrero to work this line.  It may take a few  months, probably 2, before the   conditions   turn for the better.  That's a lot of time to boost the crimping confidence.  This also serves as a shout out to those owning a crashpad to help our cause.  As of the moment, we've one crashpad waiting.  The landing under that boulder got dug out by the recent rising of the river.  A couple of more pads should help us brave up for the ascent.  

Well, that's a rough.  It will be a while before I can post anything more in the endeavor.   Few trips here and there to get my head out of the obsession for a while.  

Callin' out the boys to jump into the wagon.  It's an open project and everyone is invited.  Send the message, send "The Messenger" before it sends you.