Monday, September 24, 2012

KM4 Bouldering

Here's something ! Watch some bouldering action from the North !  These guys from Baguio are the coolest ! They climb as much as they can and explore like wildfire on the mountain sides in search of boulders in almost every corner of the Mountain Province.  When there's a boulder, you'll find these guys hard at work everytime !!!  No rest for these guys ! I'm super psyched to get back that 5 hour drive to Baguio to join them for some quick finger thrashing !  I'll be with you soon !

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Wawa All Stars

The evening rain served well in dampening the trail to a sloshy muck and covering the tall jungle grass with as much morning dew as it could hold.  The early morning chill was damp but crisp enough to sink into the skin. Approach was slippery to an inch of mud and having to cut a trail into the jungle provided as much warm-up as it possibly could.  By the time we got to the base of the cliff we're all soaked like wet puppies.  The torso up, wet from sweat and the waist down, wet from accumulated dew from hiking through tall wet grass and jungle foliage.  

All that fun is worth every cent!  Back to the "Slayer" area in Wawa, Montalban is fast becoming a staple and I'm glad the rains are becoming sparse as the days go by.  Weather forecast though says an unlikely change in conditions but from where I am, it seems different.  The days when we decide to go out climbing is always a bright sunny day.  

Three routes to shoot, one day, and an all star cast out on the crag ! I am so stoked.  A roll call of routes has "Slayer"- 6c+ and it's extension "Dragon Slayer"-7b, to the middle, "Destruction"-7a/a+ to the left, and "Dragon Shit"-7a+ to the right.  All routes have been bolted a decade or so ago and these routes by far are the "mucho gwapa" in the whole area to date.  All these overhanging routes rest on the background of the small town below and the powerful river which can be heard while climbing.  The intermittent karaoke coming from somewhere in town below, possibly from early patrons' morning stupor sometimes jolts you back from reverie, "Yes this is Wawa!"

Stan Feleo enjoying "Slayer"

Too much posing on this route for a good photo is becoming draw !
Mine though is not a drunken kind of stupor.  I'm finally getting what I wanted.  I've skipped the outdoors for quite a while in lieu of competitions and too much indoor and plastic.  Now it's begun to feel more natural again.  Each time I blink causes me to feel happy and sad all at the same time.  Each blink comes with mixed emotions and me standing under "Slayer" amplifies that emotion.  It's a bit of a drama and each time wind blows across my face I smile and feel good, I blink, close my eyes for a second, inhale, open my eyes, exhale and still find myself smiling for that exact moment.  It's that moment when everything comes together, the climbing, the people you like to hangout with, the feeling of being small under a giant, the wide open view…the many things you see, feel, and hear each second, everything contributes to this unexplainable "like".  

Being away from the outdoors and putting in time training on plastic is sometimes the most logical thing to do for me.  The approach isn't for everyone though.  The balance of life varies for each one.  My approach to training sort of feels like being a raw block of iron ore, getting heated, getting pounded on, hammered to form.  Going outdoors feels like being hot formed steel getting quenched in a dipping of water.  Doing lots of competitions and lots of hard outdoor climbing over the years feels like being cold steel being sharpened to perfection. Voila!  End process, a Katana, long, sharp to the point! But in climbing there is no end process.  It goes on forever, at least for me.  Sometimes you go over the process again and again, always rebuilding.

Hanging up on the cliff from my rig allows me to shoot a lot of fine photos.  These routes have been there for quite a while and I think it's only now that these magnificent lines are getting the attention they deserve.  I've found new angles and a good spot to film.  One more bonus . . . I've spotted a new line in between "Slayer" and "Destruction".  Consulting Gax "The Legend", yes, it's been playing around in heads for a while and maybe this is the right time to bolt that thing!  It looks like a hard line, possibly 8-ish.  

Left:  Gax "The Legend" Ilanan scoping the line. Right:  Kat trying out my rig.

Alex Espina trying not to be destroyed by "Destruction"

"Destruction" follows a line that starts off from "Slayer" and then turns left.  The wall overhangs out further and the backdrop of the river allows for a very fine view while climbing.  The crux is right to the very top which allows for good falls !  That's an idea right there !  If anyone wants to jump test ropes, this is the route for you !

Spanish climber Enrique Caballero all the way from Spain slaying the "Slayer"

Frank Blase on the crux of "Destruction"

"Dragon Shit" maybe to the innermost recesses of the cave but it's not to be dismissed.  This was the last to go for the day.  It could have been me getting tired by days end or the lack luster aura of this route which blew off ascents that allowed me to get off only a few shots.  Whatever . . . Don't be fooled by the route's name, "Dragon Shit", which says absolutely nothing about the line's quality.

For whatever it's worth I'm giving all these routes the "All Star" rating !  Still psyched ! Filming will be a part time job until the new project route and before coming down to Cebu for an all out effort on "Jack Sparrow".  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Climb like a Gurrl !

So I've been thinking . . . maybe it's time for another photo exhibit?  The new theme . . . GURRLLLZZZ !  The idea has been playing in there for quite sometime and I think it's about time we paid due attention.  Burly climbing is getting a bit old.  Maybe some finesse, maybe some balance.  There are a few more trips to be done before the whole project is complete.  It is still an idea though. Maybe a video to boot !  We'll see how this thing goes . . . I'm hoping this post gets a lot of heat, the good kind and the bad ! Whichever it goes, I guess it will always be the same, but then again, maybe gone are the days of the Rikke Ishoy cover hullaballoo.  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

*** Slayer (5 Stars)

Slayer is one of the many routes bolted by Roel Tan "Bubut" Torres, most notably known as father of the sport climbing generation in the Philippines.  Slayer remains as one of the 5 STAR routes in Wawa, Montalban ever since 1996.  In the early years it was graded 5.10b then upgraded to 5.11b and then several times again received several grade changes.  Such maybe the case of well known routes, it doesn't matter now really.  What's notable about the route is it's perfect line.  It may not make the short list of King Lines but it most definitely is a classic, a definite must do route when you visit Wawa, Montalban.  It's jugs all the way on it's consistently overhanging wave to the top.  The area has a good vista of the river boulders.  In the latter years it received an extension - Dragon Slayer 7b/+.  It's only 3 more bolts but these last three rests on the steeper angle of the rock.  Further extension or possibly a more difficult variation to the route can still be made. I haven't gotten to fully inspecting the rock but will do so on the next trip up.

Kat  moving towards the crux of "Slayer"

View of the River Boulders from the Slayer Area

Ia Lapid on the crux of "Slayer"

Field Report:

"Mucho Barro!"  The trail is still muddy but not that impossible.  It's a bit epic looking for the trail after so many of the greenery have eaten up the old paths.   Get your approach shoes on for this season.  The trail vanishes quite easily from sight specially on the way down when you're not paying attention to turns and all you think about is "just as long as it's going down." You might find yourselves taking long detours,  I personally don't mind the view when you get lost, sometimes it gives a vantage point you can only see on these hidden turns.

Slayer is best climbed very early in the morning.  The area gets direct sunlight right after midday.  Several other routes are also in the area so there's plenty for everyone.

Word of note:  There are some locals who are continually chipping a tunnel into the lower cave right under "Climber in a Hole".  Also the approach towards "El Kanto" is blocked by a bamboo fence  but there is an opening further down the trail, just follow the fence.

For the recent bouldering click here:  One Fine Day !