Showing posts with label Christine Balaz. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christine Balaz. Show all posts

Friday, June 3, 2016

Bouldering in Vegas, Stays in Vegas.

Classic view from the Buttermilks toward Mt Tom
Christine and David's multi-state pebble crushing adventures over the past 6 months.

In the last few months, Christine and I have had the chance to take a couple of short trips, and to work on some creative projects. In December/ January, David's brother and his girlfriend came for a two-week visit from Sweden. We split our time between Bishop and Las Vegas, bouldering the whole time.

Friday, November 13, 2015

See You Later, Sweden and Montana; Hello Nevada and California!

This past July, we left our home in Bozeman, Montana to move to Reno, Nevada. Christine will start medical school in August and we chose this location because it has ~10,000 boulder problems within a ~two hour radius, great sport and traditional climbing, and potential for year-round outdoor climbing! Not to mention it's less than four hours to Bishop and five hours to Yosemite. Oh yeah, and it has a medical school. That, too.

Before we moved, we took a quick trip to Sweden to visit David's family. 

Below are some pictures from the summer.


Monday, July 27, 2015

A Bouldering Trifecta

This spring, David took two weeks off from work to boulder in Bishop, California. Christine flew down to meet him during her spring break from school. David's two weeks turned into four due to a lack of available work back at home. Chasing cooler temps, David traveled from Bishop to Joe's Valley, Utah to Castle Rocks State Park, Idaho. Christine was lucky enough to follow to Joe's for five days, and even snuck in a weekend trip to Idaho to meet up with David and friends at the end of their trip. Once again, this trip was made a lot more fun by the company of great friends.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Red Rocks Bouldering

This past winter we were able to take a trip to Las Vegas, Nevada to boulder for two weeks. It was our first major trip in our new/ converted van, Rodney. We'd both been to Red Rocks previously to rope climb, but neither of us had ever really bouldered in Red Rocks before this trip. We found the bouldering there to be really fun and plentiful. We were lucky enough to be joined by many friends on the trip. Following are a few images from our time there.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Bouldering and Climbing in Southwest Montana

Beautiful clouds... hoping they don't produce too much rain
2014 went out in style and we had a really busy year.  The following are a collection of images from the areas we spent the most time at last year:

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Searching for Boulders

 Over the last year or so, David and I have spent a lot of time exploring the mountain ranges of Montana, looking for new boulders. With the help of Google Earth and friends, we have honed in on several large boulder fields. However, the perfect area is yet to be found. Often, the drive to a particular location is two or more hours, with as many as 30 miles on rough dirt road. Or the hike (without pads) is in excess of one or two hours. Or the boulders are plentiful, but too slabby, too chossy, or too small. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Rodney the Van

Late this summer, David and I fulfilled a long-term dream: we bought a van to convert to a camping/ climbing vehicle. It was a 2010 GMC Savanna cargo van with just 20K miles. We named him Rodney, and he was a perfectly blank canvas.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

There Goes the Summer!

After missing last summer entirely due to intense classes and obligatory studying, I had big plans for this summer: climb, hike, fish, develop routes and boulders, relax, etc... However, this summer brought with it an unexpected surprise: a stubborn concussion that I got whilst water skiing--oops!

Because of this, I ended up missing a lot of work and spending week after week indoors, eyes closed and curtains drawn. 

However, just as my concussion started to fade, David's entire family arrived from Sweden for a visit. While they were here, we did all of the things I'd been planning to do:
Fishing on the Madison

Monday, September 22, 2014

Mile 18

David and I have been spending a lot of time with our friend, Sander, south of Big Timber, Montana in the Beartooth Mountains. Though a handful of people had "brushed" a few problems here and there, most of these rocks were untouched until this summer.

Sander made an awesome movie about the weeks we've had here so far this season.

Christine making easy work of High Noon.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Brushing and Bouldering in the Beartooths

Just a month ago, I wrapped up a one-calendar-year pre-med/ post-baccalaureate program. Stuffing all of this into my head didn't allow me to climb as much as I'd usually like:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Finding Motivation in Weakness and Inspiration in Success

Since David and I met more than four years ago in Spain, our life has been a blur of extended climbing trips in the US and Europe, interrupted by bouts of seasonal work—in large part because our international relationship required frequent border crossings such that neither of us overstayed our visas in the other’s respective home continents.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Decapitated while Stuck in the Snow

After seeing Jon Scott hauling *ss through deep, heavy snow, plowing the road into the parking lot for Whiskey Gulch with his Subaru (not a truck), I felt like I had to follow his tracks. Literally.

Now I realize that's not always a good idea. This ended up leading to a 1.5-hour, 6-person evacuation job. While I was going into hardcore survival mode, I was a little confused to see the rest of the party laughing and having a good time. I guess I just have to spend a little more time in Montana and its driving conditions and get toughened up a little bit.

It was a good start to the day. Everyone climbed a lot, despite snow being everywhere, and I was able to do  the first ascent of a classic, open project on the Caught in the Act Boulder. I called it "Decapitated," V11, named after the Polish metal band that we all love.

/David Sjöquist

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pipestone Pass Bouldering: 8 Hours of Climbing and Likely as Many First Ascents

We went out to Pipestone Pass (near Butte, Montana) again last weekend and spent a full day in an area called The Druthers, as well as in other boulder fields surrounding that area. In just a day, many new problems were cleaned and climbed--mostly easy/ moderate problems, but some harder ones as well! Plus, a handful of new projects were born. Following are some photos of the day:

Monday, November 11, 2013

Pipestone, Montana Bouldering

A couple of weeks ago, Christine and I had the chance to boulder at Pipestone Pass (near Butte, Montana) for our first time. 
Every time I had driven over Pipestone Pass along I-90, I had always noticed the thousands of boulders covering the hillsides. However, whenever I talked to people about it, they seemed to think that all of the boulders were blank and of pretty bad quality.
This weekend, however, we were lucky to get a tour from some guys who have been climbing in the area for a while--real local experts.
Because it was cold and snowy in the mountains, they took us to one of the lower elevation areas. We got to climb on a lot of established problems, and I was able to do a few really excellent first ascents, as well! 

I think that this is one of the best areas I've climbed in Montana, and just walking around a little, we found so many future problems on great rock! 

I'm really excited that bouldering season is starting in Montana, and I hope to post a lot of updates on this area in the future. Meanwhile, here are some photos from our first day at Pipestone. 
Even with all the pads, the project remains undone.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Bouldering in Dye, Värmland, Sweden

Late this summer, David Sjöquist and I went to Sweden to visit his family for two weeks in Värmland. We were there to celebrate our wedding with his and my family, and so spent most of our time doing family stuff. However, we were able to get out for a few bouldering sessions at their local cliff, Dye. 

Though it's small, this granite cliffband has dozens of excellent problems--from warm-ups to serious projects, on top-quality granite. Edges, slopers and pinches! 

Here are some photos from the trip.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sprint Mission for Fun

This year, I've decided to return to school--9 years after graduating from college. I've embarked on a 1-year pre-med, post-baccalaureate program. During this program, we'll take all the math and science a person needs to apply to medical school. It's been great, but intense! It kicked off with a 12-week summer session; this included a full year's worth of chemistry and of physics: 48 labs (with pre-lab reading and lengthy write-ups), 18 exams and over 1,000 pages of science text reading.  

Needless to say, I've had difficulty finding time to sleep and eat--let alone climb. 

Lava Lake Bouldering

We're continuing to explore Bozeman's local climbing. One place we happened to visit this weekend was Lava Lake--a bouldering area in Gallatin Canyon.

A bit more than two miles' hike and some minor tallus scrambling keeps this place pretty quiet--as evidenced by the lack of polished holds; even on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, we were the only climbers there.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Southwest Montana Climbers Coalition: Spring Trash Clean-up

 As part of the Adopt a Highway Program, the Southwest Montana Climbers Coalition is responsible for maintaining a two-mile stretch of highway in the northern reaches of Gallatin Canyon—quite an appropriate location, as Gallatin Canyon holds much of the area’s sport and trad routes.

On Saturday, May 4 of this year, a bunch of climbers—including Bozeman Climbing Team members and their families, as well as the Junior Mountaineering Team—gathered to collect trash along between mile markers 67 and 69 of US 191.

It turned out to be a perfect day for picking up pee bottles: it was drizzly enough to make climbing impossible, but not so wet as to be miserable. After about four hours of clean-up, the crew managed to rid the road’s shoulders of nearly all trash.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Spring Climbing in Montana

Though I grew up in Bozeman, I left to attend college in New Hampshire in 2000. And because I started climbing in 1999, I had just less than one year as a (total beginner) climber in Montana before leaving.

In the years since I moved away, I’ve been back to visit Bozeman numerous times. However, in the last few years—during which David and I have primarily been “on the road” for climbing—we never climbed in Bozeman. We always figured that, when in town to visit the family, we might as well take a break from climbing, and do other stuff that is best done with access to a shower—like hiking, biking and the like.
David on Silver Surfer Suit

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spring Fling 2013 at Spire Climbing Center

Bozeman, Montana's Spire Climbing Center held its annual Spring Fling competition on Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13.

This two-day event features an adults-only Friday evening competition and a Saturday kids comp.

Over the course of the preceding work week, staff and volunteers strip the gym's entire main room of holds. These are then washed and assembled into routes over the course of 3.5 days (Tues, Wed, Thurs and early Fri). This is done in phases (i.e. one side of the gym at a time) in order to leave as much of the gym open to the public for as long as possible during the setting process.

Because of multiple finger injuries, I did not compete--but instead I worked as a route setter. Over the course of three days, I made 8 routes--each of which took me 3-4 hours to build. (I'm guessing that's a pretty average pace.)

This year, Spire's whole crew created 69 routes. If other setters were working at a rate of ~3.5 routes/ hr, this comp represented more than 240 man hours of route setting alone. That's not to mention all of the time spent stripping the walls, washing holds, fore running and scoring routes, cleanup, etc...

Though it was exhausting, the entire project was extremely fun to be a part of. I took many pictures of the process (below), and wrote an article on the competition for The Bozeman Magpie.

Check out the article here:

And results here:

Mammut athlete, Whit Magro, took second place for the men's adult open category. Good job, Whit!

 Evan Mathews, hundreds (or thousands?) of holds, and a blank wall. Tuesday morning.

 Aaron, Evan, Jeff and lots of equipment. Tuesday morning.

 Aaron and Evan pick through a bunch of brand-new holds. A real setters' treat.

Aaron shopping for holds.

Sweet Jon Scott butt shot. Tuesday morning. (Behind: an entire wall that needs to be torn down and reset.)

Evan and Joe test their harnesses.

Evan on a ladder.

Thursday: the west wall has been torn down and mostly reset. 

Friday: DJAJ (Aaron Hjelt) sets up for an evening of music and elk video projections.

Jeff Ho scores the routes.

Friday, just hours before the adult competition.