Friday, February 15, 2013
Thanks for checking in! I'm doing this blog because the guide is out of print and information from the old days is slowly fading. I have lots of old topos and pictures. Most from the day, which was 80's on. I was really lucky to be learning photography and climbing at the same time with some of the Boldest and Hard Core Trad Climbers that local history has ever seen! The routes that were put up have stood the test of time. This is a work in progress and I intend to add to it each week. There will be some recent stuff too from areas your interested in. DANGER....alot of the routes I'm showing here still have the old 1/4' steel bolts which are Death Clips by now! Beware of this. Climbing is Dangerous!
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Way up on the East Face of Moro Rock, on a rock obtrusion that stuck out, we were in the moment. I was holding the rope, and my close friend was on the sharp end inching up. This big thing whooped by my head from nowhere, and whipped the corner, and it was as if a down sleeping bag had been cut open with a knife. It looked like some bird had dive-bombed another bird and it just blew apart. Only later did we find out the whole story. Amongst our small group of local climbers was a bird watcher, and he said that a Peregrine Falcon couple had their nest way up on the east face somewhere. This was rare, these birds were on the endangered species list back then in the 80’s. We contacted the Sequoia park officials, and excitement ensued. On the beginning of another hot valley day in September of 92 I was invited to go down to the Airee (nest site) with the east face pioneer, Eddie Joe. With him was Lee Aulman, from the Santa Cruz raptor center, a Peregrine Falcon expert. Lee had been watching the nest for sometime and said now was the time to go to it. The plan was to go down the south face, from the top of Moro, towards the nest, which was on the southeast edge. Past the railing, we were able to go down quite a ways before we had to rig the ropes. Rappelling is the most dangerous thing you can do in climbing, totally relying and committing yourself to an anchor point. This in mind, we rappelled down several ropes, to a small ledge just above the Airee. The exposure was intense. The Peregrine Falcon is only about a foot tall, but stumpy, and its unusually big feet don’t fit to a bird that’s dives through the air at way over 200 miles an hour! The eggshell thinning effects of DDT caused the collapse of Peregrine populations worldwide, and in the early 70’s just one pair of birds remained in California. Now there are an estimated 150 pairs throughout the state. Between May and July is nesting time, and volunteer climbing closures are honored with our locals for the whole east face of Moro, and the upper Chimney rock area during that time. The Peregrine is on the top of the food chain and continues to be an important indicator of all ecological health. Volunteers are watching many sites, and it’s with this help that the bird rises from near extinction. When Eddie swung into the nest, which was really only a small flat spot on the rock, he found 3 eggs. We were watching for the female bird, which we thought might try to swoop in. We were listening for the danger call, a loud cak,cak,cak. But none of these things happened, and we very carefully packed the eggs, and jugged (slang term for using mechanical rope ascenders) our way out. As was thought, the eggs were dead. It was too late in the season for eggs to be eggs, but the information these 3 chicken size nuggets yielded was the best scientific evidence at that time! The Moro Peregrines are slowly coming back and have had one documented fledgling. Pesticide residues have caused widespread reproductive failures in many Peregrine breeding pairs, along with environmental contaminants. To this day, even though the Peregrine was taken off of the endangered species list, we continue to watch the nest sites, working through the Buck Rock foundation, and the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group. They’re always looking for volunteers; maybe it’s for you. www.scbrg.org
Monday, February 11, 2013
Moro Rock has some Fine Climbing on all faces and the Descent is the easiest around, just take the Stairs! We usually park on the edge of the parking lot, the South Side is a favorite for all the South and East Face Routes. If your going down to the West Face you can park right by the old Bathrooms just as you enter the parking lot on the right. The main parking issue is Don't leave any Food in you Car! This means anything that even smells like food! Bears are all over the place around the Moro Parking Lot and they will break into your car. The West Face Routes can be accessed by going down from the old bathrooms. After going through some Bushes, head South and watch for ledges. The other West Face access is by Rapping the 'Offramp' route to Zocalo Ledge where many Routes can be accessed. There are good Anchors all the way down. As you head up the Stairs, as soon as you get a view of the Valley, West, is where you can go down. Anchors are had right around the corner from the Stairs walk.From this same Rap anchor you can go further North and watch for bolts. This is a fairly new Rap Route that takes you all the way to the Bottom for routes like 'The Bottom Line'. Usually around the end of May, June they have a Peregrine Falcon closure for all East Side Routes including the'South Face'. We all try to honor this and hopefully future climbers will follow suit.
|East Face .. Homework, Drawn Lines and Pic by Daniel Jeffcoach|
|Early Days on Condor Ledge..West Face|
Friday, February 8, 2013
As your driving up from Waksachi, park at the big pullout on the left, before the Little Baldy Saddle. At the Saddle there is a tourist trail to the top, which is an optional way to go up or down from the climbing. If your going up the trail, right before the top you will see steep talus along the wall. Follow this to the base and the climbs. If you parked at the pullout, go across the road and find the way of least resistance up to the base, which is not that far. There used to be a climbers trail here in the 80's. DANGER!! Watch and listen for falling rocks!! Some tourists just have to throw rocks and the top of Little Baldy is covered with them. When thrown, they end up right where the climbing is. One time we were taking a key figure of the Access Fund up a climb there and a huge barage of rocks came down all around us! Death size bangers, which blew in pieces around us! We dodged a few big ones and came out unscathed by a miracle! All this is rare and you can go up there during a summer weekday and nobody will be around. Little Baldy has a nice High Alpine feel and it has the best Granite in the Park.