Saturday, September 12, 2015

Moderates for Owltoberfest!

Santa Maria is not known for its moderate climbs. There is one 5.11a at the Owl Tor (the left-most route), but then the climbing jumps to stiff 5.11d. What most people do not know is that about 20 years ago we did put moderates up at the back area, a.k.a. Mr. Lee's Greater Hong Kong. These routes were never given the love and attention that routes in the area need and thus fell into obscurity. But thanks to some elbow grease and a little teamwork, they have been revitalized and are better than ever. There are 13 routes between 5.8 and 5.11c and here is your guide to them.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Owltoberfest 2015 & Tarantula Hawk Wasps

The third annual Owltoberfest will be this October 17 & 18. Saturday we'll be at the Owl Tor, camp that night, and climb at Mr. Lee's Sunday. Six great companies have sponsored the event:
Maxim Ropes
Fixe Hardware
Misty Mountain
Kilter Climbing Grips
Santa Barbara Rock Gym
So we'll have a good prize for...

Monday, February 2, 2015

Owltoberfest 2014

Redpoints, redpoint failures, perfect temps, friends old and new, a good cause, and, of course, the Lord of the Forest: we had all the necessary ingredients for a great event. We also raised $750 towards Scott Cosgrove's recovery — get well soon my friend! Many local (and pseudo-local) regulars were in attendance, as were crankenfranks Steve & Dee Lapen from LA, and the legendary Randy Leavitt. Hopefully his presence will convince more climbers to pay Santa Maria a visit.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Santa Barbara's Hardest

One of the most popular articles in Allez was Steve Edward's "Southern Cal's Hardest" in issue #3. That was written in 1995 — before sport climbing died. Fortunately, there are a handful people refusing to acquiesce and just go bouldering like everyone else. Bouldering is more convenient, social, and (most would say) fun; but I believe sport climbing still offers many things that bouldering cannot. So, because history is important, and maybe some readers will take up the sport climbing torch, I'm writing an updated version of Steve's article.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Ratings & Difficulty: Appendix

In my last article, I tried to take an objective look at ratings. By far my most popular post ever, it was also, mostly well received. There were several good questions and comments that I will now address.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Ratings, Difficulty and the World's First 9c/15d

Antonio on No Skill (12c) Owl Tor, Santa Maria, CA

I guess 12c is a lot
harder than 12b.
 Antonio Labaro             

I've planned on writing something about ratings and difficulty for a while, but Antonio's comment finally motivated me to do the work. Antonio has been progressing through the grades at the Owl Tor and in April he redpointed The Hell of the Upside-Down Sinners, his first 5.12b. Full of psyche and energy, he moved on to No Skill, a 5.12c variation of two other routes. He's doing well, but he did notice: yes, in fact, 12c is a lot harder than 12b.
   But how much harder? And aren't ratings subjective? Most climbers talk about them as if they are. I haven't seen this done before, and I wish I had more data, but we need to start somewhere and try to have an objective discussion about ratings.