Monday, December 27, 2010

Living for the Moments

Hope the holidays treated everyone well. I know for me it was a crucial time to decompress from the craziness. Here is something to help psyche up for the new year. The Camp4 Collective produced this piece in June. Its was cool to shoot for a concept on this one and really dive into the heart of the experiences we all love. As always thanks for checking it out! ~reo

--we did shoot Honnold on the Nose without a cord on the pancake fake after this was released...stay tuned for the directors cut with that stuff spliced in! Read more...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Chad Dispatches

Hey All, I just got back from one of the most remote and wild expeditions to date. We carefully logging all the footage to hopefully share at mtn film fests this spring. Here a few video screen grabs and little wrap up from the adventure. You can follow the entire backlog of such posts on The North Face Blog.
From the moving jeep, during the ride out:
“Expedition Time Distortion”: I think this could describe what the whole crew is experiencing at this point out here in the remote Chadian desert. Although we have only been gone for a matter of weeks, and it probably seems like a blink of an eye to all those back home, to us it truly feels an eternity lost in the endless sea of unclimbed sandstone, micro barbed picker grass and roaming camels.

Despite the looming homesickness, today the moral is high. We convinced Piero, our tireless guide, to go for a final hail mary quest to the most remote part of the region to check out what seems like the most inspiring formation from our research: a tower/arch that we have deemed “the delicate arch” of the Ennedi. Piero is skeptical of the whole journey after the incident with the knife bandits (see dispatch 4) and tried to ward us off from the idea: “You know there are vipers and cobras in camp-- definitely maybe!!” Even though we will only have an afternoon and morning worth of water to explore the location before have to turn back we all agree it’s worth it.

More 4x4ing through the heat and we arrive at the objective. It is even more inspiring than we could have possibly imagined: a helix of two spindly towers ~160 ft tall connected by a tiny arch that truly resembles Canyonland’s famous Delicate Arch!

With our limited time the team quickly sprung into action and headed up the talus cone in the brutal midday heat to scope the line. Each side had distinct cruxes of chossy unprotected slabs or decomposing cracks. Eventually Mark and James decided on the slab. The rest of the day was spent battling for protection in the decomposing sandstone. At one point Mark tried to place a bolt and it was so loose in the hole he had a double stack pitons around to make it even remotely passable as protection. Jimmy, Kempy and I scrambled around trying to document the madness we could here James cursing after Mark relinquished the lead: “Its like bloody Caster sugar up here, after you break the outer surface the rest just explodes, #(*)&#@#&!!!”.

Feeling a bit antsy at the base Alex took matters into his own hands and went for the kamikaze onsight free-solo first ascent of the crack up the other side. At this point it was a free for all with time running out to find a way to the summit. “Here you go dude, take this wireless mic,” I suggested and he clipped it on. After sending half the formation I could hear his breathing elevate with is knee stuck in a wide crack unable to commit to a loose flake transfer. Displaying good judgment and some extreme skill he carefully retreated down the lower tech face as we all watched clenching our teeth. Darkness set in James and Mark also decided to play it safe and descend, hoping to get it done with an alpine start the next morning.

During the night as the climbing teams rested for the morning we stayed up most of the night documenting a moon-rise we will never forgot: The nearly full moon rose directly behind the arch and tracked a perfect path slitting the formation. For the Camp4 Crew this was a mind-blowing coincidence for us to be able to share the beauty of this place. We ran 3 timelapses through the night, one on a motorized Kessler dolly tracks to add another layer of movement to the tracking stars and moon. I have to say it was kinda gripping scrambing around wondering if the aforementioned snakes might be lurking under any rock.

Before sunrise the games began again. James took the final leap of faith. I’m sure the details of his moment with God will come out in his and Mark’s own detailed descriptions but all I have to mention is that Mark could barely force himself to belay the pitch. If he fell he would have ripped the entire pitch including the anchor...

After some victory screams he brought up the rest of the crew for some truly feel good moments. Its so rare that in this day and age that such iconic first ascents are still a possibly. Looking out over the expanse of rocks and village life below it was an unsaid realization how special this experience has been. . (The Arch of Ba-Chikele)

Our time here is coming to a close. By Marks’s vision of putting this adventure together, Piero’s 20 year knowledge of the landscape/people, Alex and James’ bold summit leads and the Camp4 Collective crew photo/video efforts we all hope to bring back a greater understanding of the Ennedi to share with those back home. However haggard, diarrhea ridden, sand caked, starved and exhausted we all may be there is no doubt we are vastly grateful for the experience and the opportunity to be the first to climb in this remote region.
Cheers from the whole team out here in middle of nowhere! ~reo Read more...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Moonlight Dreams, Zion National Park, 2010


I’m about 800 feet up Moonlight Buttress, one of the most classic and iconic big wall free climbs in the world, at the crossroads between a dream and disappointment. This world famous route has been climbed no falls, first try only a hand full of times, and it’s looking like I might be joining the club…but I’m starting to bonk. I’m seeing spots and to emphasize the thread I’m hanging by, my left forearm cramps when I clip into the anchor…Not Good!
I unlock my hand from it’s clenched, clawlike position and pull some clif blocs out of my pocket. I chase a couple blocs down with the last of my water, and then lay my head against the thousand foot tall, red sandstone cliff for a moment, waiting for the calories and electrolytes to do their job. There are only a couple more 5.12 pitches to go, but with no idea what to expect, and very little in the reserve tank, I know that a free ascent is far from in the bag. This is probably the best multipitch sandstone climb in the world and to walk up to it and climb it without falling has been a dream that I’ve entertained for some time, but deemed highly unlikely. Some really great climbers have come one fall away.

I do have experience on my side, I tell myself. In the last five years I’ve spent a good deal of my time in Indian Creek near Moab Utah, a downright mecca for sandstone crack climbing. During my time there, I repeated countless hard cracks and even put up a few testpieces of my own, and with each day in the creek, I got a little more proficient and a little more in tune with the subtlety and some times pure thuggery of climbing these unique parallel sided “Splitters.” “How are you feeling,” my fiancĂ© Nelissa asks me, snapping me out of introspection.

I lift my head slowly from the wall. I can feel the blocs and water doing their job. I slowly open and close my swollen hands without them cramping! This is encouraging! I quickly organize my gear for the next pitch and then with renewed momentum I set off. I practically jog up the vertical finger, and before I know it I’m twenty feet above my last piece, and looking at a huge fall, but I’m feeling pretty locked in!!! The last hard pitches are a blur. Nelissa Yells up words of encouragement, and I climb beyond my ability, an experience I’ve had before on big climbs. “You’ve come this far,” I tell myself, “Now it’s time to be at your best.”
As I move up this huge majestic wall, almost outside of myself, I am overcome by a wave of pure childlike joy. I’m thankful for my rope and think of young Alex who climbed up here without one. I love the desert, I love climbing, and this is as perfect a moment as I could as for! “WOOOHOOOOOO” I yell as I clip into yet another anchor.
And somehow, through a mix of good fortune, hard work and years of experience, I stand on top of Moonlight Buttress, without a fall! I couldn’t be more psyched. Nellissa and I share a clif bar and then head down the trail, with thoughts of burritos and margaritas luring us on!!!

A couple of months ago I had the extreme pleasure of repeating Moonlight as a free climb. Moonlight buttress is probably the single best sandstone bigwall freeclimb in the world and to manage to scrap up it first try no falls was one of the highlights of my year, and sharing it with my bride to be made it even more special. Read more...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Rocky Mountain HIGHLINE

About a month ago, Andy Lewis, or "Sketchy Andy" called me up and said he had a "sick" highline set up up above Estes. Andy Lewis is one of the best slackliners in the world and had recently walked the longest Highline ever... so I figured it might be fun to go up for a couple hours and test out my new 5d mark ii camera. I headed up with my good friend Timmy O'Neil and had a great time scaring the crap out of myself on the line and getting a few shots as well!! Read more...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Yosemite in a Day

I was invited to give a presentation at the Yosemite Facelift 2010, a park wide clean up event originally started by climbers and spearheaded by Ken Yager. The Facelift is now the largest National Park clean up in the country!!! For my last few slideshows, I have showed the day before to shoot and edit a short "In a Day" video. I feel like it's a unique and original element of my show, and people get psyched to see something created in real time! However, the amount of work that this entails is pretty ridiculous, and usually at around Five A.M. after a sleepless night of editing, I swear that I will never do it again. This particular "In A Day" installment features some of Yosemites Top "Unheard Of" climbers, an overview of the Facelift, and then, Yosemites Best Climber crushing blood from the stone!!! Thanks to Black Diamond The North Face and Blue Water Ropes who all sponsored the Facelift. Read more...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wanna Be a Bad Ass? Drink Vics!!!

Short Commerical I cut for the Reel Rock world Premiere!!! Read more...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Hey Guys Cedar Here, be sure to get out for the Reel Rock Tour when it comes through your neigborhood! A bunch of the shots from the Daniel Woods Games segment, and Australia film are mine so psyched to be seeing my camera work on the big screen, and I star in the Australia segment along with Matt Segal, James Pearson, Heidi Wirtz, and Jason "Singer" Smith, which is the most hilarious climbing film ever!! Read more...

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Diamond Shaped Rock Formation

We are squeezing out the end of summer up in the Rocky Mountain National Park alpine is the latest on the route D1 up the center of the Diamond. Thanks for checking it, ~reo


Sunday, September 5, 2010

As It Happens..vimeo staff pick!

We are super stoked to have our film from Nepal “As It Happens” a staff pick on! For us being recognized on this platform of creatives is a huge honor. Although we often contribute such works to film festivals and give the audience the full cinema experience we also believe in the value of sharing content online. So here you go, the full 16 min film... Cheers, ~reo


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Behind the Scenes in Nepal

We were so psyched about our Kessler Pocket Dolly during expedition to Nepal this past January. Here is a little recap of the some of our favorite shots from the adventure! Stay tuned for some organic posts from our adventures up in Rocky Mountain National Park on the Diamond and beyond. As always thanks for tuning in! ~reo

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

FIRST ASCENT The Series!!!

Perhaps you have seen Renan and I in some of the classic climbing films that Sender Films has put out over the years, such as First Ascent, Return to Sender and The Sharp End. Nick Rosen and Peter Mortimer who are the "genius" behind Sender films were a big part of my inspiration to get into Film Making in the first place, and they still set the bar for adventure climbing movies. I figured if they could be such a junkshow and pull it off, maybe their was hope for me!!! Their latest work which will air as a five part series on National Geographic television in Europe later this year is all here, including "Promises," which stars Renan, myself and one of my best Friends Sean Leary. Read more...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

>>>TNF Ultra Trail Du Mont Blanc>>pre-race_dispatch

After a long stint working on a big brand video for The North Face which will launch on later this fall we are psyched to be able to release a "dispatch" from a new assignment. Bringing a story direct to a wide audience right after it happens is part of our soul as here is the latest from the last few days!

Thanks to all those involved here in alpine wonderland of Chamonix, France.

MUSIC>>>green button music


Monday, August 2, 2010

Boogie 'til You Poop

While shooting my Squamish in a Day video, Jason Kruk got his knee stuck in a 5.11 offwidth called "Boogie 'til You Puke," and required a rescue. Luckily Andrew Burr was there shooting stills while I shot video and switched his 5d to video mode to capture me in rescue mode... in what is perhaps the most horrific and hilarious climbing experience I have ever witnessed first hand. By this end of this short movie, you should understand why the climb is now officially renamed "Boogie 'til You Poop!" Read more...

Friday, July 30, 2010

NEW ALBUM, and "Why I Climb"

We climbers have a term called "The Elvis" or "Sewing Machine Leg.” Most climbers who find themselves in a difficult and or dangerous situation will eventually experience this unusual phenomena. “The Elvis” is characterized by a spasmodic, uncontrollable, and unwelcome shaking of the leg. Some people, like me get “The Elvis” so bad that not just their leg shakes. In worse case scenarios, the vibrations can take over my entire body!

More times than I can count I have found myself stranded in a sea of terror, on a horrifically dangerous rock climb, with nothing between me and certain death…and then… at the least opportune moment… my whole body begins to vibrate like a paint shaker on overdrive! Usually I recite my patented danger mantra, “Oh No….Oh No….OH NOOO.”

Many people find it too unnerving to watch me climb. More that one pour soul while witnessing my uncertain situation, has been overcome with nausea and had to vacate the scene! I seem to recall someone vomiting in the bushes after witnessing one of my near death sketch fests!

You might ask, why put your self through that kind of abuse? Why Climb? My response is that moments like these are exactly why I climb. When in the face of uncertainty and fear, I somehow find the courage to overcome body tremors, the unknown, and the possibility of broken legs, to push through, and make it to the top! These small personal victories are a strange mix of cleansing, and addictive. I somehow find joy in overcoming danger!

Some of my most ecstatic points have been reached through risk in climbing. Before I discovered the climbing life at the age of twenty one I was aimless, listless and lost in a haze of my own creation. Whether climbing “saved my life” is debatable, but certainly with Climbing I discovered real passion for the first time. I can say confidently that climbing has vastly improved me as a person. It’s been the framework on which I have built my life. It has made me a healthier happier person.

I have lost a lot of friends to climbing, especially in the mountains, and some would say that it’s not worth the risk. I however firmly believe that life with out risk and passion really isn’t life at all. I think that a year living your personal dream, and squeezing the juice out of life, is worth more than a lifetime of mundane, uninspired and depressing security. The bottom line is that I climb because it makes me happy. I’m not saying that you need to risk your life to find happiness, but almost certainly you need to risk something. For me, I find precious moments run out on a rope, with my leg shaking like Elvis at a sewing machine!
Greetings Vertical Carnival Denizens!! Cedar Here!! I'm super psyched to be releasing my second "vertical carnival" album as a digital download. This installment which I've entitled "Senses Meet" features, an interesting mix of original material, and covers of civil war era protest, unrequited love, and folk type songs!! There are 27 songs on the album, and I'm peddling it for eight dollars!! I really hope you like it. Also, the folks at Backcountry asked me to wax philosophical as to why I climb, so click on read more to check out my thoughts!!! Read more...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Squamish in a!!!

This summer I had the pleasure of giving a presentation at the Squamish Mountain Film Festival and arrived a day early to do some shooting with the perhaps overly ambitious idea of presenting an original climbing film that I shot and cut in a day. It turned out to be a lot of work and I literally didn't sleep for a night to get this ready for the show, but everyone was super psyched to see a slice of their home area presented to them in near real time. This movie features Jason Kruk, Will Stanhope, Tommy Caldwell, and Hazel Findlay crushing Squamish's world class stone!!! Hope you enjoy it!!! Cheers!!! Cedar Read more...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

UltraRunner... or UltraDouche?!?!?

What does it take to run for over a hundred miles without stopping? Follow Timmy O'Neill as he seeks out and trains with one of the countries top long distance runners Scott Jureck. Timmy pushes his mind and body to the limit in search of the ultimate challenge...will he prove himself an UltraRunner, or just a massive UltraDouche??? This showed twice in Telluride Mountain Film!!! Cheers everyone....Cedar Wright!!! Read more...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Total Eclipse_The Australia Dispatch

This spring I spent a month an a half with James Pearson, Matt Segal, Heidi Wirtz, Rob Frost, and Jason Singer Smith exploring the climbing potential in Australia. We discovered wild unclimbed cliffs in Tazmania, and full on traddy-pucker-fests in the Grampians. They call it God's own stone for a reason, the Grampians is quite possibly the best rock I have ever climbed on, and The Totem Pole in Tazmania is one of the best climbs and single best spire I have ever have ever done. Rob Frost from Sender FIlms captured all the action for this year's reel rock tour, so stay tuned for that, it's going to be SICK!!! The Reviews are in and they are great! "The single greatest climbing music video to Total Eclipse ever created." "A new level for all other Movie Makers to strive for, and yet inevitably fail to achieve." "A work of pure unadulterated Genius." "The feel good climbing movie of the year!" ...Strap on your seat belts folks....this is going to be SICK!!! Stay tuned for the full story in this year's Reel Rock Tour courtesy of Sender Films. There's a reason they call it God's own stone! Read more...

Friday, June 4, 2010

Arms Bazaar _Nellie Milfeld_5.12aR

Hey Guys...Cedar here!!! Long time no see!! Now that Renan's Turkey sport climbing gnarnia disatches have come to a close it's time to get TRAD!!! In an era of sport climbers, and boulderers, Boulder Local Nellie Milfeld stands out as a talented and bold traditional climber. This short movie is brought to you by BlueWater Ropes, and features Nellie crushing "Arms Bazaar" a 5.12aR at Bells Buttress in Boulder Colorado. Read more...

Saturday, May 15, 2010


The final take away installment of the FREE RANGE TURKEY dispatches. Thanks for following!
Produced by: camp4collective
Additional Imagery: boone speed
SONG Almost Familiar
ALBUM Taking Up Your Precious Time
ARTIST Pretty Lights
Currently Cedar is in Yosemite going for a free ascent of Golden Gate on El Cap and I'm headed up to AK for another go at the Tooth Traverse in the Ruth Gorge....stay tuned....!! Cheers, ~renan Read more...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Samarai warrior??....Ninja assassin??.....Bruce Lee??

No, it's Yuji Hirayama!!!

In dispatch 7 we discover his personal philosophy for life and climbing as he floats up some of the world's most difficult rock climbs [Devers Royal 8c+? hardest climb in Turkey!] . Loosely translated from Japanese!

Edit: Renan


Additional Imagery: Boone Speed

Omar Faruk Tekbilek
Of Porcelain

Pocket Dolly: Kessler

Monday, May 3, 2010

5point Film Festival

We were honored to screen "As It Happens" and "Living the Dream" at the 5point film festival this past weekend to a crowd of nearly 800 people! It was great re-entry to the US after the FREE RANGE TURKEY assignment. Stay tuned for the final Turkey Dispatches!


Friday, April 30, 2010

Battle in The Bubble Three

Hey Guys Cedar Here! I'm Fresh Back from a Australia where I was climbing with Heidi Wirtz, Matt Segal and James Pearson for an upcoming Sender Films Reel Rock Tour piece... so due to exclusivity, there will be no Australia dispatches....sorry!! The footage and the climbing is sick but you'll have to wate for the tour... But in the mean time here is a short video I put together for the spot promoting the upcoming Battle in the Bubble. If you are around May 14th and 15th in Boulder its going to be an incredible party! Read more...

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Yesterday the crew explored a totally different venue and resource off the coast of Olympus, the deep water soloing! We are continually blown away by the culture & climbing potential here in southern Turkey. Thanks for following!!!! ~reo

FREE RANGE TURKEY_dispatch #6 from camp4 collective on Vimeo.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Friday, April 16, 2010


Who is Daniel Woods? Dispatch #4 dives into the unfiltered character of one of the world's strongest climbers within the context of the FREE RANGE TURKEY trip. What a classic character!!

FREE RANGE TURKEY_dispatch #4 from camp4 collective on Vimeo.

edit: renan with camp4 collective

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Khumbu Climbing Centre 2k10

Welcome to the 7th year of the Khumbu Climbing Centre in the Everest region. Nepali high altitude workers tune up on technical climbing, english and medical skills during the Khumbu winter. Enjoy a glimpse into this amazing program! ~reo

The Khumbu Climbing Centre 2k10 from camp4 collective on Vimeo.


Sunday, April 11, 2010


FREE RANGE TURKEY_dispatch #3 from camp4 collective on Vimeo.

OK, now we are drilling into the heart of the experience. After 3 nonstop days living the climbing lifestyle in the Jo-Si-To climbers camp the team heads to town for Turkish Sunday market.



Additional Imagery:
Boone Speed

Climber Compound for all ages:

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


FREE RANGE TURKEY_dispatch #2 from camp4 collective on Vimeo.

Getting into the swing of things! Three days of non-stop hard climbing and shooting has pretty much smoked every muscle in our bodies. In this dispatch Sam, Emily and Daniel have back to back sends of "Freedom is a Battle" 5.13+. We wanted to give you some raw action in this installment and get a bit more warmed up to high-angle shooting. It is clear that the limestone here is unique to the world...but what about the culture? Stay tuned for the next dispatch on the amazing scene here..the local climbers, markets and vibe that drive the adventure.

Music: Blockhead
Edit: Renan

Saturday, April 3, 2010


FREE RANGE TURKEY_dispatch #1 from camp4 collective on Vimeo.

Spinning in space 100ft off the ground with a camera is where we expect to be a lot on this expedition: the "Free Range Turkey" trip, a climbing exploration supported by The North Face to Antalaya in southern Turkey.

We will be updating videos live from the field featuring a bad-ass international roster of athletes including: Emily Harrington, Sam Elias, Daniel Woods, Yuji Hiriyama, Eneko Pou and James Person

In this first installment the crew makes the initial journey and gets psyched for the adventure to come.

music: robot koch


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Vegas Gold, an Ascent of "Desert Gold" 5.13a

Made it down to Vegas for the Red Rock Rendezvous, and then afterward made it up to Desert Gold, one of the most difficult and beautiful cracks in Red Rocks. Read more...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Battle in The Bubble

This is a short teaser I put together for The Spot Gym. This May 14th and 15th The Spot Gym will be hosting Boulder's biggest bouldering comp. Because this comp is not affiliated with any governing organizations of competitive climbing, the Spot has put together a Fresh and more Audience Friendly format that will culminate with a "First Ascent" battle between the two top climbers. Best of all this will be more than a comp with a very Festival Like atmosphere that is ABSOLUTELY FREE for all spectators!!! Read more...

Monday, March 22, 2010


Hold on to Your Hats Verical Carnivalers...this is going to be XXXTREME!!! Follow 5.14 trad climber Matt Segal as he attempts to add the XXXTREMELY dangerous sport of Ice Climbing to his skill set, in preparation for a trip to Patagonia! Have fun out there!!! Cedar. Read more...

Sunday, March 7, 2010


It turns out that the climbing and scene in Arkansas is not to be missed...I highly recommend a visit to Horseshoe Ranch, one of the most unique climber camps in the country. Today I was too knackered to climb, but I got to shoot a 38 special...that was different!!!

This march I headed out to Arkansas to give a presentation with Jeremy Collins for the American Alpine Club. I showed up a day early to get some climbing in and brought my GH1 to play with. I shot and edited this piece in a day, so that I could show the video at the beginning of my presentation....I was literally doing color correction and compressing an hour before I went on!!! People were psyched to see their home area on the big screen! Read more...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tawoche Still Selects

So, besides constantly working on the video Cory managed a solid selection of stills from the adventure. We are currently working on a behind the scenes and out-takes cut...stay tuned!


Thursday, February 11, 2010

THE GAME, V16?!?! Daniel Woods Completes one of World's Hardest Boulders

I first met Daniel Woods about 5 years ago while in Rocklands Africa. Daniel already had a reputation as a steel fingered bouldering phenomena, and watching him crush in the boulders was about as close as I've come to witnessing the defiance of gravity. When Daniel mentioned on a facebook post that he had a new super project up in Bolder Canyon, and felt he might be close to "the hardest moves I've ever tried", I figured it might be a cool moment to film and so I rang him up! For the last two weeks I have been braving the 30 degree temps and shooting Daniel's process and progress. Today in spite of a broken hold and a nasty fall, Daniel sucked it up, figured out new beta and SENT!!! "This is definitely harder than Terremer, and Jade, and I think warrants the grade of V16" he said. If Daniel's estimation is right, this puts "The Game" as a competitor for hardest boulder in the world!!! Daniel had this to say, "I called this problem The Game, because for me the climb was a game I had to play, I had to click into game mode, and really train myself for these moves. I had to grow mentally strong and also physically strong to be able to put it together. I call it the game, because I played the game and I ended up winning the game so game over." A little inside information... one of Daniel's favorite rappers is also named "The Game!" I am also collaborating with with Big Up and Sender Films so stay tuned for the full send in this years Reel Rock Tour. Read more...

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Greetings Carnival Denizens, Cedar Here...So, while you wait for Renan's next uber-genius post from Nepal, here is something a little on the lighter side. I shot this comic short with one of my favorite people on the planet...the comic genius... Timmy O'Neill. This was shot DEEP in the BACKCOUNTRY!!! and is XXXTREME!!! Read more...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

TAWOCHE 2k10 dispatches #5

“This is our decision to live fast and die young.
We've got the vision, now let's have some fun.
Yeah it's overwhelming, but what else can we do?
Get jobs in offices and wake up for the morning commute?”

As we told our sponsors before the climb, we’ve gone rogue like Sarah Palin. We are off the grid…

As we wake up battered and depleted, everything points us towards bailing. Only we are too hard headed to concede defeat, not realizing in fact that we are just too stupid to know when to call it. We haven’t had water in a day or so…but who needs hydration anyway? Talking with this degree of cottonmouth makes me sound like I am speaking in tongues…Renan looks at me with confused, puffy eyes. Are we really going up? I am as confused as him…the answer is a surprisingly emphatic ‘yes!’

I dodge rocks as Renan leads through some choss. He short fixes, I jug, dry heave, swing leads, dry heave more, and suck down hard candies like an addict locked in the throes of withdrawals. I can’t wait for the snow, for the water, but we still have hours to go before we get there…if we get there. But the unspoken common ground is that we are down to go up…

As are artists, we are locked in a constant struggle between what we want to capture, and the energy our bodies can afford to give. It’s an instinct to reach for the camera, but one that nearly always falls second to the tasks at hand. Often times, I criticize myself for not shooting more…for not nailing the perfect image…but then again, I am fighting just to move. As athletes, we are succeeding, but as creative individuals, we are flailing…it hurts.

There are multiple points in any given day, during any given hour, or on any given pitch, where I want more than anything to call it in. I want to yell up at Renan that I’ve had it. I can’t swallow, can’t talk…can barely breath, and all of it makes me want to descend. I know he feels the same because I can see it in his face. But our mouths stay shut, moving upwards steadily as a cohesive unit. No, it doesn’t make any sense…but we’ve never pretended to understand. Life is reduced to a consecutive series of familiar motions. Our arms begin to cramp due to lack of fluid. The glands in our mouths stop producing saliva. We are dried up…

All the variables in the equation equal out towards descent. But math was never my strong point…apparently Renan suffers from the same learning disabilities.

c & r


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

TAWOCHE 2k10 dispatches #4

Waking at 3:30 a.m. is the least of my concerns. We haven’t really been sleeping anyway. Our minds are filled with “What Ifs?” and scenarios that leave us wondering if we are struggling against basic fear, or fighting intuition.

Alpine climbing is a labor of love…it’s type 10 fun…the kind of fun that doesn’t have to be fun to be fun. In fact, most of the time spent in the actual activity is consumed by the minds’ pursuit of the base desire that has thrust you into the situation to begin with. In short, it is not something that makes a tremendous amount of sense.

Following your instincts isn’t really an option because your instincts tell you not to leave the ground. But conversely, not leaving the ground isn’t a viable option either…because fighting your desire to climb leaves you more miserable than the climbing itself.

We think about friends we’ve lost in the mountains and wonder if they were feeling the same thing the last morning they crawled from their respective tents. There is a massive question mark that hangs gloomily above the whole situation, and this morning is no different.

I light the incense and tuck it into the makeshift Stupa. Over my shoulders, pre-dawn light outlines the horizon…the dark figures of Makalu, Baruntse, and Ama Dablam. The last of the gear is shoved into the packs in silence as our labored breath rises into the light of our headlamps. The only thing left to do is start climbing. Greater fears are boiled down to specific distractions: Will there be water? Will the weather hold? Can we climb fast enough? And before we know it, the sun warms our backs and we are high above the valley floor on new terrain. The fear melts and melds with joy to create a hybrid emotion that feels almost tangible.

Like my friend Colin Moorehead says, “Climbing is the truth.”

c & r


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

TAWOCHE 2k10 dispatches #3

Turn up the RADIO! Coming at you live from 17,000 ft. below the South Central (Gangsta) Buttress of Tawoche…
Renan and I are stuffed in a tent suffering from pounding altitude headaches. This after our 4,300 ft elevation jump yesterday on our final approach to BC comes as little surprise. We have never actually been accused of being the sharpest bowling balls on the shelf…so go figure.

Tawoche in all her glory rises above us another 5,000ft. With the view, comes the all to familiar rollercoaster of emotions that precede any alpine endeavor. Balancing fear and intuition, angst and energy, the action vs. the idea….they all flow into your already pounding cranial vault, leaving you exhausted before you’ve left the ground.
Since our last dispatch, we are one man, one camera, and one crucial lens down. Chhewang accompanied us to BC, but has since descended to Pangboche to wait. One 5D was tragically lost to a windstorm last night, as well the lens attached. Left with merely pieces, I am more than just a little bummed that the culprit time-lapse didn’t even make the cut for the dispatch.
Thanks for hanging with us…while we have no real comms up here, it means a lot to us to know someone might be listening.
c & r


Thursday, January 7, 2010

TAWOCHE 2k10 dispatches #2

The good news is the plane didn't crash...and there is no bad news.
The lights that dot the hillside outside our window go out one by’s late in Namche. Our floor is less carpet space than duffels overflowing with camera and climbing gear.

Namche is the hub of almost all activity in the high Khumbu and yet now in the off season, it’s hard to find a shop open before noon. We’ve been here for two days, breathing the thinner air, adjusting to the cooler days and hanging out with the Tibetan traders below the village. Thamserku, Kwangde, and Kusum Kanguru tower above us in an impressive trifecta of ice and stone...conditions look good and we are stoked.

Tomorrow we’ll leave before the sun hits the village and wander up the Thame valley towards Tibet. Our friend Chhewang Nima will come along fort he ride.. You’ve never heard of him...but you should have considering he’s climbed Everest 17 times (yeah, you read that right)! His is just another example of Sherpa modesty and stoicism.

The next four days will take us over the Renjo La at roughly 17,400 ft., down to Gokyo, and finally to Phortse where we will stage for our attempt on Tawoche. Three friends, two cameras, one trail....epic.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Other Side of the Lens

So while I was in Mallorca bringing you the Psicoblogs, Tim Kemple was busy shooting Stills and Video. He is creating a short profile of each athlete on the trip, and this is the one he created for me...hope you like it...and stay tuned for more of Renan's sick dispatches from Nepal where soon he'll be going for the full on winter alpine gnar. Cheers. Cedar. Read more...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Nepal Expedition 2K10 Dispatch #1!!

It’s 5:45 a.m. and Renan and I are up and throwing the last of the goods into barrels and duffels. What stays? What goes? Where are my shoes?

Our days in Kathmandu have been good…a productive and creative time to sink back into Nepali culture before getting on a plane to fly into the mountains. There is no doubt it is time to get out of the city and up into the hills. The flight to Lukla is a time-warp…you get on the plane surrounded by the amenities of modern life and 45 minutes later, after landing on a super sketchy runway that angles steeply uphill, find yourself surrounded only by trails, monasteries and deep gorges. No more car horns and pollution…it’s sick!

The motivation and creativity are running thick and Renan and I are busting at the seams to capture our trip and bring everyone back home along…it’s good to be here, but the extended tribe is never far from our thoughts.


The new year is staring out right! I'm in Nepal for 2 part adventure. First I'll be meeting up with my friend Cory Richards for a first ascent attempt on the 6000M Tawoche Himal followed up by teaching Nepali climbers technical skills as part of the Khumbu Climbing School. Nepal holds a special place in our hearts with its vibrant people, iconic mountains and rich culture. We are going to do the best we can to share the endeavor! ~renan