Holcomb Sport & Bouldering

Yet again! Some shots from camping out this past weekend in Holcomb Valley Pinnacles. Dedicated my weekend to introduce beginner climbers to real rock.

–> Campsite



–> Sport Climbing



–> Bouldering



Stay Psyched & Climb ON everyone!

-Natalie Duran

Holcomb Sport / Big Bear Lake Bouldering

I spent the past two days in Big Bear Lake, CA. Located in the San Bernadino Mountain range and 6,700 ft in elevation. Garry Dodds was nice enough to show me around Holcomb Valley Pinnacles, and some of the boulders on the North Shore.

Climbers head up to Big Bear mainly for sport climbing in Holcomb Valley. There is also a nice selection of boulders in Holcomb and around Big Bear Lake. There is a great guidebook for roped routes in Big Bear Basin (Hidden Treasures East – Rock Climbing in the San Bernadino Mountains), a selection of routes are also in the Southern California Sport Climbing. Most of the routes established and labeled in the book are easy – moderate, and involve no more than 8 quickdraws. Climbs ranging 5.12+ are sparse.

However (to my knowledge) there is no guidebook for bouldering in in the area. There is a large collection of undeveloped boulders in Holcomb. While walking around, I saw really promising lines covered in lichen. I did boulder for a bit in the North Shore area. A climber trail is clearly established that lead to this large boulder just off the 18 highway.

Climbing up in Big Bear is great during the summer, to escape the blazing heat in the Inland Empire/Desert/LA areas. Besides climbing, Big Bear is plentiful for mountain biking trails, and fun 4-wheel driving roads. During the winter this is a prime spot for skiing and snowboarding in Southern California. Driving up the 330 you hit Snow Valley Mountain Resort, and then further in Big Bear City you have Bear Mountain Ski Resort.

Stay Psyched & Climb ON!

-Natalie Duran

Repeating Happiness

I’ve seen it happen time and time again, my friends have fallen intto it… and so have I. There is no denying that all reached some kind of obsession in projecting & grade chasing in climbing. This obsession spreads mentally then physically like a virus. The single desire to send sets in. It is always important to step back from seriousness and just enjoy the pure movement of climbing. I am the advocate of always coming back to climbs. Just because you’ve done it once, doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye forever. Sending is always a great time. So if you feel like you’re in a slump, revisit nostalgia.

Declarative memory is in the medial temporal lobe and is responsible for the recollection of events and facts. Visual stimulation brings back these memories. Even further, putting yourself back in the movement of a previous climb will up bring memories from when you first touched that rock. Your cerebellar muscle memory is a form of procedural memory that is autonomous. When revisiting climbs you symphonise declarative and procedural memory. You are then flooded with consolidated memories from your previous visit, then merging that with your current state.

For me 90% of the time, all climbing trips are joyous ones. When I have allotted time, I always dedicate moments to revisit previously sent climbs. When temperatures eventually fall below the consistent 95F… I can finally get back out there. Creating new declarative moments, and revisiting others. The following are a few climbs I love, and will always go back to for their own special reasons.

10. Holcomb Valley Sport - I forgot the name of this climb haha. But I do remember this route being my favorite style of climbing. Vertical and small crimpy holds.

9. Acid Wash [V7] – Bishop – Low ballin’ all day long. Happies are my favorite area in Bishop.

8. Slot Machine [V6] – Tramway – This one is special because it was my first send of my first time ever at Palm Springs Ariel Tramway.

7. Heart of Darkness [11a] – Joshua Tree National Park - This one doesn’t bring back textbook happiness to my mind. It’s definitely special. I have a permanent scar on my right knee because of this climb. This was my first trad lead, and I fell few moves from the anchors and I gashed my leg into the only dish in the whole climb. Even though I injured myself on this climb, I fell in love with trad at the exact same time. I have a video of my first lead here.

6. Alexandria [V7] – Joshua Tree National Park – This climb is seriously a bitch to get to. You have to trek 45min (2hrs if you get lost) in an unmarked trail in the middle of nowhere Joshua Tree. If I somehow manage to get back to this climb, I guess I wouldn’t complain. Its my favorite style of climbing, and high up too!

5. Solarium [V4] – Bishop – How could you not love Solarium? Its a Bishop classic!

4. The Vampire [11a] – 400ft – Tahquitz – Highlight of this multipitch trad route is The Bat Crack pitch! This route is historical, the Stone Masters working their way up this route in the 70s amazed me when I got on this route. I would love to come back and lead up these pitches.

3. White Flight [V3R] – Palm Springs Ariel Tramway – My first “R” rated climb ever finished.

2. More Funky than Monkey [11b] - Joshua Tree National Park – This is the climb that made me fall in love with roof cracks. I just wish there were more roofs around! Don’t know where else in SoCal I can fully hang from my hands/feet for 20+ feet horizontally.

1. Pig Pen [V4] - Joshua Tree National Park – I’ve seen many hard bouldering crushers get on this climb and get COMPLETELY shut down. Something about, “I don’t know what this crack thing is all about“. This boulder gave me a taste of what crack climbing is, and I fell in love with it because of it.

> Well yea, THIS telly tubby is ready to get my climb & camp on! How bout you?

Stay Psyched & Climb on Everyone!

-> Natalie Duran