Official BALCH FEST Invite: Nov 16-17th

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micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Topic Author's Original Post - Oct 29, 2013 - 04:17pm PT
Ok. So here's an official BALCH FEST invitation for those who might be stoked to throw themselves at an iconic hardman testpiece up on Balch Camp Flake in the foothills east of Fresno.


JCA's Wide World of Sport has held a legendary status since appearing in an old Patagonia(I think) photo a bunch of years back. A Supertopo Forum thread entitled "Leversee Offwidth Near Balch Camp" http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=2213322&tn=0&mr=0
kindled some interest in this mysterious route a few months back. I offered to get the trail in shape and head up there with some folks and before we knew it I had offered T-Shirts and a full on BBQ after the blood letting.

rough draft of t-shirt
rough draft of t-shirt
Credit: micronut

(None of these photos are mine...the main wall has routes up to 10 pitches long)

Several Taco members are very interested, and I've got a group email going to folks who showed real intent on coming.

If anybody is interested, please shoot me an email and I 'll add you to the list. Its a really cool location, high above Pine Flat Lake, about 1:30 minutes east of Fresno. For Central Cal climbers, Patterson Bluff and Balch Camp Flake have been shrouded in lore and mystery for decades. There are plenty of other more mortal routes in the area for those not interested in 5.11-5.12 maneaters. I'll be briging my big lens and will be shooting the action as some committed folks have a go at the beast.

If you ARE coming for sure, also feel free to use this thread to RSVP and give me your shirt size and when you plan on showing up.

Until then. May the Wide be with you.

Scott
Aaron Stireman

Gym climber
Siege tactics
Oct 29, 2013 - 06:36pm PT
See you there. 100% in.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Oct 29, 2013 - 06:39pm PT
Obviously, I'm f*#king, in!
marty(r)

climber
beneath the valley of ultravegans
Oct 29, 2013 - 06:45pm PT
Is the Fest my-side-in?
snowhazed

Trad climber
Oaksterdam, CA
Oct 29, 2013 - 06:58pm PT
Bummer- just added a funeral to my calendar that weekend- would have loved to met up with the party :(
Alexey

climber
San Jose, CA
Oct 29, 2013 - 09:01pm PT
I am in
christinafreschl

climber
Berkeley
Oct 29, 2013 - 10:40pm PT
I am in!
Paul Martzen

Trad climber
Fresno
Oct 29, 2013 - 10:59pm PT
I will come up and hack some brush. I won't try the offwidths, but there is plenty of other stuff to climb. I could never even get off the ground in those offwidths.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 30, 2013 - 12:11am PT
Excellent Christina and Paul! Paul, I'll get in touch with you soon. Christina, I still have nightmares about your Basketcase epic! That TR is an all timer.
LuckyNeck

Trad climber
the basement of Lou's Tavern
Oct 30, 2013 - 12:41am PT
I'm for at least the Saturday. Given Paul's comment I dunno if i can climb them wide babies or not, but if there's other stuff, I'll snatch up that Medium T-shirt and climb that!
crøtch

climber
Oct 30, 2013 - 12:51am PT
I'm in.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Oct 30, 2013 - 08:22am PT
Woohoo, Christina!!
whitemeat

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo, CA
Oct 30, 2013 - 10:10am PT
kick ass out there everyone!!!!!!
PAUL SOUZA

Trad climber
Central Valley, CA
Oct 30, 2013 - 11:28am PT
I hope to be there! :D
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Oct 30, 2013 - 03:23pm PT
I can't do much this Saturday (Nov. 2) but please keep me in the loop, Paul. Barring unforeseen circumstances, I'll be there, and as a semi-local, will be happy to help/host as I can. Please let me know.

John
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Oct 30, 2013 - 04:51pm PT
I might be there too. Not sure yet. Trying to sell myself for 4 days of climbing some place....have thursday-sunday off that weekend.

If there is one person who NEEDS to come climb that OW, it is Burchy!
christinafreschl

climber
Berkeley
Nov 3, 2013 - 01:29am PT
I would like a small tshirt if they are men's Scott!
See you there Jay!
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Nov 3, 2013 - 01:50am PT
This sounds like fun stuff.
Committee vote: I, yea; me, yes; myself, aye.
Carried.
We'll all be there.

MiceFromMerced are focusing on the dates.
And fig bars.

Paul Martzen, is this the gathering that Molly was speaking of at Facelift? Sounds like...
Matt Sarad

climber
Nov 3, 2013 - 07:55am PT
You boys have some fun for me!
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Nov 3, 2013 - 02:36pm PT
Anyone heard from our droog, Alexey?
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 3, 2013 - 04:27pm PT
I spoke to him just before he left and gave him camping beta. I'm hoping to hear from him soon. I'm going up Saturday to check/cut some trail......I'm mainly curious about the poidon oak on the approach. I'd like to have it nicely sussed out for the crew the following weekend.

Also. I was thinking adam (macronut) and I will get a big ol campsite dialed in for camping at Kirch Flat, a ways prior to Balch Camp. We'll do a big ol bonfire BBQ saturday night. People can plan to camp there for Saturday evening. We'll put the FEST in Balchfest.

Christina. Roger that on the shirt size. You too SLR.
Credit: micronut

Credit: micronut
Still working on tshirt art. Whatchya think?
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
I'm James Brown, Bi-atch!
Nov 3, 2013 - 05:27pm PT
Kirch Flat should be empty so you will have the whole place to yourselves,

maybe call to make sure the gate is open,

and somebody bring a welder to weld that noisy cattle guard down,

tons more camping upstream along the Kings,

be sure to gas up in Fresno,

back roads are a nicer way to get there,

Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Nov 3, 2013 - 07:21pm PT
Had a phone message from him, expect an update soon, sharpen your trail building equipment. There is also a good site a little above the trail head no Latrine, though....

And keep your eye on the prize! Leversee sent me another one of these

Credit: Jaybro
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 3, 2013 - 07:34pm PT
pattergonia? :-)
Trad is Rad

Trad climber
San Luis Obispo California
Nov 3, 2013 - 08:12pm PT
coming up with Aaron, see you guys there. Also how much are the t shirts going to be?
Batrock

Trad climber
Burbank
Nov 3, 2013 - 11:12pm PT
I am 100% probably going. I'll email you soon.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 4, 2013 - 11:33am PT
Ok ladies and gents,


Alexey went up there and totally thrashed around and bushwhacked all day trying to get to the flake...unsuccessfully...which adds a bit of spice to the equation. I'm going in Saturday to suss out a feasible trail. I had knee surgery a week ago (Doc says nothing athletic for six weeks, but what does he know), and unless I'm having major swelling I hope to dial in the trail location and cut away major junk if possible. I'm also going to be printing out some topos for other stuff in the area. There's another area to the east along the main wall that has stuff in the 5.8-5.11 range on some cool formations. And I just found out that there's a 5.9 on the right side of the flake to gain access for me to rig a toprope/jug line for photography.


THE PLAN is to set up a big group campsite at KIRCH FLAT, a nice spot by the river, but at least a half hour or so from the trailhead, and do our Saturday evening BBQ there. Adam and I will bring the BBQ, the meat, and a bunch of side dishes prepped by our lovely wives once we have a firm number. T-shirts will cost yall 10.00, I'm sporting the cost on the remainder as a labour of love.


Call or text me with any questions, and I'll for sure keep you in the loop after my recon on Saturday. Anybody have a pair of crutches I can borrow?


Yours,


Scott
Alexey

climber
San Jose, CA
Nov 4, 2013 - 03:08pm PT
Complete fiasco for attempt to get second ascent of JCA's Wide World of Sports last weekend.
Went on Thursday  night   with my friend Chris. Chris is ultimate weapon for this climb , since she can squeeze at 7 inches, where #6 just tipped out. But we had no chance to try.
We stayed in Kirch Flat campground which is really good.
Friday morning we drove  12.1 ml from Kirch Flat camp and easily found trailhead to Flake with old cairns. Our packs was heavy. A triple #5, #6, #9 and one #12 plus two ropes
The beginning of the trail was ok, we reached big power line, than we transition up to smaller power line and follow the trail toward the flake.
I think the trail which was restored in 2010 has green ribbons. And power line trale has red ribbons. So at some point we did see trail forks from small power line up to the rock band toward the Flake - and started following it. We lost trail pretty soon  and started terrible bushwhacking which never ended. We still were moving in direction of the Flake and sometimes was able to see it.
We started hiking at 10 am and 3.5 hours later we were relatively close to the Flake, but realize that we have no chance to climb and return before dark. We turned back and it took us 3.5 hours on the way down, TOTAL 7 hours of worst hiking in my life.
Our hazmat suites was trashed, we did not see poison oak in the first half of approach, but closer to the Flake it was many.
We left Balch Camp same day having no chance to find easy approach next day, and no desire to bushwhack more. We had recover at Arch rock next day.
It is very possible that we left power line too early because all f*#kup started after this. But it still hard to believe that you can make it in 45 min with heavy backpack.
I hope the climbers who participate in 2010 trail work will come to find and restore the trail before Bulch Fest.
Locals who may know approach may help too.

Start of the trail. 12.1 miles from Kirch Flat campground
Start of the trail. 12.1 miles from Kirch Flat campground
Credit: Alexey

Our way to the Flake. Speed is 1 kilometer in 3.5 hour, impressive!
Our way to the Flake. Speed is 1 kilometer in 3.5 hour, impressive!
Credit: Alexey

Chris before the hike. She is happy and does not know yet that there a...
Chris before the hike. She is happy and does not know yet that there are things worst that flared chimneys.
Credit: Alexey

Chris after the hike
Chris after the hike
Credit: Alexey

fack bushwhacking
fack bushwhacking
Credit: Alexey

The Flake with the Climb. I hope I'll reach it someday..
The Flake with the Climb. I hope I'll reach it someday..
Credit: Alexey

Added for Jaybro: did not meet snakes or Mountain Lions, but was thinking to cary Bear spray for them, but left in the car
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Nov 4, 2013 - 04:26pm PT
You will! Sooner than you may think!paging Will, Linda, Munge, Sarah and whomever else I'm forgetting.. You all got in there in 2010, many without medical mishap!

Can you remember any key beta to make going in there any easier? I'm a remember-it-when-I-see-it-kinda guy not good at remote route beta all the way from Moab. I'll be up directly after Billyfest, though!
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Nov 4, 2013 - 04:39pm PT
Alexey, you didn't mention it, but did you see any sign of mountain Lions?
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Nov 4, 2013 - 04:45pm PT
Your plan sounds great, Scott. Adele and I are going to hear Tim Flannery and the Lunatic Fringe this Saturday night, but I may be available for sherpa/bushwhacking duty up until early afternoon. Keep me informed about that, or anywhere else where I can help.

Thanks.

John
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 4, 2013 - 05:08pm PT
For sure John. Adam and I are working out some details now. Paul Martzen also said he's interested in helping out. I'm kinda thinking about trying to head in from "pin high" with the flake.....at this hairpin up near the right. It looks more forested and less dense from a groundcover standpoint. Then we could drop down and along the wall. We'll see Alexey, you're an animal, and I'm sorry it was a big hassle. We'll do our best to get it all sussed out.

If we can't, this whole thing is off. But I'm confident we'll get an approach dialed in for The Fest. Stay tuned.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 4, 2013 - 05:11pm PT
Credit: micronut
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
I'm James Brown, Bi-atch!
Nov 4, 2013 - 05:18pm PT
what about parking at the penstock and hiking up the PG&E service road?

might mean a rap in but easier hike,
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Nov 4, 2013 - 05:24pm PT
Thrash to, on and back from the climb....sounds fun! Should see a lot of traffic now that the secret is out.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Nov 4, 2013 - 05:27pm PT
Nah you don't want to go that way. We came out that way once and it took all night!

If need be I'll get the original trail in if no one else figures it out first. Trust me, there is a reason we went that way!

Anne Yeagle ( who has posted here) and David cotter have gone the easy way too.when we did passionate life, side of Wyde, A flicker in time, etc. One day Anne and I started up after noon ( the day after passionate life, so we got a slow start, but left gear at the base and just hiked in with water) did the hike, put up side of wide, hung out took photos and hiked out all before dark. Though that was in the late nineties. Maybe we'll hear from them

Another way I've done (as has Paul) is to go in from above. Once Upon a time it was an hour hike followed by a six hundred foot rappel.

Linda Jarit and I and __ come on, you know who you are, speak up! (He took photos at zanderland once works for Nikon in the South Bay and whose name slips my mind. Sorry, man.) hiked in that way and it took as long as alexey's epic just to get to the top of the rappells- talk about overgrown!
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 5, 2013 - 11:51am PT
Paul Martzen and I are going up Saturday. I'm calling in shirt orders today. If you haven't given me your intentions to come, let me know here. I'll be doing an email head count this week, and another the week of.

Scott
doughnutnational

Gym climber
its nice here in the spring
Nov 5, 2013 - 12:01pm PT
I'll volunteer for Saturday if you want more help. I'm immune to PO but can't give a whole day, so let me know what time and what tools.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Nov 5, 2013 - 12:37pm PT

Thrash to, on and back from the climb....sounds fun! Should see a lot of traffic now that the secret is out.

Haha Jim! I made that joke in '95, then a year or so later when the poster came out! And again in 2010! Still, it is one of the coolest lines....

I predict a traffic jam on the approach... Any day now!
Bascuela

climber
Fresno, CA
Nov 5, 2013 - 01:45pm PT
Scott - sent you an email.
Aaron
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 5, 2013 - 02:27pm PT
I sent out the following email to anybody who has expressed interest. I'm sending T-shirts (10.00...I'll pick up the rest of the cost) in for printing today or tomorrow, so I need an in or out. SOme of the Supertopo emails are defunct, so if you haven't received one, hit me here on my Taco email. Here's the list of those who have expressed interest. If you and I have not been in direct contact, use this thread to check in with me. Thanks!

--------------------------------


Balch Fest 2013. Its November 16-17th. With camping nearby in a big group campground and a big BBQ/throwdown on Saturday night at the Kirch Flat Campground. With all the supertopo names and real names thrown in, I’m having a hard time getting a correct head count. I’m paying for the shirts today. SO A HEADCOUNT IS IMPORTANT if you know you’re in for sure, or out for sure, or on the fence.
If you get this and have already RSVP’d a several times, please bear with me and do it again ASAP for me so I can put it all down on paper.

1. Give me your shirt size
2. Your real name and Supertopo name
3. Give me when you hope to arrive
4. If you want you can even send me your phone number

I’ll send a final group or individual email with where to park and where we’re camping and where to meet on Saturday (or Friday night if anybody plans on coming toward Fresno the night before.

Its gonna be a fun time, full of adventure, scenery, thrashin’, sufferin’, stylin’ and laughter in a cool locashe. Hope to here from you today and look forward to meeting all and any of you.

Scott (Micronut)

Alexey
Jaybro
Martzen
Macronut
Micronut
Christinafreschl
Munge
Aaron
Limpingcrab
Luckyneck
DaveyTree
John Elezarian
Gal
Cultureshock
Michelle
Crotch
Matty
Sierra Ledge Rat

(if you're bringing somebody or know of anybody else, let me know)
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 5, 2013 - 02:30pm PT
Epic, Alexey and Chris! That looks very frustrating.
Our way to the Flake. Speed is 1 kilometer in 3.5 hour, impressive!
Our way to the Flake. Speed is 1 kilometer in 3.5 hour, impressive!
Credit: Alexey
Did you hike from the road to one tower, then follow the lines left, and leave the powerlines at the next tower? (The notes on your map are a little unclear).
My version of the satellite photo has the powerline towers marked as T.
Patterson Bluff Right - Balch Camp Flake approach trail - route of Ale...
Patterson Bluff Right - Balch Camp Flake approach trail - route of Alexey and Chris 11/2/2013
Follow GREEN flagging for correct trail - don't lose it or you will get lost.
Credit: google satellite / Alexey / Clint Cummins
With the shredding of your hazmat suits, I hope you are not seeing signs of poison oak exposure today.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Nov 5, 2013 - 02:38pm PT
I recall walking along the powerlines clearing for a short distance, then uphill slightly. Sound right Jay?


Alexey

climber
San Jose, CA
Nov 5, 2013 - 02:45pm PT
Clint, I think all "T" on your topo versions are Power Towers.
The real trail start same place as your yellow line and goes exactly to "T" Power Tower as on your topo. Your topo does not have second smaller Power line which is further and higher than first and pretty parallel to the big one.
On my topo below I depict small power line as red as a trill because I can not use another color ( this is confusing because trail for some distance follow the small power line before took off the small power line uphill).
I depict our pass as red line with arrows.
So far no poison oak for me, checking with Chris, yesterday she was ok, but we wash ousels with technu afterward
Credit: Alexey
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Nov 5, 2013 - 02:45pm PT
Yup! - Munge
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 5, 2013 - 02:50pm PT
Thanks, Alexey. So there is a second set of powerlines, wow.
I see them on the satellite photo now, and I will draw them in.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 5, 2013 - 03:11pm PT
We're goin' in Saturday with a plan to take a real close look at coming in from the upper right hairpin. A beeline west from that upper right bend. Paul Martzen knows his way around this area pretty well....We think the wooded line above the creek is nearly the exact same distance, and may allow for smoother walking, thus dropping down and around to the flake, passing by the other formations that have some good climbing on them. We're takin' machetes, saws, nippers, clippers, chippers, adzes, blades, chains, swords, a mace, a flamethrower, sixty lbs of white gas, and a push lawnmower.

see how its more wooded looking?  and a bit of a straight elevation ap...
see how its more wooded looking? and a bit of a straight elevation approach.
Credit: micronut
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 5, 2013 - 03:27pm PT
Alexey,
I located the Power Poles for the smaller power lines and put them on my map.
And I changed the route to line up with your map.
The Poles were a bit closer to the Towers than you had drawn.
Patterson Bluff Right - Balch Camp Flake approach trail - route of Ale...
Patterson Bluff Right - Balch Camp Flake approach trail - route of Alexey and Chris 11/2/2013
Follow GREEN flagging for correct trail - don't lose it or you will get lost.
Credit: google satellite / Alexey / Clint Cummins
Hopefully this will jog Jaybro's memory.
Especially about the color of the flagging.
[Edit:] GREEN flagging - see below (also this is what Alexey concluded).
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 5, 2013 - 03:36pm PT
see how its more wooded looking?  and a bit of a straight elevation ap...
see how its more wooded looking? and a bit of a straight elevation approach.
Credit: micronut
Scott,
I agree starting from the right (where road crosses seasonal stream),
the first half or 2/3 looks wooded.
Looking at the terrain contours,
it starts at 3900',
climbs to 4500',
then descends to 4200' (total gain 900' = 600' in, 300' out).

Jaybro's trail starts at 3500' and rises to 4200' (total gain 700').

The key question is whether Jaybro's path can be found and how much work it will take to reclear it.
(vs. clearing a new path)
[Edit:] Best to use Jaybro's path, but be very careful not to deviate from the GREEN flagging.
Aaron Stireman

Gym climber
Siege tactics
Nov 5, 2013 - 03:39pm PT
Micronut, thanks for organizing.

My Name/Screenname is Aaron Stireman.
I'm a hardcore plastic climber. I weigh 300lbs and Im a child. I have no sense of hygiene, red hair and I'm a total emo. I hope that helps with the shirt sizing, Medium I think. I have $ for you whenever I see you!

Driving up Friday afternoon/eveing was the plan, where do we meet?!

805.215.3660

Probably have 1 more coming up with me Friday.
Thanks
Alexey

climber
San Jose, CA
Nov 5, 2013 - 03:47pm PT
Scott,
I think you should take care about your post-surgery knee more than about trail.
It would be fine general if you coordinate the trail works from commander bunker, but I really not suggesting you to go into the battle field.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Nov 5, 2013 - 03:54pm PT
Green tape. I'll find it Monday or Tuesday. i know where the trail goes when I'm there. Just no descriptors. Look for the pruned marks,?-and sawed off trees.? They were visible in 2010 from 1996. They are definitely visible now from 2010. There was a pretty complete cairn set in the last part, that may be hard to see this Ike of year. Trail goes past several isolated house size boulders. One of which has a for foot (?) iron bar or pipe in it.
There ate photos of many of these landmarks
On the two threads about it on widefetish.

most of the P. Oak is in the last third.

Forget the hairpin start, life is too short to be reinventing the wheel. Total waste of previous time.

Also, try to contact Mike Archiega, he has followed my trail in without someone to guide him. And is the most recent to ave done so. He is on Facebook or setting routes at PGSV and Belmont.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 5, 2013 - 04:00pm PT
Thanks, Jaybro.
Mike Arechiga posts as "mike a." here.
Contact info:
http://www.supertopo.com/inc/view_profile.php?dcid=MDo8PDQ3PCI,
I remember him posting about hiking up the trail, and eventually getting to a lot of poison oak.
Here's part of what he wrote on another thread:
amy and i did go check it out in the spring of 2011, saw no one the 3 days we were there, followed the green tape to the balch camp flake, holy cow that was a goat trail, op ever where :-), but we had tek new and showers to wash off after hiking, super beautuful place
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 5, 2013 - 04:02pm PT
Roger that Jaybro. We'll focus on finding your route and working thus. Alexey, if my knee bugs me, I'll bow out. I'm no tough guy. I'll be smart about it. Thanks!
Alexey

climber
San Jose, CA
Nov 5, 2013 - 04:04pm PT
We follow green tape. We took off uphill from small power line following green tape.
And very soon we lost it and bad bushwaking started
goatboy smellz

climber
Nederland-GulfBreeze
Nov 5, 2013 - 04:19pm PT
Looks like a blast, take a lot of photos and try not to beat yourselves up to much.
Willoughby

Social climber
Truckee, CA
Nov 5, 2013 - 04:20pm PT
As much as this sounds like a hoot, the poison oak situation sounds like my worst nightmare. I was a little tempted before the date was ultimately set, and luckily I have a Board Retreat that weekend. I still think you y'all need to send in Joe Kinder with some power tools to clear a nice trail.
crøtch

climber
Whale's Vagina
Nov 5, 2013 - 04:28pm PT
Does anybody have recommendations on where to find a hazmat suit?
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Nov 5, 2013 - 04:30pm PT
Orchard supply, lowes, Home Depot , pg &e.....
Alexey

climber
San Jose, CA
Nov 5, 2013 - 04:38pm PT
you y'all need to send in Joe Kinder with some power tools to clear a nice trail.
We do not need Joe Kinder. We need those guys from mid 50th who made controlled burn there.
JayBro could you call them up?
crøtch

climber
Whale's Vagina
Nov 5, 2013 - 04:41pm PT
Thanks, Jaybro! I'll pick up a spare or two just in case.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 5, 2013 - 04:48pm PT
Matches are ineffective; use:



But, it's best not to post photos of the actual pruning work - people don't like to see that.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 5, 2013 - 04:52pm PT
I agree Clint.

Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
I'm James Brown, Bi-atch!
Nov 5, 2013 - 05:26pm PT
if it is manzanita, all you need is a pair of work gloves,

heat strained branches will snap like a dry twig in a stiff desert wind,

plus, the rangers won't catch you with implements of destruction,

and gloves make it easy to grab cougars by the tongue and swing them around,

Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Nov 5, 2013 - 05:52pm PT

We need those guys from mid 50th who made controlled burn there.
JayBro could you call them up?

I believe the main one was at Oakdale the other weekend....

Hey Scuffy! You could come up after your sesh and I promise I could find you something your side in, to climb ( this time) on Sunday!
chill

climber
between the flat part and the blue wobbly thing
Nov 5, 2013 - 08:20pm PT
Alexey - you need to take a rack full of these:
Credit: chill
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 6, 2013 - 01:10am PT
Donutnational,

I sent you an email about Saturday. We could really use your help.
Did you get it?

Scott
doughnutnational

Gym climber
its nice here in the spring
Nov 6, 2013 - 09:30am PT
That is a defunct email. Call me at 417-2583 or I'll call Paul before Saturday.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 6, 2013 - 11:01am PT
roger that
doughnutnational

Gym climber
its nice here in the spring
Nov 7, 2013 - 09:04pm PT
Before I commit to working on the trail i want to be assured that I wont be flamed like Joe Kinder if I cut some old growth poison oak. Barring that I plan to meet Paul and others at Trimmer on Saturday, tentatively at 7:30 am. I'm pretty sure it's not an exclusive party if others want to join.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 8, 2013 - 02:01am PT
How "old growth" could the PO be?
The area was burned in the late 50s by the match folks,
and then it burned again in the late 80s / early 90s (before the later round of FAs).
To some people, the age of the plant doesn't matter, though....
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
I'm James Brown, Bi-atch!
Nov 8, 2013 - 03:15am PT
don't shower for a few days before the hike so you get your skin oiled up a bit, plants will probably not have leaves this time of year, stems are more dangerous than leaves, carry water to rinse off if you brush up against a sprig,


there is also canyoneering in the same area if you are into that,
NF Kings should be low,

http://www.dankat.com/swhikes/nkings.htm

Paul Martzen

Trad climber
Fresno
Nov 8, 2013 - 03:40pm PT
Hey Dr. Sprock, you mention it periodically, so you must like the Jump Trip. Crazy stuff, hey?

I pioneered most of the canyoneering trips in that area, starting with the Jump Trip in 1985. Had no idea what I was getting into. Barry, of Barry's Resoles was a caving partner and natural partner for my first trips. We also canyoneered Dinkey Creek, before Phil Martin and I first kayaked the Dinkey Creek Waterfalls section. That is a very good canyoneering trip. Several sections of Dinkey are very interesting. Recently, I have been dropping down some of the side creeks into the NF Kings. Patterson Creek is worth doing.

After I introduced Leversee to canyoneering he went through from Wishon to Black Rock in the early 1990's, I think. About that time Leversee got his butt kicked in the Marble Fork of the Kaweah when the water was a bit too high. I finally went through the Marble Fork this summer at very low flows and highly recommend it. Super beautiful. But you need really low flows.

I am just spraying, but I am pretty proud of figuring that stuff out. It pleases me that these trips have become popular and that other people share my tastes.
Paul Martzen

Trad climber
Fresno
Nov 8, 2013 - 03:54pm PT
Old Growth Poison Oak

I do pretty well with poison oak these days, as I always clean up thoroughly after I am near it. I get a little bit most years, but not enough to drive me nuts. As long as the break out is a small enough area I can mentally ignore it.

About 1982, I got interested in a crack on the backside of a boulder on the Tollhouse Rd. There was a tree in the way, but I only had to remove one branch, maybe 4 inches in diameter. I forget how big the trunk was, but it was a full on tree, so maybe a foot in diameter. Somebody could go check and see how much I am exaggerating. I could not identify the tree, but it had a milky sap as I cut through it. I kept looking at the leaves wondering what kind of tree was similar to Poison Oak. I did not think it could be poison oak, because it was a tree.

I forget how the climbing was, but I sure remember the worst case of poison oak I ever had!
Rudbud

Gym climber
Grover Beach, CA
Nov 8, 2013 - 08:41pm PT
might go? im about 49% in.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 10, 2013 - 07:05pm PT
Nice recon trip with Macronut, Donutnational and Paul Martzen. Paul and Kevin made it to the flake via a new bushwhak route up the falls and along the entire base, full on assault style while Adam and I cleaned up Jaybro's route a good bit following green tape till about the halfway point. We had four kids in the 6-10 year old range in tow so we stopped with plenty of daylight to spare.

We checked out the kirch Flat campsites and I'll be getting the large group site dialed in this week.

Here's some shots from the day to whet yall's whistles. The Fest is gonna rock. Sooooo much stone up there!

Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut

Credit: micronut

Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut

Credit: micronut
moosedrool

climber
Stair climber, lost, far away from Poland
Nov 10, 2013 - 08:28pm PT
Looks like fun!

Except of hours of bushwacking ;)

Have fun!
limpingcrab

Trad climber
the middle of CA
Nov 10, 2013 - 08:52pm PT
Bummed I can't make it bump!

Looking forward to the pics, there better be lots!
AlexC

climber
Bay Area, CA
Nov 10, 2013 - 09:19pm PT
Linda Jarit and I and __ come on, you know who you are, speak up! (He took photos at zanderland once works for Nikon in the South Bay and whose name slips my mind. Sorry, man.) hiked in that way and it took as long as alexey's epic just to get to the top of the rappells- talk about overgrown!

That would have been me... and quite the bushwhack it was! I'll post a picture or two when I have access to my pictures on Tuesday evening.

Unfortunately I'm not in climbing shape, but I'd like to come out for the day on Saturday, to heckle if nothing else :)

Alex
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Nov 11, 2013 - 01:35am PT
Alex! Ok I knew you were out here somewhere! That was a fun trip!!
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 11, 2013 - 02:45pm PT
Hooooweeee! Its upon us! The First Ever and Probably Not the Last Balch Fest Widestravaganza!

We spent the weekend getting the trail dialed in to Balch Camp Flake and the campsite figured out. Here's some beta.



1. I will be leaving Fresno at about 2:30 on Friday and will be arriving at KIRCH FLAT Campground at about 4:00-4:30, with daylight to spare to get things organized a bit. There will be a BALCH FEST sign at the campground and I drive a grey Toyota FJ with climber stickers on the back.



2. I am bringing all firewood for evening festivities



3. Adam and I are throwing the BBQ Saturday evening with succulent marinated chicken breasts, roasted veggies, pilaf and French bread with massive group s'mores for dessert. You are only responsible for your own drinks Saturday night. All paper and plastic ware will be provided.



4. All other camping gear and food is on your own for the weekend. The group site has tables, toilet and fire ring. BRING YOUR OWN CAMPCHAIR.



5. There is Poison oak in the area due to the low elevation. The trail is pretty clear, but contact may happen, since there are no leaves this time of year. We bushwhacked all day Saturday and aren't suffering, so we've done a good job prepping the approach. I'd recommend a new change of clothes each day, and a plastic bag to put your day end clothes in so you can wash them separately when you get home. New socks each day for sure. New pants and tshirt for each day and the drive home is better!



6. If you want to drive with me from Fresno on Friday, text me or call me.



7. Directions to Kirch Flat Campground. Can be GOOGLE EARTHED and PRINTED!

It is three or four miles BEFORE Balch Camp. The Parking area to the Flake Area for the climbing is 11.5 miles uphill from Kirch Flat Campground. The actual trail start is on the LEFT side of the road, 1/2 mile past a "SCENIC OVERLOOK". Its best to park downhill, a bit before the trail cut, as there isn't much of a shoulder right at the trail cut. There will be a small, Balch Camp Flake Sign by a cairn at the trail "head".



8. THERE IS NO CELL SERVICE shortly after Fresno, other than at one turn out near Kirch Flat that I can show you when we're there.



9. Basically, to get to Kirch Flat form Fresno area, take BELMONT AVE way out east past Fresno, merge onto TRIMMER SPRINGS Rd which will take you way on back along the west side of Pine Flat Lake all the way to Kirch Flat CG, which is immediately before the Kings River Crossing Bridge at the end of the lake. You can also take HWY 180 out of Fresno, to PIEDRA Rd, then turn RIGHT on TRIMMER SPRINGS when Piedra Dead Ends at the river at Winton Park.



10. To Get to Balch Camp Flake and Patterson Bluff from Kirch Flat (We'll mostly go together Saturday morning after coffee and donuts). You head up the road for a few minutes to the small "town" of Balch Camp, make a hard left across a bridge onto BLACK ROCK Rd, and follow that along a crazy cliff cut paved road that belongs in Nepal for about 7 miles. You might want to change your shorts after the drive. The drop offs are not for the faint of heart. You'll want a local guide for the hike in. Its about an hour, and is like something out of a Tolkein novel. Thank you Jaybro and Macronut for your trail work!



11. I'll be handing out some chicken scratch topos and some of the "locals" can show folks around some of the more roadside style areas other than The Flake. In the meantime, check out the "Patterson Bluff Online Guide" thread on Supertopo. It's a freakin bottomless pit of intel on this area.



12. The t-shirts are rad. I'm footing most of the cost, but if you want to give me ten bucks, I'll be stoked. If not, consider it my Balchcare Stimulus Packacge. An early Christmas gift if you're strapped.



Ok, I now have carpal tunnel from typing this monster. My cell number is (559)974-2662 call me or text me this week with any questions. And I'll see you there! Its gonna be a great weekend and the weather should be splitter!


See you in the hills.

Scott
Alexey

climber
San Jose, CA
Nov 11, 2013 - 03:14pm PT
Thanks for organizing the fest and for trail work!
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 11, 2013 - 06:18pm PT
Adam and I cleaned up Jaybro's route a good bit following green tape till about the halfway point.
Does this mean you went halfway up the trail,
or you went all the way up the trail and the green tape stops halfway?
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 11, 2013 - 06:27pm PT
Clint. We were still finding green tape every 50 yds or so when we decided to stop. We had four seven year olds in tow and had to get back to find Mark who was on a bushwack adventure up around the falls. We could have kept going....we were definitely hot on the trail when we turned back.
okie

Trad climber
Nov 11, 2013 - 08:48pm PT
I went up there about a month or so ago. I wanted to check the flake out. I only had a couple hours and a friend waiting for me at the car so I didn't make it to the wall, which was very disappointing. I did find the starting cairns and went uphill a short bit to the electrical towers, found a marked contour trail and followed that for a bit but I got greedy and headed uphill way too soon and did a fair amount of thrashing. By the time I'd retraced my steps I'd run out of time on my eta back to my friend. I underestimated the hike.
Planning on going back this weekend so I hope to see y'all up there!
Paul Martzen

Trad climber
Fresno
Nov 12, 2013 - 12:11pm PT
Bek and Gabriel check the sights while safely crossing the bridge on f...
Bek and Gabriel check the sights while safely crossing the bridge on foot.
Credit: Paul Martzen
Near the top of the apron area while looking south east towards the Ba...
Near the top of the apron area while looking south east towards the Balch Flake. Photo taken at 2:35 Standard time on my hike out.
Credit: Paul Martzen
Looking northwest from the Patterson Right apron area.  Patterson Left...
Looking northwest from the Patterson Right apron area. Patterson Left is visible in the distance.
Credit: Paul Martzen
Huge chunks of rock have come off the wall here, at Patterson Right.  ...
Huge chunks of rock have come off the wall here, at Patterson Right. This is a bit to the left (north) of Balch Flake.
Credit: Paul Martzen
Rockfall at Patterson Bluffs, Right, has cut a big swath through the b...
Rockfall at Patterson Bluffs, Right, has cut a big swath through the brush. Photo taken at 2:20 standard time on my way back to Patterson Creek.
Credit: Paul Martzen
The cool, dark Grotto behind the Balch Flake. Photo taken at 1:53 Stan...
The cool, dark Grotto behind the Balch Flake. Photo taken at 1:53 Standard time, a little before I started hiking back.
Credit: Paul Martzen
Patterson WaterTrickle!  It is a fun scramble from the road up to the ...
Patterson WaterTrickle! It is a fun scramble from the road up to the base of this waterfall. Figure around 15 minutes hiking/scrambling time. I went up the creek bed, but saw user trails on the side here and there. Photo taken at 3:30 pm Standard time.
Credit: Paul Martzen

Patterson Bluff trail cutting, November 9, 2013.

If you go into Patterson Bluff, always bring pruning shears. Trail maintenance will be a continual process. The more people who work at it, the better the access will be.

I had the idea that it might be as fast or faster to hike in to Balch Flake from Patterson Creek as from the south side. On the map the distance looks about the same. A route up Patterson Creek reaches the cliff quickly, then generally follows the base of the bluff for the rest of the distance. There are a number of areas where the “hiking” is in the open on rock. The other positive from my perspective is that this route provides access to a large area of lower angle rock with climbing of moderate difficulty.

The reality is that route finding was quite difficult, there was quite a bit of scrambling involved and it took us a long time to get over to the Flake. By splitting our efforts we did not completely clear Jay's trail from the south. Doughnut and I worked on the Patterson Creek route while Micronut and Macronut worked on Jay's trail.

Since Kevin and I did reach the flake, I have quite a lot to report.

The Flake itself is amazing and beautiful, especially the Grotto behind it. The Grotto is a wonderful place to hang out as it is cool and feels moist. The outside of the flake however is completely overgrown so hiking is difficult. I struggled right past the big cracks without noticing them. I finally got a glimpse of the JCA crack above and behind me, then work my way back to the bottom of that crack. There is an ancient old growth juniper tree actually growing out of the crack which will need Joe to remove.....well, maybe it is a young fast growing Bay tree and it might help gain the first twenty feet of climbing. But, a cluster of trees grow at the bottom and I could barely see the crack while standing at its base. There might have been easier hiking 10 or 15 feet below the base of the flake. The ground looked a bit more open under a tree canopy.

Some of the easiest hiking of the day was along the section of cliff that was mostly level from the flake north. Much of this section was fairly easy hiking under a tree canopy and was obviously traveled. There was no poison oak in this section until we got close to the flake. There were several section of poison oak near the flake that I actively pruned. (More on the cost I am paying later.) If you come up Jay's trail from the south and quickly reach the flake, you can then access the rest of the steep cliff pretty easily. I did not look further south of the flake to check out access to the other climbing areas there, so I don't know what the growth is like there. I looked for the upper end of Jay's trail, saw a possible location, but can't say for sure.

Going back out, Doughnut saw how close the road was straight down and elected to bushwack directly to the road. I elected to return the way we had come. Doughnut got out in 1/3 to ½ the time it took me.

In the Balch Flake area, there is a line of bolts going up the big seam just to the right of the flake. There was also a bolted line to protect the chimney on the back of the small satellite flake on the left side of the main flake. The chimney is between the main wall and the smaller flake. Somebody left a rope coiled and hanging off the bottom bolt on the original arete route up the flake. There is new rockfall a little bit to the left/north of the flake It has cut a pretty big swath through the brush.

Patterson Creek is a pretty cool place to hang out. When I finally got down, the 4 kids were happily barefoot and playing in the water flowing over the bedrock. They were making little boats out of leaves and pine needles, then sending them down the slides. They were hoping to stay there for the rest of the weekend and were disappointed to leave.

There is not much water in the creek or the falls, but they are still beautiful. I highly recommend hiking up to the base of the falls. It is an impressive location.

Patterson creek provides a natural route if you wish to access the low angle slabs in the Achille's Heel area. Kevin and I cut out of the drainage early at some steep and exposed slabs that lead up into a poison oak infested gully. Coming back, I stayed near the base of the rock all the way to the water fall, where I found user trails and a fairly easy descent.

Hiking and route finding around the big apron and up to the steep wall was much more problematic than I remembered. At times the hiking was easy right along the cliff base or on open rock slabs, but then we would hit a gully and have to drop down or hit sections just a bit too steep for comfort. Coming back, the route finding was easier in spots, but more difficult in other areas. I dropped a hand saw on the way in while Kevin dropped a machete. I did not see either on the way out. This means that despite following our cut marks, I was often on a slightly different route than on the way in.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 12, 2013 - 03:41pm PT
Thanks for the detailed report, Paul.
The rockfall looks interesting - possibly climbable there?
Sorry to hear about the poison oak exposure and the lost tools.
The approach continues to live up to its reputation as challenging.
Alexey

climber
San Jose, CA
Nov 12, 2013 - 03:56pm PT
Paul, how long it took for you to hike up to the Flake and than hike down same way?
cultureshock

Trad climber
Mountain View
Nov 12, 2013 - 04:26pm PT
I can only make it out on Sunday.

If anyone needs a ride I will be heading out early in the morning from Sunnyvale.

Shoot me a PM if you are interested.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Nov 12, 2013 - 05:11pm PT
Too bad, cultureshock. I need to leave after dinner on Saturday. Sorry I'll miss you.

John
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Nov 12, 2013 - 05:35pm PT
Thinking of possibly going for the weekend if there is someone I can climb/carpool with from the Bay Area?
Would be happy to give the OW a go on lead and would be super happy to climb many pitches in 5.8-5.11a ballpark or something.
Paul Martzen

Trad climber
Fresno
Nov 12, 2013 - 06:12pm PT
It took us several hours to hike in as we were pruning the whole way in, route finding and getting off route several times. Coming out should be a better gauge, though I still pruned a bit and made a couple wrong turns.
The photo of the groto was taken at 2:53 pm, within 10 - 15 minutes or so of when I started back via the front of the flake. Much faster going behind.
Rockfall area is not far and photo was taken at 3:20 pm.
Photo looking south from top of apron area taken at 3:35.
Photo looking north taken at 3:37.
Photo taken at base of waterfall at 4:30 (will add this to my previous post.)
No photos from the road when I reached there, but estimate another 10 or 15 minutes from the waterfall down the creek to the road.
Oh, those are Daylight Savings Times above. I had not changed the time on that camera.

I am certainly surprised that it took an hour to go around the apron area on the way down. I could hear Kevin's voice down at the cars when I still had a long ways to go. I was pruning a little bit, off route at times and very tired by then. Sat down and rested several times. Finding the best route through that area will take quite a bit of exploring, work and marking the trail. A good gps with satellite views might be very handy in figuring out the best route in that area.

edit: The rockfall wall has potential for climbing, but probably aid, as it is slightly overhanging in that area and cracks look to by discontinuous.
Paul Martzen

Trad climber
Fresno
Nov 12, 2013 - 07:13pm PT
Poison Oak:

We went through two areas that were particularly thick with poison oak. The first was in an off route gully when we left Patterson Creek too early. If we had stayed in the creek bed all the way to the base of the falls we would not have encountered any po in that area. There was probably some here and there as we went around the apron, but nothing stands out in my memory. The other thick area was just before we reached the flake. Our route was right along the base of the cliff and the oak was hard to avoid. I aggressively pruned it and pulled up roots where I could. It should help for a short time into the future.

I am sensitive to Poison Oak and I got a pretty massive dose. So far, 3 days out, I am not paying a super high price. I used mechanics soap on my arms when I got down to the cars and changed into clean clothes. At home that night, I used mechanics soap on most of my body, then showered with coolish water. Once in the shower, I soaped up and rinsed multiple times.

I was really scratched up, which I think increases the potential for a po reaction, but nothing developed on Sunday. Monday, however several large areas on my left arm and left leg showed signs of reacting, though not in a full blown way. I got slightly raised reddish areas but no water blisters and no real itchiness. I washed the areas with cold water a few times a day and the reaction seemed to hold.

Today, day 3 from exposure, additional areas have developed and I do have some small areas around my wrists with small water blisters. Most of my forearms show signs of reaction, some areas above my elbows and both legs above the sock line show inflamation. However the reaction seems to be maintaining at a preliminary/moderate level. The cold water washes seem to help with the mild itchiness and the reaction has not gone full blown at this time. With such large areas involved, if the reaction does go full bore, I will be miserable, in bad shape and will probably seek a shot from the doctor. I am really hopeful that it won't get worse than it is presently and will start dissipating in a few more days. Will just have to see.

To summerize, despite large areas of my arms and legs reacting, the reaction is fairly mild and is not bothering me a lot. Whenever I feel a mild itchiness I wash with cold water and the itchiness dissipates for awhile. The areas that do feel mildly itchy seem to be the areas most recently reacting. The areas that first reacted don't feel anything at all now.

A hand held shower head is sure nice for directing cold water only to the areas that I want. Cold water on my legs and arms is easy to take, but much harder to tolerate on my torso.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 12, 2013 - 08:00pm PT
PAUL! You're an animal. Pulling up roots! REALLY?

My experience was much different and I am not developing any issues three days out....maybe a 1cm spot on one forearm.....but nothing that counts. And I'm VERY sensitive.

We went up the creek, and bushwhacked a bit to clear trail behind you. No real issues there. We then used Jaybro's approach, and though we were clearing trail, only saw a bit here and there.

TO SUMARIZE FOR BALCH FEST INVITEES.....YOU WILL NOT BE CLEARING TRAIL!

We are doing the dirty work so yall can come up and have a good time, but there is PO in the area and you'll have to be careful and consider a couple changes of clothes for the weekend. See my recommendations in the invite. Looking forward to a great weekend!

Paul, heal up fast, and try not to scratch!
Slater

Trad climber
Central Coast
Nov 13, 2013 - 12:02am PT
It's amazing what Micronut will do for some webtime and an inevitable Trip Report!

Paul, buy some ZANFEL next time and get it on the second it shows up. It is a miracle treatment...

Or climb at Shuteye where there isn't any poison oak ;)
Darwin

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 13, 2013 - 02:16am PT


I just want to thank you all for working on this. I won't be there this year, but one of these years I'll be there with shears "trail maintenance, along with freedom, is a constant struggle". Usually climbing OW is too, except on "those days".
i'm gumby dammit

Sport climber
da ow
Nov 13, 2013 - 02:23am PT
is it wrong that i wanna climb this? are there any bolts (yet) or pro?
hooblie

climber
from out where the anecdotes roam
Nov 13, 2013 - 07:31am PT
no danger of me showing up, but i'm completely on board. really cool what you've done here. the anticipation is palpable. and i want that ^^^ much granite irradiating my soul right now
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Nov 13, 2013 - 11:44am PT
Great work .... Thanks

wont make the Fest but looking FWD to the report.

matty

Trad climber
under the sea
Nov 14, 2013 - 04:57pm PT
Looking forward to the beat down. My GF will not be coming after all, family business pulled her out at the last sec, but I'm still coming. Not sure if I'll be there hoping to arrive friday night, but may just come early saturday. See you all soon =)



doughnutnational

Gym climber
its nice here in the spring
Nov 14, 2013 - 05:10pm PT
After 3 trips to Balch Flake, one last Saturday and two in the previous century I feel confident in saying that walking in from the waterfall is not the fastest way and that I am immune to poison oak.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 14, 2013 - 05:22pm PT
I just picked up some wood for the campfire at my sister's who married an almond farmer. There shall be flame.

And put the finishing touches on my $2.95 Walmart hat.

Credit: micronut

Credit: micronut
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 14, 2013 - 06:27pm PT
Any updates from Jaybro on clearing his trail?

Will you have hazmat suits with the "Balch Fest" logo? :-)

I hope you bring quantities of Technu.... (active ingredient witchhazel)
to dissolve the Urushiol from exposed skin. It has to be removed in the
first hour or two, otherwise the immune reaction kicks in.
Rudbud

Gym climber
Grover Beach, CA
Nov 14, 2013 - 11:32pm PT
That fire wood looks like chopped up juniper to me. And speaking of chopping wood, do you guys need help cutting any trees for the access trail? I would rather do that then climb ow.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Nov 15, 2013 - 12:11am PT
Some epic fail stuff, Redbud. Why cut trees if we can pop a few beers and troll ST from our iphones as we laugh at a few nut cases trying to struggle up an 11+ OW?

Vitaliy don't care about poison oak
Rudbud

Gym climber
Grover Beach, CA
Nov 15, 2013 - 12:41am PT
Do you think I could get fist jams in that thing if I wore boxing gloves? for get the tape, thats not going to cut it for that monster.
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
I'm James Brown, Bi-atch!
Nov 15, 2013 - 01:11am PT
if you want to bypass the 38 traffic lights on the way to trimmer rd you can take 180 to 168, dumps you on the rd to academy, then

rt on sample rd
right on pitman
left on watts valley rd
straight onto maxon rd

this will dump you onto trimmer rd at pine flat lake, at which point a left turn will lead you to the campground,

if you cross a bridge across the kings river above the lake then you have just passed the campground,

be sure to check out the weird fence that farmer john welded up, sample rd,






JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Nov 15, 2013 - 05:33am PT

The pilaf ingredients are measured out and ready for Saturday night. Assuming I'm really over my cold, I'll be heading up late this afternoon. Hope to see all of you then.

John
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Nov 16, 2013 - 08:11am PT
Hope you guys have fun, and I mean that in all seriousness.

Take photos!
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Nov 16, 2013 - 08:20am PT
^^^
Ya, what Brandon said!
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Nov 16, 2013 - 10:50am PT
Almond wood and pilaf.....fun will be had!
Levy

Big Wall climber
So Cal
Nov 16, 2013 - 02:44pm PT
I am soooooo jealous of those who are up there today. I would have been there if a work commitment hadn't precluded me from joining the fun!!

I'm looking for a partner who can go next weekend. Hit me up if you're down for it.
matty

Trad climber
under the sea
Nov 17, 2013 - 01:55pm PT
Pilaf was amazing. As was the rest of the chicken veggies sausage cookie beer grandma napoleons . Thanks everyone who helped organize. I can feel some itching already on the way home. Hope it's not too bad.
matty

Trad climber
under the sea
Nov 17, 2013 - 08:03pm PT
My left eye itches. Got a prescription and just started my dose pack. Good times. Look forward to other reports.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Nov 17, 2013 - 08:16pm PT
How did it turn out? Anyone send?
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Nov 17, 2013 - 08:25pm PT
Yup kinda

Them 'nuts put on one helluva events!

Bolshoya sbasibo!!!
More to come, no doubt!!!
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Nov 17, 2013 - 08:28pm PT
Inquiring minds want to know....

Did Alexey (sp) send?
crøtch

climber
Whale's Vagina
Nov 17, 2013 - 08:45pm PT
Thanks to everyone for an awesome weekend. Nice to put faces to all the names and hope to see you all again.

No poison oak bumps.... yet.... fingers crossed. Good luck Matty. Hope the Rx works!

Alexey on JCAs Wide World of Sports
Alexey on JCAs Wide World of Sports
Credit: crøtch
Darwin

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 17, 2013 - 08:48pm PT
w.r.t the photo of Alexey.

Regardless of what happen after that: Yes!
LuckyPink

climber
the last bivy
Nov 17, 2013 - 08:55pm PT
CAnnnot WAAIT to see more photos of this weekend from you guys! gotta see a photo of the rack you use for wide world

me too worked all weekend ..
Alexey

climber
San Jose, CA
Nov 17, 2013 - 08:57pm PT
I did not sent, but I climbed the route. As I expected - the route was harder that what I can do. Despite hanging for rests on this continuously hard and amazing 160ft first pitch - I felt happy that I was able to finish the route , get to the top of the Flake and share joy on top of the Flake with FA master Jaybro.
Have a great party last night. Thanks for locals and Micronut particularly for make this events happen. The all sequence of events since Matt Sarad posted his question about Balch Camp Flake on ST until last night was unbelievable. Completely worked/trashed yesterday, no desire to do anything today.. just enjoy the life on the coach..
This Route was silent for 17 years, and than one day huge party came. So yesterday after me and JayBro- Christina went and was made supper effort and I think she was close to onsite the route. Than she brought Vitaly and Yoav on the top of p2. Than I fixed rope and belay Vinita on lover part. And I think someone climbed it too, but I not sure. So poor crack had invasion on 6-8 climbers yesterday after beeng 17 years dormant.
This morning we looked at binoculars at the Flake and see the assault continued, but I do not know details
matty

Trad climber
under the sea
Nov 17, 2013 - 09:29pm PT
Yes Cristina, Vitaly and others went back today to do the second pitch and stand on top. I thought it would have been neat to have someone pose with a rack of all our combined wide gear. How many giants did we have?
crøtch

climber
Whale's Vagina
Nov 17, 2013 - 09:54pm PT
I think we had 12.4% of the world's VG stockpile at the flake.
Trad is Rad

Trad climber
San Luis Obispo California
Nov 17, 2013 - 10:26pm PT
thanks again to hosts! It was rad and Im looking forward to next year, if there one........?
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Nov 17, 2013 - 10:27pm PT
Valley Giants? Just stick your leg in....ha, ha, ha.
Macronut

Trad climber
Fresno, Ca
Nov 17, 2013 - 10:33pm PT
Thanks to everyone for making it a great event and the legendary time! It was wonderful meeting everyone and watching some spectacular climbing. Micro and I left with Christina on top of the flack, Vitaly topping out and some guy out of no where walking the top of the flake. We left the flake with Jim soloing the inner crack and think he must of made it to the top...holy crap! Can't wait for them to post up to hear the details. Once again hope everyone had as good of time as I and the climbing was good too.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 17, 2013 - 11:28pm PT
I just want to post a couple rad shots and comments before people start breaking out in savage poison oak rashes and cursing my name online. The FEST was full on Full On.

A brief Synopsis:

The Flake got slayed. And that thing is W I D E and BUR-HUR-HURLEY!!!! Not only did it get its second ascent....but its third fourth fifth and maybe more......Alexey, Christina, Jay, Vitaliy and Cultureshock all stood on top of that monster!

The Barbecue was beyond explanation.

And people are already talking about next year. The TR will be a Supertopo Top Ten of 2013 for sure and as long as nobody ends up in the hospital I'll have a bunch of new friends.

Stay tuned for the full Report. I mean it. Stay tuned. It will change your life.

Credit: micronut


Culture, shockin JCA's Wide World
Culture, shockin JCA's Wide World
Credit: micronut

Credit: micronut

Credit: micronut

Christina at the belay atop the first pitch.  That girl's got chops!
Christina at the belay atop the first pitch. That girl's got chops!
Credit: micronut

Credit: micronut

Crotch.....in the bizness up inside the back side of the flake.
Crotch.....in the bizness up inside the back side of the flake.
Credit: micronut

i'm gumby dammit

Sport climber
da ow
Nov 17, 2013 - 11:33pm PT
Looking forward to it.
Leggs

Sport climber
Tucson, AZ
Nov 17, 2013 - 11:38pm PT
Ditto ^^^
Batrock

Trad climber
Burbank
Nov 17, 2013 - 11:54pm PT
Saawweeeeeet!!!!!! Wish I could have made it. Next year fer sure.
DaveyTree

Trad climber
Fresno
Nov 18, 2013 - 12:11am PT
Man I wish I could have joined. Work I couldn't get out of. Hope the oak takes very few casualties. Can't wait for the pics and TR.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 18, 2013 - 12:41am PT
ok.....I have to post a couple more.

Then I'm gonna go shower for the fourth time since I've been home tonight.

Jaybro....getin derty!
Jaybro....getin derty!
Credit: micronut

Credit: micronut

either Vitaliy or Limpingcrab or Macronut on Dracula Crack
either Vitaliy or Limpingcrab or Macronut on Dracula Crack
Credit: micronut

Credit: micronut
Paul Martzen

Trad climber
Fresno
Nov 18, 2013 - 12:58am PT
Balch Flake viewed from the top of Third Pillar.
Balch Flake viewed from the top of Third Pillar.
Credit: Paul Martzen
Slater

Trad climber
Central Coast
Nov 18, 2013 - 01:06am PT
Paul, that last shot is SICK!

Ha ha ha, you guys gotta post your poison oak shots in two days (which is about how long it takes...)

You guys know that soap and water don't work right?

It's an oil... it'll take Technu or something of that sorts to bond with the oil and strip it from your pores.

Otherwise it's the gift that keeps on giving!

Fun stuff.
Ying

climber
Los Angeles, CA
Nov 18, 2013 - 01:35am PT
Nice to meet you all. Thanks for hosting Scott!! Sorry I'm using your real name. I don't know who's who on Supertopo. :( Balch Fest rocked!!
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 18, 2013 - 01:36am PT
Nice to meet you too Ying. I go by Scott here on the Taco as well. I got nothin to hide!

Good old soap is just fine supposedly Slater.
This intel is from a nice source, a toxicology network with the NLM. Toxnet.com


Many home remedies and even commercial products (e.g., Zanfel and Tecnu) claim to prevent urushiol rashes after the exposure.

A study of such a product, Tecnu, and ordinary soap, Goop and Dial soap, found 70%, 62%, and 56% protection relative to the possible maximum response, at costs per ounce of $1.25, $0.07, and $0.07. The study compared four 2.5 cm exposed squares on the inner aspect of the forearm, three of which were treated and one untreated.[12] Some clarifications:

-----Scrubbing with plain soap and cold water will remove the urushiol from skin if it is done within a few minutes of exposure, before it bonds.[13]

-----Ordinary laundering with laundry detergent will remove urushiol from most clothing,[14] but not from leather or suede.[citation needed] One home remedy includes laundering clothes with Fels-Naptha

-----The fluid from the resulting blisters does not spread poison oak to others.

Credit: micronut
Willoughby

Social climber
Truckee, CA
Nov 18, 2013 - 02:27am PT
Great photos - can't wait to see the rest of them!

PS - Zanfel is a modern miracle.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Nov 18, 2013 - 03:22am PT
I still can't believe you made it all the way out there and to the flake on the fly like that Ying! So glad you did!
Paul Martzen

Trad climber
Fresno
Nov 18, 2013 - 11:51am PT
You sure got some great photos, Micronut. Interesting that my photo above is taken about the same time as your last photo, just above it, with climbers in the same positions. Where did you go to get that view? Oh, you must have been on your way out to get the barbecue going?
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Nov 18, 2013 - 01:20pm PT
First annual BALCH Fest 2013 was A LOT OF FUN! Thanks to everyone who worked on making a trail, contributed food, stories, and their presence. I liked it a lot to be honest. Ratio of hours driven to pitches climbed was lowest I had in a few years but amount of fun I had was through the roof. AND I am sore and beaten like a dog after that OW thing. My abs are sore, my ribs are bruised, my back is bruised, there is a nice skin tear on my right elbow, my legs are covered in bruises, and waiting for poison oak to kick in! Never climbed an OW that was so sustained for so long. This one and other three OWs/chimneys there look like a lot of fun. Jaybro, congrats with a FFA of it, it is a gem of a climb. Even though it deserves a lot of traffic, I am happy the approach and lack of beta keeps the crowd away. I was stoked to do a third ascend of the route with Christina (great lead of the crux pitch!). Even though I did the whole route clean, I have to come back to lead the first pitch to get the full value experience. First pitch is so long and sustained that by the time I got to the last 30 feet my left hand (which I used to pull on the edge) was fried. There was a good jug right under the belay station, and I couldn’t use it! It was pretty comical. There were several other people who tried the route on TR and got a good workout (I think list includes Hunter, Aaron, Alexey's wife and Yolav at least). And Alexey/Jaybro climbed the route prior to us. The pitch takes a long time so only about two parties a day can do the route. The length is like 4-5 PGSF OWs stacked on each other for the first pitch. It is wild. But again there are 3 other BIG OW/Chimney routes that deserve traffic.
I forgot my camera and did not take photos, but thanks to those who did. I will post a photo of my leg soon. Some SICK bruises! Thanks for great shots of Christina and I on the flake. And photo of me leading Dracula crack is awesome too. I’d love to go back and do some more exploring so we could have more info on other routes by BALCH fest 2014!
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
U.N. Ambassador, Crackistan
Nov 18, 2013 - 03:09pm PT
^^^ Nice. And congrats to Jaybro.

DMT
okie

Trad climber
Nov 18, 2013 - 04:38pm PT
Thanks to Micronut for putting his energy into organizing this. It was a really special happening that wouldn't have been a reality without his vision.
What went down on the flake speaks for itself. I was just glad to finally make it to this awesome piece of natural architecture even though time didn't permit a top rope thrashing.
I was inspired by the old and new generation coming together and the obvious talent that was assembled. A veteran star still led the way, even blazing a trail through the jungle for the next generation.
I don't know what Eleazarian put in that pilaf, but if the feds figure out the recipe it'll be made illegal cause it was seriously the new crack.
When young Jim (name correct?)told me at the fire that he had been up and down soloing on A Passionate Life because the gear would've gotten in the way and a harness would have just chafed him this information blew my mind. Sounds like this apparently fearless and visionary dude topped out the next day from the inside looking out...???
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Nov 18, 2013 - 05:17pm PT
Third person on top was Luke. He mini traxed the route. Jim did some cool bouldering at the base of the other side and explored the wall further. I saw him scrambling to the top of some other flake further down when I walked to the far left side of our flake.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Nov 18, 2013 - 06:00pm PT
What Okie said on that Pilaf! Wish I had some now!

And Vitaly's gram's Napoleon!!
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Nov 18, 2013 - 06:50pm PT
I think next time I might ask my grandma to prepare the pilaf as well. She has legit competition. On the way back to the bay we stopped by in some place which Scott recommended. When I saw pilaf as a possible side option, I did not think twice. Thank you Mr. Elezerian!


This event was sort of a last minute choice for me and I did not prepare much info for the trip. But I was reading a bit more about the OWs and noticed they were first bolted by someone and JCA's Wide World of Sports had a FFA by Jaybro and his partner in 95. Does Jay or anyone else know if every single OW there (both sides of the flake) had a hang/fall-less free ascent on lead?

Would be nice to know more history about the other OWs aside from JCA's Wide World of Sports.


PS: I am getting stoked to do more wide.
limpingcrab

Trad climber
the middle of CA
Nov 18, 2013 - 07:01pm PT
Ya Vitaliy, I free-soloed all of them

look, it's you!
Vitaliy and Christina at the top of the first pitch.  Say Cheese!
Vitaliy and Christina at the top of the first pitch. Say Cheese!
Credit: limpingcrab

Selfie!
stud
stud
Credit: limpingcrab
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Nov 18, 2013 - 07:07pm PT
Those other routes all have names, I assume they've all been done, but don't really know. I bet the info is in that online guide to Patterson bluffs here on the Taco!
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 18, 2013 - 07:19pm PT
Vitaliy,
JCA's Wide World of Sports had a FFA by Jaybro and his partner in 95. Does Jay or anyone else know if every single OW there (both sides of the flake) had a hang/fall-less free ascent on lead?
The online guide has some "place names" and possible FA info for some of those routes, but I didn't research past what Jaybro recalled.
Richard Leversee might have some answers.
At present I have:

31. A Side of Wide 5.10d, bolt protected chimney start, left of Balch Camp Flake
FP(bolted by): Richard Leversee
FA: Jay Anderson, Ann Yeagle, David Cotter, Richard Leversee, 2/1997

32. TPL var. start 5.12a, thin hand crack, front side of Dracula
FA(aid): Paul Martzen
FFA: Jaybro?
33. The Passionate Life 5.11c, 2p, ow and squeeze, camalots 4x4 2x4.5 2x5, AAJ 1998, p.190
FA: Jay Anderson, Ann Yeagle, 2/1997
34. JCA's Wide World of Sport 5.12b, 2p, ow and squeeze, 16x + gear, topo
FP(bolted by): Richard Leversee
FA: Jay Anderson, Brad Jarrett, 3/1995
35. Balch Camp Flake - Original Route, right edge of the flake, bolt ladder to horn lasso, then more bolts, AAJ
FA: George Sessions, Merle Alley, Rich Calderwood, Mark Powell, 1954
36. Flicker of Time Arete 5.9 A0, starts on Original Route bolt ladder,
then free climbs arete above, AAJ 1998, p.190
FA: David Cotter, Richard Leversee, 2/1997

Balch Camp Flake - inside face

37. backside of JCA WWS 5.11a?
FA: Richard Leversee
38. backside of The Passionate Life 5.11c
FA: Richard Leversee
39. Dracula Crack 5.9, backside of TPL 5.12a var. start, hand and fist crack
FA: Dwight Kroll, Ryan?, 1981

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/2106135/Patterson-Bluff-online-guide

And note that Jaybro's partner (Brad Jarrett) on the FA of JCA's Wide World of Sports did not follow entirely free.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Nov 18, 2013 - 07:22pm PT
Not completely free, but for the record, that was Brad Jarret.


Also, 'A side of Wide,' can be seen on the page before this one in micro nuts photo of "either, vitally, macro, or limping crab on Dracula crack."
matty

Trad climber
under the sea
Nov 18, 2013 - 07:43pm PT
The pitch per day count was low but this trip was not so much about logging pitches as exploring a cool area, climbing wide and meeting new people. I am psyched to return and would even consider doing so again before the fest next year. Would be cool to come back and put up a new line too. I love the shirt color and design, it will fill the lime void in my climbing wardrobe!

Poison oak update: not spreading very much, left bicep a bit and still feel like my left eyelid has some, a few spots on my ankle. I'm overall very pleased with current outbreak level based on my exposure. I'm normally very sensitive and I currently have no weeping blisters, just a few dots that hardly itch. I'm glad I went in and got pills right away, I'll never know whether I need them for sure but I'm glad I don't have to find out.

I climbed the OW inside of passionate life up to the dracula belay and it was really fun. I was climbing the inside while jim? was soloing and we exchanged a few simulgrunts through the crack.. Would be psyched to go back and lead the whole thing. upper half was bolted and seemed like mainly chimneying.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 18, 2013 - 07:51pm PT
The full TR will be ready in approximately 44 minutes!
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Nov 18, 2013 - 07:54pm PT
Wa- Fing-hoo!!
scuffy b

climber
heading slowly NNW
Nov 18, 2013 - 08:13pm PT
All this sounds really exciting, but I have questions (though not enough time
to pose them right now).
Maybe the TR will clear everything up for me!
Way to go, all!!!!!
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Nov 18, 2013 - 08:17pm PT
Hey where were you yesterday? Last I heard you were coming out for Sunday?
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 18, 2013 - 08:49pm PT
Ok. The real TR is up and running. You guys have put some golden stuff in this thread....especially the first hand accounts. Would you PLEASE cut and paste this stuff into replies on the TR, so its all in one place. That would be unbelieveably cool and wirthwhile for the posterity of Balch Fest. Thanks so much.

Scott
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 18, 2013 - 09:48pm PT
Scott,
Just put links to the other threads.
"There will always be multiple threads."

Also, there are some limitations to the "Trip Report" type threads.
The main one that I don't like is that if you click on a person's ID,
you can see a list of their posts on regular Forum threads, but their posts as comments on TRs are not included in that list (or any list).
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